We were fortunate enough recently to be able to have a chat with the extremely prolific and talented comic book/manga artist (and recent Glasgow Comic Con attendee), Yishan Li. Here’s what went down.
Big Comic Page: First off, could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Yishan Li: I live in Edinburgh and have been working professionally as comic/manga artist for about 10 years now. I gave done 6 albums in French and 6-7 in the USA, and more than 15 “how to” books to teach drawing.
BCP: How did you find Glasgow Comic-Con?
YL: It was really really good. It might not be as big as some shows in London but it was friendly and extremely busy! People are all so nice to each other and I got to talk to a lot of people in the con. I can say this is one of the best shows in the UK for sure!
BCP: You seem to use a few different styles in your work, from a very European look in ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’, pin-up and traditional Manga. Is there any one style you prefer to use? Was is a conscious decision to not bookmark yourself, or did it just come naturally?
YL: I actually do prefer more realistic manga style which is closer to European comic in some ways. And what style I choose mostly depends on the target audience and publisher’s choice. For example the confession of a shopaholic is for young women who are not necessarily manga readers so I used a more grownup style for it, while sometimes for the American market they clearly want manga style and manga format so I use the more traditional manga style.
BCP: When working on the french adaptation of Confessions, was there much of a language barrier, and how did it feel working on an adaptation?
YL: Luckily not! When I work with French publishers, they always make sure the writer will write the script in English for me. Especially for Confessions, because the original novel is in English, I can always refer to the original book if there is something not clear. This was the second book I adapted, the other one was “the Clique” by Lisi Harrison (published by Yen Press). I do like adaptation works, it’s not as flexible but you can add new dimensions to the original story.
BCP: Could you tell us a bit about your process? I know at the con it was very much all pencils and “old school”, but have you done much work using digital?
YL: When I work from home it’s all digital. I use a Wacom tablet and PC (not a Mac fan). Softwares I use are Manga Studio EX4 and Photoshop CS5. Manga Studio is great for line art then I will export the file to Photoshop and color everything there.
BCP: Bit of a vague one here, but what inspires you as an artist? Is there a ‘go to’ book or artist that just makes you want to draw?
YL: A lot of artists give me inspirations! I like to browse on Printest or Deviantart and go “wow that’s amazing, i want to do something similar” all the time
BCP: How did you get into drawing manga?
YL: I grew up reading manga and happened to like drawing. The good thing about drawing manga is that you don’t need any expensive art materials to start with, just normal pencil and paper. So I started drawing on all my text books and spare paper then just got better.
BCP: After seeing your Psylocke, have you ever considered moving into Western comics?
YL: I have always trying to combine western comics and manga. My style at the moment is not so big eyed manga, it’s more a hybrid already. I think it’s a good thing. It gives me wider market.
BCP: And finally, where can our readers find your work? Is there anything you want to pimp out?
YL: I guess just searching my name on Amazon etc. will get you a list of my books.
BCP: Thanks again for agreeing to do this, we really appreciate it and would like to wish you all the best in the future.
You can find out more about Yishan on her website, www.yishanli.com.