Q: Why do you call yourself "Yuumei", and what does it mean?
A: Yuumei is the username I chose when I first got my deviantART account at the age of 12. As I posted more and more art under that username, Yuumei simply became my 2nd name.
Yuumei (幽冥 or 幽明) means light and darkness, strange and deep, hades, and semidarkness. Not to be confused with yuumei (有名) which ironically means famous. The 12 year old me who picked this name did not foresee this.
Q: Where did you learn to draw?
A: I grew up in China where parents compete and show off their child like some sort of hobby, so drawing was one of the many things I had to learn. I really loved it so I took more classes but not too much. All my Chinese art classes focused on realism and drawing from life. That gave me the foundations to draw everything else but drawing is not a magical process where you take a class, and BAM! you're an artist. It's all about hard work and practice like everything else in life.
What helped me the most was actually being part of the deviantART community where I learned from other artists by observing their works, and the free tutorials they provided. There are many art classes out there, but there are even more free online tutorials and resources made by kind hearted artists. Anyone can learn how to draw for free, and all you need to bring is determination :)
Q: Do you make tutorials?
A: Yes! I love tutorials because they helped me as an aspiring artist and I want to give back to the community. I haven't had time to make all the tutorials I have in plan but I will get to them one at a time. The tutorial page is currently under construction but you can find some of my old tutorials on my deviantArt page.
Q: When will you post the next chapter of your comic/ upload a new drawing?
A: I don't have a set schedule for my work. I am balancing many projects on top of running the Axent Wear company so my schedule is hectic and unpredictable. I would like to post as often as possible, but life is always full of surprises. I do hope to get helpers in the future for my comics which should speed up the workflow.
Q: Can I draw fanart/ write fanfiction/ compose fan music/ cosplay your characters/ translate your story into a different language and post it on my site?
A: I would love to see that! Please send me a link :) It brings me so much joy to see others reinterpret my work into their own art!
Q: What education did you have?
A: I spent the first 9 years of my life in China under its strict education system. School was 6 days a week from 9am to 6pm. After coming to America, I went to public schools in not so great neighborhoods until I graduated as Valedictorian and went to University of California Berkeley with the intent to major in Biology. After one year, I realized my true calling in art and switched majors to reflect my passion. I graduated with my Bachelor's in art in 2011. At one point I firmly believed that I would go to grad school until I realized I learn best by creating art with my hands, not sitting in a classroom reading about other artists.
Q: Can I use your art/ post it on my website/ or sell it?
A: My art if free for public viewing, and as long as you credit me as the original artist, and provide a link to my website, you are free to post my drawing on your own site, blog, social media, etc. You are also welcomed to use my work in Youtube music videos as long as I am credited in the description.
However, under no circumstances can you try to sell or profit from my artwork. That includes putting my drawings on posters, T shirts, mugs, mousepads, calendars, etc and selling them. You also cannot sell digital versions of my work. That includes wallpapers, or music album art. If you want to license my work as part of your commercial product, please contact me for the proper procedure to avoid copyright infringement.
Nonprofit charities and educational institutions are welcomed to use my work for free, but I would prefer to be notified beforehand.
Q: Why didn't you reply to my message/e-mail?
A: I'm terribly sorry but due to the enormous amount of messages and comments I receive, it's simply impossible to read and reply to most of them. I love reading everyone's messages and I tried to reply to all them but it eventually just got to be too much and took time away from drawing. If you have very important news to tell me (such as reports of art theft, requests to help none-profit organization, or business offers, etc) please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What tools, programs, or materials do you use?
A: I use a variety of mediums but I'm most comfortable with digital art. The majority of my illustrations are done in drawing programs like Paint Tool SAI, and Photoshop with a Wacom Intuos tablet. I usually do most of the drawing and painting in SAI, and some final editing, color and texture touchups in Photoshop.
For graphic novels like Fisheye Placebo, I integrated 3D programs such as Sketchup, Esri City Generator, and other procedural generation programs to help me quickly and efficiently create backgrounds and settings. That way I don't have to draw the same table or building over and over again in the comics.
When not doing digital work, I like to sketch in ball point pens. Watercolor is my prefered traditional painting medium but I also enjoy acrylic and oil paint. I dabble in origami once in a blue moon, but I've spent many years sculpting with ceramics, and briefly worked with welding metal and chainsawing wood sculptures. I really enjoy integrating digital and physical media such as laser cutting and 3D printing.
Q: How long does it take to finish a drawing? Or comic?
A: The answer can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the drawing and how inspired I am. Sometimes I'm doing speed paint and can finish a fairly decent drawing in 30 minutes but other times I spend days sketching, refining the composition, touching up on colors and minor details before I'm satisfied with the final result.
As for my graphic novels, the short one shots can take a few months to go from initial idea, to script, to storyboard, before finally drawing out the pages and finalizing the dialogue. The longer comic series may require years of research before hand to design the characters and develope the world they exist in. For works like Fisheye Placebo years of planning goes into the plot and setting before the first panel is even drawn.
Q: What inspires you?
A: That's a complicated questions with a complicated answer. In short I am inspired by nature, my personal life experiences, other artists, and simply the beauty and complexity of life, but for the full story please check out my biography.
Q: Do you take requests, art trades, or commissions? What about volunteer or donation art?
A: I don't take requests, but as a kid, I loved doing art trades with fellow artists and I still do, but as an adult I simply don't have the time anymore. I also used to be open for commissions to help pay the bills, but I've been too focused on personal projects to have time for that as well. Once in a blue moon I might be open for a commission or two, and if you have a special project, you can always e-mail me about my commission status, but please don't be surprised if I am not taking commissions at the moment.
If you're part of a non profit organization and would like me to illustrate for charity work, I'd be happy to help if I have time. Feel free to contact me about your cause! :)
Q: Can I meet you in person/ when and where will you appear at the next convention?
A: I live in California and I attend a lot of the anime conventions around here, especially the SF Bay Area. I will always announce on my Facebook or other social media of when I plan on attending the next convention. I'm usually in the Artist Alley or Dealer's Hall with copies of my drawings and books. I'd love to meet with everyone, chat, and sometimes get dinner together after the convention hall closes :)