Interview with Fan Lintao



Interview with Fan Lintao

By Pepe Pelayo

t may sound like a cliché, false, but I have to write it now anyway: it is a real honor, a pleasure, to have the Chinese cartoonist Fan Lintao in today’s “visa a vis”.

We know that he wins tons of awards every year in international cartoon competitions. We know that it is very required to be a jury in many competitions around the world. We know that he has exhibited in countless countries. We know that he collaborates with his works in various publications in his country and around the world.

For all of the above, it is a privilege to interview him.

But the biggest reason is that I love his works. I recommend that our readers navigate cyberspace looking for them, so that they can verify their Mastery.

Those who know me have been waiting for a simple pun ever since I introduced it, and here it goes: “yes, I’m an extremely fan of Fan.”

But enough of the introduction and let’s begin this “vis a vis with the comic vis” of Fan Lintao.


PP: Fan, do you like being interviewed?

FAN:  Yes, I am glad to be interviewed by you, so that more readers of ” Humor Sapiens ” can get to know me. It’s my pleasure.

PP: Well, for fans of Humor Sapiens, can you introduce yourself? (Because perhaps my presentation was incomplete). How would you like to be known, remembered?

FAN: I have loved graffiti since elementary school. I often write my own stories and draw small cartoon like comics. After seeing these paintings, classmates and neighbors gave positive feedback and encouragement.

When I was in fifth grade, my picture book participated in school student assignments, essays, and handicraft exhibitions. It is the only painting book on display and caused a small sensation. From then on, all the teachers and students in the school knew that I was the elementary school student who drew well.

My obsession with painting is what drives me to persist in drawing. Since middle school, I have been crazy about sketching and sketching. I don’t even leave the classroom during breaks, I’m drawing. I sometimes sketch in my dreams and wake up with my hands moving.

Although I have always loved cartoons, I actually started creating cartoons in 1980. These cartoon works were exhibited at local art exhibitions and were loved and praised by many viewers. In 1982, my debut work “Net Weight” was published in the Zibo Daily. More than 6000 cartoon works have been published in domestic and foreign newspapers and magazines.


PP: You are very lucky to discover your vocation as a child. And luckily for us we are still in the race! Friend, at this point in life do you laugh at more things than before? If so, is it because you are wiser, less prejudiced, have learned lessons, care less about consequences, or all of the above?

FAN: You’re right, I do laugh more than before. This is because my cartoon works are more mature and have gained the love of more readers and recognition of my cartoon peers. I have also won more awards in cartoon competitions. I have been hired as a judge for international cartoon competitions many times, which has given me the opportunity to meet more foreign cartoon peers. My personal cartoon exhibitions have been successfully held both domestically and internationally.

PP: Without a doubt, security and recognition open our minds and interests and increase the sources of our laughter. Tell me now, did you start drawing without style? If you had one, what style would it be? Did you have any influence from national or foreign cartoonists at that time? How has your work evolved over time in terms of form and content? (I don’t mean that you have more and more quality, but rather the changes in your predilection in form and content.

FAN: I believe that the style of a work is gradually formed with the improvement of appreciation level, browsing more excellent domestic and foreign works, and accumulating experience from more works, and there is no way to “book” in advance. I had many favorite domestic and foreign cartoonists in the early stages of cartoon creation, and I learned a lot from them. But I don’t like to imitate someone else’s style, after all, that’s what they have. Cartoonists should have their own style, and readers can tell who painted it by simply looking at the painting, without looking at the author’s name.

My cartoon creation can be divided into three stages.

Phase 1: Works before 1997 were hand drawn with black and white lines.

Phase 2: Works from 1997 to 2004 were hand drawn with lines and then computer-assisted coloring.

The third stage: After 2004, hand drawn lines were used and then watercolors were used for coloring.

When I got tired of the “machine flavor” of computer image processing, I started to return to simplicity and enjoy the natural charm of hand drawn. I like the seamless integration of water and color in watercolor paintings, creating spots and color marks on watercolor paper. These special texture effects have strong randomness and lyricism. This precisely fits well with cartoons that are not constrained by rules and regulations, enhancing the expressive power of cartoon works.


PP: Well, you just gave a master class. I agree with everything with you. You try everything and stick with what you like the most, even if you have to go back to previous techniques. Very good, Fan. We continue then. Which way do you prefer: drawing with humor without words or drawing with texts? Because?

FAN: I like humorous cartoon works without words, which is also recognized as the highest level of cartoon works in the industry. Because humorous cartoons rely on visuals to “speak” rather than words. If the image cannot fully express the author’s intention, it is necessary to add text. And cartoons without text can be understood by people all over the world. My works are all without words. I often joke that my work is a “three no” product: no text, no title, no borders.

PP: Again we agree. Of course, I have enjoyed excellent works of graphic humor with text, but I am more drawn to those without it. Now tell me, among the many awards you have received, which one moved you the most or impacted you the most?

FAN: I think it’s the work I won first prize in the 9th International Cartoon Exhibition – Yimittos, Greece. This is a work that I am very satisfied with.

PP: You are the first interviewee in this “vis a vis” section to answer that question by confessing that it was for a specific work. It is always about the meaning of it being the first award received, or the most important, or the moment in your life when you received it, etc. I change now for something more theoretical. In your opinion, what is humor? What is graphic humor?

FAN: I think humor is something written in a person’s DNA. It will be stimulated in different occasions, making people feel happy and laugh. Everyone has a sense of humor, but to varying degrees. Humorous cartoons are designed to make readers resonate with their humorous genes after reading them, thereby achieving a happy, joyful, and laughter inducing mood.


PP: On that point… Tell me what humor you like to do the most. I give you variants:

a-The one that simply amuses you.

b-The one that amuses you and makes you think.

c-The one that makes you think, but is only critical, satirical.

d-The burlesque, disrespectful, offensive.

FAN: I choose a and b.

PP: Perfect! The same ones I would choose. We are in frequency. And now a fashionable question: what are the limits of humor for you, if any?

FAN: I believe that as long as it does not violate or offend ethics, morality, civilization, folk customs, religion, social consensus, and does not make people feel terrifying, disgusting, uncomfortable, vulgar, etc., humor should not be limited.

PP: I agree with you a lot, Fan. With each question I become more of a “fan” of yours. And to continue with the previous topic, have you ever been censored? Do you censor yourself a lot, a little or never?

FAN: My cartoon works are all humorous and have not been reviewed, nor do they need to be reviewed. I will review every piece of my work. This includes drafts in the concept and completed works. This will be helpful for improving the quality of future works.

PP: As it should be. But there are colleagues who are censored in their countries and develop the ability to self-censor to survive. I’m glad that’s not your case. And, how do you see the present and future of graphic humor?

FAN:  I think humorous cartoons will never disappear, it’s just that the media showcasing humorous cartoons is constantly changing. For example, from the earliest print media to various forms of online media today. And now it spreads more widely, spreads faster, and is also easy to save and retrieve. There will definitely be better ways to spread humorous cartoons in the future.

PP: Since I notice you are very optimistic -if you allow me-, let’s give a more cheerful tone to this vis-à-vis: could you tell us any comical, curious or ingenious anecdote that you have experienced during your career in comedy?

FAN: Once at an evening gathering with friends, drinking alcohol was essential. Unable to handle alcohol, I returned home and was preparing to rest when I suddenly received a request from the newspaper for a cartoon illustration. The scene is a fox catching a chicken. Draw the illustrations in a daze and send them to the newspaper. The next day when I woke up, I suddenly remembered that the illustration I drew last night did not include a fox tail. Hurry up and turn on the computer to check that picture. Sure enough, I forgot to draw the fox tail. Fortunately, readers can understand it as the chicken blocking the fox’s tail

PP: Ha ha. It turned out well anyway. Well, to close, do you want me to ask you a question that I didn’t ask you? If so, could you answer it now?

FAN: Okay, what I want to say is about the importance of drawing skills for cartoon authors. Cartoons convey the author’s ideas through painting. So, in order to better express what you imagine in your brain, you must have solid painting skills. Although cartoons can be distorted and exaggerated, good painting techniques are implicit in them, so that works can give people a sense of beauty. Get rid of some people’s belief that cartoons are just doodles and that cartoons are broken paintings. Human body structure, color matching, perspective drawing, composition, and so on are all essential basic painting skills. Mastering these skills will bring lifelong benefits.

PP: Perfect, my friend. That knowledge is missing for a few people. Thank you. And now, finally, could you say a few words to our Humor Sapiens readers?

FAN: I hope that readers of “Humor Sapiens” can read more humorous paintings, be happy, healthy and live a long life. I also hope that Humor Sapiens readers enjoy my humorous drawing works.

PP: Don’t have the slightest doubt, my friend. Your quality as a graphic comedian will soon make you one of the favorites of this site, because you already are in almost the entire world…

I hope you had fun in this vis-à-vis. It was a great pleasure and an honor for me, so once again I thank you and I wish you good health and continued success, because you have much left to give.

FAN: Thank you very much for this interview, Pepe. Please accept good greetings from China. I also hope that what I said can satisfy you. I hope to have the opportunity to meet readers of “Humor Sapiens” again through you.


Raed Khalil
موقع الكارتــون الســـوري
مدير الموقــع: رائد خليـــل
جميع الحقــوق محفوظــة
Latest news