Thursday, October 2, 2008

Zhu Zhiqiang

Zhu Zhiqiang is an internet designer and lives in Beijing, China where he is an Internet phenomenon. He makes money from of his animations using advertisements for major companies. Each of his designs features the "logo" Xiao Xiao. In July, 2004 the 28 year old Zhu sued Nike Inc. for their unauthorized use of one of his stickfigure designs in an advertisement. Zhu won the case, until a higher court overruled the decision.

Zhang Leping

Zhang Leping was a comic artist born in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province, China. He played a key role in the development of modern manhua in China, and is mostly remembered for his work in .

Early History

In 1924 Zhang lived in extreme poverty and was unable to continue his primary school education. In the fall of 1927 his area was attacked by the army. By 1928 at the age of 18 years old, with the support of relatives, he was recommended by the teachers to re-enter school for formal a period of formal art education.

In a short time the January 28 Incident occurred in 1932 and his artistic skills became the highest demand. China would use comics in anti-Japanese advertising in publications. His comic career would officially begin in 1934. In just one year, he would become part of the anti-Japanese comic propaganda team.

When he initially created in 1935 his main goal was to convey the hardships of the Second Sino-Japanese War war taking place in China through the eyes of the children, especially the orphans. He wanted to express his concern for the young victims, particularly the real orphans on the streets. And Sanmao became the symbol for those children.


In the 1950s he worked for the Shanghai People's Fine Arts Publishing House, the Shanghai-based ''Liberation Daily'' and the Shanghai Youth and Children's Publishing House.

While he published other work such as ''Mr. Wang'' and ''Miss Bee'', they do not have the impact or longevity that Sanmao have. The Sanmao comics were translated through out his career and introduced to other countries. The character has also been the main attraction in a number of movies, cartoons and other forms of on stage theatricals.

After death

A public trial was held in 1997 in the First Intermediate People's Court of Shanghai to settle the lawsuit of who owned the rights to the Sanmao character and comics after the death of the author.

Wan brothers

The Wan Brothers were born in the early 20th century in Nanjing, China. They became the founders and pioneers of the Chinese animation industry.


The era in which the Wan brothers operated was a very challenging one for building an industry. China would endure the Second Sino-Japanese War, World War II and the Cultural Revolution.

The brothers

! English Name
! Chinese Name
! Born
! Died
| || 万籁鸣 || January 18, 1900 || October 7, 1997
| || 万古蟾 || January 18, 1900 || 1995
| || 万超尘 || 1906 || 1992
| || 万涤寰 || 190x ||Unknown


Their father was in the silk business. Their mother was a seamstress.

Wan Laiming

Wan Lai-Ming was born in Nanjing, China. He was one of the Wan brothers who pioneered the Chinese animation industry, and became China's first animator. As the director of the Shanghai Animation Film Studio, he would raise the standard to International level before other historical events affected the industry.

Early history

Wan Laiming and Wan Guchan were twin brothers. They were the first ones to experiment with primitive film technology adapted from the United States and other parts of the world, and were often inspired by foreign cartoons that made it to Shanghai. In 1919 they worked in the fine art departments at Shanghai Commercial Press . They were exposed to early technologies like zoetrope with galloping horses that animate on rotation. Other cinema techniques like zoetrope projection principles were being studied.

In the early 1920s on a summer evening, the brothers were squeezed into a small attic. They used a thick book and drew pictures of a cat and mouse. They bent the corners in such a way that it animated the cat catching the mouse. The brothers would spend their days testing and experimenting.


In 1922 they made the first cartoon short ''Shuzhendong Chinese Typewriter'' which was a commercial used for the Commercial Press. At the time one of their first technological challenge was to make the background expose. Their technique caused grease that prevented them from seeing anything but simple lines in the background.

In 1924 they were invited to the Great Wall Film Company to try and animate a film under studio terms. Wan Laiming and Wan Guchan were then recognized as China's animation pioneers when they successfully produced the first animation short ''Uproar in the Studio'' running 10 to 12 minutes long in black and white. By 1932 one of the Wan brothers, Wan Dihuan, would voluntarily leave the Great Wall Film company for his own photography studio. By 1935 the Wan Brothers would launch the first animation with sound titled ''''.

In 1938 the remaining 3 Wan Brothers moved from Shanghai to Wuhan. Later Wan Dihuan went back to Chongqing to launch anti-Japanese animation campaigns. Wan Laiming was also at the Chinese anti-Japanese National Film association as part of the leftist movement. From here they would combine war songs into animations to produce propaganda materials for the Second Sino-Japanese War.

In 1939 the brothers were inspired by the American production ''Snow White''. They would set the standard in attempting to create a film of equal quality for the nation's honor. By 1940 the brothers would be part of the Xinhua Film Company animation department since it was the only remaining production company left during the Japanese occupancy period. The manager of the company Zhang Shankun wanted to invest in profitable films, and he later found how much animation expenses were and wanted to give up. He sought additional investments, but insisted the production would take too much time. Wan Laiming guaranteed that they would not lose money. Though at the time the city was considered a "Solitary Island" since it was semi-occupied by Japanese forces as part of the Second Sino-Japanese War. '''', the first Chinese animation of notable length, would be complete and shown as a proud achievement to some of the remaining people who haven't left the city.
Wan Guchan wanted to draw a plan for the next project ''Havoc in Heaven''. As the Japanese occupation was increasing, Hsinhua comic department has already been forced to close. As a result the investors withdrew their money and nothing got started. Time would past and the Shanghai Animation Film Studio would be established in 1950.

In 1954 Wan Laiming went to Hong Kong and returned to Shanghai by autumn of the same year. He then served as the director of the Shanghai Animation Film Studio. Two years later in 1956, Wan Laiming would create the first animation in color ''Why is the Crow Black-Coated''.

It became a reality in 1961 when Wan Laiming and Wan Guchan finally had the opportunity to work on the 1st part of the animation film ''Havoc in Heaven''. By 1964 all 4 Wan brothers were collaborating for the last part of the film. The movie would win International awards officially putting China on the map in terms of a nation capable of producing high quality animation films.

Unfortunately by 1966 Mao Zedong would start the Cultural Revolution. The animation industry would take a nose dive as many artists were affected in the industry. It was then that China's golden era of animated film would end.


On October 7, 1997 Wan Laiming died in Shanghai. He was buried at and a statue of him was erected in honour of his achievements in the industry.


Wan Guchan

Wan Gu-Chan was born in Nanjing, China. He was one of the Wan brothers who pioneered the Chinese animations industry.

Early History

He joined his twin brother Wan Laiming in most of the animation projects and experimentations.


Through out his career he would be the closest to Wan Laiming in assisting him in all major projects. In 1958 he would be credited as the innovator of a new paper-cut method. The technique was demonstrated in the animation ''Pigsy Eats Watermelon''.

He would also take part in the 1964 film ''Havoc in Heaven'' which would bring China recognition internationally.


Wan Dihuan

Wan Di-Huan was born in Nanjing, China. He was one of the Wan brothers who pioneered the Chinese animation industry.


He assisted his brothers in pioneering many of the film projects up until 1932 when he voluntarily left the Great Wall Film Company for his own photography studio It is unknown as to whether he succeeded in starting the studio, since the Second Sino-Japanese War would take shape by 1937. It is believed that he only came back in 1941 to assist with '''' and 1964 ''Havoc in Heaven''.


Wan Chaochen

Wan Chao-Chan was born in Nanjing, China. He was one of the Wan brothers who pioneered the Chinese animations industry.


He joined his other brothers Wan Laiming in most of the animation projects that came after the experimentations.