Comic artist - Yifan Ling
UK degree: MA in Visual Communication at Birmingham City University
Yifan Ling – also known by her pen name ‘Buddy’ - has already published more than 20 books internationally. Her online story Guarding has had more than 110 million views.
Were you writing comics before you studied in the UK?
I was working on manga professionally for a few years before I started my UK degree, with some success – but there was a huge change after I studied in the UK.
Since I graduated from Birmingham City University, I have published more than 10 comic books in China and two in the USA, all of which continued to sell well over the years. My current ongoing online comic story Guarding has millions of readers.
I won bronze twice in the International Manga Awards hosted by The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan, and was awarded China’s Golden Dragon Award for Best Illustration Artist.
Did studying in the UK change the way you thought about writing comics?
My tutor gave me a lot of advice about how to open my mind
My tutor gave me a lot of advice about how to open my mind and encouraged me to try new things with my artworks. Thanks to him, I experimented with artistic styles and themes that I never would have done if I had studied in my own country.
I believe my experience of studying at Birmingham City University made me a better and more confident artist.
Were you able to raise your profile while you were studying in the UK?
During my studies, my course project 'Cactus' won a Macmillan Children's Book Award 2006 in the UK.
I never would have had that opportunity if I had stayed in China, and I think it gave me more confidence to work as professional comic artist after graduation.
Has your work had a wider impact on the comic book world?
During the last 10 years, my comic books and other artworks have inspired many young artists to start their own careers as comic artists. I have been invited to give lectures at universities in my home country and I’ve spoken at international content conferences.
This is very exciting for me. I'm glad to communicate with people around the world and to show them Chinese comic arts.
Yifan Ling was the winner of the Alumni Award for Professional Achievement 2016.