Today we are joined by a very talented artist, Mei Yu from Fun2draw, whose drawing style and ethos completely emphasizes how much fun drawing can be. With a huge collection of videos and tutorials available online Mei Yu has graciously given up some of her time to sit and chat about her work and teachings.
Mei Yu, first off welcome to Razberry Juice can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself where your from, when did you first show an interest in drawing etc ?
I was born in China, and grew up in Canada. I started drawing at the age 2 – on the walls! Yes, my mum loved that…
When I moved to Canada at 4, I already knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life: create art. I’ve been drawing ever since.
I remember when I was 8, my dad took me to one of the local art classes. I went in, and came out, like in 2 minutes! Somehow, I didn’t feel it was a good fit for what I wanted to learn to draw. My family had a very hard time finding an art teacher who could teach me what I liked to draw most: cartoons. I had to learn on my own. It’s a very good thing that my parents have been supporting me, early on, by buying art instruction books for me. Otherwise, I really doubt I would be where I am today.
When did you first come up with the idea of Fun2draw and creating a You Tube channel full of great tutorials?
I’ll make the long story short: The main reason is that I have people constantly asking me to teach my popular and fun cartoon classes or asking me to give private art lessons.
Since 2004, I’ve been teaching how to draw cartoons and manga classes at my local schools and libraries. Both parents and kids love my cartoon drawing classes. Many parents ask me to do private lessons for their kids. Some very serious parents offered to pay me $50 – $100/hour to teach their kids. I could make a good living just by being a private art tutor.
However, I always remember how hard it was for me to teach myself how to draw. I wish I had a Mei Yu back then who was there to show me to draw different things when I was younger. Through my teaching, I know there are so many other kids and teens who are in the same position now as I was then – who have the inspiration and desire to learn and to draw, but just no teachers and no direction.
In order to help more young people who love to draw, I started Fun2draw, my own fun cartoon drawing channel on Youtube. Instead of me tutoring a small group of kids, I’d love to reach out to a global audience and help as many as possible. That’s why I have created my Fun2draw Youtube channel. I feel it’s my mission to inspire and to help more people who like art!
Quite often, many of my viewers have told me that my Fun2draw videos have inspired them to start to draw. They want to draw more. They feel more confident, as they feel they can accomplish more with their own skills, and they have made more friends through their art at school.
Since Fun2draw started in April, 2011, millions around the world have seen my Fun2draw videos. I’m very happy to be able to inspire more and more aspiring artists!
Readers can watch all my 300+ Fun2draw videos on Youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/Fun2draw
What tips do you have to help parents get more involved and make drawing more fun with their children, ?
Speaking from my own experience, I know how important it is when a child has a desire and an inspiration in art. If parents do not nurture and support that inspiration, it could be lost forever.
I think encouragement and keeping that interest alive is key.
Some parents and grandparents have emailed me to tell me that they love my cute, easy, beautiful and fun cartoon drawing tutorials. They have been watching my Fun2draw videos with their kids on a regular basis. I think these parents and grandparents are supporting and encouraging their children.
Also, I think if parents can ask their kids questions about their drawings and art interest, then the kids will feel their parents are taking an interest in their art. This will help build their self-confidence. This is exactly what my dad has done to me. If children want their favourite art books and drawing apps to learn, parents should support them.
I remember when I was younger using the paint by numbers kits, do you feel this is a good way for children to learn or should they just express their own creativeness?
I remember I used those kits when I was 4. They are fun for younger children. I think it depends on the child. If they want to follow the numbers, that’s great! If they want to invent their own colour scheme, that’s great, too! I think it’s best for parents not to pressure their child into one way of learning. Sometimes letting them explore can be more encouraging.
What tools do you use for drawing and are there any particular kits you would recommend?
For my Fun2draw videos on Youtube, I use only a permanent marker. I draw freehand, showing viewers how to draw my own cute Fun2draw characters from start to finish in a few minutes.
In terms of any particular kits or supplies, I would say it would really be up the individual to experiment and decide what they are comfortable with. I do think simple colour marker sets are great starters, though.
You have launched a range of apps for the Apple and Android devices can you tell us little bit about this and your initial ideas behind them?
Yes. I am very excited to launch my new Fun2draw apps! My viewers are my source of motivation behind this big project.
Many of my viewers and their parents on Youtube have been asking me to make Fun2draw books because they want to learn more on how to draw my Fun2draw cartoons in a step by step format, at anytime, anywhere – at home, at school, on vacation…
I thought that was a great idea! However, a better idea struck me: make mobile Fun2draw Apps with my own voice instructions and tips, so everyone with an Apple or Android smartphone or tablet can learn how to draw and colour along with me. My apps are like having a Mei Yu as their very own portable art teacher!
However, I had no idea how much it would cost me to develop apps, and how much time I had to put in. I had to turn down lots of other art projects and engagements, such as book illustrations, teaching classes and drawing events, just so I could concentrate and have enough time to work on making my Fun2draw apps the best they can be.
After spending thousands of dollars and over a year’s worth of work, I have finally finished making 3 beautiful Fun2draw apps to help more people with different skill levels: Fun2draw Lv1, Fun2draw Lv2, and Fun2draw Lv3.
I feel that making new Fun2draw apps was a good decision, because many of my viewers have told me that they have downloaded and purchased my Fun2draw apps and they simply love all three apps. They have also told me they can’t wait for my Fun2draw apps’ Collection 2 to come out. Many kids told me their parents have bought my Fun2draw apps for them. I think that’s great parental support.
Readers can watch my Fun2draw Apps’ Intro video on Youtube:
We always like to ask our guests some fun questions so here goes
If you were a cartoon character who would it be?
This is a fun question! For me, it always changes, haha! When I was 5, I wanted to be the next Ninja Turtle. When I was 9, I wanted to be Sailor Moon! Now, I think being one of my Fun2draw characters would be fun.
What was the last movie you watched?
The Hobbit! I know it’s been a while. I’ve been super busy making Fun2draw apps 🙂
What type of music do you like to listen too?
Movie soundtracks, rock
If you were a super hero who would be and why?
Superman! Because he’s Super!
Do you have a particular favourite cartoon character you enjoy drawing?
It’s hard to pick just one because I love a lot of cartoon characters. Since childhood, I’ve enjoyed watching and drawing my favourite cartoons and movies, like Disney, Miyazaki, Dreamworks, different Anime, and Looney Tunes.
By the way, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Razberry Juice for sharing my story with your readers. Thank you for spreading the word and helping me help more youth!
To find out more about Mei Yu and her wonderful work please check out the links below