Yukai Du: Color in Motion

London-based animator has boosted her color palette of the years

ADC’s Motion and Animation Month is back! After featuring the many illustrators, photographers, letterers and typographers within the ADC community here on the ADC blog, it’s once again time to highlight on the artists who breathe life to still images and make them move. From traditional cel animation to 3D animation, from TV interstitials to web series, July’s featured ADC Members run the creative gamut in an industry whose output is as challenging and time consuming as it is rewarding.

Our next featured ADC Member is a London-based animator and illustrator with a style that unites technology with a hand-drawn touch.
London, UK

Represented by MP Arts timh@mp-arts.co.uk



Of course most people were first exposed to animation from after school and Saturday morning cartoons, but what’s your earliest memory of being interested in motion and animation as something that people actually made?

It was probably the first time that I discovered Vimeo and started to watch many amazing motion graphic pieces from all over the world.

Did you study formally, or were you consider yourself more self-taught? What were some of the earliest lessons you learned about the art form?

I studied animation but consider myself more self-taught. The earliest lessons were life drawing of figures.

How would you best describe your style? Do you fight against having a telltale style, or do you embrace it as your brand?

I’d like to create things based on urban/technology themes but with a hand-drawn, patterned touch from a special perspective. I do embrace it as my brand.

What was your first big break, where this truly went from being an interest or pursuit to being an actual job?

When I got my first commission job because of my style.

Do you remember some of your early work? Comparing it to your latest work, the kind of projects you do now, what is the biggest change you’ve noticed? What about your work or your process has remained the same?

Yes, the biggest change in my work has been the use of colours. Most of my early works were monotones and black and white. I use more and more colors these days, but I still keep the patterns and lines.

001 030

Sell yourself and your style by completing the following sentence: “Clients and collaborators should come to me when they’re looking for…”

…when they’re looking for someone creative, passionate and responsible who can both illustrate and animate.

Are you a freelancer or are you part of a regular team? What do you consider to be the biggest pros and cons of your situation?

I’m both freelancing and in a regular team. The biggest positive with this arrangement is getting inspired from all sides. The downside is that I don’t have much spare time!

Secret weapon: what’s your favorite tool in your arsenal (pen and paper? Program? Plug-in?) and why do you love it so much?

I don’t really have a secret weapon; all of my tools are very basic. If I had to pick one, it would probably be my lightbox, for both tracing my sketches and animations on paper.

Snapshot! Take a photo of your desk/work set-up. Why do you suppose you have things just so?

Photo 29-06-2016, 22 00 46

This is the lightbox that I just mentioned, although it’s more of a light board.

Do you experiment with software/tools/techniques, or do you tend to stick with what you know?

I tend to stick with what I know, but sometimes if I have any new ideas, I try to experiment better ways to achieve them, especially for animations.

Of all the projects you’ve worked on, which one are you most proud of? Tell us about the project, and why it holds such a special place in your heart.

Way Out. It’s my short film and a personal project. It was the first time I created a motion piece with my style. It marked a big progression in my career.

Motion and animation is often accompanied by sound or music. How do you approach working with audio elements? Do they help form your visuals? Are you listening to them throughout? How involved are you in this part of the process?

I work with different composers and sound designers. I’m not very involved in the audio part if I work with the right person. I would rather give more space and respect to them. They always know what I want from my visuals.

Where do you go to get a much needed creative jolt, whether online or in the real world?

Online, I usually see what my peers work on, the people/studios I admire and look towards for inspiration, including other areas like fashion design, product design, interior design, etc. In the real world, I’m always interested in exhibitions and galleries, but really everything in life inspires me a lot. It can be architecture, the colours of a shop, markets, books, stories from other people, puddles after rain, lights, shadows… For example, the little dash lines from the phone screen in Way Out were inspired by water reflections, and the way that the light reflects on people’s faces.

13 03

What’s the last project you did for yourself, as opposed to for a client or a job? What do personal projects mean to you and your craft?

The last project still isn’t finished. Personal projects means trying new stuff and being crazier than usual. I can experiment something new and try out some ideas that I couldn’t get a chance to do with commissioned projects.

Which of your peers, the people in your orbit, are making work that you are digging right now? What about them do you like?

Jing Zhang. After her 4-month long journey, she’s making a series of the cities she has been. I really like the details she uses and look forward to see her finish all the cities.

What’s your favorite part of the entire creative process of motion and animation?

Designing the still frames and making transitions between shots.


Motion & Animation Month takes place throughout July, and is open exclusively to ADC Members. Not yet a Member? Join today!

Tube_v2_All MITReview_final_YD