Design Feature #13

The Medium and the Message


Written by RMM
Photos by ©

Do you remember the illustrations in the picture books you read as a child? Sometimes they were made up of delicate strokes of watercolours, a blend of intricate details and sophisticated shapes. Other books might have contained large swathes of bold, crayon-like drawings. All of them were colourful. Maybe you liked looking at the pictures more than reading the story.

When you look at Oamul Lu’s illustrations, it’s easy to start reminiscing about those beautiful children’s books.

His images are not only bursting with a rainbow palette of colours, he combines the real and surreal together in scenarios that could only inspire childlike wonder.

Currently based in Xiamen, China, Oamul picked up the pencil when he first saw his sister’s Sailor Moon doodles. Moved by the fact that he could now create his favourite things by putting pen to paper, his hobby turned into a viable passion. Sensing this, his parents sent him to an art school to further hone his skills. While Oamul took a step back and pursued Interior Design instead of Fine Art or Illustration at university, he still sees strong influences from Interior Design in his work. It’s also clear that his work is also influenced by his experience in 3D animation, which he picked up from his day job. Oamul’s illustrations always demonstrate a very good sense of space and depth of field.

Over the past five years, Oamul has been busy creating work for large brands around the region and beyond. He counts Google, AirBnB, Samsung and Kinfolk amongst his growing clientele. It’s no surprise that Oamul’s illustrations have proven popular with the brands’ millennial crowd: his illustrations are whimsical and full of wonder.

They’re the perfect visual retreat in a digital world filled with loud and overbearing images.

His whimsical personality is also revealed in his Chinese moniker as well. “Oamul” in reverse is “Lumao” which can basically be translated as a “braised cat”.

He certainly loves cats and in particular, foxes, as seen from his series of illustrations featuring Feribo the fox with a carrot for a head.

His gif artwork evokes cinemagraphs or motiongraphs that took the Internet by storm a couple of years ago. He often animates unexpected moments, choosing subtly over obvious movements. Oamul’s 24 Solar Terms series gained famed for the beautiful contrast of stills and movement, set against lush depictions of nature.

Each of Oamul’s illustrations contains a story. By dabbling with different mediums, from 2D illustrations to gifs to even apparel, his creative world becomes even more lively and vibrant.

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