Jing Liu

Portrait Jing Liu
© Hartwig Klappert

Liu Jing is a comic artist and entrepreneur from Beijing. He studied industrial design and engineering as well as international economics and trade at the Beijing University of Technology. Since 1997, he has been the managing director of the agency he founded, MOLI Design, which counts the BBC, UNICEF, and the Ford Foundation among its clients.
In the 1990s, Liu began drawing cartoons that offer a glimpse into the cultural features of his homeland and are suitable for readers of all ages. After the successes of the English and French editions, his series »Understanding China Through Comics« will be published in German in 2018. The four volumes in the series condense the 5,000-year-old history of China into informative and effective image sequences. Along with the visual presentation of the changing power dynamics and dynasties, the reader also learns about the manifold achievements of Chinese civilization. In often humorous excursions, inventions such as book printing, gunpowder, compasses, or paper currency are explained and the formation of Confucian, Daoist, and Buddhist schools of thought are illuminated. Supplemented with timelines, diagrams, and maps, Liu’s ambitious endeavor outlines the political, economic, and social developments from their origins up until modern-day China. However, the dramatically condensed series not only focuses on historical figures, but also acknowledges the accomplishments of the Chinese people. The nomadic tribes, for example, who were indispensable to the creation of the Silk Road, are treated as individual faces in the black-and-white panels. Last but not least, the contents illustrate a wide time span of traditions that impact China even today and unite the country despite its enormous size and pluralistic society. With the help of the recommended apps, the electronic version of the books make it possible to learn the correct pronunciation of proper names. To create his clearly outlined summaries, Liu turned to numerous sources, including the writings of China’s first historian, Sima Qian, the research of the professor Lü Simian, »The Art of War« by the philosophical military strategist Sun Tzu, and the Analects of Confucious. Historical paintings also inspired the cartoonist’s work.
The didactic qualities of the carefully simplified historical panorama have been positively received by international teachers and instructors. In 2013, the book series was awarded a bronze medal in the graphic novel category at the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY). Liu is currently splitting his time between Beijing and the city of Davis, California.