“The Little Red Boy”
Wu Jianhui used to work as a programmer for a communication company, and his work was mainly maintaining the charging system. However, he found his work boring and uncreative, so he just quitted. Since then, he’s worked on startups projects in various areas, including anti-alcoholic drugs, oil expellers… Although his efforts ended up nothing, he did manage to keep his habit of drawing. There was a time when he had to struggle to make a living, yet he regained confidence to some degree when he championed in an entertainment show called “Millionaire Nerd” and won RMB 1 million as reward.
Mr. Wu now had to bear two kinds of pressure: turning his cartoons into real-life videos and develop sideline products, as well as finding the right wife to marry. The protagonist of his cartoon is a “little red boy”, and the inspiration of his drawings is from the Tomba script of the Naxi people. For the past nine years, he’s drawn 3,000 pieces of manuscripts and has been writing a playwright. It is his greatest wish to develop an IP as popular as Hello Kitty with his manuscripts.
Before the 2016 Spring Festival, several businessmen on a tour to Beijing to learn lessons from innovation incubators invited Mr. Wu to introduce to them how to run a coffee bar. He’s no stranger to this area of Beijing, since he’s been around here for five years. He’s nicknamed as “the little painter” because he used to carry around his sketch books and draw pictures in coffee bars. After winning RMB 1 million in the entertainment show “Millionaire Nerd”, people will come to the coffee bar to borrow money from him from time to time or to pitch him. Some of them just brought the money and disappeared even before they started their startups, others returned the money in time after surviving the hardest time. “There was a guy who returned the money just after I arrived in the coffee bar, while I even have forgot when I lent the money to him,” he told me.
It was April, 15th, 2016, and just a few days after he travelled from Yun’nan province back to Inno-Way, Beijing. With the wide spread of the short video clips in China, he was eager to find someone and together turn his cartoons into real-life videos, or even develop some sideline products. He thought himself similar to “the little red boy” in his cartoon and wanted to act as “the little red boy”.
Shortly after he went back to Beijing, he saw someone recruiting a short video team. To accumulate experiences, he decided to join the team and volunteered as the protagonist in the short video series in which a guy wrongly swallowed a light bulb. Mr. Wu had zero experience in acting, so he found it hard to get into the groove and got really anxious. “I am stressed, fearing that my acting is not lifelike enough and that I failed to enter to my role,” said he.
After the audition, he found a place to resume drawing. Mr. Wu has been painting this picture about Hui’an women for half a year. “Few people are drawing on such subjects, and I’d like to find some partners to promote ethnic culture together when I almost finished the painting,” he revealed.
It was April, 17th. Mr. Wu was asking guests questions on an Internet salon. He was fond of such kind of activities, and never felt tired about such things. “These activities kept me informed of the new trends in different industries, so that I can learn a little bit ahead of time,” he explained.
At the salon, he met a girl who was sending her business cards and asked for one to get to know her. He went to attend “You Are the One” once three years ago, and acted poorly. He not only failed to take any girl with him, but also was teased as “nerd” by all the female guests. The view times of his short period of program hit over 10 million. “I went so blank at that time. There were so many lights and questions for me, so I didn’t think much before answering them,” he recalled. Anyhow, Mr. Wu treated the program as a way to get more publicity for his paintings.
After then, he did have a girlfriend, but broke up with her after finding that she’s so unmotivated and kept asking money from him. Right now, he’s mostly focused on his cartoon series. “These 3,000 pieces of manuscripts demonstrate all these years of sweats,” he would say.
He would wear a costume of his “little red boy” every time he went to public events or exhibitions. He loved introducing to others his paintings and asking for opportunities to cooperate. “Taiwanese cartoonist Jimmy rose to fame when the Internet was still ill-developed, so I must have an opportunity to become famous too when the Internet has become so widespread and developed now,” he said confidently.
Mr. Wu was introducing his paintings to the guests. His paintings, with strong elements from Yun’nan local painting, won many people’s interests. “I have been polishing my manuscripts recently, and I am planning to turn my cartoons into videos, so that many more people will get to know me,” he told me at last.
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[The article is published and edited with authorization from the author @fliesslaughterhouse, please note source and hyperlink when reproduce.]
Translated by Levin Feng (Senior Translator at PAGE TO PAGE), working for TMTpost.