What's it About?
Drawn in Translation is a personal project where I illustrate the literal and conceptual meanings of Chinese characters. At first glance, the characters don't look like they have an alphabet but they do use radicals, a set of consistent visuals used in multiple characters which can signify the meaning of the whole character.
As a visual communicator, I see Mandarin characters as a sophisticated design language that we can learn so much from. Each character holds not only linguistic but also visual meaning that is deeply ingrained.
思(Sī) is a Chinese character that translates into "to consider/deliberate". The individual simple characters translate to "field (田)" and "heart (心)".
福(Fú) represents fortune and luck. What I found interesting while researching this character is that the left side is a symbol for spirit. I chose to reimagine the traditional god of wealth as femme/gender-ambiguous beings distributing wealth to each other.
愛(Ài) is the Chinese character for love, which is such an enormous concept to try to draw. Breaking down how this character is drawn, the heart (心) is in this word but is protected by other elements.
tiān yǒu bù cè fēng yún，dì yǒu dàn xī huò fú.
Weather is ever-changing and unpredictable, and so are people’s lives. In mandarin, this phrase creates a mirror between the heavens and earth by using the same number of characters to convey both ideas.