Puuung is the pseudonym of an animator and illustrator who focuses on ordinary but sweet moments like lovers watching each other, lying in a flower garden and a boyfriend who lies back down next to his girlfriend after waking up early. She boasts a million followers on Facebook, 650,000 on Instagram and 450,000 on YouTube.

How did you begin painting pictures?

As an innately poor speaker, I’ve loved painting since I was very young. Naturally, I attended a fine arts college but I just devoted myself to painting because I wasn’t exceptional at it. Then I experienced a slump; I wasn’t happy with painting. Having decided to paint just a single picture for myself and no one else, I began to paint lovely spaces, love stories, cats and other things I like. That was the beginning of my “Comfortable and Lovely” series.

What do you paint now?

My series is still being published, and I have books of compiled pictures published in eight countries. My pictures have been uploaded to YouTube and Facebook through the animated work “Love Is.” Aside from these two works, I’ve been working on a project called “Love Is All Around,” in which I paint stories about people for a year. On the first day, I received as many as 2,000 stories sent from all over the world. I’m still receiving stories.

Where do you get your ideas?

I really like to organize a space. I love looking at an organized space. I frequently scrutinize books on architecture at the library. Once a space is organized in a work, I begin making episodes. I imagine what are the characters doing in the space, and then agonize over it. Characters appearing in my work are fictitious. All of them -- with the characteristics of mischievous women, friendly men and lazy cats -- are similar to parts of me.

What are your favorite scenes?

I like scenes of characters sleeping in works. Sleeping with a loved one and hugging look like a scene best befitting the phrase “comfortable and lovely.” What I love most about animation is scenes of eating with a full mouth, and dancing pleasantly. They’re both funny and cute. There is visual fun that can only be expressed through animation.

What is the most memorable feedback you’ve gotten from your fans?

I have a good number of impressive stories like a couple who proposed marriage through my drawings and another who tied the knot in the same manner. One reader, however, stands out in my mind the most. She has sent messages to me for a long time. Her messages have been about preparing for marriage while nourishing love through my works; having opened her cafe where she hung up pictures; getting pregnant after marriage; conducting prenatal education with my book; and recently giving birth. I’m excited that my pictures have been with her for such a long time.

How do you do your work?

I sketch with a pencil and color the sketch digitally. That’s the best work method to express the soft feelings I want most accurately and quickly. Yet, because it takes a lot of time to do the entire process manually and correction is difficult, coloring is done digitally. This work process probably stems from my major being animation. The animation work process that I first learned was exactly like this.

Could people misunderstand something about Puuung?

People often mistake the stories in my works as my reality. The animated film “Love Is” ends with a female character embarking on an overseas business trip, and many people wished me a pleasant journey in the belief that I was going on a business trip. This kind of misunderstanding can occur because I communicate largely through my work. I also don’t have a spacious or fancy house despite what my pictures show. When I worked on “Love Is,” I lived in an old school dormitory. I often fell asleep and listened to the rustle of rats. It’s difficult even to imagine, but rats gnawed at my clothes and articles and snacks would disappear from their packages. Fortunately, I live in a normal house now.

What are your plans?

I plan to create an animated piece on a long-distance relationship, as a special version, along with the series I’m working on now. I learned to take note of the feeling of “yearning” after reading the stories of many people. I focus on stories of those who feel longing and have heartrending situations because they are far away, rather than love stories full of delight and happiness that are only satisfactory. Another planned piece deals with the theme of a long-distance relationship so delicate that even a slight breeze could shake it. I hope to make an impression and provide comfort to many couples through my animation.

by Kim Samuel


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