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Meet Stan Yan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stan Yan.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
My earliest memories of holding a pencil were of me drawing the same carrot-nosed stick figure over and over doing different things in things I later came to realize were panel borders. I was drawing comics before knew that’s what I was doing. So, I realize that comics is my true muse.

I never considered art to be a viable career, so I studied accounting at the University of Colorado in Boulder, but I continued to do comics, drawing strips and editorial comics for the school paper, even doing a Summer internship as an art director at an ad agency in New York City. After graduating, I worked as a stock broker for 13 years, over which time I finished my first three self-published comic books and my first graphic novel and started to find my fan base, traveling to comic book conventions to promote my work.

I was laid off from work twice in three years in 2005 and decided (with my wife’s blessing) to pursue doing this full-time. In the process of trying to figure out how to monetize these conventions better, I stumbled upon doing zombie caricatures (and later My Little Pony-style and other theme caricatures) as a way of supplementing my income, not knowing the zombie craze would make this the main part of my income, cannibalizing all of my book sales in the process.

In 2011, I finally reconciled the two, authoring my first zombie comic book story for BlueWater Productions, “Vincent Price Presents #33”, republishing it with my own artwork in 2015 as “Vincent Price Presents: Zombicatures,” and crowdfunded my first children’s picture book inspired by my son’s fear of my zombie caricature artwork in 2016 called, “There’s a Zombie in the Basement.”

I have more recently been making a living doing caricatures (zombie and traditional) at events like weddings, birthday parties, corporate events and conventions, while I query agents to help me sell my follow-up to “There’s a Zombie in the Basement,” a middle grade graphic novel featuring the zombie girl from my picture book as the main character. You can see more of my work at www.stanyan.me.

Please tell us about your art.
My main areas of art are caricature and graphic novel. Both typically have zombie-related themes because zombies are fun. No matter what I create, there’s a degree of storytelling involved in it, and that’s what I really like to do — tell stories. I work both traditionally and digitally in both arenas and can do live caricature events both ways too: on an easel with sharpie and paper or on my iPad with my Apple Pencil connected to a big booth monitor so everyone can see.

Currently, I’m working on graphic novel projects both traditionally and digitally. “Regret: A Cancer Survivor’s Story” is a story about my best friend’s battle with cancer that I’ve planned out digitally but have been doing the finished pages in ink and watercolor so I can possibly do a traveling pop-up gallery show when the book releases. “Salem Charter Academy,” the middle grade graphic novel I’m working on I’ve been doing completely digitally. Although these two projects are completely different in nature, they both fill my need to connect with readers on an emotional level, whether it is to make them laugh or make them cry (and hopefully to think a little). No matter how far-fetched my stories are, there’s always a basis of reality that inspired the work.

Do you have any advice for other artists? Any lessons you wished you learned earlier?
If art is your true passion, you will make time to do it no matter whether you’re making money doing it, or what is going on in your life. Don’t think you have to make your passion your career, but you need to leave time in your life for your passions so your life will be healthier and more fulfilling. Life is too short for ignoring your passions.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
Currently, I live in Denver Colorado, but most of my mom’s family live in and around Chicago, so I try to do at least one show a year in Chicago. Next year, I’m scheduled to exhibit at Walker Stalker Con at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont April 19-21, 2019. But, my work can be found online.

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Image Credit:
Stan Yan

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