Taiwanese illustrator BLUE, also a full-time single father, transforms his parenting journey into a series of artworks. On his personal page “BLUE流,” he portrays the amusing moments shared with his son through illustrations. The daily interactions between them become BLUE’s creative inspiration. These images, imbued with the deep bond between father and son, resonate strongly with online audiences. One of his posts, which was shared to Facebook in Spain, garnered an astounding 370,000 shares within six months. His works on Facebook have been shared over 3 million times, touching the hearts of millions worldwide. He even held a solo exhibition in Hokkaido, Japan, and was interviewed by renowned American media outlet HuffPost.
In an interview with《The Icons》, BLUE shared his unexpected journey of becoming a parent-child illustrator. Since becoming a father, he has become increasingly concerned about education and climate change issues.
Just Seeking Sympathy Initially
For BLUE, drawing is not only a passion but also a means to convey ideas to others. Initially, his creations often focused on women due to youthful curiosity. As he grew older, he delved into societal issues, creating editorial cartoons for major newspapers. After his son was born, he became a full-time dad. The first year was hectic, leaving little time for creativity. However, when his child turned 2, BLUE picked up the brush again, using the parenting experience as his main theme. Now, at 9 years old, his son has inspired over 500 parent-child illustrations capturing their everyday interactions, whether joyful or challenging.
“He once brought a snack from kindergarten and told me mysteriously, ‘Dad, you have to taste this, it’s the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten!’ I thought, ‘What kind of snack have I not tasted?’ When he brought it out, it was just an ordinary snack. But, I was deeply moved as I ate it,” BLUE shared, displaying an illustration of his son handing him a corn cob.
BLUE’s son had just celebrated his 9th birthday at the time of the interview. In the illustration, the child was surrounded by friends, getting ready to blow out 9 candles. “Birthdays are quite busy – you have to invite classmates, prepare food, and take care of the kids. But every time I see a child blowing out candles, it always tugs at my heartstrings. It’s a moment that signifies him growing one more year older.”
Reading Over 1000 Books to Prepare for Parenting
BLUE’s work also reflects his worries about his son. “I worry about his future, his health, and the fact that he absorbs everything like a sponge. A casual remark might influence his thoughts significantly or affect his choices,” BLUE admitted. Despite reading over a thousand books, he found himself increasingly uncertain at times.
“For instance, regarding money,” BLUE mentions his attempt to instill financial literacy. “I thought about giving him pocket money for contributing to household chores and teaching him to manage it himself.” However, BLUE read conflicting psychology theories, “If contributions to the family are rewarded with money, it changes the motivation, and I was at a loss about what to do. So, in the end, I didn’t implement it.”
“I grew up in a traditional family, where children were expected to be listening rather than questioning. It made me a bit timid. I want him to be more confident, find a sense of accomplishment in what he loves,” he added.
Speaking of his expectations for his son, BLUE touched on the conflict between parenting and personal desires. “I hope he can be true to himself, but I also want him to be well-behaved. People should continuously try new things, but I also need peace and quiet. Sometimes when he jumps around on the sofa, I tell him to stop, and that might suppress him,” BLUE confessed.
In the struggle between raising his son and fulfilling personal needs, BLUE fears he might be hindering his child’s development. He highlighted the challenges of parenting: “Being a parent means not being able to go out, not even to 7-11, once the child is asleep. The mental and economic pressures, the stress of care and discipline, all accumulate,” BLUE said, echoing the sentiments of parents everywhere.
However, BLUE firmly stated that his parenting series will continue.
BLUE: Values and Attitudes are Most Important in Education
BLUE believes that the most important education for children is to instill good values and attitudes. He stated, “Knowledge is essential, but it’s readily available on the internet. There’s no need to memorize the height of Jade Mountain or Taipei 101. However, one should avoid becoming ignorant, thinking they know everything just because they can find information online. With strong foundational values, acquiring knowledge becomes easier.”
He then discussed the challenges children will face in the future, especially regarding AI. He acknowledged that AI might replace many jobs, and skills learned today could become obsolete in 5 to 10 years. Despite the impact of technological advancements, BLUE remains optimistic. He said, “How children will face AI in the future might not be a problem for them; it will be something natural. So, the impact won’t be as significant as it is for us.”
Looking ahead, BLUE expressed concerns about the impact of climate change. He worries about leaving a habitable Earth for his son and actively educates him about environmental conservation, recycling, and climate change issues. He emphasized the importance of early awareness and mentioned the upcoming COP28 at the end of November, where leaders from various countries will gather to discuss actions to address climate change. BLUE also urges all parents to pay attention to this annual climate event.
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