Welcome to Saturday Morning Cartoons, a segment where four artists take turns delighting you with their whimsy, facts and punchlines on Saturday mornings! Our esteemed cartoon critters are Cameron Glavin, Anna Bongiovanni, Megan Prazenica and Yao Xiao. Today’s cartoon is by Yao!
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Yao Xiao is a China-born illustrator based in New York City. Yao Xiao creates artwork depicting a poetic visual world where complex concepts and human emotions are examined, amplified, and given physical form.
Her work has helped people all over the globe connect at unique moments, from the celebration of the 20 Year Anniversary of the SXSW Interactive Festival, to the grand release of pop singer Katy Perry's single 'Dark Horse.' She has created deeply emotional and beautiful graphics for editorial print publications, pop music record covers, concert posters and book covers.
Yao Xiao's serialized comic Baopu currently runs monthly on Autostraddle. It is an original comic exploring the nuances in searching for identities, connections and friendships through the fictional life of a young, queer emigrant.
Baopu stands for 'holding simplicity,' a Taoist ideal of wishing to return to a simpler state.
Find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Etsy or her website.
Yao has written 116 articles for us.
“Did the universe ever talk back?” is like a pretty profound question that has got me thinking about a lot before i’ve even had coffee.
Sometimes, in different forms.
These colors are amazing
I have a huge appreciation for this comic, but am not quite sure how to put it into words.
Me too! I keep trying… and then I scroll back up to the comic and nope, it’s simpler and more magical than that. Like it opens a door to some unknowable space that words just can’t reach.
I love the poetry of your cartoons-in the words, colors and drawing.
This is so cute and wonderful and I love the color choices so much.
This is just so beautiful…I feel like I want to write the words from those last three frames and keep it in a safe spot to read whenever life seems to get a little too crazy
This is gorgeous. The colors as well as the text.
Thank you for giving me a moment of reflection!
Beautiful as usual
This is my first time reading Baopu comic and while certainly not comedic, it is really beautiful. I like the artwork and the captions (Is that what you call it in comic strips??) are so poetic. This could easily be a poem. Thank you. <3
It’s a little early in the morning for this but–
What is the sound people make when they feel safe?
My immediate thought was, the sound of crying. Tears of relief, after so much time spent afraid and looking over your shoulder constantly.
Huh, my first thought was a soft sigh.
Guess it depends on how one means safe and from what.
My first thought was also a soft sigh. A soft, contented sigh when you reach your safe place, wherever that may be
I guess the sound of feeling safe means a whole bunch of things. I like that it means different sounds to each of us. There are so many stresses in the world, it makes sense that there may be as many sounds humans make once they feel safe. Beautiful and infinite Bao Pu.
This couldn’t be truer!
I thought perhaps a light chuckle. Or humming, or singing.
a deep sigh followed by steady breathing
interesting how different these sounds are for different people! I think of genuine laughter, I think of sobbing tears, I think of small, soft sighs, and I think of complete, comfortable silence. all in different contexts of course
This cartoon took me out of myself to ask questions that have no answers and feel closer to the universe in doing so. Thank you.
Love the intersection of nature, communication and silence here. The bodies and the spaces between.
Reminds me of a poet, Stacie Cassarino, who I love…
“Colonies of prairie-smoke
and pods turning golden and papery,
the grassy plains iterating patience,
and things I cannot name.
Begin with apples reddening.
Begin with a woman touching
the cities in your feet…”
Thank you, @yaoxiaoart !!!
wow, I love this, thank you!
Oh, oh, oh.
(That was meant to have some italics to better convey my wonder and awe. Your comics are always breathtaking.)
This is everything. Thank you so much for posting it <3
holy shit this is beautiful
thi was a good thing to wake up to.
Oh man. So many thoughts. I feel like the universe often talks back, but it mumbles in a language that’s sometimes difficult to understand.
I wish it would talk to me right now.
I just love the color palette <3
Baopu is always a poignant comic, but this page is exceptionally beautiful. Thank you for making it, and for sharing it.
This is beautiful. I think I’m still waiting for an answer.
I love the quiet poetry of this, thank you.
Yao – There have been times where I have felt so much a part of the world, those times that I did feel safe, at peace, connected. Those moments, I felt safe enough to take a complete deep breath and actually exhale, times that the universe seemed to pause, and the split second silence was explosive…
I love this!
This comic is really profound, but it’s also really calming for me for some reason.
This is beautiful. Do you ever sell copies of your work?
Yao, thank you for making these amazing comics. This one really hit home for me. Please keep doing what you’re doing.
I am somehow both overwhelmed with emotion and calmed by your work, Yao. So much beauty and sadness and joy in five panels. How do you do it?
This comic is very comforting to me. I think the universe always talks back, most of us just don’t stop to listen.
Your comics help me slow down and breathe.
This is beautiful. I love the poetry of it. xx
i love these cartoons and am glad that you introduced them, and that you rotate these very talented and unique artists.
yao’s comics are not as in-your-face (often hilariously) relatable as the others’, but they resonate with me in a way i can’t really put my finger on.
You cartoons are my fav.
This strip always makes me think and its really comforting in a way I don’t know how to describe. Thank you!
i really love this.
Wow, this is gorgeous. I feel like I need to put those last three panels up in my apartment. Thank you for sharing your work with us all!
I always look forwards to the Baopu comics – thank you Yao!
This is absolutely gorgeous – takes a couple of rereads to sink in, but it’s lovely! <3
This is so pretty!
I think the universe always talks back, even if it’s answer is silence.
This is gorgeous in so many ways.
Your illustrations are beautiful!
I like this a lot. Beautiful work.
Damn, reading that was like a tiny meditation.
So simple yet so evocative.
I didn’t expect my heart to ache this much.
This is lovely.
Sometimes… I lay awake in bed at night, wondering if there’s an alien civilization somewhere out there, with danker memes than us.