9cm ZooⓇ is the creation of artist Dora Huang from Taiwan. Dora is a young artist who graduated from one of Taiwan’s leading art schools and works full time as a painter and illustrator.
Although Dora paints in a variety of styles, the style of 9cm Zoo is very distinctive and instantly recognizable as uniquely Dora’s. For her 9cm Zoo paintings, Dora uses only watercolor paint, giving her animal characters a bright and dreamlike feel.
Dora explains that the idea for 9cm zoo came to her quite spontaneously one summer afternoon when she was painting by herself in sunlight and gentle breeze. The first character to emerge from her brush was Lionel, the poetry-loving lion. It’s a piece of wordplay, as in Chinese the word for poem (shi) sounds the same as lion (shi). Once he had taken shape, other ideas began to spring up for more animal characters, each with his or her own special quirks, talents, foibles or weaknesses – Hippo Gal with her positive energy and self-confidence, Giraffe with his innocence and naivety, and Puffer the bristling puffer fish who transforms his anger into courage and motivation for life. All the characters are charmingly original and come from Dora’s love of animals and her very personal reactions to watching them. Some are rare and exotic animals which one hardly ever sees as animal characters, such as the Tapir, and Napoleon the uppity frilled lizard.
Though the 9cm zoo characters are painted in a childlike style, they embody feelings and challenges that adults experience in daily life, and Dora paints 9cm Zoo aiming to lift the spirits of adults even more than children. We hope you’ll love her art and animal characters too, and enjoy sharing Dora’s 9cm Zoo journey.