Always Shining Sun

What brings you joy in life? It sounds like a simple question, but it’s one that many people fail to stop and ask themselves. Yinde, a Thai illustrator of sun-drenched, candy-colored drawings, one day felt himself forced to face this question. “For two whole years after COVID started, I hardly went outside or traveled. I felt burnt out,” he reflects. To recover what was missing in his life, he created the Little Cherry character that now populates all of his work. “I’m a playful person who generally likes to have fun and is optimistic, so I wanted this character to take the place of what I’d become.”

Little Cherry is a bubbly and bright, saccharine tween girl who plays blissfully under bright blue skies and billowing white clouds. She skips and jumps along verdant green grass and cheerful flowers while snacking on sweets or enjoying some tunes. Sometimes she actively battles negativity, bringing her sunny world into a dreary commute or covering over graffiti that dwells on homework and deadlines.

The character was a backlash against a stripped down style that Yinde, whose real name is Sarawut Yaidee, had settled on to communicate ideas efficiently. “I like ideas or messages that are easy to understand, more than realistic work that emphasizes skills of the artist,” he says. Ruthlessly cutting out unnecessary details makes it easier to make a point, but something was missing from his work. “I wasn’t having fun anymore. I was craving the joy of adding small details to things. Currently, I’m focused on making myself happy.”

Yinde still has a soft spot for minimalistic work, but he’s trying to build on the concept in a way he enjoys. The Little Cherry series is like a middle ground between efficiently speaking to an audience and enjoying his artwork. Already his style has shifted, and Cherry has taken on a new style with white hair and fresh outfits, traversing broader terrains and trying out new activities. Whenever Yinde sees something in real life that looks fun, he adds it to his work in a manner that’s accessible. They’re quick bites, like a meme.

In his bio, Yinde calls his work gluten-free and plant-based. “It’s a metaphor to describe how my work is accessible to everyone and environmentally friendly,” he laughs. The main point that Yinde wants to spread is that viewers should banish their depression and focus on happiness. “Little Cherry helped me recover my passion for creating happy things, and I hope she can help others feel better, too.”