The Bug's Book

Recipient of an award in Germany for the 'Best Book Design From All Over the World', The Bugs' Book beat almost 600 books from 32 countries and regions.

Over five years, the artist recorded the traces left by one hundred species of bugs. Thousands of twisted shapes and forms can be viewed as the bugs' language, formed by the delicate ink tracks the bugs leave on the page. The Bugs Book showcases only the bugs' 'work' from the very first page. There is no human writing in the book, even the page numbers are created by the tiny beings. 

“Books written by humans also contain catalogues, prefaces, and annotations. Making a book on behalf of bugs, I hope to have a sense of ritual and to complete the book on an equal footing with them,” says Zhu Yingchun. He explains that he completed every detail of this book “with great respect,” because during the production process he took on “the role of the bug.”

Each bug’s painting method is different; its tools are different, too. The caterpillar relies on its belly to draw, but in some parts it used the steps of its six feet and the beating of its wings as a moth to generate work. The pine caterpillar uses its body hair to create different textures, as the traces left behind when it walks on paper are also very different. 

Zhu Yingchun explains, “These calligraphies are like the bugs; the bugs are like people.”

After observing the bugs for a long time, Mr Zhu is able to sum up the diverse temperaments of different bugs: “Ants are busy every day—with war, family, friendship—and they love to show their strength; they even dare to bite the centipede no matter how big and strong it might be. Snails are slow, soft, and weak and they settle on whatever they encounter and will hide in their shells when hurt. The spiders need to weave; they are good at being patient and showing endurance. In the end, you will find that they are quite similar to human beings.”

“A book like this is necessary to show people the magic of bugs. The bugs may seem insignificant, yet their strokes are beautiful,” says Zhu Yingchun. Art is not just the works hanging on walls and pieces placed in exhibition halls. Everything in the world, including all life in nature, has the power to create beauty, and “art is all around us.”

Zhu Yingchun is a famous book designer from China. He is director of Nanjing Normal University Research Center of Book Culture, and director of the Jiangsu Province Publishers Associatin of Design and Binding Arts Committee. Among his awards and credentials, Mr Zhu is the recipient of the Outstanding Editor Award in the Chinese Government Awards for Publishing.


Mr Zhu spoke about his book at a special presentation at the Frankfurt Book Fair last Thursday, which had a fantastic turnout! Take a look at some pictures of his amazing stand:



He was also printing images for people who visited him which were great, take a look: