Sophomore artist finds fame among gamers on Twitter

September 17, 2015 — by Kyle Wang

Sophomore Lillian Zeng frequently posts pictures of her own SSBM-related artwork to her Twitter account. Since August, she has garnered a network of followers that includes gamers such as MaNg0 and Hungrybox, two of the greatest SSBM players of all time.

 

Sophomore Lillian Zeng is an ardent follower of Super Smash Brothers Melee (SSBM) gaming. Though she doesn’t compete or play often, she frequently posts pictures of her own SSBM-related artwork to her Twitter account. Since August, she has garnered a network of followers that includes gamers such as MaNg0 and Hungrybox, two of the greatest SSBM players of all time.

“I like doing this because it’s my way of honoring people I have a lot of respect for,” Zeng said. “Many of these gamers are really into game development art.”

She described her first drawing as a “dumb little doodle” of the gamer “HungryBox,” who is regarded by many to be one of the greatest SSBM players of all time. A day later, HungryBox, along with 42 other gamers in the SSBM community, retweeted her drawing.

“It felt pretty surreal,” Zeng said. “It was unbelievable that somebody who I look up to so much showed respect for my artwork.”

On Aug. 24, Zeng tweeted another drawing — this time, a digital piece of the SSBM gamer MaNg0.

First MaNg0 retweeted the picture. Others then followed his lead, since MaNg0 is famous in the SSBM community. Overall reaction from Twitter users was overwhelmingly positive.

“That is amazing,” one user tweeted. The picture was retweeted 99 times and favorited by 482 users.

Zeng was also recently contacted by a friend of the SSBM gamer called “Husband” to draw a picture for Husband’s birthday.  

“There’s a lot of stuff going on,” Zeng said. “Since [the request] was pretty urgent, I only had one weekend to finish the drawing before I had to ship it out.”

Zeng’s artwork, which includes a combination of pencil sketches and Photoshop graphics, has also expanded beyond online drawing commissions. One of her friends in Southern California competes in local SSBM tournaments under the gamertag “SquidKid,” wearing a shirt designed by Zeng.

Zeng hopes to continue playing SSBM.

“I hate how there are no good women players,” Zeng said. “Maybe I’ll start playing more and improve.”

In the meantime, Zeng said she plans to continue creating Smash-related artwork in the future. She will also attend more gaming tournaments and is considering renting out a vendor space at some so she can sell Smash-related memorabilia.

Her ultimate goal, she said, is to earn a sponsorship from a gaming house such as Cloud9, a popular gaming team that sponsors MaNg0. That way, she could make posters for them to sell through their website.

“I’ve been welcomed into such a tight-knit community,” she said. “It’s been really cool.”

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