(ECNS) -- In real life, the popular cartoonist behind an Internet meme about friendship in China is a low-profile young man who dropped out of university and prefers to stay at home and draw.
Nandongni's cartoon series The Friendship Boat Capsizes Easily, posted on China's Twitter-like microblog Sina Weibo on April 2, was forwarded more than 78,000 times as its witty words and cute sketches of penguins struck a chord with the online community.
The author also started a writing contest centered on the concept, which picked up followers across a broad range of occupations including media professionals and designers.
A book of cartoons the author published last year received barely any attention and only became popular this month. His Friendship Boat meme, magnified by cyber celebrities and used on multiple channels, drew more than 16 million views, Chengdu Economic Daily reported.
Now in his early thirties, the author was born in Linyi city of Shandong Province. While studying at university, he read the books of Taiwan-based cartoonist Jimmy and decided to set off on his own path towards creating cartoons.
"When I began to learn drawing cartoons myself, I studied some art works," he said. "Inspired by these masterpieces, I also hoped to create beautiful things and make others feel good."
After dropping out of school, he worked at drawing comics for a company in Beijing. Every day, he practiced drawing people, the things around him and subjects from his favorite stories.
"When I really started to write, I felt a rush of enthusiasm and excitement," he added.