Self-Quarantine in Beijing: Episode 1, Turning In

Society & Culture

I’ve been illustrating this “Self-Quarantine in Beijing” series since the beginning of last month. These drawings have helped me put up with an otherwise strikingly boring routine. This is the first of a series of episodes about life in China during the coronavirus outbreak.


Hi, I’m Donal. Just Donal.

Nǐ hǎo, wǒ jiào dà ná

Self-quarantine can be tough on the nerves. But one can always turn to dreams:


Crane soaring over Chinese Landscape

No one knows where this epidemic is leading, whether it’ll become a global pandemic, or when daily life will return to normal.





But self-quarantine is an opportunity to explore one’s creativity.

I went to Sanlitun Dirty Bar Street, which no longer exists, then to the Temple of Heaven, where the trees smiled at me. I flew to Sichuan to see the Sleeping Buddha, then biked back to Beijing along a moonlit path:


The power of imagination

I reshaped my room. Now in order to get to the kitchen I need to pass by a chain of mountains, cross a bridge, and dodge Pac-Man. But I am quite surprised when, at the end of the day, my phone screen shows I’ve only made 283 steps:


283 steps

It can get lonely at times, like during Valentine’s Day.


When “self-care” is taken too far

And at times, thought itself is a disease:



Thoughts can turn nasty, especially when they’re given space to fester. We have to do our best to stay vigilant against the darker forces inside our minds.


Thought Bat-tle

We have to try our best, which includes keeping perspective and a sense of humor.


Am I too Yin?

Many of the thermal guns used in malls, restaurants, etc. don’t seem to properly register our temperatures.

Has self-quarantine for a month turned me into a cold-blooded creature?

Self-Quarantine in Beijing is a series of illustrations by Donal Turner. Episode 2 is here:

Self-Quarantine in Beijing: Episode 2, Noticing