Luc and I was invited by Sarita Rich, a talented writer/illustrator, receiver of NESCBWI Ann Barrow Scholarship, and a good friend of ours, to join a blog tour of artist/writers this week. We both have been classmates with Sarita at RISD's Children's Book courses.
For her beautiful works, please check out her website at: www.SaritaRich.com
What are we working on now?
Luc and I are in the process of final polishing for possibly our first book together "What's Your Color of Winter?", a imaginative picture book that challenge the young readers to redefine their choice of color for Winter. The book dummies are made in March for submissions, with most of the illustrations completed. Now since we've had a positive feedback from one publisher (Yay!!!), I thought we'd better revise and do the final touch before sending it out.
|Dummy Book Sketch|
|the Colored Dummy Book|
How does my work differ from others in the genre?
Just like we are born to look different, there is no exactly two same personal styles in between artists. Sometimes maybe a bit similar, but more or less their careful audience will discover the subtle variations.
Plus, Luc and myself are Chinese. We never worry about not being different...lol... All jokes aside, there is a different culture that we grew up with hence we have our distinctive ways to perceive this world, and to portray it with our own angles & tools.
Why do I write what I do?
Luc: Honestly I never thought of trying to be a writer for children's book. It all started from a request by my wife Roya. She was hoping that one day she could give illustrations for a story I wrote. I felt thankful that my wife didn't choose "chapter book illustration" instead, as you could imagine how dreadful it must be for a non-native to write anything longer than our home address.
Even though, it requires much more than you think to compose an adequate text for children's picture book. It was late October and I forced myself several days by the desk to write. Something came out but wasn't natural enough. One evening on my way driving home, the brisk air and the warm glow of each windows stroke my inspiration up. After return home, I spent ten minutes writing the first draft of "What's Your Color of Winter?"
It was almost perfect. I showed it to Roya and she loved it immediately, just the response I wanted to be. I know my wife LOVES Christmas, and we both are sensitive about the colors. I am still glad that I could write something that my wife is eager to illustrate.
How does your writing/illustrating process work?
I loved the text immediately when Luc brought it to me. Those words made my mind wander and I became anxious to put them into my illustrations. I made a rough storyboard sketch pretty early ago. By then I was taking Ms. Judith Moffatt's Portfolio class and she asked to have two pieces with unusual viewing angles/perspectives. I couldn't wait to choose two scenes from this story and put them into full color.
I prefer to make a storyboard beforehand no matter what. It is helpful for me to control the pacing. I follow my gut for page layout, so what you see on the storyboard draft will likely be on the final lining. I use charcoal pencil for outlining then scan the image onto computer. I use computer to do the color composition and final illustration. In my personal opinion, this is the most time-consuming part of the whole process, as I debate myself constantly for a better color solution. Usually when I suffer like that, Luc smiles at me, sipping coffee.
We have to give credits to Ms. Cheryl Noll and her class of Making of Book Dummy, and of course my lovely peers in the class, for making this picture book of what it is now. From text to pictures, a surgery had been done by all of us together. Thanks to the continuous brainstorming, critiquing, suggesting & helping by my teacher and my classmates, I could pass those opinions to Luc so that we could perfect it. When the class was done, the book was almost there.
|sketch line by charcoal pencil|