Monday, September 28, 2015

Interview with new SCBWI mentee, Kisoo Chai

Kisoo Chai was the recipient of the SCBWI Mentorship Award at the 2015 Summer Conference. Kidlit Artists would like to officially welcome Kisoo to the blog, and ask him a few questions about the Mentorship experience and about what he is up to these days.

Did the feedback you received during the mentorship critiques either change or confirm the 
direction of your illustration?  Are there any specific examples you can share?

As an artist, I am often strict with myself and continuously question my art work; whether my character is unique or appealing enough and whether my techniques or materials are appropriate. During the mentorship critiques, the mentors gave me useful advice that I always consider and they caught my problems. Also, the encouragement of the mentors and the positive feedback I received on my art work, lifted my spirit and gave me more self-confidence. Sometimes I envy other artists' skills who have what I don’t, but this time, I will focus on my strong academic point based on studying Fine Arts at the university and experience of being a drawing teacher.

What kind of projects are you working on now?

 I am currently studying a new character; a familiar person that can be found in my neighborhood, like my son or a kid playing at the playground. I want to talk about happiness with ordinary people’s daily life such as laugh and sorrow, humor and wit, novelty and naughty, impression and beauty. We could likely find joy, happiness, beauty and sadness through the only word ‘Mom’ or ‘Dad’. I‘d love to share people’s various stories through my drawing with children. 

Is there any type of illustration (or other work) that you’re hoping for in the near future?

So far, I have mostly illustrated from classic tales and existed stories but after attending the conference, I was inspired to write a story as well. So recently, I have been working on creating a story and collecting materials for my new project. Also, I’m interested in making a wordless picture book likely motion with dancer, actor of pantomime which can only be expressed with illustration. 

Is there one really helpful piece of advice that you’ve gotten since pursuing illustration?  Any one piece of bad advice?

“Keep trying and completing your own style and don’t hesitate!” was the best advice  from my coworker which always cheers me up. Sometimes, when I doubt all my drawings, ability, creativity and style, my colleagues remind me what I am good at and make sure I don't exhaust myself. And I think there is no one piece of bad advice.

What was one of your favorite quotes or lessons from the SCBWI Summer Conference?  

Every single keynote lecture and workshop was excellent.  This summer conference was the first time attending in the U.S, and it brought fresh memories. Especially when Adam Rex showed the sincere attitude of studying characters and humorous lecture.  After finishing his lecture, I assumed that he must enjoy drawing and I hope to be that kind of illustrator; considering my art as pleasure not to think of drawing is hard working.

What were some of your favorite books when you were a kid?

When I was young, it was not easy to find picture books from other countries. However, after becoming an adult, I found good picture books to share with my children. I love all John Burningham's artwork, such as showing a pencil line naturally. Although it does not seem completed, this style seems to allow children to be more creative and use their imaginations. The pencil lines can be humorous and inspire readers, like myself.  Another favorite artist of mine is Brian Wildsmith. I cannot talk about anything other than the magnificently colorful picture book of Brian Wildsmith. I also like the warm- hearted story, ‘Owl Moon’ by John Schoenherr, where he discusses about ‘Nature and Human', which is a theme I always want to share with children.

Where can we find you online?

You can find me at these locations: 
My online portfolio:

Thanks Kisoo!

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