Yesterday I had the great opportunity to go and listen to author and illustrator Jimmy Liao (廖幾米) at one of his appearances in Stockholm this fall . Now, for a storyteller as highly regarded as Jimmy Liao he is almost painfully unknown in Sweden. In his native Taiwan children have grown up loving his books for the last two decades and many of his stories been adapted into animated short films or even motion pictures with actors from Taiwan and mainland China.
So far two of Liao’s books have been published in Swedish — Stjärnenatt (The starry starry night, 星空) and Skogens hemligheter (Secrets in the forest, 森林裡的秘密). I profoundly hope these are just the first of many.
My first contact with Liao’s work was a couple of years back when I was living in Colombia. I went to my favorite bookshop and picked out the most beautiful book on display, La piedra azul (The blue stone, den blå stenen, 蓝石头). It has been sitting proudly on the bookshelf above my bed ever since, one of the most beautiful books I own. Naturally I forgot to bring it go get i signed.
The event was hosted at the library in Hässelby Gård where Liao held a 2 hour presentation including live reading, showing of an animated short film and Q&A. He spoke softly and even a novice like me could vaguely understand him speaking in Chinese even though being previously unfamiliar with the Taiwanese accent. I say vaguely with emphasis, as I am immensely grateful for the Swedish interpretation provided consecutively by Sandra Szu.
Over all, it was a magical experience. The book I bought in Spanish in Colombia is still above my bed, I have now shaken hand with the Taiwanese Author, greeted him and thanked him in Chinese, and all of this in a public library in Stockholm, Sweden. Life in funny like that.
A while ago I went into the Science Fiction Bookshop and saw my book there. Because of its dimensions it was sticking out rather conspicuously from the shelf. I’ve gotten comments about this since and I tend to tell people that that’s all part of my master plan. So…that’s the story I’m going to stick to.
Being somewhat non-sensationalist I forgot to tell my wife about it, and when I mentioned it in passing she ran over and took these nice photos. She’s the best. I know the dedications in (the deluxe edition of) the book lists other names, but yeah, dedications should be made to Sophie. Maybe I could dedicate this blog post to her…or is that stupid?
This year, I had the great joy of participating at the Swedish Book Fair in Gothenburg. On my part, I went as an envoy of sorts for the publishing house I’m working for, Epix, and during my days there I volunteered at the Swedish Comics Association’s fanzine table (Check them out!). Awesome stuff! You totally should’ve been there! Make sure to be next year, or I’ll find you and point at you with an ink-stained finger! Social suicide then and there. My hair’s kinda crazy so much more painless to just go to the book fair. (By clicking here! ^-*)
As a kid I read tons and tons of comics, admiring the pictures and stories. Since then my path has led through more traditional art, through book illustration, and back to comics.
Comics then, are as diverse as a coral reef and anyone suggesting otherwise will have to answer to me. Nevertheless, drawing and coloring like in this image, no matter the motif, feels refreshingly new and exciting to me. So, here goes, excelsior and such!
Concept art is cool. I like doing it. Maybe because it requires the purest form of imagination, to try to capture a character in art that only has a description in text. These images are for a Science fiction graphic novel project I’m working on and are portraits of two of the main protagonists, Dorte (the scientist) and Jakov (the monk).
As you can see Dorte’s appearance has changes somewhat since my first drawing of her to the left, through a photo collage to the image on the right which also captures the proposed style of the graphic novel.
I like this about concept art. It is challenging, and freakishly fun!