From her vast amount of projects and illustrations, we asked EorG to pick five illustrations or projects and tell you the stories behind each of them.
To start, it was hard for me to choose 5 favorites from over a decade creating artworks as a children’s book illustrator. Along the way, I develop several styles from simple vectors in Little Lily’s Big Adventure series, to digital painting up until now. A variety of illustration styles were used to suit the story or content. But some styles sometimes got stuck for a long time, no matter what story I’m doing. It’s either I am loving the style or the time is not enough for me to develop and explore a specific style for the story.
So here are the 5 random illustrations.
First off, the JOB.
I did this as a challenge for Kelir Monthly’s theme “Interpreting favorite work(s) from a favorite artist”. My favorite artists are the elegant Art Nouveau, Alphonse Mucha (as a friend once said, who doesn’t?), and the whimsical colorful children’s illustration, Mary Blair. As the medium of the mashups (pardon the term), I choose one of the most renowned of Mucha’s works, the “JOB” cigarette paper. And as a leveler from children's illustration, I choose Mary Blair’s golden book’s signature style. Of course, I have to switch the cigarette to something. And as an illustrator whose work dwells in the digital medium, I replace the cigarette with a digital pen. And thus, it became my interpretation of “The Illustrator’s JOB”. Till recently, I added the second edition of the JOB with the same theme.
The second artwork was the work from a project that started something quite big in my past. And while I was working on this particular page, I got a special memory that involves all the effort of being a freelance children’s book illustrator being recognized in the family. It was something to have such recognition, at least once. I know most people would say “Don’t look back”, but until now, I’m still proud of the hard work I’ve put into this project.
The third artwork is a bit delicate. One day, I got an offer to do a story with a religious background, specifically Muslim, which I have never done before. Sure, I’ve done a general Christmas story, but not this religious-based yet. In this story, there’s a princess character who was possessive of her late mother’s treasures. To mix things up (which I usually do), Since this was a fantasy and have no historical element, I came up with an idea for the princess and the whole story to not be originated from the usual Middle Eastern, but from oriental, or specifically Chinese origin. I knew there is at least one Muslim ethnicity in China from a movie series I watch way back when. And feeling sure about the development of the character and style in my head, I proposed the idea to the writer and the editor. Fortunately, both liked the idea and I got the chance to proceed with the illustrations. I still consider this project as one of the triumphs even though it was a bit shined off later in the anthology because of some problems.
Fourth artwork, another delicate illustration coming from my favorite literature writer. At first, I did not recognize the specific Muslim background in the story since I haven’t read any story in the Holy book myself. I thought this was just another historical religious story. After I sent the colored illustration, I was told by the kind editor to revise and lose the main focus of the illustration, since it was Prophet Muhammad that should not be drawn. Still, I like the unrevised version of the illustration. Note: please consider this as just another historical story version when you are looking at it.
The fifth one is the recent artwork I did in 2019. It was interesting to find out why I came about doing this story. In the series of projects for this client, I was the art editor and designer, overseeing the works done by illustrators. But...!
Why I didn’t know why, in an odd situation, the illustrator who was originally appointed to do this story was… MIA, aka. missing, not contactable, suddenly with no obvious reason (dear illustrators, please never do this as a professional). As an illustrator myself, looking at the big picture of the projects, I cannot deny that I have been trying to get myself on board as an illustrator since the series started. According to the rule book, I was not allowed to illustrate as an art editor. But the opportunity did come from an unfortunate situation and snuggly showed up in a very hectic schedule, as it was also proposed spontaneously by the team manager herself. After juggling a ton of other works, shifting the position of the art editor for just this story, I finally agreed to take on the work and found myself enjoying the rushed and stressful process that came along after. Well, actually… I thought of that after I finished the project and saw the relieving and satisfying outcome.
So, there you go. The 5 random artworks with some interesting behind the scene story.
Ps: This is Little Lily, the one that started it all.