My NEXT Big Thing

…is also my FIRST big thing!  Thank you to author Patricia Newman for including me in this global blog event that promotes the upcoming works for authors/illustrators.  This is especially helpful for a first time illustrator like me.

1) What is the working title of your next book?

I am illustrating a picture book called Summoning the Phoenix: Poetry and Prose about Chinese Musical Instruments written by Emily Jiang.  Release date is later this year.

2) Did you do research for the illustrations in your book?

There was definitely a lot of research required for this book.  Musical instruments are so intricate and the way we play them is so specific.  Luckily for me, there is a local Chinese youth symphony that allowed me to take a peek into one of their practice sessions.  I learned so much that day!

3) What genre does your book fall under?


4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I can’t think of any particular actors since there are so many characters in this book.  However, I just watched Life of Pi and it was such a visually stunning, beautiful movie.  I would love for Ang Lee to direct the movie rendition of the book.  He would definitely add that touch of whimsy and surrealism to bring my illustrations to life.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

An introduction to the sights and sounds of Chinese musical instruments through the use of whimsical poetry (and illustrations!).

6) Who is publishing your book?

Shen’s Books

7) How long did it take you to create the initial sketches for the manuscript?

This project has a very accelerated schedule, which is not the normal case for most publication contracts.  It took about 2 weeks from researching to completing my initial sketches.  And then I started on the final artwork.  In fact I am still busy working on them now.  So I don't have any cool artwork to post just yet.  No complaints from me though…it is not very often that an author or illustrator sees the final product in such a short amount of time.  It’s more exciting than anything else.

8) What about this book appealed to you so you accepted the illustration contract?

As a kid I always chose fictional books over nonfictional ones.  I think it was because I equated nonfiction with stuffy, boring textbooks.  However this manuscript is able to teach the reader about musical instruments in such a fun, unique way that it had me intrigued right from the beginning.  And the text gave me plenty of room to be extremely creative with the illustrations.  How could I say no?

9) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

There are very few picture books about Chinese musical instruments available and yet these instruments have such a rich history and have been around for thousands of years.  Who knows…this book might inspire readers to learn how to play musical instruments…or maybe even join an orchestra…

10) Any next, next big things?

Yes!  I am working on illustrations for another picture book published by Creston Books to be released in 2014.

Also, don’t forget to check out The Next Big Thing blog posts this week from Judy Goldman and Hazel Mitchell.