Coffee with Kaila EunHye Seo

h1 January 22nd, 2013 by jules

I feel like I’m sort of stuck in the limbo of January. It’s a brand-new year, and I’ve got huge stacks of Spring picture book F&Gs to read (once I get organized), but not yet a lot of new hardback picture book titles. I’m still trying to get a sense of what’s new and what’s coming out. (I’m very excited, I might add, about the upcoming ALA Awards announcements, too. The big Caldecott decision is less than a week away. Have you been following Calling Caldecott? I hope so.)

And all of that is to say that today, instead of looking at a new book or established artist, I’m going to give the spotlight over to an aspiring illustrator, who is joining me for coffee. And maybe her cats are joining us, too. As you can see above, one of them already has dibs on coffee. (The other one is just outta luck.)

Let’s get right to it. Her name is EunHye Seo, and she goes by “Kaila.” She comes to 7-Imp by way of illustrator Kelly Murphy, who was once her instructor and who tells me that Kaila was last year’s SCBWI winter conference student scholarship award-winner. Kaila’s going to tell you about herself and share some art. I thank her for visiting.

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Kaila: Hi. My name is Kaila. I come from Seoul, Korea, and studied English Literature at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.


After a few years of working as an English teacher, I decided to pursue my career in art, which I have always wanted to do. I have loved art since I was a kid and always been passionate about creating art that can communicate both visually and emotionally with audiences. The moment I decided to go to school abroad, I knew I wanted to study illustration and become a professional illustrator. After three valuable years at Rhode Island School of Design with talented peers and great professors, I have chosen my path as a children’s book illustrator.



Most of my work is in black and white and some with limited color palette. Pen and ink, graphite, color pencils, Chinese Ink, and watercolor are my main media for illustrations. I like to have fun with compositions and the use of white space, because I personally find them effective in terms of creating interactions between viewers and imageries. Also, they are helpful in producing poetic pieces with strong moods. As much as I like creating full illustrations, I enjoy spots as well, which I believe suit well my style and technique.





Currently, I am pursuing my career as a freelance illustrator/writer for children’s books and YA and always challenging myself to create strong new work that has my own voice.

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All images are © Kaila EunHye Seo and used with her permission.

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10 comments to “Coffee with Kaila EunHye Seo”

  1. Thanks to EunHye Seo and Jules for sharing these lovely illustrations here today. I love the visuals of the girl reading with the rabbit, of the girl under the lamp post and of the girl on the roof.


  2. Kaila’s work is phenomenal. Calm and serene but with strong emotional undertones. I cannot wait to see more from her! Thanks for featuring her Jules!


  3. Kaila’s work is beautiful and delicate! Each illustration has a great narrative quality that immediately transports the viewer to a new world. Congratulations Kaila! Thank you Jules!


  4. I hadn’t seen Kalia’s work before. It has an interesting eerie quality.

    There were so many books on that list I haven’t even seen. I really loved “I Have a Dream”, though. I’m always looking for a book to share with my preschool classes around this time of year, and it’s one of the most beautifully authentic works I’ve seen.


  5. These are absolutely stunning!! Wishing the best to EunHye Seo–I can’t wait to see the stories she writes around her glorious images.


  6. Beautiful illustrations! Kaila also happens to be highly prolific and I would recommend looking at her other works.


  7. lovely and delicate work. I am especially fond of the final image, it contains a very strange and wonderful story.


  8. Selina, that final image is, I believe, an illustration for The Phantom Tollbooth (strange and wonderful, indeed!). I was going to note this but wondered if anyone would recognize the characters, etc.


  9. Nice to meet you! I like the cats especially, and the red dress, and the Phantom Tollbooth!


  10. [...] illustrators or illustrators new to the field, haven’t I? I guess it’s because, as I noted the other day, it’s still January, and I still have a lot of new F&Gs and picture books [...]


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