7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #563:
Featuring Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Yinfan Huang

h1 December 3rd, 2017 by jules



 

It’s a pleasure to have illustrator Yinfan Huang visiting today on the first Sunday of the month, when I tend to feature debut illustrators or those who have just graduated from illustration programs. Yinfan was born and raised in China but now lives and works in the U.S.

I am going to hand 7-Imp over to her briefly, because she talks below about her inspirations, work, and much more. Best of all, she shares some art.

I thank her for visiting.



 

Yinfan: My name is Yinfan Huang, and I’m a Chinese illustrator, based in New York. I’ve been living and working in the U.S. by myself for six years now. (Next year will mark my seventh year — eeek!) I really enjoy the freedom to be who I am here in the U.S., especially in New York City. I’m inspired by big cities, happy beats, and bright colors.

I wanted to become an artist, starting at age five. I have a drawing from then to prove this. (The title in Chinese reads: “When I Grow Up.”)

 



 

And I created my first picture book dummy when I was seven years old. It’s called “The Adventure Of A Kitty Cat.” It was a hilarious story about a lazy kitty who tries to grow fishes out of a tree. (I think I’ve always had a unique sense of humor.) I also had a strong sense of perspective and colors in my drawings when I was little. Even now, I still try to keep a child’s perspective and imagination in my work.

 



 

I am deeply committed to my vocation as an illustrator. So much so that I left China to pursue my passion in the United States, where I felt I would receive a quality education in my chosen field. Additionally, I knew that living in the States, and especially in New York, would give me access to one of the best developed illustration markets in the world. This has been a great decision for my life and my career. Not only have I been able to thrive here in my field, but I’ve also been deeply inspired by the energy of New York City.

 



 

I create all my illustrations by hand, primarily in colored pencils combined with some gouache and watercolor. I really enjoy working with my hands. I believe hand-drawn art is timeless and has a magical power to touch people’s hearts and souls in this fast-paced digital world. Some children’s illustrators I really admire are Christian Robinson, Carson Ellis, Julie Morstad, Isabelle Arsenault, and Laura Carlin.

Aside from doing illustrations, I like to make functional and artistic ceramics and sell them at craft fairs and online. I have a side business, In Fun Handmade, dedicated to that. I also create comic strips, inspired by my life living in New York City and my tuxedo cat, Sesame.

 


(Click here to see more of Yinfan’s comics)


 

After graduating from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2014, I started out by doing editorial illustrations for adult and children’s magazines. I’ve been very fortunate to meet some great art directors, who gave me lots of freedom and let me experiment with my work. Being an editorial illustrator has trained me to work fast under tight deadlines, which I find very helpful. But deep down in my heart I know children’s books are my true love.

 


Illustration for an article in PLANADVISER, May/June 2017


 


Illustration for an article in Plansponsor Magazine, 2016


 

Last year, I illustrated my first children’s book, Stories of My Dad [see art here], a novel by Chinese author Sifan Mei, based on her personal stories growing up with her dad (who is a renowned children’s writer in China). When I got the manuscript from the Chinese publisher, I felt an instant connection with the stories. I teared up when I read the chapter where Sifan’s dad sent her off to study in France. It was so relatable. The book has been released in only China thus far.

 



 

Earlier this year, the second children’s book I illustrated, a translated version of Helen Peters’ UK middle-grade novel The Secret Hen House Theatre [see art here], was released in China as well. I had lots of fun reading this story of a brave and passionate little girl, Hannah, and how she saved her family farm using her creativity. In many ways, I related to her. I truly enjoyed working on the book.

 






(Click images of interior art to enlarge each one)


 

I don’t get to visit China often, because of visas and all the hustle involved in international travel. My parents come to visit me sometimes — but not often (for the same reason). It didn’t bother me before, but I’m starting to miss China more and more. It’s hard to be apart from your own country and culture, especially one which roots deeply in you. I have many Chinese friends here in New York and I could get Chinese food easily, but it’s just different. I very much miss reading physical Chinese books. Working with clients and books from China has helped me connect with my culture and ease my homesickness.

 




 

Right now I’m illustrating my debut picture book, which I’m super excited about. This time it will be able to reach American audiences. One day, I hope to be an author-illustrator and write stories that are important to me and to create timeless, authentic picture books that will inspire and impact both children and adults. For now, I’m very happy to be an illustrator and tell stories through my visual language.

 




 

All images used by permission of Yinfan Huang.

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

I’m not gonna lie. The news has got me down, particularly the Senate and their tax bill vote. I’m trying not to feel hopeless about our country. But I can’t just give up here this week. I’m gonna do my best to find kicks, and I hope you’ll join me.

1) Beautiful new holiday music from Lowland Hum, pictured left.

2) “We will never be separated. WE ARE A FAMILY.” My daughters’ friend at their weekly D&D gathering when someone mentioned that the group might get so big, they’d maybe have to break into smaller ones.

3) Have I mentioned I really like my daughters’ friends?

4) Yinfan’s visit here.

5) Being reminded not to feel hopeless but to get angry and fight back. (Contact your representatives, please!)

6) Watching Elf with the girls. Again. It’s one holiday movie that doesn’t get old to me. (“It’s existential, yet it’s so accessible.” I’m totally gonna put that in a picture book review one day.)

7) Best of all, Blaine’s back after being away a whole week for a work training.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

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8 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #563:
Featuring Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Yinfan Huang”

  1. Good morning, Imps! Or evening, as it were: I’m catching this on the other side of the timeline. I dropped by Seven Imp to tell Jules something and saw that it was kick time so I’m jumping in early. 🙂

    Hello, Yinfan Huang! Three cheers for The Adventure Of A Kitty Cat 🙂 and the rain and the wheels and the birds and the fishes. Best of luck with your forthcoming debut!

    Jules: Welcome home, Blaine! The quote in your second kick is pretty phenomenal. Give that kid a high-five!

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Opportunity
    2) Being heard
    3) Happiness
    4) Song
    5) Confidence
    6) Ideas
    7) There


  2. Little Willow, I will, indeed, high-five that girl. Maybe even a fist-bump too.

    I like that last kick, whose meaning is multi-faceted, but I’d like to think it’s an appreciation for a kind of mindfulness. Which I also imagine you’re very good at.


  3. Jules: Mindfulness is sometimes effortless and easy, other times easily overlooked.


  4. Thank you for sharing your art and your story, Yinfan. I really love that illustration you made when you were younger. Being able to make a childhood dream come true is a very special kind of magic.

    Jules – I am right there with you on what a bummer this week has been. Your daughter’s friends sound awesome. Glad Blaine is back at home, and yay for Elf.

    LW – Opportunity, Happiness, Songs and Confidence are rocking kicks.

    My little kicks thie week:
    1) What reading between the lines of plea petitions and negotiated deals tells us.
    2) Girls Trip, and especially Tiffany Haddish.
    3) Getting HH cocktails with a friend after a work conference & sharing funny stories – I am lucky to know such smart, witty, strong women.
    4) A day of with lots of driving for work, which allowed me to sing loudly in the car to some happiness-inducing songs.
    5) Gave Daisy a bath – she is miffed, but she smells really good and will get over it as soon as she gets a treat.
    6) The playlist of songs from Stranger Things 2 – great for impromptu dancing while cleaning.
    7) Going to Standup for Pits tonight. Excited to hang out with a friend while supporting a cause that will help local rescues, and to meet Sally and Todd – two cute pitbull rescues who I follow on Instagram and who will be there tonight.
    7.5) Music and memory – Jules, when you shared that book about Nina Simone earlier this week it jogged that wonderful memory for me and I hadn’t thought about it in years, so thank you. I am always amazed at the way music can move us so deeply.

    Have a great week Imps – I hope you all get to hear some music this week that lifts you up and makes you smile!


  5. Rachel, I’m so glad that the book brought up a happy memory for you. That rocks. As for your first kick, I thought of you often this week when I heard legal news about our president, and I wished you were my neighbor I could grill with questions about what it really means. Also, hug Daisy for me!

    I hope you both have a good week!


  6. I would love to be your neighbor!

    What you should take from that plea deal is that good things are coming. Cooperation agreements and negotiated deals for lesser charges are all about getting the bigger fish – Mueller wants the bigger fish.


  7. sorry I missed the kicks, but wanted to say that this art is so charming. And Yinfan has such a lovely voice that comes through in what you’ve shared. Looking forward to books very soon.


  8. Rachel: Yay! (For some reason, it says “Jules” at your comment, but I know it’s you.)

    Hi, Allison!


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