What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,
Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Soyeon Kim

h1 March 29th, 2019 by jules

“Clouds rain fresh water to quench your thirst.
Your lungs swell with oxygen that plants create.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


I’ve got babies on the mind today over at Kirkus.

That is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about Laura Purdie Salas’s Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons, illustrated by Mercè López. (I featured some art from the book in yesterday’s 7-Imp post, which is here.) I also wrote last week about Elin Kelsey’s You Are Never Alone, illustrated by Soyeon Kim.

Today, Soyeon (pictured below) shares process images and talks about creating the three-dimensional artwork for this book. I thank her for visiting. I’ve also got some final spreads form the book. (You can also see more about the book and the artwork here.)



Soyeon Kim
(Click to enlarge photo)


Soyeon: I started to create diorama art when my family immigrated to Canada. We had a lot of cardboard boxes lying around in our house after the big move. Each box was packed with our personal items and everyday objects that we brought from Korea. As we started to unpack, I thought, why not re-use them to create art? After all, the purpose of a box was to collect, package, and/or present something.

When I started to incorporate a box as part of my main art material, I was really excited with its endless possibilities. A box could hold my feelings and thoughts. The space within a box was private and personal when it was closed, but it was also shareable by opening. Boxes came in different sizes and shapes, which I could also stack and arrange in any ways I wanted to. Creating the world of my own inside a box, I came to diorama art.

Here are my thumbnail sketches [for You Are Never Alone] — brainstorming and quick sketches with idea notes:


Thumbnail sketch of the opening spread
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Thumbnail sketch of the whale spread
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Thumbnail sketch of the urban cityscape spread
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Here are my rough sketches (more detailed, planned sketches before moving to the final art):


Rough sketch of the opening spread
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Rough sketch of the whale spread
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Rough sketch of the urban cityscape spread
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Here are character sketches (character studies, considering ethnicity, clothing styles, etc.):


Character sketches of boys
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Character sketches of girls
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Now to the woodshop and building diorama frames:


Starting with planks of wood …


From planks, pieces are cut into appropriate sizes …
(Click to enlarge)


Gluing frames (top and bottom) …


Gluing frames and columns (diorama skeleton) …


Stretch fabric on top and bottom
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Now to the art studio, where all the drawing, painting, cut-outs, and assembly magic happens!


Starting with rough placements …
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Painting a large piece (whale)


Painting and cutting small pieces


Actual size of the cut-outs in my hand


Rough placement of the cut-outs and painted piece on paper
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Assembly of pieces
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Mock-up photo shoot with different background colours
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Cut-outs and painted pieces (from urban cityscape spread)
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Rough placement on paper
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Mock-up photo shoot
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These are pictures of a photo shoot — from 3D diorama to picture book illustration!



Photographing a scene
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Here’s a video walk-through inside a diorama:



Some Final Spreads from the Book:


” … Nature touches every bite you eat.”
(Click to enlarge spread and read text in its entirety)


“Ocean algae thicken the ice cream you lick. …”
(Click to enlarge spread and read text in its entirety)


“When danger lurks, help comes in wild ways …”
(Click to enlarge spread and read text in its entirety)


(Click to enlarge cover)


* * * * * * *

YOU ARE NEVER ALONE. Text © 2019 Elin Kelsey. Illustrations © 2019 Soyeon Kim and reproduced by permission of the publisher, Owlkids Books, Berkeley, CA. All process images reproduced by permission of Soyeon Kim.

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