Making an impression

By Wang Qian | China Daily | Updated: 2021-03-22 08:00
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With the cat's help, a lion shows up.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Award-winning illustrator taps into traditional Chinese printing techniques to attract the attention of readers, Wang Qian reports.

Inspired by a Qinghai province folk tale, A Manul Who Wants Everything tells the story of a Pallas's cat on a quest to change the gray world in which it lives.

Applying woodblock printing, an ancient art form that originated in China, illustrator Heimi (Huang Bingchun) hand-carved every block to produce the images and text in the picture book, giving it a nostalgically rustic and traditional aesthetic.

In late February, the book was named as the winner of the Purple Island award at the 5th Nami Concours, a biennial international picture book illustration competition which, this year, attracted 2,069 artists from 95 countries and regions. The event aims to provide a platform for children's book illustrators around the world to showcase their talents to a global audience. Illustrations of the shortlisted candidates will be exhibited during the 2021 Nami Island International Children's Book Festival and included in the catalog.

Heimi says the award is "a great honor and recognition" and will motivate her in the advancement of her career as an illustrator.

Although not the first to do it, A Manul Who Wants Everything explores the expressive possibilities of woodblock printing in picture books.

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