WILD PEACE was inspired by a poem: "The Peace of Wild Things" by Wendell Berry, and the text is a long poem that celebrates peace, and explores what wild animals can teach us about peace.
To celebrate the cover reveal (below! keep reading!), I invited Il Sung to respond to a few prompts, specifically about WILD PEACE.
But before we get to that, I have to share something else about Il Sung: when I contact him with my request to purchase a piece of the original art, Il Sung let me know that the work was created digitally, so there was no original art, per say. Instead he offered to send me a print of my requested spread... which was the "rabbit" spread, since we call our home the Happy Rabbit Hideaway! Only I didn't tell Il Sung that. So imagine my surprise and delight when along with the rabbit spread, he included a small original piece... of a RABBIT!! Oh, the serendipity! And the kindness of one Il Sung Na. Thank you thank you thank you!
|what I got in the mail!|
And now, please join me in welcoming Il Sung to Live Your Poem!
IL: What was the delicious/best/most enjoyable thing about working on WILD PEACE?
ISN: My all time favorite thing about working on this book and other books is always coloring. When I do colors, I don’t have to worry about composition and layout anymore but just enjoying.
Sometimes it takes a while to find the right colors to convey the mood, sometimes it comes once.
I typically have some color palettes in mind but it can change as I adding colors.
|working on endpaper|
IL: What was the most difficult thing about working on WILD PEACE?
ISN: The most difficult part was thumbnail sketches, the first idea sketches for the story. When I first got the manuscript and read it multiple times, I had two different ideas for images. The first idea was the girl finds a butterfly and follows, and steps into a wall where she drew some greens. Then all her journey starts in her imagination.
|very first thumbnail sketches that the girl |
goes through a wall using the gutter
The second idea was more literal. The girl begins her journey away from all noises that other kids make by simply walk out to a door.
This first one's more imaginative, and I wasn’t sure whether the publisher would agree with this concept. But luckily they did!
|final color spread|
I wanted to bring the girl back to the real world somehow and it was a challenge for me to figure out. As I used a butterfly (red) to lead her to a forest, I used a fox (red) to be the one who guides her to come back home. I tried to show a fox stuffed toy as well as a fox drawing on her sketchpad in the beginning of the story, so all visual story connects seamlessly.
My favorite spread is the one which all three visual elements, the girl, a butterfly and a fox, meet in one place. [below]
|Il Sung's favorite spread!|
IL: What was something unexpected/fresh (or something that you learned) while working on WILD PEACE?
ISN: It is the story itself. Every project/book I have worked on brings new/unexpected/fresh learning.
There are always struggles and Eureka moments. Understanding the main character’s emotions and finding visual flows is a part of struggles. Each book has a different approach and different struggles.
This book was no different. It was a new challenge from the time I received the manuscript. I wanted to understand this girl’s emotion and how it changes throughout the story. I wanted to capture the moment to convey the right mood. But also I wanted to find the right visual language to show it.
I typically do cover sketches in the end after all inside spreads are done—because I want to know and understand the story more before I work on cover ideas.
|cover sketch ideas|
|revised cover sketch|
... and drumroll please...... here's the final cover image:
Aside from Irene: Isn't it dreamy?!!
IL: Where do you find peace?
ISN: There are a few things I do.
ONE: I find peace while I drink a GOOD hot chocolate or eat GOOD dark chocolate. I have found one place in London where they make REAL hot chocolate. Back when I lived there. I used to visit quite often. (It is a loooooong time ago already!)
TWO: Being alone in my studio and not working on any books but just doodling. This makes me feel calm and forget about other things.
THREE: Short walk with my wife and Pippi (a little dog, 2yrs old).
IL: Thank you, Il Sung! And thank you, readers, for celebrating WILD PEACE with us.
|Pippi says, "Goodbye! Hope your |
day is as happy as mine!"