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Taiwanese Illustrators Shared Their Rewarding Experiences at the 2019 Bologna Children’s Book Fair

16 April 2019 /

The Taiwanese pavilion at the 2019 Bologna Children’s Book Fair featured five outstanding illustrators (Chih-Yuan Chen, Yu-Chin Huang, Ahn Zhe, Cindy Wume, and Pei-Yu Chang), and presented Taiwan’s best publications and abundant creativity.


Illustrator Chih-Yuan Chen recalled that when he first began his career as an illustrator, reading Bologna Annual for the very first time connected him with the rest of the world. While Chen hasn’t participated in the event for a while, he still pays attention to news about the book fair, and is delighted to see a growing number of Taiwanese illustrators’ works being selected. This year, participating along with nine selected Taiwanese illustrators, Chen shared the experiences behind his works. Chen said that creating an illustration is an opportunity to face oneself. He commented, “Interestingly, I don't just simply make picture books. I also imagine how readers feel when they read it, which inspires my creativity.”


This year marked illustrator Cindy Wume’s fourth visit to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Wume said her feelings varied during each visit. Recalling her first visit to Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Wume brought her work with her while queuing to meet publishers, usually for the length of time from 5 minutes up to 2 hours. At that time, she felt that being an illustrator was not that easy. After gaining more experiences through the years, Wume focused on finding publishers’ preferred style for her works, and attended a number of forums and events for ideas. Wume said, “I hope to gain more knowledge and expand my network this time, so that I can share these things with my colleagues in Taiwan.”


It was illustrator Ahn Zhe’s first visit to the book fair this year. Ahn Zhe said being selected by the Illustrators Exhibition of Bologna Children’s Book Fair has been his dream since his teenage years. Ahn Zhe’s work was first recognized at Angoulême International Comics Festival, which kicked off his career in the field of comics. His illustration creativity was then sparked due to a real event; he created an illustration book for a hippo, which was later selected by the Illustrators Exhibition of Bologna Children’s Book Fair in 2018. Ahn Zhe said, “Every year, Bologna Children’s Book Fair is always looking for various possibilities—such as experimental topics—not just limited to traditional children’s books.” He hopes to bring back insights and ideas to share with everyone.


As a cultivated illustrator of over 30 years, Yu-Chin Huang recalled his first visit to 2016 Bologna Children’s Book Fair was overwhelming yet rewarding. He smiled and said, “I am so thrilled to attend the Bologna Children’s book Fair with the selected fellow illustrators. It is an excellent opportunity for me to root for them.”


Chih-Yuan Chen

One of the most well-known Taiwanese illustrators, Chih-Yuan Chen is good at bringing out interesting stories with warm drawing style; his works are easy-to-understand, breaking down language and cultural barriers. Some of his artworks have received several international awards with book rights sold in many countries. Guji Guji, the New York Times bestseller, has also been translated into 16 languages and adapted into a popular stage play in Sweden. Chih-Yuan Chen gave a speech titled “Make a Picture Book” at the Illustrators Survival Corner during the 2019 Bologna Children’s Book Fair, and exchanged experiences and ideas with illustrators from all over the world.


Pei-Yu Chang

Pei-Yu Chang’s first illustration book, Mr. Benjamin's Suitcase of Secrets, has brought her international acclaim including The Beauty and the Book Award, Best German book Design Exhibition, and the 3X3 International Illustration Award, among others. Chang was one of the featured illustrators at the Taiwan Pavilion for international book rights selling. Book signing events were also conducted at the stand.


Ahn Zhe

The stylish illustrator Ahn Zhe was among the featured illustrators at the Taiwan Pavilion this year. His diversified artworks have received a number of domestic and international awards, and range from picture books, illustrations, and comics. His creation style is a bit absurd and uses black humor in a critical and profound manner. Ahn Zhe likes to explore urban ambiance and real events as creative ideas. Aho, the title book selected by the Illustrators Exhibition in 2017 Bologna Children’s Book Fair, was inspired by a hippo incident in Taiwan and was a social commentary. The story didn’t have a happy ending because his main intention was not to let children have too much hope for society. This year, he brought his new artworks to the fair, and observed international illustration trends and the latest transition of art forms.


Yu-Chin Huang

Before starting a career as an illustrator, Yu-Chin Huang was a screenwriter. Huang has been a professional illustrator since 1988. He is also the founder of Taiwan’s first handmade picture book club—Picture Book Club—which gathers a group of illustrators together to hold regular annual illustration workshops. He creates illustration books both independently and also with his wife, Tsao Juei-Chih. His works have also received several international awards. It’s a Good Thing was selected by the Illustrators Exhibition of Bologna Children’s Book Fair in 2016.


Cindy Wume

Cindy Wume has been a lucky star, as her artworks were selected by the Illustrators Exhibition of Bologna Children’s Book Fair in both 2016 and 2018. After graduating with a master’s in children’s book illustration from the Cambridge School of Art, Wume was determined to become an illustrator. Wume’s highly transparent watercolor drawing style has become her trademark. She hopes to bring about a positive and warm impact to the world through pictures and words.