South Korean-born book artist, Suzy Lee, excels at wordless storytelling. Her books are graphic masterpieces about childhood and the power of imagination. And she lives in Singapore!
Earlier this week, she took time out of her very busy schedule to have a cup of coffee with me. I adored Wave, one of the New York Times‘ Best Illustrated Children’s Books in 2008.
She told me that her preferred medium is charcoal. She works early in the morning and then again late in the evening and spends much of the rest of the day with her two young children. She shared a draft of her latest project. It is now in Korean but, fingers crossed, to be translated into English.
We also chatted about the book arts. Ms. Lee has an MA in Book Arts from Camberwell College of Arts in London and she uses “properties unique to the printed book as storytelling devices.” In Shadow, her latest, the gutter—the fold in the center of the book where the pages are sewn into the binding—represents the liminal space between real and imagined worlds.
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If you haven’t yet discovered her work, Shadow is an excellent introduction.
With the click of a light bulb, a basement’s worth of ordinary household stuff (a vacuum, a ladder, some tools) transforms into a tropical jungle of exotic animals, lush plants—and just the right amount of menace to keep things interesting. The romp ends when the call “Dinner’s ready!” floats downstairs; but, we’re led to believe, the break in the revelry is only temporary. For an imaginative kid, the wilderness always lurks nearby.
The folks at BooksActually are huge fans of Ms. Lee. So, pop by their store and pick up a copy!