来源:International Publishing Journal

作者:International Publishing Journal


 A Xiong Liang

  Q Fan Wen


    Q You were the first to propose the “drama on paper” concept for picture books. Can you explain what it exactly refers to?

  A It is just like writing a play. When an artist produces a picture book, he is actually just “writing a script.” The only difference is that the language used in picture books is pictures instead of words. So, when an artist is producing a picture book and composing scene, he should take into account the audience’s response. During the creative process, the painter should hold the notion of a “theater” in his mind in order to imagine possible reactions from the readers. In such a way, when the artist is producing his work, he is able to control the tempo of the entire piece along with emotions that readers will experience. This promotes content of high quality, which is the essence of “drama on paper.”


Xiong Liang Chinese illustrator

  The first Chinese illustrator shortlisted for the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award

  Q Many of your works are filled with distinct eastern characteristics, so what is the international view about “Chinese Flavor” in your opinion?

  A I believe that prerequisites for accepting another culture are understanding and recognition. It is only by recognizing and understanding a culture that we can better accept it. These days, we often fall into rigid patterns when performing works with “Chinese Flavor,” which is caused by our deficient understanding on how to preserve traditional Chinese art, and international preconceived notions. But inheriting traditional Chinese art is more than sim-ply maintaining the rules of traditional paradigms, it is rather to maintain the spirit of such notions. To be more precise, the ultimate method of inheritance is to “employ.” With employing both traditional components and “Chinese Flavor”, the author is able to overcome cultural barriers and achieve cultural exchange. At the same time, before the artist begins to create a new picture book, he must seriously consider the implications of “Chinese Flavor.” A genuine work of “Chinese Flavor” does not simply pack a variety of traditional Chinese motifs and symbols together, but rather “transforms” traditional Chinese cultural elements into a form that both embodying Chinese culture and being understood by children. Only by making careful reflections and not following the crowd, are artists able to produce a quality works with a “Chinese Flavor.”

  Q The new generation of Chinese parents prefers imported aesthetics and styles, and many Chinese children’s stories are illustrated by foreigners who tend to produce a more “international” kind of picture book, what is your opinion on this phenomenon?

  A The cooperation between Chinese and foreign authors is actually a very interesting artistic experiment that can yield fantastic chemical reactions, and produce forms as well as content that the artists themselves have never anticipated. The result of such collaborations is neither entirely Eastern nor Western, but rather a new kind of model. Of course, what need to be paid attention to is how tolerant people will be to the new model. So, speaking of aesthetics, the truth is that picture books for children don’t contain many ideological elements or cultural implications. At this stage, what the children are willing to accept from a picture book is rather vast. As a result, if the picture book’s author is able to genuinely consider children’s needs and finally produce it, then he they will be able to transcend cultural and aesthetic boundaries.

  Q Many people are dividing picture books into different kinds for adults and children, do you think such a categorization is appropriate?

  A There are great differences between adult and children picture books. The truth is that these two kinds require entirely different creative mentalities. Creating an adult picture book is exactly the same as making any typical liter-ary work, but a children’s picture book requires to consider the composition of words and pictures, children’s psychology, and their methods of cognition. In my opinion, writing a children’s picture book is essentially making a poem visually, which is based on structural as well as rational notions and also elements catching children’s eye. Of course, a good picture book is naturally appreciated by both children and adults. When adults read such a picture book, they will also notice that the narrative resonates and is very natural with unexpected elements. If a creator of picture books is completely ignorant to the psychologies as well as methods of comprehension possessed by children, and produces a picture book merely according to what he considers appealing, then perhaps adults will like his work, but children will certainly have no interest in it.