It’s been less than a month since graduation and I feel that it has finally sunk in that, after spending the majority of my life in school, I am finally finished (for now, at least.) Before I get into the nitty-gritty of this, I’d like to share a story or two about my last two semesters in university focusing mainly on my thesis and graduation. I’ll be splitting these into two separate blog posts, so brace yourself for a lengthy read!
I know I’ve been hinting this post several times in the past when I was still working on my thesis, and I’m happy to finally share my thought process on the entire thing: the concept of the story, the writing, and, finally, the illustration process.
It was in my second year of university when I decided two things: one, that I would like to write and illustrate a children’s book for my thesis. And, two, I want to do my thesis alone (I guess I was too traumatized by group work and I know that I’m too much of a perfectionist, so I worried for partnerships when it comes big projects, like a thesis.) Seeing that I had around two years before I would reach the thesis term, I prepared hastily for this in order to have the skills for it. I went to talks and took writing classes to improve my storytelling, I practiced my brush lettering, studied more watercolor techniques, and read + reread a lot of children’s books. I wrote a lot of stories and articles to practice. (I also stocked up on art supplies!) Eventually, the thesis term arrived, and I was ready to face the long road ahead.
My thesis was divided into two terms: the research term and the thesis implementation term. The first term focused more on the story development and research, which went by rather quickly. (I enjoyed writing and researching—I’ve learned so much!) The second term is when I got to apply what I’ve learned…and have fun with it!
The story conceptualization for the book took a while until my mentor and I found a story that worked. Basically, my end goal is to write a book that I know my little sister would love reading. The story is simply about a little girl named Hannah (yes, I named my character after my sister) and her dad. So Hannah is sick in bed with a cold and wants nothing but Alphabet Soup to help her feel better. Her dad does his best to make it—despite not really knowing how to. He misinterprets Alphabet Soup as a soup with 26 ingredients from A-Z and adds in strange and fun things to make a funny soup. The story inspiration was directly derived from the fun and silly relationship dynamic between my sister and my father.
The writing process of my book was frustrating, to say the least. I took me three months (and ten drafts) until my mentor and I were satisfied with the text. I wrote the book in poetry to make it fun (and somewhat more difficult for me, haha.) It was also around this time I gave my book its title: Silly Soup Day.
After I fully grasped what I wanted to write, I jumped right into illustration and did a few pages of character and color studies:
I also roughly painted the cover design of my book: