As I was on a lunch break at work, I watched my students selecting books to read from the school library. For what quickly caught my eye, was the beautiful illustrations these books had. Many of the books where international children's book translated into Hangul, however amongst the jumble of books, there was a grand selection of Korean children's books. The illustrations and colour is what stood out.
An array of different illustrating techniques from pencil drawing, ink, simulation, traditional Korean painting and calligraphy... this is just another thing to be mesmerized by.
The Farting Daughter-in-law
Author- Shin Se Jeong
I wish i could tell you the stories behind these beautiful illustrations, however my Hangul is at slow reading stage with little, if not no understanding.
It was the colours and the use of traditional illustrative styles and calligraphy that drew me to this book. After researching the translation of the title... the illustrations made more sense. Apparently a traditional folk story.
I have snuck this book in, even though it isnt a Korean book by a Korean author, the illustrations were none the less, beautiful.
What caught my eye with this book was the use of wool simulated as red hair. Who would have guessed?... anything got to do with wool, my eyes widen!
The Worlds Most Precious Treasure, Me
From my research, and supported by the authors name; this is a German children's book translated in Hangul. I love the use of colours and the effectiveness of the red hair and its texture amongst the background.
One of my favorite finds, where a story can be told and felt just through its pictures. With use of cool and a hint of warm colours, illustrated with the delicacy of pencils. Even without having read it, I can sense the mythical and true resemblance to Korean folk history and culture.
Me Too, I Want to Become a Theatrical Performer
Author- Lee Hyee Young
So much can be told through one illustration. The whole collaboration of colour,illustration and story brings a feeling of calmness, peace and a humble joy. These are illustrations I would frame and place on my wall.
Another one of my favorite finds, with similar reasons of the previous book, where the illustration tells the story. Also portraying the relation to Korean folk culture. From what I understood though the illustrations, portrays the purity and innocence of a child's heart. A child who carries her favorite yellow umbrella which she treasures, leaves her umbrella to cover a homeless old man who sleeps on the street. The story illustrates the reality of Korean life, which is ignored by society... but is seen by a child. Wow...
Song Ee's Yellow Umbrella
Author- Lee Cheol Hwan
With the delicate use of pencil with a shaded soft use of colour, the illustration reveals the purity and gentleness of the heart.
Another I would like to frame.
With a bit of a contrast, this book was one of my fun finds. With the combination of pencil drawing, simulation and cutouts, a more contemporary feel and a jump from traditional Korean art to the modern.
Author- Baek Hee Na
What I found, was cute... You may not be able to tell through the photographs, but the illustration of the cats face is drawn on lined writing paper, cutout and simulated onto an illustrated background. Clothing items are also a simulation of fabrics as well as other objects within the picture. A beautifully illustrated book, which captures the art of storytelling and the creativity that goes with it.
From my recent exposure to these Korean books, which there were many and more to discover, I found it intriguing the depth, seriousness and reality of the stories told to Korean children. These of which im discussing are the traditional Korean folk tales. The themes seem to be quiet deep and mature for the age group of which these books are written for or told to. However in saying that, I can imagine these are the stories children treasure most when told by a grandparent and is passed on to generations for a lifetime.
Book titles translated by Charlotte Perrine