Illustrator and Layout Supervisor here at Brown Bag Films, Qin Leng will be a special guest speaker at tonight's monthly CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children's Authors Illustrators and Performers) meeting.
The Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators and Performers (CANSCAIP), founded in 1977, is a not-for-profit National Arts Service Organization for those engaged in the creation of literature and performance for young people.
Qin’s brilliant and whimsical illustrations have been featured in picture books, magazines and book covers all around the world. And her work on Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin, written by Chieri Uegaki, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, and received the APALA Award for Best Picturebook!
We caught up with Qin, who gave us a rundown on what guests can expect at this evening’s event and shared a sneak peek at some of the gems of wisdom she will be sharing tonight about how to dive in and start a career as a children’s book illustrator or author.
Can you tell us a bit about the CANSCAIP event coming up on Wednesday, March 14th?
CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children's Authors Illustrators and Performers) hosts a monthly Illustrator's Night. This event is an opportunity for illustrators and authors to meet with a guest speaker and learn about their work process, as well as get some insights on how to get published. It is also a way for the general public to meet illustrators and discover how a picture book comes to life, from story to final art.
The monthly event is open to the public and is entirely free. It runs for about 2 hours at the Toronto Public Library Northern Branch, at Yonge and Eglinton.
What are you most looking forward to about the event?
I spend a lot of my time working on my books. Most of my days are just with me and my pens and paints and computer. This Illustrator Night is such an exciting opportunity for me to be able to meet with other people and share about my work. I'm excited to help others in the field who are looking to get their work published. I started there too, and getting advice from fellow illustrators was a great help to me.
Are you able to give us a sneak peek and share one of your many valuable tips to getting published with our readers today?
Many individuals I have spoken to try to get published by getting the entire book completed, before sending it out. This is actually more work than is needed. The best way to go about getting your book published is to get your manuscript ready, provide some sample illustrations that give the story the visual context, and send this package off to publishers (email works most of the time).
If you are just an author and not an illustrator, do not even bother finding an artist to illustrate your work. Just send your manuscript to as many publishers as possible and they will be able to find the right match!
What is one of your favorite things about illustration?
Character development is by far my favorite thing about illustrating. The research process is a lengthy one but so gratifying. From people-watching to finding just the right reference, to looking up a children’s clothing line to find the perfect outfit for my characters, I get inspiration from all sorts of places and love all the possibilities this gives me.
Is there something that you draw over and over again?
For a long time, I mainly did picture books with humans as the main characters. However a couple years ago, I landed my very first book with all animals as my main cast. In that book, “Shelter”, are two polar bears. A year later, I did a board book with Dennis Lee called “Good Night, Good Night” and in it, I drew some teddy bears. Just recently, I finished a third picture book called “Mine. Yours.” and there are panda bears in it.
It seems that bears have been a recurring subject in the last few years and I am really enjoying drawing them.
Don’t miss seeing Qin speak in person tonight (March 14) for this month's CANSCAIP meet up, 7:00pm at the Toronto Public Library Northern District Branch, 40 Orchard View Blvd. (1 block N of Eglinton, W off Yonge), Room 200 (2nd floor).
And see more of Qin's work here!