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International Trends: Children’s Book Illustrators in the Chinese Book Market

Published on 02/11/2023

Illustrations by Yeon Agency Illustrators Alizee Favier, Caroline Romanet, Fann Chen, Jisun Lee, Kousuke & Konatsu Sako, and Mai Ngo.

International Trends: Children’s Book Illustrators in the Chinese Book Market
Teacher: Zejun Yao, Yeon Agency Managing Agent

Children’s books have a special place in our hearts, and their stories have their roots firmly planted in mid-18th-century England. As more families began to read and value childhood, books just for kids started to become popular. By the time the 1800s rolled around, thanks to cheaper paper and better printing, children’s books were booming! Many of us grew up with classics like ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carroll from 1865, and the beautifully illustrated ‘Guess How Much I Love You’ by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram from 1994.

Illustration by Yeon Agency illustrator Fann Chen.

These beloved stories have traveled far and wide, especially from the West to the East. But there’s a twist! Places rich in culture, known for tales like ‘A Journey to the West (Wu Cheng’en, 1592)’, now want to tell their own stories for kids. Places like Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, and Beijing are buzzing with excitement for children’s books by establishing their own book fairs. A big highlight is the China Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair (CCBF). Started in 2013, this 2023 marks a decade of becoming a hotspot for everyone who loves children’ books. It’s more than just a fair; it’s where creativity, new ideas, and cultures come together.

A special part of CCBF is the Golden Pinwheel Young Illustrators Competition. In 2023, they even added a ‘Commercial’ category. It’s a fantastic chance for young artists from all over to show their skills and connect with big names in the book world.

The allure of the Chinese children’s book market is its receptivity to global collaborations. It’s a joint hub where international artistry melds seamlessly with local narratives. At Yeon Agency, we’re at the heart of this synergy, facilitating a harmonious blend of global aesthetics with local sensibilities.

The word Yeon comes from the enchanting translingual character and embodies the very essence of destiny, weaving together the threads of faithful encounters that bind us together in a wondrous tapestry of life. As an international illustration and design agency we represent diverse and innovative voices in the industry – from all over the world.

We believe in the saying, ‘讀萬卷書,行萬里路 (Read ten thousand books, travel ten thousand miles). This year, we’ve been super busy making great books, travelling, and meeting people who love them. At Yeon Agency, we’re more than just helpers; we’re dream-makers. We work side by side with artists and publishers to make books that kids everywhere will love. So, keep an eye on us, the adventure is just beginning!

Take a look at some of our trending artists in popular styles for the Chinese market: Mai Ngo, Kousuke & Konatsu Sako, Jisun Lee, Fann Chen, Caroline Romanet, and Alizee Favier.


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