Instructor Stories: Isabella Kung
Isabella Kung writes and illustrates beautiful books for children (and I'll be giving away one of those books to one of you), and we're excited to offer courses and mentorship opportunities with her through Storyteller Academy. Isabella is currently mentoring an illustration group in South Africa through Room to Read. Jennifer Laughran at Andrea Brown Literary Agency represents Isabella's work.
Isabella shares how she organizes her creative space and time in the following video.
Isabella said something near the end of her video that stuck with me the most. She doesn't overload her weekly planner, BUT then she said, “I always keep up with my weekly planner. And I show up and create and work! As they say, if you don't show up, inspiration will never come. So you've got to be ready. You've got to be present.”
Showing up is a habit that you have to build. I will do really well at showing up for weeks—even months—and then life throws me a curveball, and I get out of the habit and have to build it all over again. Does that sound familiar to any of you?
I also really liked the following quotes:
“Having an organized and dedicated space really helps. It's somewhere you can focus, somewhere you can make a mess and leave art laying around, somewhere you completely call it your own and fill it with things that bring you joy and inspiration.”
“Each area serves a purpose and works with my preferences.”
“At one point in 2019, I was juggling three books and teaching part time—and organizing conferences as the Illustrator Coordinator of my SCBWI region. So, how do I get it all done? The answer is a well-organized schedule.”
How Isabella organizes her schedule:
- a digital monthly checklist on her Evernote app
- an analog weekly planner that she keeps open and refers to every single day
- tasks and goals for each month go into the weekly planner to help her focus on the week at hand
- prints out a monthly calendar when she's working on a project to help her visualize the work over multiple months
- working on multiple paintings with similar color palettes at the same time
Isabella Kung is the author and illustrator of the picture book, NO FUZZBALL! (Scholastic, 2020), which has a sequel coming soon. She also illustrated the board books 123 CATS and ABC CATS by Lesléa Newman (Candlewick, 2021).
Courses: Illustration 1 & Illustration 2
Julie Downing and Isabella Kung teach our Illustration 1 and Illustration 2 courses. Illustration 1 will run with live workshops in Term 1 (1/19/22-3/26/22), and Illustration 2 will run with live workshops in Term 3 (8/17/22-10/22/22). Both courses are also available for self-study at any time.
Illustration 1 covers the illustration process, composition fundamentals, design techniques, and storytelling principles. They break down processes like brainstorming, thumbnailing, exploring different compositions, gathering references, and using value and color to create effective narrative illustrations. By learning and practicing each specific step in the illustration process, you can develop a roadmap to building your illustrations, become familiar with professional practices, and create stronger portfolio pieces.
Illustration 2 helps people further their narrative illustration practice, teach new rendering techniques and experimentations, as well as deepen their understanding of what makes a good children’s book and portfolio.
And Isabella also taught a watercolor mini-class for us. Creating Atmosphere focuses on teaching students how to use well-designed lighting and color to create gorgeous illustrations.
I'm giving away a copy of one of the books featured above. The winner can choose. Just comment on this blog post to enter.
For additional entries, you can share the post on social media and post a link to where you’ve shared in the comments (preferably as a comment to your original comment so that all of your entries are grouped together). If you've taken one of Isabella's classes with us, let me know in the comments, and I will add another entry.
I’ll close the contest at midnight, Pacific Time, on November 15. Thanks for reading and sharing!