Soo Kyung Cho is this year’s Books Professional Category winner for her book ‘Me and Me’.
About the Project
This book consists of two parallel stories. The first is about a child who finds himself as an adult. At the end of this adventure, he realises that there is someone who believes in him. The second story is about a man who seems to have lost himself, but regains his innocence of childhood through a similar adventure.
This book has different symbols for each story, which are the blue string and the mask. Both of them represent tiredness of life. I started working on the adult story with the mask. I focused on the fact that adults wear social masks and hide their real face and emotions. After the adult story completed, I made the child story from the adult one. As the two stories have parallel scenes, I carefully considered how to present them so that readers can easily switch from one scene to another corresponding one. Since this book was intended to be a digital book as well, I had to make additional extended images in order to allow readers to view the extended images in the app.
The story of the adult was started as my MA final project. I researched about many artists who dealt with masks such as James Ensor, Stasys Eidrigevicius, Cindy Sherman, Saul Steinberg and Gillian Wearing to understand how masks can be interpreted. I also studied Carl Gustav
Jung’s Persona theory and the relation between self-awareness and the society. Then I interviewed people aged from 20 to 50 about how much they understand themselves. Interestingly, as people get older, they said they do not know what their real self is more and more. From there I started making the story.
I used ink, blue colour pencil, acrylic, and photoshop.
This book had to be completed in a digital version first, so I needed to keep all the layers in order to make the digital movement. I created every single object by hand then scanned the images to make layers and assemble them digitally.
My slow Macbook was the biggest obstacle. Because I created images with a very high resolution to meet any situation, my poor Macbook had a hard time to deliver it.
I had the idea that all adults were holding a child’s heart in their mind even though they could not feel it. But I just kept the idea in my mind for a long time not even expected to be able to make a picture book with it. After researching masks, I naturally linked the idea to the story of an adult. I have come to believe that it will grow into a tale if I treat it very carefully, even if it is a very small idea, without dismissing it.
After the digital book was finished, I had to create more images for the paper book since it had more pages. That made me feel like starting a whole new book and never ending the project.
1.53TB, 11.62GB, 14 months, two stories
I think it went as well as I expected and perhaps even better. The form of this book is experimental for me but I am satisfied with the idea connecting the two stories up and down. It makes readers compare the two stories at a glance and also children and parents can read it together.
Find a story from yourself.
Thanks to my publisher Hansol Soobook and D&P Co.Ltd
About Soo Kyung Cho
Soo Kyung Cho is a picture book author and illustrator currently based in Seoul. She graduated from Hongik university and received an MA in Communication Design: illustration from Kingston University in 2015. She likes to recall her childhood and make stories from her childhood memories.
See the work of all the shortlisted and winning projects for the World Illustration Awards 2018 here.