An Interview with Jaime Kim, Illustrator of La La La: A Story of Hope
Hi, Jaime Kim! La La La: A Story of Hope is absolutely stunning. I cannot wait until it is sent out into the world on October 3, 2017. How did you approach the story?
Jaime Kim: I must have read Kate's story dozens of times. Though it was very succinct and abstract, I could sense that there was a lot going on in there. I tried my best to feel the things that she was trying to express, and strove to capture the story's ambiance in the illustration as much as possible. As I fleshed out the very strong narrative framework Kate Dicamillo provided, I tried to make the details as beautiful as possible.
What spoke to you about the story?
Jaime Kim: Preparing the project, I read a lot of picture books written and illustrated by other writers and illustrators. I also watched some movies and animated features. I tried to gain inspiration from all sorts of sources. However, while such attempts were helpful on the technical side, the most important source of inspiration turned out to be myself. I tried to bring back myself into my childhood, and the feelings I felt back then. I jotted these feelings down in a notepad. Then I projected my childhood personality onto the main character.
|Illustration Credit: Jaime Kim|
What was the biggest challenge of the project?
Jaime Kim: An absence of text made it difficult to express the emotions. I kept worrying that the readers would not interpret the story as I intended. Every time such a concern hit me, I tried to imagine that I was creating an animated film. I imagined how the main character would look like if she was really moving. I took such imagined movements and facial expressions to develop emotional cues that can be easily understood by the readers.
What was the most fun part ?
Jaime Kim: Character design was definitely the most fun part, without a doubt. It was the most challenging part as well, but also the most enjoyable part at the same time. I gave much thought on what kind of character would fit perfectly with Kate’s story. I even thought of creating a character who was not a human. Ultimately, I decided that a little girl is best suited to the story. As I mentioned, I reflected my childhood into the main character, but actually the outward appearance was largely inspired by my little sister during her childhood. The short-haired girl closely resembles my sister when she was little. Whereas I was an introverted and quiet girl, my sister had a wide range expressions. I suppose you could say that "the girl" is an amalgam of me and my sister, who was also my first friend.
Click here to read my interview with Kate DiCamillo.