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Suzy Lee's artwork
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Picture-book artist Suzy Lee was born in Seoul, Korea. She received her BFA in Painting from Seoul National University, Seoul and her MA in Book Arts from Camberwell College of Arts, London. Her books have been published and exhibited worldwide. She has written and illustrated several books for children, including the acclaimed Wave and The Zoo.

Suzy currently lives and works in Singapore.


Do you have a favorite technique when illustrating for children?

I tend to use limited colors, and flat and simple drawings. Among the diverse art materials, I love charcoal because it can express contrary qualities at the same time - volume and sharp lines, and the static and dynamic. I worked with charcoal for Wave because I wanted to show the girl’s vibrant movements effectively, in a simple way. What I want to draw usually helps determine what technique I am going to use.

How would you describe your style?

Simple and straightforward, but with a lot to think about, in the end (I hope!). Mostly, my books are wordless.

You chose to illustrate the Korean word "goyo", meanìng "tranquility", for the book Mis Primeras 80.000 Palabras (My First 80,000 Words), a dictionary project in which illustrators were asked to depict a favorite word in their mother tongue. Can you please describe your interpretation of "tranquility"?

When I Iie on my back, on water, with my ears submerged, I can hear the filtered sounds and noises as if they're coming from far away. That makes me feel like I am in the middle of nowhere, alone, isolated from the world. In that state, I can sense even the movement of a very quiet water-strider.

A tranquil pond, a floating girl, and a giant water-strider: that was my image of 'tranquility.' A little surreal, but the exact depiction of what I think about when I pronounce ‘goyo,’ in Korean.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

I gave birth to my second little one recently, so my current "project" is baby Bahda (which in Korean means "sea"). I am also working on a wordless picture book about shadow.

Posted April 2009

Suzy Lee
Suzy Lee's photo

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Written and illustrated by Suzy Lee:

(Chronicle Books, 2008)
New York Times 2008 Best Illustrated Children’s Book

My Bright Atelier
(BIR, Korea, 2008)  

The Zoo
(BIR, Korea, 2004; Kane/Miller, USA, 2007)
2008 Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts

The Black Bird
(Chondung Books, Korea, 2006)

Action: Korean Alphabet
(Chondung Books, Korea, 2006)

(Edizione Corraine, Italy, 2003)

Illustrated by Suzy Lee:

Shadow is My Friend
written by Jung-Sun Park
(Chondung Books, Korea, 2008)

Open the Door
written by Jung-Sun Park
(BIR, Korea, 2008)

The Naked Painters
written by Seung-Yeon Moon
(Chondung Books, Korea, 2005)

Deaf Raccoon
written by Seok Baek
(Woongjin, Korea, 1999)

For a complete bibliography and more information, visit her website.

More on the web:

Interview with the author by Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

And don't miss Book Woogie's special post about Wave. It includes children's comments and artwork inspired by the story.


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