British Professors Aid Vietnamese Artists in Children’s Book Initiative

Participants in the children's picture book illustration course will be able to create beautiful picture books that will be published both domestically and internationally. Dozens of artists are taking part in this exciting opportunity.

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A team of distinguished comic book illustrators from the UK have arrived in Vietnam to offer complimentary children’s book illustration classes to aspiring young Vietnamese artists.

Jan Fearnley, renowned illustrator of 26 bestselling children’s books, and Jane Buckley, award-winning art director of Simon & Schuster Publishing House, which is considered one of the world’s top five publishing houses for children’s books, are leading the classes.

This exceptional opportunity for local artists is made possible through the collaboration of Nha Nam Culture and Media Joint Stock Company, Simon & Schuster Publishing House, and Pop Up Projects, an esteemed UK-based organization focused on the development of children’s literature. The course officially commenced on September 6 in Hanoi.

 
Donna McGowan, Director of the British Council in Vietnam, opens the course. Photo: VietNamNet

The course boasts a specific focus on teaching students of illustration and professional illustrators how to create exceptional picture books for young readers.

15 artists, meticulously selected from a pool of applicants by Nha Nam Company, have been given the opportunity to participate in this course.

Lessons will be centered around Trang Nguyen’s compelling new picture book, “The Return of the Spoonbilled Sandpiper”, written by a prominent children’s author and environmental activist.

Participants will have one month to develop and complete individual illustration works. Upon completion, Nha Nam, Simon & Schuster, and Pop Up Projects will handpick a collection of works to be showcased in exhibitions held in Hanoi, London, and Manchester throughout November and December 2023.

An instructor-assessed competition will determine the artist behind the most outstanding illustration work, and they will be given the opportunity to collaborate with Simon & Schuster on a new picture book publishing project scheduled for 2024-2025.

A panel announcing the winner of the 2023 Yoto Carnegie Medal for Illustration: Jeet Dzung for his illustration of Saving Sorya by Trang Nguyen. Photo by Yoto Carnegies

Donna McGowan, Director of the British Council in Vietnam, emphasized that this program is part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and the UK, as well as the 30th anniversary of the British Council in Vietnam.

The course forms part of the UK/Viet Nam Season 2023 program, featuring numerous activities to commemorate and promote collaboration between the two countries in the fields of arts, creativity, English language teaching, and education.

Nguyen Xuan Minh, Director of Planning and Copyright at Nha Nam, expressed his optimism that the course will enable talented Vietnamese artists to publish picture books in both the UK and Vietnam.

Moreover, this course aims to inspire Vietnamese artists to create more picture books with unique Vietnamese content that cater to local children’s interests and reading needs. Ultimately, it will allow Nha Nam to introduce more Vietnamese picture books to the international market.

Over the years, Nha Nam has been committed to revitalizing the Vietnamese publishing industry by paying special attention to the overall book design, including illustrations and book covers. The publishing house has organized various competitions to discover and nurture talents in illustration and design, such as the Nha Nam Book Cover Redesign Contest.