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Viewing Blog: Ken W. Min ~ Illustrator for Hire, Most Recent at Top
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1. a couple more for my “ani-mask” series and a baby...

a couple more for my “ani-mask” series and a baby cafe.

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2. don’t you hate, when you’re on the road, you end up...

don’t you hate, when you’re on the road, you end up behind a slow driver? 

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3. Photo

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4. what’s on tv?

what’s on tv?

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5. animal mask series.

animal mask series.

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6. the dinos

the dinos

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7. been playing around and adding some collage to the...

been playing around and adding some collage to the proceedings…

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8. i had the privilege of contributing a piece celebrating the 50th...

i had the privilege of contributing a piece celebrating the 50th anniversary of “where the wild things are” by maurice sendak. it was a fun assignment to be a part of and you can view my piece along with the works of a multitude of talented folks here.

my thanks to betsy bird for putting this fun project together. : )

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9. some recent pieces for fun.

some recent pieces for fun.

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10. jump.


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11. the mac dad will make ya jump, jump

the mac dad will make ya jump, jump

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12. Photo

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13. a friend sent me this pic which is linked to the twitter account of art director guiseppe...

a friend sent me this pic which is linked to the twitter account of art director guiseppe... Read the rest of this post

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14. summer fun time.

summer fun time.

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15. smile.


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16. fish, fish, fishy, fish, fish.

fish, fish, fishy, fish, fish.

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17. working on a new personal piece. my, what’s got this...

working on a new personal piece. my, what’s got this pelican all hot and bothered?

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18. reworked website coming soon…i think…fingers...

reworked website coming soon…i think…fingers crossed.

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19. Some new pieces

been pretty busy late, but i thought i would post a few pieces i did recently.






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20. A Very Cool Week


this week i learned that the picture book i illustrated, "hot, hot roti for dada-ji" took home the honor title in the picture book category from the APALA (asian/pacific american librarians association) 

the 'honor' title is generally considered the runner up status or recognizing a work of merit. 

in fact, for the children's publishing industry, monday was their 'oscars' in that ALA (american librarians association) handed out a slew of awards to celebrate the works of many authors and illustrators in a number of categories.

so to be given this title is a very humbling and flattering thing.

but let's not think this award mine alone, it acknowledges both the literary as well as the artistic achievement. it very much is a team collaboration. and, of course, that starts with the lyrical words of author f. zia, who conceived this charming story to give to her grandchildren. my editor jennifer fox whose guiding hand brought this project together and a tip of the hat to art director scott myles. they were so terrific to work with and i especially enjoyed hanging out with scott talking about the book and going over the designs and layouts over lunch at bob's big boy restaurant here in LA. (get the chili spaghetti- thems good eatin')

also want to say thank you to lee & low books for taking a chance on a couple of newbies to the field. 

 i raise a glass and toast you all.

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21. Going to ALA...

this coming weekend is the ALA (American Library Association) Conference. this will be my first time attending it. this year it is in anaheim right next door to disneyland, (the original). 

the book i worked on that came out last year, "hot, hot roti for dada-ji", received the honor title from the APALA and thus, i will be giving a little acceptance speech on behalf of the publisher, lee & low books, and the creative team. (i drew the short straw since i live locally. go figure) 

if you are coming out for it and feel like throwing tomatoes at me, i'll be talking at 8am sunday morning (june 24th) in room 207C.(yeah, i know, it's early. but they're serving breakfast!)

i'll also be doing a signing at the lee & low booth (#2436) from 2:30-3:30 later that day.

i'm looking forward to seeing what goes on at an ALA conference, not so much the speaking part- my stomach is already doing cartwheels- so hope to see some of you there. 

drop me a line if you plan on attending. either here or on facebook. i'd love to see who is going.

and if i'm a smart boy, i'll take pictures and actually do another post...

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22. ALA Weekend 2012

4 simple words: ALA was a blast.

and 2 more: librarians rock!

last weekend i attended my first ALA conference.

here are some bulletpoints from the weekend.

  • you know it's going to be a good time when you run into lisa yee in the parking garage on the first day. she's like a good luck charm (except when it comes to electronic equipments, she's crashed the internet on several occasions. it's true. just ask her. :)
  • my immediate impression of ALA? it's "comic-con" for librarians. (if you know comic-con, then you know what i'm talking about :)
  • took in a graphic novel panel featuring some good buddies of mine- dan santat, bob boyle, james burks and tom warburton. the panel was insightful and funny. next time you see dan, ask him the story about the 8 lb. burrito. 
  • was especially thrilled to meet betsy bird. she is the librarian/blogger at the NYC public library. it was also nice to have a chance to thank her for the lovely review she wrote for the 'roti' book.
  • i even met my picture book illustration idol- william joyce. i thought, "do i tell him he's my idol?" i didn't want to sound like some gushing teenager, but, well, what the hey, right? so i did. even told him that i referenced him in my acceptance speech at the APALA ceremony. how one of his books, "george shrinks", changed my life and inspired me to want to illustrate for the children's market. he was such a nice guy, too. told me that the book that inspired him to illustrating was, "where the wild things are". we definitely had a nice chat.
  • speaking of speeches, i think the APALA award ceremony went over well. at least a trap door didn't open up below me cause i blathered on or went long. no one from the wing had a long, hooked cane to drag me off stage. i think it went fine. no one threw tomatoes at me. so i count that as a win.
  • met the creative duo behind the book- "reed gunther". chris and shane are really fine fellows and you really should read their book. it's great fun!!! (extra exclamation points for added emphasis)
  • another fun aspect was seeing some local friends, who i started out on this road to illustrating children's books, also participate in some book signings. it's nice to see us all moving forward in our careers, doing books and making progress, and hopefully onto even more opportunities.
  • but i guess the best aspect of the weekend- meeting up with some old friends and making new ones. it's such an open and loving community of people and publishers. i'm glad i get to be a part of it.

 thanks for a lovely weekend.

oh, yeah- my book has a sticker on it now!

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23. SCBWI 2012 Summer Conference Manifesto

today is tuesday, one day after wrapping up another 4 day children's book conference. tired, yes, and a little tough going back to work and dealing with 'the real world', but one has to do what one has to do. it was another great, beautiful conference and i do so enjoy hanging out with friends and a community that i am proud to be a part of. i came away with some good thoughts, some good vibes and a belly full of beer. (we won't get into that last point.)

 but, here are my takeaways from this year.

1) my favorite workshop was by melissa sweet. she gave such good, practical advice both about composition/layout and technique. and did i mention she had handouts? and she gave us a color copy of her color pallette and wheel- of how she mixes colors including a nice tip on how she comes up with her shadow tones. i hadn't thought of it in those terms. this was a good workshop filled with useful information. 

2) (which goes hand in hand with #1 above) the need to sketch more. melissa explains how she does these exercises of drawing in a 3x3 square of just any random objects from life. just something quick. sometimes in color, but just a sketch. in one instance, she did a 3x3 drawing each day for one year. it was pretty amazing and cool to see just a sampling of those drawings laid out one next to another. i've never been much for sketching or doodling. i only did so when i was working on a projecct or a painting for myself. my problem when i sketch, is that i tend to draw in a realistic manner; as i see it. there's nothing wrong with that, but i just don't want to do that. i want to break the rules (of what i see), i want to enlongate, exaggerate and just draw dots for eyes. but since melissa's workshop, i just feel the need to express myself more. so i'm gonna try and sketch something on most days if i can get into the habit. even if it's just in a little 3x3 square. btw- here is a sampling of what i started doing at the conference after taking in melissa's workshop. these are some of the speakers and panelists:


3) how i adopted a pet rock. this little fella comes courtesy of tammi sauer. he (or she, i haven't checked) is part of her promotional campaign for one of her recent books, me want pet. tammi is one of my favorite authors and people in general that i've met thru SCBWI and she has great promotional instincts. cheers to you tam! now excuse me while i take this guy out for a walk. 


4) meeting new people and fostering recent acquaintances (and seeing old friends who have moved out of town) always amazed at the breadth of work that i come across from the new people i meet. but best of all, they're all such nice folks. here's a sampling with links:

bethanie "palisades" murguia, melinda "new mexico" beavers, emily ecton, brian bowes, kat yeh (sorry i threw that balled up napkin at you :), jennifer "trickster" meyer, carter higgins, katy betz (come back from florida) and mike jung. (i met mike at ALA this year. our circle of friends seem to overlap, so it was really nice to grab a moment to chat and talk all things from the lakers to movies and the virtues of emma stone. mike has his debut novel coming out in october, so go look for it. i just started reading my ARC and it's pretty darn good.

 5) we miss you pat. pat cantor is a lovely woman and person. i miss her. she passed away just a few short weeks ago. it's a bit sad to think that i won't get to visit with her at these summer conference. the year i took 2nd place in the portfolio showcase, she took 1st place. since then, i've always felt a link or connection or association to her. she created beautiful pastel art and it's sad to think we won't get to see what she would make next. i hope she is painting a nice mural up in heaven. 

6) three cheers for my friend karyn raz. karyn won one of the coveted mentorship spots, wherein she will work with professionals in the children's book field to help guide her in breaking into the market. so happy for her and i know great things will come from this opportunity.

7) it's all about the ideas. THE IDEA, in all it's forms. from those that are informative to inspirational, but also ideas for stories that are percolating and imagery that are floating around in my head. and even the game plan that i am beginning to formulate as i plot the next step in my artistic journey. 

now, if you'll excuse me, i have some things to do.

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24. Anna


today is my niece's birthday (and my mom for that matter- happy birthday, mom!) and i'm planning a trip up to SF to go visit her this weekend. so, being the "cheap" uncle that i am (he said tongue in cheek), i decided to do a little picture of her. i thought it came out well, so i decided to post it here. i hope she'll like it and i hope she doesn't happen to drop by this site before i see her. (she is a rather precocious 7 year old afterall... :)

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25. WIP: Blossoms

and a happy new year to you. i'm going to try and do something that i used to do way back when, showcase a painting in progress from start to end.


to paraphrase a line from last year's movie, prometheus- "big things start from small beginnings." 

i had an idea for an image


i wanted to play with the notion of water as the color of the paper and have a few lines showing the ripples in a pond with some bits of reeds sticking up from it. 

from there i was trying to figure out what the narrative could be. i had an image of a fish tipping his hat to a girl or a princess. so i worked on that for a while.


it was all right, but i'd done some princess-y stuff in the past and wanted a new story.

one day i was reading a comic whose story was set in japan and the idea of cherry blossoms falling on water with a girl in a kimono stuck in my head. so with a quick change and adjustment, i began work on this idea.


i was liking this direction. after transferring the image to paper, i began with painting the fish.



next, the girl.


then filling in the rest of the background. at some point, i abandoned the idea of making the water the paper color because it would mean i should paint in the sky to differentiate the two. i dropped in some blue but made it washy.




then back to the top for the finished image. 

in hindsight, i could have broken down the steps further. maybe by layers of paint in one instance. if i try a post like this again, i'll do better. i've always enjoyed seeing how elements develop whether in paint or model making or movie special effects. (yeah, i like watch the behind the scenes stuff on DVDs) so i thought i'd try my hand at some behind the scenes action. 

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