1. Why do you like writing/illustrating children’s books?
I want children to enjoy looking at art and reading.
2. What makes you laugh?
Thinking of my mistake.
3. What is the best day of your life?
4. What are your top 3 tips on writing stories for children?
a. Be a child
b. Read more children's books
c. Use your imagination
5. What inspires you?
1. What inspires you?
Could be a whiff of smoke, a twinkling star so sparkly in the deep midnight sky, glorious colours of sunset, trill of a family of sunbirds, a baby's gurgle and when he or she stretches out their little hand and encloses your finger and promptly puts it to their mouth to suckle, pure unadulterated laughter, the "shrush shrush" of waves, picking dead leaves and enjoying their myriad colours (as if God said, .."In your last breath, you die a glorious coloured death" and finding Magic in nature...I could go on and on and write a novel about it.
2. What do you like to do on Sundays?
Why Sunday? What makes it different from other days? The sun rises and sets...it's no different from any other days. Sometimes I would like to lie on a hammock, at times work myself into a frenzy. It's just like any other day except when we go to market and I cook up a storm.
3. What makes you laugh?
Laugh? What's that? Ha Ha!
4. What are your 3 tips for writing/illustrating children's books?
Tips...As if, I, an artist can advice? Follow your heart and soul and let that motto guide you.
5. Draw or doodle something you enjoy.
When I see little kiddos, I sketch and it sometimes inspires me to write wild cheeky stories.
1. What is your favourite movie?
E.T. was really good. I loved the original Indiana Jones and Star Wars trilogy, and more recent movies being the Lord of The Rings trilogy and Kingsmen Secret Service (Colin Firth as a super spy - what can go wrong with that?).
2. Why do you like to read?
For me, it has always been about the stories. Stories of far-off places, interesting characters, magical realms, exciting mysteries… But the best thing is that in the process of reading, I also widen my knowledge, broaden my mind and hopefully, improve myself as a person.
3. Who is your favourite author/illustrator and why?
I love Roald Dahl, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett – they are wildly imaginative and so much fun. Their stories sometimes have some thought provoking messages but these are usually presented in subtle ways that are not preachy or in your face.
4. Draw or doodle your favourite animal.
I like a lot of animals! Here’s one of a Tanuki inspired by a really cute song by Eartha Kitt called Shojoji. Tanuki is actually a Japanese raccoon dog that is quite significant in Japanese culture and folktales.
5. Tell us something about yourself that no one knows.
My perseverance is horrible when it comes to learning new skills. I tend to try out a lot of stuff but never master any – piano, ballet, tai chi, yoga, latin dance, jewellery making... It's a mind boggling list of half-hearted attempts. Now, I am trying to keep at my erhu lessons – wish me luck.
2. Why do you think children should read?
Children should read because it enriches vocabulary and imagination!
3. Draw or doodle an image of yourself doing something you enjoy.
4. What is your favourite story and why?
J’attends Mamy. I fell in love with this book when I saw the cover at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2014. Bought it right away. It was in French and thanks to online free translation, I managed to understand the story. The story is beautiful and poetic. A little girl’s granny leaves the house but she was told that her granny would be home soon. Waiting for granny to return, the little girl spends her time outdoors talking to the trees, ladybug, dragonfly and many more. One day, her father explains that her granny was dead, that she was not coming back. The girl eventually understands that a new phase of life begins; life without Granny. I personally love the illustrations which were done in pencil where some elements were tinted red. The illustrations really complement the story and there was a moment, or two, that I broke into tears.
5. Tell us something about yourself that no one knows.
I am afraid of cockroaches! And all in the creepy-crawly category.
1. What inspires you?
As far as I can remember, I have always loved looking at pictures and making one. My father loves art and my mother is the creative one. My sisters helped shape my interest in children’s books. But as time went by, I fell in love with children’s picture book. They look simple yet there is a great deal of thought and effort that goes into making one. We need more picture books which children enjoy, get inspired with, are heartfelt and also thought provoking. I am inspired to create more of such. There are so many children books that I find inspiring but Dr. Seuss books often touch me deeply.
2. What is your favourite story and why?
Some of my favourite children’s books are the ones written by Enid Blyton especially the Faraway Tree stories. I also love reading folk stories from Malaysia and around the world. Some of my favourite books include the Cerita Cerita Rakyat collections which my sisters often borrowed from the National Library Malaysia back when it was located at Wisma Sachdev. There were also books on similar stories published by Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka which I kept (and read!) until today. What attracted me most about these stories are the richness of what is beyond our known little world and how exciting the mind is when opened up to infinite possibilities!
3. Draw or doodle your own self portrait.
4. What country would you like to visit and why?
I am fortunate to have been able to visit a number of countries so I do not have any in particular at the moment. However, I would love to take some time to explore more of what Malaysia has got to offer!
5. Why do you think children should read?
My favourite author-illustrator, Eric Carle once said that picture books are an introduction to literature for the very young reader. I hope to be able to encourage children to see how wonderful it is to be surrounded and touched by books. Books are rich in many ways and reading them will inspire children, encourage them to think creatively and critically and perhaps offer companionship during difficult times.
2. What makes you laugh?
Fun chat with friends and family.
3. Who is your favourite author/ illustrator and why?
I like the simple creative ideas of Oliver Jeffers and Emily Gravett, meticulous sketches of Shaun Tan, intriguing illustrations of Mattias Adolfsson, Jill Barklem for gorgeous details, Lat for bringing culture smoothly into comics.
4. Why do you like children’s books?
I love reading the pictures on children's books.
5. Draw or doodle of yourself doing something you enjoy.
OK. Here I am having tea with 2 characters I made, The Turtle and The Silly Monkey.
Fengyi Lai was born in Malacca. She graduated from The One Academy, majoring in Graphic Design and Illustration. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Hertforshire in 2013. Fengyi is passionate about illustrating children’s book and enjoys using different mediums. Her passion for design is linked to her desire to inspire people everyday with her art.
3. Draw or doodle your favourite animal.
4. What is the best day of your life?
I have many best days in my life. But if I can only pick one, then it'll be the day when my parents agreed to let me further my studies in Art and Design and then later on majoring in Illustration. I was a science stream students, so it was tough for them. Haha!
5. Who is your favourite author/illustrator and why?
I love Eric Carle's book, I love the way how he plays with textures and bold colors. And also local illustrator, Lim Heng Swee's earlier works (寻找遗失的乐园 and 美丽人生).
Approximately 40 people attended the Oyez!Books group book launch held on 27th January at our favourite bookstore, Silverfish, on the second floor of Bangsar Vilage II. The press was supportive and we welcomed reporters and cameramen from Berita Harian and The Star.
Oyez!Books Chairman, Mr Peter Duke introduced the new books for January 2016:
Three of the books were in preview format, meaning they have not gone into mass production. We will be having more preview sessions in the future where we will invite the press and our buyers. The preview sessions will help us obtain feedback from the audience and to decide on the print run.
"In a rapidly developing market, such as children’s books in Malaysia, Oyez books cannot stand still. We have to keep pushing the boundaries," said Mr Duke.
We thank and congratulate our authors for their wonderful work and encourage them to keep on excelling and to aim for world class work. Oyez!Books will continue to support them and aims to bring their books to the international stage.
Chooi Ling graduated with a Diploma in Fine Art from the Kuala Lumpur College of Art in 2002. She works hard to improve her work and has been attending workshops and doing a lot reading to improve her illustrations. With an eight-year old daughter, Chooi Ling has to find time for her art. She recently gave up her children's art class in order to have more time to paint. She carries out research for each artwork or project and once she has enough ideas, she will work every day until the work is done.
Looking at Chooi Ling's illustrations, it is clear that nature is her greatest source of inspiration.
"I like to observe the natural world; it amazes me and I am touched by it. I learn something new in every single animal and plant. There is so much knowledge waiting to be explored in nature. The way animals or plants grow, how they adapt to the environment, the shapes, colors, lines on their bodies... I always get inspiration from nature."
For more beautiful illustrations by Chooi Ling, take a look at The Last Dream of The Old Oak Tree, a Hans Christian Andersen classic published by Oyez!Books.
Evi's next big adventure is to write and illustrate her own books and she has planned a series called Little Friends. The first book is completed and judging by that first book, we are really excited. Here's the cover and a page inside - we hope you are excited too. Publication date is planned for 9th November 2015.