At Shanghai Community International School (SCIS), students are taught the whole creative process, from critical observation and thinking to reflection and presentation, while also being challenged to express their artistic selves.
In our latest #CommunityVoices interview, we had the opportunity to meet with Simon, a seventh grader at SCIS Hongqiao who has passion and perseverance for the arts. As a naturally gifted artist, he has recently won a book cover illustration competition in Europe and even published his first comic book.
Learn more about Simon and his latest accomplishments in the featured interview below.
My name is Simon. My mom is Korean, and my dad is Chinese. I’ve been at SCIS since I was in Grade 4. I like drawing and playing guitar and drums.
Congratulations on becoming a published illustrator! Can you tell us about the latest competition you won?
I was introduced to a book cover competition organized by a French Publisher, Renaissens, and submitted my work in November 2022. I still cannot forget the moment I received the email which said that I won the competition and the book with my drawing as its book cover would be distributed in bookstores in Europe.
What is the book about?
The book is about a woman with impaired vision and her guide dog who lives in Brittany, France. I needed to create the book cover which includes these two characters and needed to paint the sea and the beach in Brittany as how she sees from her impaired vision. It was quite challenging in the beginning! I researched a lot about visual impairment, guide dogs, and Brittany.
Would you say drawing is your passion?
Yes. I draw every day. Drawing has been my favorite pastime since I was very little. I also love comics. I draw comics whenever I have time. I often share my comics with my friends. I even made some comics using some of my friends as the main characters. I want to improve my art skills by learning more techniques and trying out different art styles.
Who are your biggest influencers when it comes to drawing?
I look up to Marvel comics and especially Stan Lee since he’s good at making stories. My favorite Marvel superhero is Spider-Man because the Spider-Man series has an interesting plot and good characters. My favorite artist is Jack Kirby. I love his vibrant artwork which is very detailed and interesting.
What other hobbies do you enjoy?
I play drums and guitar. I have been playing guitar since I was in Grade 1 and drums since Grade 3. I like this hobby because I can play my favorite songs. Also, I participated in the school play, Badger, this semester. It was fun and interesting, and I want to try again next semester.
You shared with us that you recently made a comic. Can you tell us what it is about?
The title is “Cyborg Burton vs Pig Evil”. It’s about a criminal who went missing and the police went searching for him everywhere, but they couldn’t find him. And this superhero called Cyborg Burton came and traced the footprints of the criminal.
I actually made this story when I was in grade three, but at that time I wasn’t so good at making stories and drawing. Four years later, I decided to pick up where I left off and finished the project.
What were the challenges of creating this comic?
I started this book in December 2021 and finished it in November 2022. It took almost a year so one of the biggest challenges is to continue working on it. Other challenges are completing the story and planning out the setting carefully. Otherwise, readers won’t understand what I am trying to say.
I invited my friends and had a small book release party last month. It was very rewarding to see my readers enjoy reading my book after all the challenges I faced during the one-year book making journey. If you are interested in reading my book, you can find it in our Upper School library because I donated two copies of my book.
Do you hope to become a professional artist one day?
I want to become a comic artist or want to work in this industry where I can use my creativity and art skills.
Who would you like to thank for your drawing journey?
I would like to thank my mom for being a strong supporter and a good critic at the same time. And I also want to thank all the art teachers I had who motivated me to be better.
What are your next goals?
I want to achieve good grades in all arts subjects and continue to run my drawing club. I was so happy to receive good feedback from my club members this year.
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