Illustrations in Published Books




Research

Ten Suns: A Chinese Legend

Long ago, Di Jun, the eastern emperor of the sky, had ten children - ten suns who took turns walking across the heavens each day to bring warmth and light to the earth. But the ten suns tired of following the same path day after day, and year after year all alone and decided to walk across the sky together one morning, combining their awesome heat and light.

The selfish boys gave no notice to the wilting crops, boiling oceans, and withering humans on the earth below them. In despair, Shun, the great emperor who ruled the world, cried out for mercy. Di Jun, hearing his please, sent the Archer of Heaven to stop the suns from destroying the earth. But can Shuns' messenger reach the greater Archer before he chatters the last remaining sun and condemns the world to an eternity of cold and darkness.


When creating the illustrations for Ten Suns, Xuan chose to emphasize the feeling of sunlight and the bright and lively colors that children love. He used a "dry painting method" of watercolor together with lines drawn by watercolor pens, pencils, and crayons. Since the publication of this book, reviews have appeared even to this day. The book was named Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies for 1999.



Story of Noodles

The Laziest Boy in the World

Xiaolong is known as the laziest boy in his village. But he doesn't usually mind being lazy. Except when he watches his sister flying a kit, knowing that he'll never get to hold tight to the string while the kite sails in the breeze. And it doesn't bother him that he is too lazy to get out of his chair. Except when he watches the village children playing a game of tug of war, knowing that he'll never feel the pull of a rope in his hand. It all just seems like too much effort...

Until one fearful night, when a thief comes creeping into Xiaolong's house to steel his family's things. Xiaolong knows he is the only one who can stop the sneaky thief. But will the anger he suddenly feels be powerful enough to overcome his laziness and help him protect his family before it is too later?


The historical background of this story was impossible to trace so after consideration, Xuan chose to the Qing Dynasty (last feudal dynasty in China) as its background. For the illustration of the book, he used acrylic paint on Chinese rice paper to give a feeling of local flavor, expose the inner world of the figures, and add more humour. The book received even more reviews after publication and won the 1998 Parents Choice award.



Story of Kites

The Rooster's Antlers: A Story of the Chinese Zodiac

Long, Long Ago, when the world was new, the Jade Emperor decided to measure time. He would name each of the twelve years after an animal, but would choose only the wisest, bravest animals for the great honour.

All the animals were excited. Who, they wondered, would be selected? With his colorful, bright red comb, and glorious pair of coral antlers, Rooster was sure to be chosen. But who else?

Dragon worried that his baldness would prevent him from being picked. Centipede offered to get him Rooster's coral antlers, to make sure that Dragon would make the list. He asked for, and received, a favor in return. And then, the crafty Centipede came up with a plot, to get Rooster's beautiful antlers away from him...

This is why, in our day, every morning begins with Rooster scolding the great Dragon of the Sun, demanding that his antlers be returned to him.


Xuan decided to use the lengthy process of color paper cuts for The Rooster's Antlers. He carefully deliberated and studied the expressions, colours, and layout of each animal. This process is intended to give a unique three-dimensional shadowy effect. The original copy of this book was selected to participate in the Society of Illustrators' Original Art 99 Exhibition.



Story of Paper

The Dragon Lover and Other Chinese Proverbs

This bilingual book offers versions of stories connected with five familiar Chinese sayings. The sayings teach various lessons. A lazy farmer starves while idly waiting for good luck to repeat itself. A musician learns to play what is appropriate to his audience. A crane and clam engage in a battle of wills that both lose. An old horse, using its long memory, leads a general's army home. A man's professed love of dragons reveals itself to be deep-rooted fear.

Xuan was born in Shanghai, China in 1952. As a teenager, he studies under famed Chinese sculptor Zhang Cheren. Xuan later worked as an art designer and professional artist, and eventually took advanced fine arts and crafts classes at the Central Arts and Crafts University in Beijing, considered one of the highest art institutes in China.


The Dragon Lover and Other Chinese Proverbs is both written and illustrated by Xuan. He used five different styles of paper cutting techniques to illustrate the five stories in the book. In the whole process of composition, traditional Chinese art was incorporated with modern western art.




Story of Paper

That's Ghost for You: 13 Scary Stories

Are you ready for a spine-tingling, soul chilling, heartbeat-skipping time? Then this creepy collection of ghost stories is just for you. You never know where you might run into a ghost, after all. You could be in a crowded swimming pool, on a sunny beach, or even in your own backyard. And in this collection, you'll meet sporits from all corners of the earth, from Scottish bagpipes to a vengeful clan of Japanese samurai ghosts. If you dare, take the plunge into darkness and terror, and pray that the spirits in these stories won't haunt your dreams afterwards.

Scary ghost stories from around the world, some previously published in the children's magazine "Cricket", are collected in this volume that includes tales of terror from Scotland, Mexico, and Japan, among others.


Xuan used basic black and white paper-cut techniques to compliment each story. This helped to add intrigue and mystery to these haunting childrens tales.