Abu Dhabi Book Fair

I was certainly a busy bee from the 30th to the 5th of May!

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This year, I had participated in the Abu Dhabi Book Fair to promote my work as a children’s book illustrator. I was also looking for potential publishers for my latest book project. (hint hint)

I was really impressed by how huge and well organised the fair was. The illustrator’s corner was situated RIGHT next to publishers so it was perfect for my ongoing pursuit!

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The fair is not just for sitting still in the corner in silent bookworm mode, though!

Infact, it was actually quite interactive and action packed! There were lots of seminars on the agenda everyday on various topics such as culture and tourism, book launches, career strategies and so forth.

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I noticed there was some artistic activities for children to participate in so there was something for everyone!

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I must admit, I got a little bit bored of sitting around acting prim and well behaved so I decided to paint my booth walls on the last day! I always wanted to do murals on the wall for children’s room so it was great practice for me to just go to town.

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I decided to paint a mermaid – I had always done mythical fashion illustration ones in the past, so for this one I wanted her to look child like, sweeter and more cherub-y (is that even a word?? haha!)

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Here’s how it turned out!

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Although Abu Dhabi is quite a trek for us native Dubaians, it’s well worth it and I highly recommend checking it out next year!

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Humphrey the Hippo

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One trait that everyone always notices about me is that I am very imaginative. I always have a habit of envisioning bizarre humourous scenarios in my head and then when telling a story, I laugh much harder than anyone else in the group …followed by several minutes trying to explain why it’s so funny, followed by quizzical looks and an awkward silence and sparse hesitant chuckles.

You just had to be there.
In my head.

This is why the art of storytelling appeals to me so much. I can finally put my imagination to good USE.

I’ve always had a soft corner for children’s books – particularly the offbeat zainier ones by Roald Dahl or Dr Suess.

With Roald Dahl, I just loved how some of the stories were so tragic YET so hilarious – for example a kid being orphaned because his parents got eaten by a killer tiger at the zoo (sure…because that happens all the time?!)

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Don’t even get me started on the illustrations of Quentin Blake! His illustrations seem so impulsive with such a unique sense of character ..I just adored them! The Twits was my personal favorite! It was genius, random, mad and wonderful!

I always wanted to get into children’s books and my dream came true when I teamed up with American author Kelly Sheehy Degroot to create the Princess Charleston and the Isle or Palms series. It was such fun to do those books because Kelly gave me such freedom to explore and interpret her characters and scenery so I had a grand time experimenting!

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I’m proud to announce that I am finally releasing my very OWN children’s book, “Humphrey the Hippo.” This is very exciting for me as it’s the first time I have written a book as well as illustrating it so it is a very personal project.

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The story is a very simple and relatable one – it’s about a shy hippo who has a tendency to worry and over-analyse every situation. One day his classmate throws a party and, Humphrey being Humphrey, imagines all the possible terrible embarrassing potential situations that could arise. In the end of the book … you’ll just have to wait and see what happens! I’ll leave you in suspense! Tonight the e-book version of the book releases precisely at the stroke of midnight (how very cinderella!!!) It is being published by American publishing house Tuxedo and Beans. Here is a sneak peek of some of the pages and illustrations.

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Enjoy!