Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 29, 2015

Take A Look Sunday – Katherine Hwang


illustration for take a look Katherine Hwang1

CHRIS:  My first response to these images are “it’s not children’s illustration.”  As lovely as they are, I feel the imagery would be a ‘reach’ for little children.  They seem done more for an emotive response, and some knowledge of motherhood, angles, space etc. is needed.  I find I have lots of ‘story’ questions even to the ‘character’ of the angle/butterfly.  Visually it’s not obvious which is ok, but makes it hard to comment on.  And why space?…out of this world?  This might be wonderful with a set of poems about motherhood with a spiritual sensibility however, or a gentle nighttime story.  But the black and outer space might make a sleepy child uneasy?

I feel this is perhaps more of an adult style generally.  The highly detailed areas in hair and stars might be hard for kids to ‘see’ actually, thought they might really be mesmerized by them. I like the subtle constellation formations too in the second one, but that too is more adult perhaps? Or older child.  It could be an interesting sub story.  These are lovely and make me wonder…a good thing!… but this style might be a hard sell in the children’s market…would need just the right manuscript and publisher.

illustration for Take a look Katherine Hwang10 copy

CHRISTY: Hmmm. I don’t think that these pieces are necessarily “children’s” illustrations, but maybe for a very niche book? I think the artwork is very nice; very etherial and dreamlike – but there doesn’t seem to be a story here, or any correlation between these two pieces. If I had to guess, I’d say they were two images from an adult book about horoscopes, but there’s no storytelling happening here – which is essential in illustrating for children. The colors and composition used are lovely, but again, these are images that a young child would not really understand.

One element that I like very much is the Earth in the second piece. It has beautiful texture to it, and looks so rich and strong. I wish we could see the whole thing! Which leads me to my next question, which is “why is there a butterfly in outer space”? I understand that these are not realistic illustrations of space and the constellations, but then what IS the story here? These are questions that kids – and adults! – would ask. And they’d need answers!


Katherine Hwang is a musician and illustrator from Princeton, NJ. She grew up in western Montana, and moved to New Jersey to attend Princeton University. She graduated with a bachelor’s in music composition this past May. Now before starting graduate school, she is trying to decide whether to pursue children’s book illustration or continue with music composition, both of which she loves.

Katherine says, “Part of the decision process is beginning to do illustration commissions, such as the project below. The story is about a magical blanket named Luna that is given to a little boy by his fairy godmother/grandmother at his birth (first illustration) and that he then uses to help and heal those around him. The story ends with his Luna blanket encircling the entire earth, bringing peace and happiness to everyone (second illustration).”

The illustrations for this story were inspired by the stained-glass windows of William Morris and friends, and represent general feelings and ideas rather than exact moments in the narrative. The art was first sketched and then painted in watercolor, after which the backgrounds were color-inverted using GIMP software and touched up with a WACOM Intuos tablet.

Thank you Chris & Christy for taking the time to share their expertise with us. It helps so many illustrators and is very much appreciated. Here is the CATugeau Agency website link:


For the next few months illustrators can submit two consecutive story illustrations for critique by CATugeau Agency.

If you do not have an agent and would like to be featured and hear what you should do or how it could be tweaked to help you sell your work, then please send Two SEQUENTIAL illustrations – not just 2 pages of illustrations, but two with the SAME “story/characters‎” to:

Kathy.temean (at) Illustrations should be at least 500 pixels wide. Please put ILLUSTRATOR PORTFOLIO in the subject area and include a blurb about yourself that I can use to introduce you to everyone.

Each Sunday one illustrator will be chosen.

If everyone likes this, we will continue until the end of the year.

CALL FOR ILLUSTRATORS: Remember I’m always looking for illustrations I can use with articles I post. Send to: Kathy.temean (at) Put ILLUSTRATION FOR BLOG in the subject area. Remember all illustration need to be 500 pixels wide. Include a blurb about yourself, too.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Thank you for sharing, Katherine, Chris, and Christy!


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