Bei Lynn is an award-winning artist from Taiwan who has illustrated around 20 picture books for children, some of which she has also written. Bibbit Jumps is her first book translated into English.
She took over the Gecko Press Instagram account on Thursday 13th August to share her day and also gave a sneak peek of her next book coming out next year!
Hi everyone, I’m Bei Lynn from Taiwan. I’m so happy that Gecko Press has published my book Bibbit Jumps, allowing Bibbit to speak English and jump up where you can see him to tell his stories.
I really envy my little frog because I have never been to New Zealand, but he could just hop, hop and hop straight over there!
2020 is a very special year: although we have been forced to stop travelling, this story has found a way out.
Bibbit is a little frog who has forgotten how to swim, and may not be brave enough sometimes, but he is very persistent and loves the things he loves with all his heart.
He is always jumping, trying to jump higher, trying to jump with different styles, and trying to jump to make more fun. It might be a bit silly in the eyes of others, but his friends understand him, and even a rainbow comes to practice with him.
Here are some photos of my studio in Taiwan:
This is a sketch from my recent picture book that tells the story of a dinosaur going to the library with a child … but can the dinosaur get into a library?
Gecko Press is publishing this book next year!
I love telling kids stories. After the dinosaur book was published, I went around bookstores for story times with all the children.
This sketch is from a story time when Bibbit Jumps was published in Taiwan. One of the children is holding that book.
And this Sunday, I am going to tell stories on a small bridge in front of a beautiful small bookstore. Getting ready to tell everyone about this, my work desk is cluttered again!
My favourite tool is the pencil. I can’t express myself as well with pencil and watercolour. So when I use watercolour to paint, I like to use water-based marker pens.
The illustrations in Bibbit Jumps were mainly drawn in this loose and simple way. I think this suits the characteristics of the story and the personality of the characters.
In the final chapter An Adventure, I used a collage of real photos. First, I converted photos of houses and cars taken on the street into monochrome and flattened them, then I scanned hand-drawn drawings of frogs, etc. into the computer, and combined the layers in Photoshop.
Here is the story behind some more of the scenes in Bibbit Jumps:
Taiwan is an island with a varied terrain and many islets. I was born and raised in Taipei, which is the busiest city in Taiwan and full of buildings and cars. Fortunately, there was still a paddy field in front of my home when I was a kid which gave me a beautiful setting for my first book. Taipei is also a basin and we can get close to the mountains easily.
This picture from Bibbit Jumps is a typical view of the top floor of a downtown building in Taipei. I used the photos of the building near my home as a collage, the distant mountain is Xiangshan.
When the book was published in Taiwan, we found a frog and took it to my publisher to produce an animation. After we were finished, the frog and I went home on the bus.
One thing I have to admit, I arranged for the characters to go to the top of a tall building so Bibbit could take the elevator!
I laughed for a long time when I wrote and drew that scene!
Little Frog is Bibbit’s sister, and I think she is also the other self in Bibbit’s heart. When one keeps moving, the other is calm; when one withdraws, the other moves forward bravely.
Little Frog is orange: there is a reason for this and I will draw the story later.
I also want to introduce everyone to the little green man in the traffic light of Bibbit’s adventure to the city, who ignores Bibbit and just keeps walking and walking.
In Taiwan the little green man in the traffic lights can walk:
Whatever painting material I use when I’m painting and colouring, I don’t like to restrict the colour within the outline. I like to stagger the colour and line so the object looks like it moves.
This video shows my technique – I’m sorry that sometimes the picture goes off screen because I draw with my right hand and hold the phone in my left, my eyes can’t always monitor the screen.
In the first half of the video, you will hear someone talking. It is my niece, saying: “Grandma, it’s delicious, thank you Grandma!” (But I don’t know what they are eating). Then you might hear a burst of sounds in the background, sometimes strong and sometimes weak. I think these are from crickets and different kinds of toads. I recorded these from the studio’s window in the middle of the night.
The English version of Bibbit Jumps has a brand new look. I like it very much. I visualised this book wearing a green book jacket just like a frog and jumping with energy like a frog.
Thank you, Gecko Press. Thank you for your companionship. I will continue to write and draw from my desk to connect with you far away.
Thank you, Bei Lynn, for showing us behind the scenes of your illustrations and studio. And ribbit, Bibbit!
Bibbit Jumps is a charming illustrated chapter book for emerging readers about an enthusiastic frog who sometimes misses the mark. Bibbit Jumps is available now from wherever you buy or consume your books and on our website.
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