Dress­ing up

Two HK artists who cre­ated the look of a new Can­tonese ver­sion of An­toine de Saint-Ex­upéry’s 1943 clas­sic will trade notes with a French au­thor-il­lus­tra­tor at the Hong Kong Book Fair this week­end. re­ports.

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - HK | CULTURE - In Can­tonese

It was a stroke of ge­nius by the French writer An­toine de Sain­tEx­upéry to have a small child in­ter­pret the world for his adult com­pan­ion in The Lit­tle Prince. For while an adult’s un­der­stand­ing of the world could be col­ored by ex­pe­ri­ence and the ex­i­gen­cies of the mo­ment, a child’s per­spec­tive is of­ten more di­rect and in­sight­ful, lead­ing, quite ef­fort­lessly, to the things that re­ally mat­ter.

The Lit­tle Prince of the epony­mous book is from an as­ter­oid. Dur­ing his trav­els through the space, the Lit­tle Prince lands on planet Earth in the Sa­hara desert, where he meets a pi­lot stranded in a plane crash. The two make friends and to­gether set off on a jour­ney across the uni­verse, meet­ing an atyp­i­cal cast of char­ac­ters along the way.

The story has en­chanted gen­er­a­tions of both chil­dren and adults since it was first pub­lished in 1943. A Hong Kong edi­tion en­ti­tled The Lit­tle Prince

was re­leased ear­lier this year with a Chi­nese text and il­lus­tra­tions by lo­cal de­sign­ers Michelle Chan and Aria Lui. Lui worked on the main il­lus­tra­tions in the book, cre­at­ing wa­ter­color im­ages based closely on Sain­tEx­upéry’s orig­i­nal draw­ings, while Chan cre­ated the book’s two Hong Kong scenes.

Both il­lus­tra­tors will take part in a cross­over event at the Hong Kong Book Fair on Sun­day, in a ses­sion mod­er­ated by Ni­co­las Del­salle-Mun, pres­i­dent of the An­toine de Saint Ex­upéry Youth Foun­da­tion. They will talk about the book and their cre­ative process. Join­ing them will be Cé­dric Fer­nan­dez, a French au­thor and il­lus­tra­tor who lives in Aix-en-Provence in the south of France. Fer­nan­dez works on the “Saint-Ex­upéry” comic strip se­ries, which tells the story of the life and ad­ven­tures of the French aris­to­crat and au­thor who was a pi­lot dur­ing World War II.

The trio of il­lus­tra­tors will also give live demon­stra­tions of their art and in­vite the au­di­ence to par­tic­i­pate. Lui, who is study­ing prod­uct de­sign at the Hong Kong Polytech­nic Uni­ver­sity’s School of De­sign, will of­fer a glimpse into how she added color to Sain­tEx­upéry’s sketches. Chan, a free­lance il­lus­tra­tor who de­signs iPhone cases, will demon­strate how she used dig­i­tal soft­ware to cre­ate fresh im­ages that would sit easy with the look and feel of the orig­i­nal.

Fer­nan­dez works mainly as a comic strip il­lus­tra­tor. Brush and ink are his main tools but he also works with other medi­ums and il­lus­trates books and games, among other things. At Sun­day’s event he will ex­plain his work in telling the story of Saint-Ex­upéry’s life through im­ages. “I’ll show my work process, the dif­fi­cul­ties of talk­ing about such a sub­ject, and I’ll show my cre­ation tech­niques,” he says.

Fer­nan­dez says he is cu­ri­ous to find out about the ex­tent to which The Lit­tle Prince res­onates with the read­ers in Hong Kong.

“In France, ev­ery­one has read The Lit­tle Prince,” he says. “It evokes many things for me, as it does for many. It’s a hu­man story, a dis­cov­ery of the world of adults through the eyes of a child, a cri­tique of the stu­pidi­ties of the world and also a homage to all the beau­ties that it over­flows with. For me, it’s a book that ev­ery­one should read.”

Other works by Saint-Ex­upéry have touched him even more, he says. “Terre des Hommes (Land of Men), for ex­am­ple, is a won­der­ful book that teaches us a huge amount about the au­thor and his way of look­ing at the planet we live on.”

Chan read The Lit­tle Prince for the first time as a child. She said she found it equally in­tensely mov­ing when she read the book again as an adult. “I cried again,” she says, touched es­pe­cially by the deep bond of friend­ship that de­vel­ops be­tween the Lit­tle Prince and the Fox. How­ever, re-read­ing the book as an adult, she found lay­ers of mean­ings about how hu­man re­la­tion­ships are fraught with both de­struc­tive­ness and re-gen­er­a­tion — an idea in­her­ent in the story that had eluded her as a child.

Lui, who also read the book as a child, feels she didn’t quite get it at that stage ei­ther. “I com­pletely didn’t un­der­stand what it was about,” she says. The mean­ing con­tained in the book seems to have ex­panded with time. “To me, The Lit­tle Prince is not only a story with wis­dom and phi­los­o­phy. It is also my life coach. It re­minds me to use my heart to feel things deeply when deal­ing with mat­ters. It has

Cedric Fer­nan­dez, one of the cre­ators of the comic strip se­ries based on the life and ad­ven­tures of Saint-Ex­upéry, will speak about his work at the Hong Kong Book Fair.

Aria Lui cre­ated wa­ter­color im­ages based closely on Saint-Ex­u­pery’s orig­i­nal draw­ings for

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