Taiwan illustrator Chen Chih-yuan met with Mexican welcome at Guadalajara International Book Fair

"Every little thing in life can inspire creativity with the right stimulus," said Taiwanese illustrator Chen Chih-yuan, guest speaker at the 2015 Guadalajara International Book Fair's (FIL) illustrators program, who added that all his creations had originated from daily life. Asked how he turns seemingly mundane episodes into vivid stories, the author best known for Guji Guji said all it takes is a fire starter to spark off the readers' imagination.


The FILUSTRA program invites illustrators from around the world to share their creative experiences at the book fair and has been met with enthusiasm by young readers and up-and-coming illustrators every year. FIL Director Marisol Schulz opened the event in person and introduced Chen to an audience of more than 150.


Chen recalled a Zen meditation trip in Kyoto, Japan, over 10 years ago. He said he began to feel things differently in a slower tempo when he returned to Taiwan and had a brand new understanding of his own environs. Therefore, when he met a sprightly little girl on her way to buy her father eggs, he got the inspiration for the character Shau-yu in his On My Way to Buy Eggs.


Shau-yu rekindled his own memory of running errands as a child, buying groceries for his mother and getting free goodies from the kind storeowner. These memories from his own childhood, combined with the little games he used to play on the way to the grocery store, are the basis of that book.


The Mexican press was impressed with Chen's ability to express complex feelings with simple lines and transcend geographical boundaries while maintaining distinctive local sensibility. Chen said all his Taiwan-based stories are able to rise above the cultural barriers due to the universal value of human nature he depicts. "Perhaps it is because of the warmth that the readers feel when they recognize the elements of my stories from their own daily lives."

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