I feel like I’ve started painting the illustratoins for this Panda story, "Okin the Panda Bear Fined his Family", just a couple of weeks ago.
But it’s actually 6 months had already passed!
Now, "Okin" is coming out to the world making this colorful book with more than 30 illustrations which I’ve created for this book.
Isn’t it gorgeous? *smile*
The story is about a little blue panda bear named Okin, who was ‘different’ from other panda friends. And getting through some heartwarming happenings, Okin eventually finds his place and a new family where he can be really happy being as what he is.
When I got the script from my publisher at its start, I found myself smiling reading the story. Story is simple, but containes some interesting themes, such as ‘two Daddy’ family, mixed colors, child adoption, sign language, etc. Especially, being an Artist in San Francisco where different cultures and various values on the styles of love are jostling each others, I felt a lot of empathy in this little tale. It was rather amazing that Jeff could weave such various subjects in this short story.
Jeff Lutes, who is the author of "Okin the Panda Bear Fined his Family", is a licensed sychotherapist, writer, public speaker, and social justice advocate in Austin, Texas. He is a member of the American Counseling Association, the International Association for Relationship Research, Counselors for Social Justice, the Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Issues in Counseling, the Council on Contemporary Families, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators.
And through the conversations with Jeff in the process of my illustration painting, I found he wrote this story based on his own life. Jeff and his partner, Gary Stein, are the proud fathers of three children they adopted as a couple. Gary and two of their children are deaf. American Sign Language is the primary mode of communication in their home. It is no wonder why all charactors and words are so vivit and lively here.
I am a believer in the third sex.
While homosexuality often has hard time to be accepted in some societies, I have to say that we could not forget that those non-sense custom was built mainly by the influence from religions. Before them, in the ancient cities that had built high advanced cultures such as ancient Rome, homosexuality was rather regarded as noble form of love.
Even in Buddhism, we Japanese has a famous story, " Chigo no sora ne- 稚児のそら寝", which shows Buddhism monks had some little boy in their temples with them for their sexual needs. I remember that I have learned this custom in a class at my junior high school.
If you are interested in digging into this subject about homosexuality and gay culture more, I would like to introduce these two great resources.
Anyway, in this Art world in San Francisco, I’ve been blessed with the chances to work with gay people. Most of them are wonderful business people who have keen sense of beauty, detail oriented and they are generally very romantic and sweet.
I love gay people.
Meanwhile, one of other main themes of this book was "Sign Language".
It was my first interesting challenge to create a hand sign list.
Here is the process of creating this chart. Click thumbnails to view lager images.
|1. draw painting base line||2. paint hands||3. paint back|
|4. scan all hands||5. extract each hands||6. make a grid by illustrator|
|7. copy grid on photoshop||8. inlay hands||9. add back|
|10. add alphabets||11. hide grid||12 add frame line|
"Okin the Panda Bear Fined his Family" has some quize pages in the end of the story where you can learn sign language playing with fun activities.
Let’s practice sign language alphabet and challenge the quize!
You can now order this fabulous book online.
Please visite Hiroko Sakai Fine Art Online Shop/ books / "Okin the Panda Bear Fined his Family"
Each books from my website comes with my hand signature.