I made some more sketches of the same character from the Mandarin Chinese textbook I use at work, a Russian girl called Lena who is studying in China. I was curious to see if I could make several sketches of the same character so that she would be recognizable – I’ve never really tried it before. And I guess I’m satisfied with the results, enough at least to try moving on to doing the same thing with some other character from the same textbook.
I guess part of why I like making illustrations for this textbook is that it reminds me of my own time in China (I studied there for 2 years, not counting all the short trips). I was drawing this Chinese food on the table, and I almost felt the taste of steamed dumplings from that little place near our campus in Shanghai. When I graw this sketches, I attribute my own experience to the characters and it makes them a lot more real for me, more like personal acquaintances than just generic textbook characters. And since I teach using this textbook everyday anyway, this adds another dimention to the teaching process. Plus it’ s good illustration practice, of course.