Dean Owen

5 years ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility ~10 ·

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For Sale – Wife, and Gifted Illustrator

For Sale – Wife, and Gifted Illustrator

Well I think she is gifted, but then again, I am biased.


When little Ashley woke up crying this morning, she recounted, in little English, a dream she had of her first day at the new school, which incidentally is a couple of weeks away. We went to visit the school last week and little Ashley got to meet her new class. We introduced little Ashley to the children and the teacher prompted the whole class to say “Hello Ashley”. The kids did their best to respond, but clearly displayed difficulty in pronouncing the English name. Little Ashley cried little tears so we hit the school playground and she soon realized what a fun school this could be. Being the only foreigner in her class, she clearly felt different. I suspect her anxiety seeped into her dream.


A beautiful Saturday morning and stock markets closed (thankfully), I decided to make brunch with those lovely perilla infused sausages we picked up at the Japanese butcher. As I laid the dining table, I saw the sketchpad opened up with two freshly drawn sketches, one on each page. It is not often that Lei Lei has time to sketch, but today she did.

“What are these Lei?”

“This was little Ashley’s dream!” said Lei nonchalantly. She was clearly more interested in the sausages.

“These are good! You really should do something with your talent”

“This is China! Everybody can draw here”

As usually, she was right. I remembered the Hong Kong kids at school back in England. They were good.

“Draw a naked girl’s private parts!” one of the lads ordered. Low and behold, within a couple of minutes I saw sketchings of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I had no idea what they were or whether they were accurate. To me, they looked like orchids.

It was the same in Japan, Taiwan, and China. Literally everyone could sketch. Don’t ever challenge your Asian friends to a game of Pictionary.

I came to the conclusion that it must have been something to do with calligraphy classes where children are taught how to write tens of thousands of Chinese characters. When my old boss set up a new company, for the logo he wanted a perfect circle to be brushed with inkstone and fude. To this, he turned to a Japanese calligraphy master who, in one attempt, brushed the most beautiful circle.

I still think Lei Lei is hugely talented, and suggested she become an illustrator. In a way, she already is. She is a budding makeup artist. Her last assignment was for Chinese moviestar Ariel Aisin Gioro on some TV show gala performance. But instead of painting faces, I can’t help but feel her talent would be better used to illustrate children’s books or something.

So if any of you are considering writing a children’s book and are in need of an illustrator, give me a shout. I might know someone.


For Sale – Wife, and Gifted Illustrator

And no, little Ashley is not for sale...


Picture credit: Lei Lei 


Dean Owen is Co-Founder of Quimojo, a revolutionary new concept in Global Campus Recruitment.


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Comments
Lisa Gallagher

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #22

Dean Owen, your wife certainly is gifted! I could see her garnering many jobs illustrating for children's books. You have every right to be biased, your spot on!

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

5 years ago #21

#31
Thanks for the intro Deb over on Li. It's late now, but I'll be sure to follow up tomorrow. Much appreciated.

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

5 years ago #20

#26
#28 #29 Thanks Deb, Jena, Aurorasa. I did a challenge a few months back on beBee where I posted 4 illustrations from Lei Lei and challenged the community to write something. We had an overwhelming response from people like Donna-Luisa Eversley, Ken Boddie both who wrote some really cool poetry, and author Rod Loader even went so far as to write an amazing short story incorporating the four pictures - https://www.bebee.com/producer/@rod-loader/ashley-s-adventure

Franci 🐝Eugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador

#18
Thank you, Dean, you made my day. 😉

Gert Scholtz

Gert Scholtz

5 years ago #18

Dean Owen These drawings in 15 minutes! That IS talent. Thanks for the warning - I will surely not engage any Asian friends in a game of pictionary.

Pascal Derrien

Pascal Derrien

5 years ago #17

“This is China! Everybody can draw here” and offer well noted :-)

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

5 years ago #16

#21
But it is cyclical. I lived through the Brixton riots in London, IRA bombings (two that were very close to my home we actually heard them - Harrods and Chelsea barracks). Paris will be fine. I actually think that Brexit might well have been an excellent move as it finally allows Britain to sign free trade agreements with India and others without protests of French farmers and such. So I am right there with you, Let's face it, China and India are far bigger potential trading partners than Europe. I think China and India (I will not say Chindia) are the future and the West can dismiss progress here at their peril.

CityVP Manjit

CityVP Manjit

5 years ago #15

#16
My reservations about Paris have more to do with escalating and disturbing reports http://en.rfi.fr/france/20160904-thousands-french-chinese-protest-racist-attacks-paris Paris is a great city, but if things escalate more I may no longer be the right shade for it. The Blackstone Group initiated the Schwartzman Scholar Program with China, Schwartman is the Chairman, CEO and founder of Blackstone. http://schwarzmanscholars.org/ I am keeping my eye open for such initiatives. Schwartzman is smart to realizing the possibilities of this initiative at a time when populism in America is being stoked at being anti-China. Such populism may make me note the negative effects but sitting at the heart of my own search is for whatever is enhancing diversity. Anyone who is not understanding the relationship of China and India is not focused on the future, but only what has not worked in the past. I actually envy you living in Shanghai - for sure there are lots of problems, but there is a lot of progress also, and we nod heads here.

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

5 years ago #14

#15
Thanks Donna-Luisa Eversley. I was surprised at how quick she pumped out these two drawings (in probably less than 15 minutes while I was cooking).

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

5 years ago #13

#14
If I didn't know, I would have thought you were a designer Franci Eugenia Hoffman, (or a ballet instructor)!

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

5 years ago #12

#12
Thanks Paul Kemner. Will take a look.

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

5 years ago #11

#11
China is undergoing a rapid growth phase and it is remarkable to witness what has been achieved in little more than a decade. Social stability is paramount during this phase and history has taught us that civil unrest in China could easily derail progress. The govt is well intentioned and places the citizens first. The people I talk to everyday all express their satisfaction that standards of living have improved vastly. There will be a time for freedom of expression, territorial discussions, even possibly talks to discuss a democratic system, which will be uniquely Chinese. But the time is not now. As for Paris, well I would never say no to an opportunity to live there.

Franci 🐝Eugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador

Amazing drawings. I used to love to sketch, especially fashions. I often thought of being a designer. Don't let her talent go to waste and thanks for sharing.

CityVP Manjit

CityVP Manjit

5 years ago #9

#10
Sitting so far away from China, I am getting a far different cultural read. I will begin with Cody Delistraty's thoughts on "How Paris has become a Cultural Wasteland" http://matadornetwork.com/notebook/paris-become-cultural-wasteland/ I do not think that anyone who has nuance for history would hold anything other affectionate and romantic notion of Paris, but to live there now, at this time - a time when the major news of cultural centers is often about a terrorist attack rather than cultural ascendancy? I feel inclined to trust Delistray's insight, especially when I juxtaposition it with an Independent about the "The Remarkable Renaissance of Chinese Art" http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/news/the-remarkable-renaissance-in-chinese-art-1020489.html Historically I could be influenced by the terrible purge of Chinese intellectuals by Mao, or it is continual suppression of activists like Ai Weiwei but despite this, I look at the graphic on Chinese disposable income http://www.tradingeconomics.com/china/disposable-personal-income/forecast It is not good to be in the crosshairs of a government but that cannot exclusively define the emerging reality of wealth now East of the Suez. We all note "the day-to-day realities". Those realities are important because we live at the grassroots of existence, but we can imagine more at the 50,000 feet level and see things differently zooming out rather than zooming in. The same may be true of me, where I can't stand what Amazon is doing as a ruthless behemoth, yet I have great admiration for the impact of Jack Ma. I read about developments of Chinese mobile as reported in the NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/03/technology/china-mobile-tech-innovation-silicon-valley.html?_r=0 and that shifts my perspective further. Paris will always be a great tourist destination, but it no longer for me is great place to live. At this point we can return to the words "the day-to-day realities".

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

5 years ago #8

#7
Your comment once again leaves me speechless. Fortunately monetary concerns are not a priority in the family since I have experience wealth and poverty on a number of occasions and know now that it bears no relationship to happiness. But if all else fails, we can always move to Paris and she could become a street artist on Montmartre. Thanks CityVP Manjit

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

5 years ago #7

#6
Less competition in make up I suppose. Have you kept your sketches? Would love to see them. These double names are quite common in China, especially amongst movie stars, like Fei Fei, Ting Ting, Nu Nu. It's kind of cute.

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

5 years ago #6

#5
Those "Hooker Lips" are unreal! when I first saw them I truly wondered why the flower was not called the Tina Turner. I know those parts of London very well. Family lived in the Richmond Park area and I went to Kingston Uni, girlfriend lived in Barnes. There are still deer in Richmond Park I think, but all the red squirrels have been forced to seek asylum by the greys. I agree on the talent. Perhaps writing a children's novel should be my task, but you know me - I'd have problems keeping it sensible....

CityVP Manjit

CityVP Manjit

5 years ago #5

When one visits tumblr we see how rich it is with creativity and artists, that is until we ask the question, how much is original and how much is reblog. I found a tool online which hides the reblogs and only focuses on originality. My reblogs at Tumblr are always somebody else's art, so what gets picked up by this tool is only my text contributions. The tool is at http://www.studiomoh.com/fun/tumblr_originals/ and when I put my cityvp address through it, all the artwork is filtered out because it is 100% reblog. Once I pay attention to the massive volume of linking and reblogging, I can begin to focus on originality in relationship to the tsunami of distributed content. The same is true at Flickr. This means that while at a personal level between a husband and a wife, the encouragement of nudging a wife to bring profession and flow together should be lauded, one can also see by the way art is appropriated through social media, why so many artists and illustrators struggle to make a living - much harder today despite opportunities for exposure. Chinese language may be visual, but it is still personal flow. I am in flow with flow, which considerably irks my own family - because like any Mastercard advert says, somethings in life are priceless. Just the sheer joy of doing something without expectation of return is an incredibly powerful freedom - a freedom which is not available to all. It is the same freedom that gave birth to Wikipedia - a labour of absolute love of people in flow for a greater purpose - and here again, like Tumblr and Flickr, a few create value for the many. Yet we don't need to exhibit ourselves if our introversion is intelligent - and only if such exhibition is a natural flow of our extroversion. So it is I celebrate the private life, the original mind and the life in flow. OK, people have to make a living - but your wife is life making in what it is I celebrate.

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #4

#4
Just to add insult to injury, I am sorry to say that I am instantly attracted (on your interesting video link) to the 'Hooker's Lips'. The orchids we have in Oz seem to be much more boringly floral-like, or am I missing out by nor daringly climbing up pristine rainforest trees to examine orchids in their natural habitat? As for London, I initially had various flats I shared in the general Ealing area, then bought my first house (or rather what we used to call a maisonette) in Kingston upon Thames, living near the southern edge of Richmond Park, where there used to be deer. I worked for a while in Lord Byron's house by the Thames at Barnes and drove through the park daily on my way to work. Byron's house was 'listed' but had been converted to an office, although well preserved, and was on the Oxford Cambridge boat race course. As you can imagine, we had great parties on race day. Happy days. Now what are you doing about your good lady wife's art skills? These sketches of little Ashley are not as a consequence of calligraphy or make-up brush techniques. She has obviously had some art school training or else is amazingly naturally talented.

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

5 years ago #3

#2
Well I used to see a flower for what it was, and I always loved orchids. But then, I think it was Andrew Porter who introduced this video: https://youtu.be/3qNlk3FAb5c Now I see lots of different shapes in flowers, especially female body parts .... like elbows and knees... Now I never knew you lived in London, but kind of suspect you lived off the Gloucester Road right?

Dean Owen

Dean Owen

5 years ago #2

#1
I can totally relate to that! Today I visited a temple and saw a demonstration of this man making dragonflies out of blades of grass. He asked me to write something in the visitors book, which I tried... I'd forgotten how to write (legibly)!

Ken Boddie

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #1

I am surprised, Dean-san that Lei Lei is not already working as an illustrator, particularly after that interesting group effort we had on a Friday afternoon a few months back, about the little girl and the teddy bear, including DLE from T&T, sorry I mean Donna-Luisa Eversley? I once shared a flat in London with a book illustrator, who eked out a living on a freelance basis. His work was extremely and overly intricate and took him forever to complete. Didn't ever work out how he made any money. In my humble opinion, he didn't have half the talent that your good lady wife does, but this comes from one who's art and architecture studies at high school ended up with my art master pulling me aside and suggesting I followed a career in something less imaginative, such as engineering. Now, to illustrate my lack of imagination, when I look at an orchid, I see an orchid. You seem to be suggesting that I'm missing something? 🙄

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