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Local Art Student Brings Hong Kong’s Wildlife to Life

Stephanie Suen

In a city with more than 7 millions people, it’s easy to forget that we share our home with an abundance of beautiful, and in some cases rare, wildlife. Luckily for us, 23-year-old art student Stephanie Suen is here to remind us with her adorable illustrations created for Matthew Cooper’s new children’s book, Black Rain Day.

Black Rain Day: A Hong Kong Adventure is a story about a girl named Neve who goes on an adventure through Hong Kong’s natural habitats with her talking animal companions. Basing on the author’s story, I took part in creating illustrations and designing characters for the book as well as working on its layout.

I was very excited when I was introduced to the project through Xavier Pick, my illustration professor at SCAD. I’ve always wanted to do book illustrations, and I was also intrigued by Matthew Cooper’s whimsical story. Animals have always been my favourite subject. All in all, it seemed to be the perfect opportunity!

Over 20 animals, all of which can be found in the various natural habitats in Hong Kong, are featured in the illustrations. I also included a view of the city from the Victoria Peak. While I didn’t literally depict the other places, I referenced the plant life and terrain from photos of Sai Kung and Lantau Island.

I am proud to take part in introducing the younger generation of Hong Kong to the beautiful habitats and creatures in the city, especially for children living in the urban areas who might not be aware of the variety of wild life living here.

I believe that most kids would prefer reading a picture book with a fun story rather than learning factual information from textbooks. It’s easier to grab their attention this way and spark their interest.

It is definitely important that children learn about wild life in Hong Kong. With recent government development projects, Hong Kong’s natural habitats are slowly but surely dwindling and rare species are being threatened. Children might never see the diversity of wildlife in their home city, which I find to be a great shame. Hong Kong is not just a concrete forest, you’d be surprised to see the diversity of wildlife sharing our home with us.

Children should know about them early on while they are still here. They are the future leaders and members of the society, it’s significant that they see how irreplaceable and precious our local wild life is. Perhaps they might even be motivated to take part in conservation.

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