The Prince, the Princess, & the Pearl

Kristen Chow

See it On Campus: Level 2

Visitor Info

Welcome to a world filled with princes, ninjas, and magic boba pearls

Hi there, and thanks for checking out my project! Which part would you like to look at first?

Project Introduction

~ I made a children’s book dummy! ~

What is a book dummy?

A book dummy is a full draft/model of a picture book. It includes sketched pages and text that are organized and laid out accordingly, as well as several finished illustrations to provide an example of how the actual finished book could look like. For my project, this is exactly what I created!

From writing the manuscript to sketching thumbnails, and finally implementing colour, each stage of making this book dummy allowed me to obtain further understanding of what it means and takes to bring a story to life.

What is this story about?

The Prince, the Princess, & the Pearl is a story based on the classic European fairy tale The Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Andersen. But instead of a pea and a kingdom, we are now in a magical bamboo forest, filled with East-Asian elements and other wacky things, like ninjas, boba, and an adorable fish-chicken hybrid that goes by the name of Lychee.

The narrative itself follows Prince Yù as he figures out what he really needs, and addresses themes like the importance of true friendship, breaking stereotypes, and communication.

My whole life, I’ve grown up surrounded by so much amazing storytelling and art from both the East and West whether it be movies, plays, novels, anime or manga. However, I felt like there wasn’t really a story or world that I truly connected and related with as someone who had such a blended and merged cultural experience. With this project, from the plot, to the setting, and even the character designs, I wanted to bridge that gap between the two cultures, and create a story that I know I would have loved when I was a kid, and I hope others like me will too!

Process & Development

~ A little behind the scenes ~

Sketches & Concept Work:

Before I got to drawing any of the actual pages from the story, I wanted to figure out what everything would look like.

Setting: The story is set in neither a modern or historical time era, but somewhere in between. There are parts in the story where very modern activities are present, like karaoke and boba. But at other points, with the design of the buildings and clothing, it seems as if this world is of the past. I wanted this ambiguousness to add to the fun and whimsy of the magical world.

Characters:(From left to right & down: Meet Anzu, Prince Yù, the Queen, the Mountain Wizard, & Lychee!) Even though this story is heavily influenced by Chinese & Japanese culture, I still wanted it to feel like the fairy-tales I was familiar with. So instead of Chinese robes and headpieces, I opted for the very story book European style crown for Yù and the Queen, as well as a pointed hat for the Wizard. For Anzu, I wanted to keep her design minimalistic, yet identifiable – in order to contrast the rest of the cast, and to show the reader that perhaps she’s from somewhere else.

*Fun fact: Lychee is inspired by both lychee fruit, and Taiyaki, a popular Japanese snack.


After writing the manuscript and sketching, drawing these thumbnails helped me figure out the pacing and page flips of the story. This part was the hardest, and went through many versions before settled.

Book Dummy Flip-through & Final Art

~ read the whole story below! ~

Final Coloured Artwork:

Front & Back Cover + Endpapers:

Printed Book:

Kristen Chow

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Kristen is a Canadian born Chinese illustrator based in Vancouver. She works to bring colourful stories and characters to life, drawing inspiration from her life and the culturally blended nature of it. She also enjoys adding fantastical elements for an extra magical touch, filling her worlds with light, texture, & various patterns. When she’s not painting, Kristen can be found eating pastries, hanging out with loved ones, and cuddling her two cats!

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