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Portraying the Story of a Complex Character Through Rich, Detailed Illustrations

Lauded by its ‘positively beautiful’ writing and ‘charming, stunning art’, The Abominable Norman won a grant from Singapore’s National Library Board and made a successful debut at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content.

SAYING YES TO THE MUSE

Think back to when you were a child – didn’t creativity seem effortless? Cartons doubled as rockets, spoons and upturned pots made for an instant concert, and Batman battled Barbie in complicated plot sequences.

But as we grow older, giving in to the creative urge often feels like hard work. Even if you manage to tune in to your inner child, free yourself from the demands of everyday life, and wrestle self-doubt to the ground, putting down a story on to paper is still an arduous task.

Still, to some of us, it’s the rewards that flow from creating that make the sweat, blood, and tears worthwhile. It’s what brought PaperplaneCo together and what compelled Chrissy Lim and Teressa Ong to create the story of The Abominable Norman.

And it all began with asking that all-important question — ‘what if?

BRING BACK THAT CHILD-LIKE WONDER

Shortly after the launch of our story apps for the iPad, Chrissy came across a colleague’s LEGO yeti. The miniature figure instantly stole Chrissy’s heart, and she found herself thinking of it while alone on a walk, one Sunday morning:

How would a young yeti feel, growing up alone, with no one to help find its way? How would he deal with these big feelings?

Chrissy was taken back to her childhood in London, the only one of three Chinese children in the neighbourhood, lonely and often left out. With her heart full, she turned homewards and took to her desk, putting down the journey of a young, sweet yeti called Norman, alone in the Arctic snows, embarking on a quest to find himself.

WRITE, DRAW, PERFECT

The LEGO yeti belonged to Teressa Ong, then chief illustrator at PaperplaneCo. Often feeling as shy and as awkward as Norman, the story of this bumbling creature tugged at her heart.

Bringing Norman to life was not going to be an easy task though. The Norman that Chrissy had conjured up was a giant, yet with child-like curiosity. He was shy and awkward, yet adventurous enough to set out alone in the vast expanse of the Arctic. To Norman, the world was strange and full of surprises — yet Norman, in trusting innocence ventures forth.

With inputs and inspiration from Chrissy, Teressa went to town — sketching yetis of all shapes and sizes — until they found Norman.

Chrissy and Teressa chose a cool teal-toned colour palette with a splash of orange for the visuals — an accurate representation of the stark landscape yet vibrant enough for a children’s book.

Teressa then brought out her pencil and inks — sketching and painting in painstaking, delightful detail, the story of The Abominable Norman. 

Panel by panel, 243 frames of captivating artistry brought Norman’s journey to life. Edits and refinements followed, until every detail was perfected and Norman’s quest was ready for the light of day.

WINNING HEARTS AND MINDS 

While still under production, ‘The Abominable Norman’ won a grant from Singapore’s National Arts Council. On a sunny Monday in May, Norman’s story debuted at the 2016 Asian Festival of Children’s Content and was warmly received by critics and audience alike.

Adorable and instantly relatable, Norman found his way into libraries, online stores, and children’s book festivals, and ultimately into the hearts of the young and the young at heart.

 

Most of all I am

the friends I meet along the way.

All these things I am,

and will be a little more every day.

— The Abominable Norman

“I absolutely adored the world that Lim and Ong were able to create. Readers of all ages will be captivated by the beautiful story and amazing art of Norman’s world. It is an essential to have on your bookshelf – whether you are a parent looking for a comic to share with your child or simply a adult longing for your own sense of wonder, The Abominable Norman is the graphic novel for you.”

— Kelsey Hlavaty from Talking Comic Books

Collaborators

Chrissy Lim

Chrissy Lim — Creative Director

“I live for the flow. Time stands still and every stroke, every pixel nudge is inspired by a supernatural genius.”

In a world riddled with complexity, Chrissy Lim has the background and imagination to make sense of it all, traversing the realms of technology, business, and creativity. In a world of flux, she connects the dots. She has steered two of her start-ups into multi-million dollar successes, and directed the global ad accounts for brands like Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola and Mercedes-Benz.

Chrissy founded Paperplane to bring together the promise of creativity and technology to celebrate stories in an age of new media. The interplay of disciplines is where Chrissy thrives, and where the classic paper plane gains its charm: a humble sheet of paper transformed through engineering and imagination. Photographer, scuba diver, inveterate foodie, Chrissy carries it all off with child-like enthusiasm.

Chrissy Lim

Chrissy Lim — Creative Director

“I live for the flow. Time stands still and every stroke, every pixel nudge is inspired by a supernatural genius.”

In a world riddled with complexity, Chrissy Lim has the background and imagination to make sense of it all, traversing the realms of technology, business, and creativity. In a world of flux, she connects the dots. She has steered two of her start-ups into multi-million dollar successes, and directed the global ad accounts for brands like Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola and Mercedes-Benz.

Chrissy founded Paperplane to bring together the promise of creativity and technology to celebrate stories in an age of new media. The interplay of disciplines is where Chrissy thrives, and where the classic paper plane gains its charm: a humble sheet of paper transformed through engineering and imagination. Photographer, scuba diver, inveterate foodie, Chrissy carries it all off with child-like enthusiasm.

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