Book Design: Chinese for Beginners

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I’ve always been interested in the Chinese language, but I am not a native speaker. I grew up in an interracial Chinese-American household and learned bits of the language here and there.

In 2014 (with some studying and lots Google Translate) I designed and illustrated a short book introducing basic Chinese to non-native speakers. The book follows the story of a cat named Xiao Mao (Little Cat) who wants to make new friends.

The book was self-printed with my lovely Canon and hand-bound with needle and thread.

On each page, the story appears on top while new words are introduced below in grid format. Readers can compare each Chinese character with its pinyin and english translations. New characters are always printed in red while repeated characters appear in black.

Included are several introductory pages on Chinese tonality, with tips on pronunciation and markings.

The book was displayed at Virginia Commonwealth University during the 2014 Winter Senior Show.

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Copyright Jez Towner 2018