Katie Fang’s debut children’s book is here!


Photo provided by Katie Fang

Rosary grad Katie Fang poses with her debut book, “The Magic Pop-Up Shop.”

Anna Jordan, Assistant Editor-In-Chief

You may have seen a few of 2022 grad Katie Fang‘s illustrations around campus on Ms. Barclay‘s board and on the captain sweatshirts of 2021’s “The Grand Illusion” Red & Gold. With such artistic talent, it’s not surprising that in her first semester of college at UCLA she recently wrote, illustrated, and published a children’s book, “The Magic Pop-Up Shop.”

A huge fan of Katie’s work, Ms. Barclay immediately bought the book after Mrs. Ward told her about it. She knew her 3-year-old son, Clay, would enjoy it: “I knew Clay would love this beautiful book. The art is great, and the story is uplifting. It makes me feel so happy knowing Katie is pursuing her art and inspiring others with her talent. I’d like to think it’s all because of my stellar teaching, but since I’m terrible at art, I cannot claim any real glory. Katie is a force of nature; I’m so proud of her.”

Let’s dive deeper into Katie’s new book and find out how this impressive Royal alum has transformed her love for art into a visual story for children:

1. When did you start drawing?

Katie’s art skills themselves are quite magical indeed! (Photo provided by Katie Fang)

I started drawing from around the age of three or four years old and never really stopped since then. As you can imagine, my drawings back then were more like a jumble of shapes and scribbles, but we all start somewhere.
2. Have you always wanted to illustrate a children’s book?

I actually never thought about creating children’s books until two years ago (when we had all the time in the world to just sit and think), so that is when I really started considering it. I’ve always loved the art of storytelling, and a children’s book seemed like the perfect form to fuse words and drawings together to tell a story. Even though it took two years for me to finally bring it into existence, it felt like a pretty spontaneous project.
3. What inspired “The Magic Pop-Up Shop?”

Katie’s novel went from sketches like this to an adorable children’s book. (Photo provided by Katie Fang)

The first ideas of “The Magic Pop-Up Shop” were a product of sitting in my room for hours during the summer of 2020, when I thought of a little coastal town and drew a sample magic shop. From then, I imagined the storekeeper as a child who seemed to know everything that the customers truly needed in order to seek happiness.

This character is an allusion to Antoine de Saint-Exúpery’s little prince in “The Little Prince,” which was also a huge inspiration for this book. After mapping out the stories for each customer, I wrote a script and started illustrating the pages.
4. What’s your advice for Royal artists that want to pursue illustration and other arts?

For the Royal artists that hope to pursue similar artistic passions, it is important to not be intimidated to start a project. Once you get past the first step, it is easy to let perfectionism take full control and discourage you from finishing (which is evident in how it took two years for me to publish my book).

The amount of times I started over, whether it was drawing in different styles or completely altering the storefront of the magic shop, was seriously frustrating to the point of nearly giving up. Even though it is good to invest time into the details of your project, it may become too overwhelming and even paralyzing. If you have a dream to create art, don’t let anyone (including yourself) stop you!

You can buy Katie’s book on Amazon (perhaps as a Christmas gift for family!), and make sure to keep an eye on Katie’s art Instagram, @a.bleu.spring, for more of her original art.