Illustrator Spotlight: Hương Nguyễn

© Hương  Nguyễn

We are excited to feature Hương Nguyễn and her website banner design for Kidlit411 in our Illustrator Spotlight. Welcome!

June 1, 2024

Tell us about yourself and how you came to illustrate for children.


Hi. I am a self-taught illustrator who just started on the illustration path four years ago. I always loved drawing as a child but, growing up in a less privileged family in a rural area of Vietnam, I was encouraged to pursue a “stable” career: becoming a teacher. When I moved to the U.K. and gave birth to my daughter, I suffered from the baby blues and I turned to drawing for comfort and relaxation. I think art is one of the essentials besides food, clothing and shelter. We need art to survive and to live our life to the fullest. I do a regular paycheck job but I indulge myself in drawing as a hobby. Illustrating for children enables me to relive my childhood and helps me create my own beautiful world of imagination.

© Hương Nguyễn


Congrats on your banner design for Kidlit411. Can you tell us how you approached this project?


In my imagination, there is nothing better than indulging yourself in a book in a quiet, tranquil world of your own. So, when I thought of a banner for Kidlit411, I imagined a place where a little girl is immersed in her own world with cute cats enjoying their books as well. I have never drawn so many cats before. It is a world where I would like to be; a nice, bracing, green environment, cuddling up with pets and reading a good book. 

© Hương Nguyễn


What is your favorite illustration medium/process?


My mother-in-law gave me a starter kit of watercolors with which I started illustrating, but my daughter seemed to be super interested in it. She never let me work for five straight  minutes without “snatching” my brushes and spraying paint everywhere. She insisted, “Mum, let me make your drawing better!” With her generous strokes of the brushes, my drawings actually looked more colorful, vibrant and cheerful and our carpet looked the same as well. 

© Hương Nguyễn

After a while, I switched to digital drawing using free software called “Krita.” I love it because it is very efficient, less messy and I can share my drawings instantly on social networks. Guess what, now my daughter always waits for her turn to draw on my computer after I finish my illustration. And she has mastered digital drawing so well. Fortunately, no more mess on our carpet. Anyway, I want to try different media: oil paint, gouache, pencil, charcoal, etc or a blend of traditional and digital drawing (and I know my daughter wants to try them too).

© Hương Nguyễn


What projects are you working on now?


I am working on a dummy book to illustrate a picture book written by me. It is entitled Adults are Bizarre! I got the inspiration for it from my daughter complaining about me and my husband when we stopped her from painting our whole house with watercolor. Similarly, my story is about a 4-year-old girl who likes to imagine and play pretend. She thinks grown-ups are bizarre because they cannot see the child’s world of imagination. The story is about a child who likes to imagine and play pretend. Dressing up with towels and blankets, she thinks she is a princess but her mum just sees a mess. Also, she together with her cousins play in the bathroom, pretending that the bath is their pirate ship but her dad tells them not to slip. Similarly, other relatives and her neighbours just see the mess, the clutter, and the mischief they make but not the imaginary world of the children. Eventually, she complains that adults’world is so boring and she wonders what keeps them going.


© Hương Nguyễn

I take things slow and allow myself as much time as I need to do the illustrations as a personal project. I want to enjoy it, relish it, savor it. I think enjoying the process is more important than the result. 


 What is one thing most people don't know about you?


Can I share a secret with you? I laugh easily and I cry equally easily. So I save good books when I sit alone, in a tranquil place, maybe high upon a tree with lots of cats. 


© Hương Nguyễn


Where can people find you online? 


My instagram is @huong_illustrator. My email address is lucythihuong (at) gmail. 

© Hương Nguyễn



Hương Nguyễn (Lucy), from Vietnam, studied education and linguistics at Hanoi National University. She was awarded a prestigious Fulbright scholarship in 2015 and worked at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA. She teaches Vietnamese language to international students at University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA under the program SEASSI (Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute). She worked as a lecturer at Hanoi Metropolitan University for more than 12 years in Vietnam before moving to the UK in 2018. She now lives in Lincoln, UK, with her family. As a keen member of SCBWI, she is interested in writing and illustrating picture books for children. She was shortlisted for the Faber Andlyn (FAB) Prize for new writers and illustrators created by Faber Children’s and the  Andlyn Literary Agency . She was one of the FAB commended winners for her illustrations in 2022 in 2023. She attended Writing for Children Courses conducted by HarperCollins Author Academy in Spring 2022.