11-year-old is starting to draw notice“Dear, what are you drawing now?”
“It’s a snake, dad.”
“What’s its name?”
“I call it ‘Little Zigzag’ ― you know, snakes crawl in zigzags.”
“Right, dear. It looks just wonderful. You are the only one who can draw ‘Little Zigzag.’”
From a simple conversation like that one two years ago, a cartoon was born. Kee Sae-rim is just 11 years old, and goes to Suju Elementary School in Bucheon, Gyeonggi province, but already she has published a book of her cartoons, “Jajangmyeoneul Meogeun Kkoburi” (“Little Zigzag, Who Ate Chinese Noodles”).
The author may be small, but her book is creating big waves. The Korea Culture and Contents Agency has chipped in to the tune of 10 million won ($8,200). “The storyline and cartoons were both well-structured,” says Park Seong-sik with the agency. “The cartoon did a good job presenting the world as seen from an innocent child’s eyes, which makes it quite marketable, as well.”
Sae-rim’s father, Kee Hyo-seok, 44, is something of a character himself. He is an inventor, responsible for, among other things, a cigarette lighter with a bottle opener attached.
Last year, however, Mr. Kee decided to focus more on his daughter’s talent, establishing Little Zigzag Inc. “One day, Sae-rim had her socks mismatched,” he says. “Asked why, she said she liked it that way because it looked like magic to see the colors change as she walked. That’s when I realized it’s my job to encourage my children to be children.”
In the book, Sae-rim talks about little episodes from her daily life ― like her struggle to get a pet, even though her grandmother did not want one, and her wish for her father to spend more time with her. But she also has a keen eye for what’s happening around her. For one thing, she wonders why the mother of a class president would hand out hamburgers and Cokes. “Isn’t a flowerpot or a fishbowl better than a hamburger?” she asks.
Sae-rim’s dream is to become a popular cartoonist specializing in the romantic genre. “Daddy, do you think my Little Zigzag will become big a name?” she wonders.
Mr. Kee answers with a broad smile, “Sure, it will be more popular than Pokemon.”
by Jung Hyung-mo
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