"Seong-chan Hong was born in Seoul in 1929. In his childhood and youth, he experienced both the Jap- anese colonial era (1910-1945) and the Korean War (1950-1953), times of ordeal in Korean history. Hong belongs to the first generation of Korean
illustrators. From the beginning of Korea’s modern illustration history until now, he has worked continuously for about 50 years, and it is not too much to say that nearly every Korean has encountered his pictures at least once while growing up. He has
illustrated countless books for children, and regardless of the book’s content, his illustrations are tinged with Ko- rean characteristics. From his early work on, he has kept to the realistic style in his pictures, and this has proved its real worth
in various children’s books dealing with Korean history. Hong’s realistic pictures based on historical research are therefore of great historical value beyond just being illustrations. He is widely regarded as the best illustrator and genre artist of
historical books for children.
One book of his is "The Village where everyone is happy."
"A Servant from an Undersea Kingdom is sent topside to find out what is making the villagers so happy."
"Seong-Chan Hong was born in Seoul in 1929, where lived through both the Japanese colonial era (1910–1945) and the Korean War (1950–1953). Although not formally trained as an artist, he began his career as an illustrator in 1955, and quickly
established a reputation as an historical illustrator. However, he did not begin to work as a children’s book illustrator until the 1970s. The topics he illustrates are varied, but his main concern has been to highlight Korean history and traditions by
incorporating historically accurate illustrations into his works. For instance, his illustrations of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Emperor’s New Clothes to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Danish storyteller’s birth set the story in the
medieval Joseon era in order to highlight Korea’s own history.
"Hong’s fascination with Korean history and tradition is partly a result of the rapid changes Korea underwent in the twentieth century. The 35 years of Japanese rule brought about an abrupt end to many Korean traditions, starting with the removal of
the Korean Imperial family and later extending to changes in the school curriculum. The Korean War and the division of the country followed by the rapid industrialization of the region resulted in a population separated from its cultural and historical
past. Hong’s illustrations of Maeilmaeiri Myeongjeollalmam [Traditional Holidays] attempts to recreate Korea’s past by taking children through the customs surrounding Korean village life. The book depicts festivals and traditions such as ancestor
worship and farming practices throughout the year. The illustrations are drawn using the same kinds of brushes that would have been used by artists of that era.
"Hong’s style of illustration changed in 2009 when he experimented with ballpoint pens instead of brushes in Harabeojiui Sigye [My Grandpa’s Clock]. The change in medium reflects the content of the story. The clock, which is hung on the day the
narrator’s grandfather is born, is originally illustrated surrounded by people wearing hanbok and topknot hair and witnesses many traditional events during the grandfather’s childhood and early youth. The clock itself is stored in the attic,
symbolising the changes of the twentieth century. It is reinstated in the home in the final illustration depicting the family in Western clothing. The change in illustrative techniques signals Hong’s sense of the time periods he is illustrating. Hong
continues to work and promote a sense of Korean cultural history today."