Make 100: Chinese Character Paintings (E-book & Audiobook)
Make 100: Chinese Character Paintings (E-book & Audiobook)

This project has already launched.

I am making original watercolor paintings of 100 of the most used Chinese characters! 

My name is Linda, and my vision is to promote multilingualism through art and stories... and this project is one way I hope to do so! I will also enlist some help from the Panda Cub (more about her later!) to delve into each character’s history/etymology and provide an example sentence for us to practice.

This project is for you if you are not only interested in learning Chinese, but also want to slow down and appreciate the stories and culture behind those characters you see! 

Start the journey towards Chinese literacy: one painting at a time!

Before launching into project details, here's the "why" behind this project: According to research, with a grasp of the 500 most common Chinese characters, you can read 75% of modern Chinese! After this project is over, I’ll plan to continue teaching the next 200, 300 etc characters through the @pandacubstoriesInstagram account. My goal is to help my audience reach basic reading proficiency by the end of 2019... and become increasingly literate going forward! I started this project in response to some of Panda Cub Stories’ older listeners who were looking for a more systematic way of gaining characters. (Also, I’m making it art-y because I can’t help it! Love this stuff :D )

About the Art:

Chinese characters have a beautiful and fascinating history. (Very) simply put, they are either a blend of pictograph representations (for instance, the character for sun looks like a little sun!), or they are abstract/symbolic representations of a concept. Thus, characters with a more symbolic slant will be composed of that same character’s translation in the world’s most commonly spoken languages, and pictograph characters will be made of tiny illustrations of the thing described! I've always found Chinese Characters to be beautifully intricate puzzles, little bits of meaning that fit together to create meaning. This is the inspiration behind my illustration style, which incorporates elements (different languages, miniature drawings etc) into the character itself!

Which 100 Characters? 

I've created a google sheet with all planned 100 characters. Originally, I was going to choose the first 100 characters by statistical frequency. However,  I realized that this would take a lot of characters out of context, which decreases our likelihood of remembering them. So, the characters I've chosen for the first 100 are roughly grouped by meaning category, and when learned together will allow you to form basic expressions/sentences! If there is enough interest for these first 100 characters, I'll go on to create more! If you are a level 3 sponsor and would like to request a character: please message me on Kickstarter directly and request! If the character is still available (I'll process requests on a first come first serve basis), I'll reserve it for you! If you want to email me ( with a request instead, please also include your backer number so I know which sponsor to match the request to!

Project details:

This project is simple—there are just three reward levels! The main one is limited to 100 sponsors, while the E-book and Audio-book are unlimited: 

Sponsor Level 3 (limited to 100 backers): 

  • This will be a first come first serve for each original character painting! I will post each drawing as each is sold - but please feel free to request a specific character (all of them are posted on the panda Instagram). If that painting hasn’t already been sold, I’ll make sure that one goes to you! Each painting will be signed by me, and the dimensions are 4” x 4”, and are watercolor on 140lb (300/g/m2) paper. You can see a list of all planned paintings (and their availabilities) here
  • Sponsors will also receive the full-color e-book I’ll be creating at the end of this project, as well as the audiobook version of the ebook.

These are some full shots of the Chinese Characters I've painted thus far: 

一 [Yī](Character #1)
一 [Yī](Character #1)


四 [Sì](Character #4)
四 [Sì](Character #4)


Sponsor Level 2 (unlimited): 


  • Sponsors will receive a full-color E-book containing all 100 character illustrations - Includes character details and example sentences! 
  • Sponsors will also receive an audiobook of the 100 Characters book! 
  • ^ This way, you can be serenaded by my voice! Ha. Kidding… a little.
  • (no joke: multimodal review is important for language acquisition! ) 


e-book example spread (not the final design!)
e-book example spread (not the final design!)




Audio book mock-up:) I really like this headphone stock photo!
Audio book mock-up:) I really like this headphone stock photo!




Sponsor Level 1 (unlimited):


  • If sponsors only want the E-book (or only want the Audio-book), you can choose this level:)




Maker's Note: 


Why do *I* want to do this project, and what makes me think I can see it through? 
Vision: Growing up in the USA,  the Chinese tales of my childhood really grounded me to my culture - and taught me to love the language and culture. I believe that good stories ignite a love for learning, and beautiful art engages us in wonder. So, as an artist and educator, my vision is to create art and stories to educate and inspire the next generation of children to learn Chinese. 
Skillset: My B.A. was in Visual Arts and Design - and my favorite medium is (surprise!) watercolor. I am also familiar with Photoshop and InDesign (the main tools I will be using to create the ebook). I've been producing my own audio for the Panda Cub Stories Podcast, and am confident I can produce the audiobook mentioned above!


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