Monday, December 30, 2019


I've been meaning to post this image and story for some time. A few years back, I was contacted by John Pavese, an author and publisher for whom I had illustrated a couple of book covers in the past, to create an image for the cover of a new book he and his wife Sokhary Kong Pavese had produced for a young, native Cambodian audience. The book "Make Your Luck, A Cambodian Teenagers’ Guide to Success" is designed to help young, mostly teenage Cambodians achieve a better life for themselves through learning simple skills that will help them adapt from their predominantly rural upbringings to the changing, more industrialized country Cambodia is becoming. It also projects a philosophy that "success at any cost" will not produce a happy outcome. The book warns the readers to be careful of the corruption that infects much of modern Cambodian society on many levels. The author, Sokhary Kong Pavese grew up in rural Cambodia on a rice farm. She worked for four years in Cambodian factories after high school before attending university. As Chairman of John Givonetti Giving (JGG), a Cambodian based charity, she has personally helped thousands of Cambodian teenagers develop the skills needed to be successful. The text of "Make Your Luck" is written in both English and Khmer.

For more on John Givonetti Giving, a wonderful charitable organization, see here.  JGG founder John Pavese is the nephew of John Givonetti, for whom the JGG is named, and who spent his life quietly performing charitable acts benefiting people around the world. More on Mr. Givonetti can be found here, and a detailed and moving obituary is located here.

John Pavese and I worked closely on the cover illustration, which depicts two young Cambodians and their water buffalo against a rural native background. Despite its outwardly appearing simplicity, I carefully researched each element in order to distill the concept down to an accurate image. The illustration, for the record, is rendered in my Cartoon Style 2, which I have utilized for many educational projects.

The book is available for purchase here.

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