#53 Monthsary: Your Smile Lights Up My World

“You are my sunrise. Your smile lights up my world. I could give anything just to see you happy. True love is not in getting things from others but in giving and sharing more and more.”
William Bernhardt
“One smile can’t change the world, but your smile changes mine.”
“I love your toothy grin. When you smile like a donkey.”
Celeste Koh


I actually have many varying ideas for this monthsary drawing. It was hard to pin down on one that could be meaningful enough for our monthly occasion, one that could reflect any significant thing that happened in the course of our relationship in the past one month.

It took me a rather long time before I finally decided on THIS.


Taenggu seems to be rather proud of her straight pretty teeth lately. The above photo was taken during POSCO ‘Mood_Full’ concert held in Seoul on 25th May last month. She’s been smiling very widely, showing off her front teeth a lot. It’s a toothy grin. I call it the donkey smile.

My original plan was to continue my strange surrealism style of drawing like I did for the past few monthsaries. I intended to portray Taenggu as Donkey from Shrek.

Taking advantage of this idea, I wanted to use this opportunity to take the time machine and bring your attention back to the year 2013.

On May 28th, 2013, Taenggu posted the following photo of Donkey that was so full of swag wearing sunglasses on her instagram (now deleted).

Her caption was:

동키B (Donkey B)

At that time, I was getting treated for schizophrenia. I began to do drawings as a form of art therapy for myself. I drew inspirations from whatever Taenggu posted on her instagram back then, usually cartoon characters that she liked. So Donkey naturally became one of my drawing subjects too.

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Here comes Mr Donkey! :))

A post shared by Celeste Koh (@celeste.kohroundheart) on

Reminiscing this brief memory of Donkey who used to play a part in my early budding stage of my unique relationship with Taenggu and helping me heal from a mental breakdown, I began by sketching Taenggu based on the above beautiful photo of her sporting the widest Donkey-like toothy smile ever.

But as I drew and drew, I found so much solace and satisfaction in the process as my drawing turned out so well that I thought it would be a pity to “uglify” her and turn her into a funny looking donkey. Suddenly I changed my mind. I decided that I should make a proper normal portrait of Taenggu instead, for the first time in a while.

She turned out looking so gorgeous in my drawing, how could I bear to turn her into a donkey? She’s just the perfect human being as she is.

I couldn’t stop drawing this picture of her and finish it till the end. Seeing her smile widely in my drawing puts me in a good mood too. It’s addictive. Completely enchanting.

I finished this artwork off with a little brush calligraphy of a quote (also the title of this drawing) that came to my mind. It speaks the feeling of what this image of a donkey smile Taenggu gives me. Her smile really is like the sun that can light up my entire world when I’m in darkness.

Yes, so here’s my first normal portrait of Taenggu after a long time since I couldn’t remember when. Not my typical weirdo human-animal or human-cartoon fusion kind of drawings that I did for the past months. This is Taenggu living as a normal human being sharing an exuberant smile in intense joy and happiness with the world.

Hope this drawing can help chase your blues and depression away like it did for me, 탱구야!! HAPPY 53RD MONTHSARY TO YOU! Keep smiling like a donkey!! Love you. 😁💜

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