Meet & Mingle with Comic Artists & Illustrators

Hi guys! Are you in the mood to make new friends? Then don’t forget to check out the Meet & Mingle with Comic Artists & Illustrators event organised by Six Degrees! If you can make it on 28th June, then do drop by because they’ll be inviting peeps from Epigram books, OIC, TCZ Studio and many other individuals & organizations from the industry. =)

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Have fun and don’t forget to have your dinner before making your way to the event venue! There’ll be finger food, I think but I don’t think it’s enough for a full meal. Hehe. Oh and do RSVP at this link so they’ll know how many people to prepare for! XD

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JADA: Private Digital Illustration/Painting Course

Hiya guys! If you’ve always wanted to pick up drawing and digital painting but:

  • have no time
  • find traditional arts school too expensive OR
  • are interested in learning but too shy to venture forth?

Then JADA, the private digital illustration/painting course may JUST be the answer to your prayers!

What is JADA:
JADA is simply a one-on-one private digital drawing/illustration/painting course which is suitable for people from all walks of life and ages. 3 reasons why it’s different from the rest of the art courses out there:

  1. The one-to-one sessions: the teacher will be able to focus fully on you
  2. Comfort of your own home: you get to practise creating art in familiar and comfortable surroundings
  3. Small scale: each class is conducted on a small scale, which means that you only need to make a small investment and hence minimise the expenses you might incur from art lessons.

Curious to know more about the course? Visit the Josh’s website at http://joshlaboratorie.blogspot.sg/2013/03/jada-private-digital.html or email him at joshlabindustries[at]gmail[.]com for queries/commissions.

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NLB exhibition: Singapore 24-Hour Comics Day Showcase

If you’re an aspiring mangaka or comics artist, you should check out this showcase by the Singapore 24-hour Comics Day team. Featuring 16 works created during the 24-hour Comics Day event, you will get to see exactly what gets done within a short time-frame of 24 hours! =D

Launch event: 
Where: Programme zone, Level 1, Jurong Regional Library
When: Sat, 30 Mar, 10-11am

Exhibition:
18 March – 2 May, Jurong Regional Library (Skybridge, Level 3)
3 May – 18 June, Sengkang Public Library
19 June – 31 July, Serangoon Public Library

Don’t forget to RSVP your interest at: http://www.facebook.com/events/194537660670413/! Have fun.

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Prologue looking for writers

Hiya guys! Xmas is creeping up ever closer so have you done your shopping yet? Well, don’t panic if you haven’t even started. Christmas should be a time of reunion and joyous fun, not stress from having to buy people stuff they probably don’t need. XD

Anyway, I know I haven’t exactly been very active these couple of weeks but I HAVE been writing on my other blog which is a travel blog. If you’re bored…you can probably check it out for kicks. Hehe. It’s mostly on my travels to Taiwan and my personal thoughts about them. May or may not be helpful, but I hope my insights will be useful somewhere somehow. *beams*

In other news, I have been playing a lot of Aion. If you’re a gamer, you’ll know what it is. If you’re not…well, it’s a MMO that consists of creating a character from 4 basic classes namely warrior, mage, priest and scout. These classes will then split into 2 respective sub classes after you’ve reached level 10. So for warrior, you can pick from Templar or Gladiator. Mage will be either Spiritmaster or Sorcerer. Priest will be Cleric or Chanter. And last but not least, Scout will be ranger or assassin.

In my enthusiasm to try out the different classes, I created 3 different characters–1 Spiritmaster, 1 Gladiator and 1 Ranger. I started on the Spiritmaster first, then I got bored and went to do up a Gladiator for fun. Who knows…I actually like the Gladiator better than the Spiritmaster! Haha. I guess every character has its own strengths, but I think my personality suits the Gladiator more. LOL.

In any case, I’ll be playing these two characters fairly often. If you guys are also on the game, do say hi if you ever see me stumbling along! I’m still a noob at MMOs so please forgive my clumsiness. I’m Mayaserana as a Gladiator and Luthiea as a Spiritmaster. Oh, and my Ranger is Beldaran…if I get bored with my two main characters. XD

My character after consuming a candy that turns things into reindeers! Known as Gankers in Aion...heh

My character after consuming a candy that turns things into reindeers! Known as Gankers in Aion…heh

And yes, here is a piece of news from the National Arts Council for the writers and the reason for starting this post before I went out of point about Aion. =p

More exciting opportunities for writers here! Local publisher, Prologue, is looking for manuscripts for its new English book imprint which specialises in children, young adult and fiction genres. Please send two to three chapters of the manuscript (not more than 5,000 words) in hardcopy to:

Attn: Publishing Manager

Prologue Publishing

20 Old Toh Tuck Road

Singapore 597655

Do include a cover letter with name, contact details and a brief synopsis of the submitted work.

Deadline: 28 December 2012

Good luck and have fun doing your Xmas shopping!

Interview: ilovebooks

Hi guys! As I write this, menacing clouds are gathering outside in anticipation of a heavy pour. It’s been raining almost every day here due to the monsoon season and I must say that it’s done nothing but make me sleepy when I should be working. >.<

Anyway, today we speak to ilovebooks–an ebook platform by MediaCorp Singapore that offers readers more options online to read their favourite books and more! Apparently they are on the lookout for writers who want to sell their books online so I’ve managed to secure a short interview with them to find out all about this newly opened platform and what it can offer Singaporean writers! =3

Enjoy!


Tell us all about ilovebooks.
ilovebooks.com is a digital initiative by MediaCorp, devoted to the love of the e-word. ilovebooks.com allows book lovers to buy e-books choice from any country in the world. From mystery to medicine, humour to horror, there is an e-book for every palate. With more than half a million e-books, ilovebooks.com is one of the leading e-bookstores in the region.

What inspired MediaCorp to start ilovebooks?
With digital publishing gaining traction around the world, ilovebooks.com aims to promote and grow the love of e-reading among its members. Besides an impressive library of books, it also makes it easier for book lovers to read by creating a MediaCorp e-reader app that allows e-reading, anywhere, anytime on a tablet or mobile device. Understanding the need for an e-book store that is skewed to the Asian market, ilovebooks.com also serves as a platform for international and local publishers to offer their e-books to Asia-based readers.

When did ilovebooks officially open its online doors?
ilovebooks.com started operations on 11 May 2012.

How has the public response to ilovebooks been so far?
We are very encouraged by the response we’ve received over the past 6 months. The support we have received locally has shown that ilovebooks has a definite place in the literary circle. Membership numbers are growing daily and we are seeing strong interest from book lovers from other parts of the world.

What type of books are most popular with your readers?
Popular genres include fiction, romance and young fiction. We are also proud that our readers are extremely supportive of Singapore authors and titles. We have seen positive responses to titles like “Return to a sexy island” by Neil Humphreys and “ Memoirs of a DJ” by our very own Vernetta Lopez. From time to time, we also run offers and special promotions on specific titles and these have been well received.

Do you host author/artist related events to promote your books? If so, tell us about them.
We take great pride in our efforts to collaborate with our authors in using digital media as an interactive communications channel. We’ve conducted several video interviews with authors such as Adeline Foo, Neil Humphreys, and Vernetta Lopez, which are posted on ilovebooks. In May, we’ve organised a Meet-the-Author session featuring local artiste Edmund Chen where we promoted his e-book Little Otters to the Rescue. In October, we hosted a live author ‘meet the fans’ online question and answer session with local author Daniel Wong, based on his book The Happy Student. For Singapore Writers Festival 2012, we are also working with authors to launch two books – Tabungan Alysha (Alysha Saves the Day), an interactive book app for the iPad; and Adeline’s new e-book The Diary of Amos Lee 4: Lights, Camera, Superstar!

What’s in it for writers/artists if they distribute their titles with ilovebooks?
As part of MediaCorp , ilovebooks offers authors the opportunity to market their titles across an entire range of platforms spanning television, radio, newspapers, magazines, movies, digital and out-of-home media. As Singapore’s first international book store, we are enabling titles to be sold to a growing worldwide audience.

Interview: Xiao Yan

There goes another week! Which means it’s time for yet another interview with an inspiring and AWESOME creator! =3

Today, we speak with Xiao Yan. To be frank, I only discovered her when Michelle from Epigram gave me a preview copy of her collaboration work with Dave Chua. It’s called “The Girl Under the Bed“, which is a supernatural tale set in Singapore during the Ghost Festival when all ghosts come out to play. Bwahaha. I love the story, and I love the illustration even more. Truly worth her salt, I gotta say! Hehe. Well, hope you enjoy the interview then!


Who is Xiao Yan?

I’m studying graphic design at the School of Art, Design and Media (ADM) in Nanyang Technological University (NTU), ’cause they don’t have a major for illustration here and I was interested in both animation and a bit of graphic design… And it’s like, illustration is applicable to both. But anyway it’s nice that they teach painting and figure drawing in my school; and they welcome anybody to take these courses so that’s good enough for me.

What does being a comics artist mean to you?

I can’t really answer that ‘cause I just started as one. Before this project I was just drawing my own stuff, some school posters which I had a lot of fun with, and a few commissions now and then. Sonny Liew happened to teach my comic book class last semester. I showed him some work one day and I asked, ‘Could you give me any pointers for self publishing?’ and he said, ‘D’you wanna draw for a comic?’

Turns out that Epigram Books was trying to push for a graphic novel initiative, with local artists and writers showcasing Singapore-based fiction, and Sonny asked if I wanted to be involved. So I said, ‘Okay.’

I guess, being a comic book artist just means pushing out your own (or others’) stories and hope people like them. Or not. Or they don’t know how to feel about them. Any of the three responses is fine by me.

What is your creative process like?

In this book? It’s my first time teaming up with an established writer, so I really didn’t know what to expect? Before this I had only worked on my own self-initiated stories and pet projects. Anyway, Dave provided the dialogue and storyline and trusted me to work out how everything translates across the panels. I also helped him out with fleshing out the characters and some aspects of the plot.

I’ll do thumbnail sketches first and then I’ll run through my storyboarding with a friend, and he’ll point out what could be improved, or what to put in to make the pages more interesting, or if there’s any plotholes or weird jumps between panels and he’ll suggest solutions to iron them out. I think it’s good to have an outside party reviewing the story… in that sense, he’s sort of an unofficial editor for the book. I feel it is important to work with someone who is able to critique the work constructively while being aware of and contributive to the creators’ artistic intentions.

What is it like working with a writer like Dave Chua on “The Girl Under the Bed”?

Dave is cool, he’s not tyrannical with what I’d do with his story, and he’s open-minded to my visual interpretation of how it plays out.

Of the works you’ve done so far, what is your favourite and why?

I don’t really have a favourite, I’m forever wishing there’s so many things I could improve on my drawings, the more I look at the amazing stuff other people could do. But then again, to each their own.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about being a comics artist?

I came across an interview with American comic book artist Becky Cloonan (who drew Demo, American Virgin) sometime ago, and she said this that really drove the point home:

“Comics are hard work. Comics are relentless. Comics will break your heart. Comics are monetarily unsatisfying. Comics don’t offer much in terms of fortune and glory, but comics will give you complete freedom to tell the stories you want in ways unlike any other medium.”

To most people a career in comics seem really bleak unless you made it out there, but it’s a special kind of creative freedom you can enjoy, and for a price…

How can a comics artist appeal to a publisher like Epigram Books?

I can’t really answer this personally for myself, since I was recommended by Sonny. But I think most importantly before approaching any publisher you gotta have a solid body of works to show.


Xiao Yan’s work can be found on her website at thirdtentacle.net. Do keep an eye out for this very talented artist! =3

Interview: Drewscape

Christmas is almost upon us! Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? I think I’ve said it before but time really passes too quickly for my comfort. Anyways, today we chat with Andrew Tan…otherwise or perhaps more popularly known as Drewscape in the artist community. Andrew was formerly an advertising art director but he now makes his name doing commercial illustrations and storyboard visuals.  He will also be launching a graphic novel through Epigram, a whimsical yet dark anthology about monsters, miracles and mayonnaise. It’ll be retailing at $20.22 (after taxes) so don’t forget to support local talent by buying his book! Hehe.

Enjoy his words of wisdom, folks!


Tell us about yourself. What got you started in comics?

I’ve always liked to draw since young and I would draw my own comedy Star Wars comics  in my primary school exercise books (All lost now). I studied mass communication and got into the advertising industry where I became an art director. After 8 years, I quit to become a freelance illustrator. All the while, I’ve always had stories in my head that I wanted to express in the comic form. I liked the comic form because it was cheaper and quicker than producing a film. And I didn’t have to compromise so much if I was working alone on it. So I’d keep drawing my own comics in my free time. I did a series of short comic strips while I was in advertising called Blur King. It’s about a blur boy based more or less on me (I was very blur.) And then progressed to do comics with a more mature style as my skills improved. Presently, I’m still a freelance illustrator but I create comics as a fun hobby.

What is one thing that the public doesn’t know about Drewscape?

My nickname was “blur king” when I was in primary school. Whenever I move to a new class every year, I’d never tell my new classmates what I was called. But I would always end up being called “blur king” eventually. I was a pretty good daydreamer. I’d like to think I still am.

Monsters, Miracles & Mayonnaise

How will you describe your art style?

It’s a mix and match of all the artists that I like. Like most kids, I grew up with spiderman and transformer comics. Then I was exposed to manga(Appleseed) which I really thought was fresh and exciting. I started watching Robotech when I was in secondary school and kept trying to perfect my manga style. Later on, when I started working, I was attracted to art books by Aya Takano, Amano, James Jean and Ashley Wood to name a few. I’d study these and try to figure out how they achieved their respective looks. If they used a certain pen, I’d find that pen and try it out. If they drew a nose in a certain way, I’d try it out too. More recently, I became more aware of french/European comics because they offered a very fresh look that was different from both American and Japanese comics (eg. Comics by Brecht Evens, Bastien Vives, Christian Cailleaux). So I began learning from those comics too. I’d try out their styles or techniques but I’d never copy their character designs. I’d always draw my own characters but in their styles. That was my way of improving and not end up drawing exactly like them. That’s how my style evolved. Most of these styles are very different from each other. But because I studied all of them and I like all of them, I find myself switching styles often.

What is your secret to getting published as a comics artist?

I’d say that my “secret” is not to focus on getting published. Focusing on that would just make me too self conscious to produce anything spontaneous and fun. I just focus on writing and creating good comics for my own entertainment and to show my friends. As I create each comic, I learn and get better at storytelling and drawing. And I think, like me, when you have a body of work that you can show in your website or blog, and the content is readable and has a good standard, publishers will ask to publish your work. But I feel the goal shouldn’t be a getting your own book published. It should be able just enjoying the art of creating comics and getting better at it.

Who is/was your biggest inspiration and why?

Because comics are a combination of art and story, I’ll give two.

Art-wise I’d have to say Ashley Wood because I found it hard to figure out his drawing techniques. I took a few years to figure out how he added and coloured those nice grungy grains in his drawings, what pens he used, how he managed to change a line colour in unusual ways. It wasn’t as straightforward like watercolour drawings. Just by trying to figure his techniques by trial and error, I learned a lot about mixing digital and natural media in an illustration.

Story-wise, I could say Haruki Murakami. I like his blend of reality mixed with strangeness.

What do you think makes you different from the other comic artists/illustrators?

The same thing that makes us all different from each other- My preference for certain art styles , my personality, my lifestyle, and my personal experiences growing up.


Want to know more about Andrew and his work? Then don’t forget to visit his blog at drewscape.blogspot.com or drewscape.net! =)

Interview: Shawn Siow

Hi guys! It’s time for yet another Awesome People interview. Today, I chat with Shawn Siow, a local artist whose comic representation of himself reminds me nostalgically of the Mr Kiasu comics back in the good old days. XD

Shawn is the veteran of many a comics-related events like seminars, workshops and courses, lending his knowledge and experience accumulated from his long years of providing graphical services and solutions. He is also one of the creative minds behind Project Red, a comics series about a government-cultivated group of superheroes. =)


What is Shawn Siow like in real life?

The real life Shawn Siow is really not that much different than an average “boy” next door, stealing a glance to the pretty lady passing by, and gossiping with friends when time allows.

How did you discover that you were meant to be a comics artist?

It is a story of clichés, the young kid likes drawing, met a bunch of other young kids who likes drawing, continues his passion while other young kids gave up drawing, and the young kid becomes who he is today, which is not much difference, still drawing.

But there is one fundamental difference in the question; I never felt that I was meant to be a comic artist. To me, it is a matter of want, and the desire to be a comic artist. Everyone can draw, and many tell better stories than I can, but yet I have seen lots giving up pursuing their dreams due to numerous reasons. But if your desire is strong enough, none of these reasons should be good enough to stop you.

What factors do you think are essential to being a successful comics artist?

You’ll need a certain appeal in your art style, good story telling, a whole lot of exposure, and most importantly, perseverance. Being a comic artist can be a very tough job, especially locally. As we do not yet have an industry, means that there are many things you have to do it yourself. Comics production is a team’s effort, but locally you may have to produce the whole book by yourself, to work while you draw until the title kicks off, doing your own marketing, or even everything mentioned above. Without perseverance, this will be the biggest hurdle to overcome.

Who do you think are your biggest supporters and why?

My supporters are pretty spread out. Independent artist really supports each other locally, because they understand how difficult it is, and how much effort is needed to continue pursuing their work of interest. And through my experience, foreigners seem to be more open and willing to try my work of creation. They respect the effort you’ve given and feel that artist is worthy of the support. And not to mention there’s a bunch of local readers who always support local production hoping to see us having our own industry in the future.

In your opinion, what do you think is lacking in today’s young artists?

The passion and perseverance, Singaporean lifestyle can be pretty hectic and fast paced. After a day of hard work, many would prefer to conduct leisure activities rather than doing something that will drain their mental away. They would give themselves reasons why they couldn’t begin, continue to procrastinate and wait for opportunities to knock on their doors, or giving up after one single failure. But if you are really passionate about it, these are not reasons at all to stop you from trying, and when you endure, there will be results, no matter how minuscule it is. So stop procrastinating and start acting, and persevere.


Shawn’s work can be found on his website at http://www.drawslowly.com. Or you can be his fan at Facebook.com/DrawSlowly. One can never have too few fans! XD

OPEN CALL: TheatreTalkback!

Today’s the first day of Nanowrimo! Have you started on your great (insert: country of origin) novel yet? I haven’t. =x

I haven’t even started on the story plan yet, since I’ve been busy emailing people I met at last night’s Meet and Mingle event by Six Degrees. Anyways, one of the lovely ladies I met last night told me that she is currently on the lookout for budding playwrights! If you’ve always wanted to write something that can be staged OR you already have something growing mold in your drawer, do consider joining the Open Call by the Goodman Arts Centre. The deadline is on 4 November 2012 so there really is very little time!

 

Here’s what TheatreTalkback is all about:

On 25th November, Goodman Arts Centre is hosting a playwriting open dialogue session called Theatre Talkback! This session aims to provide budding artists (such as yourselves) feedback from the general public and from an acclaimed line up of panelist (consisting of a playwright, a director and an educator – to be announced soon) on your piece of work that is waiting to see its day on the stage. Not only will you attain invaluable pointers from our panelists, you also get the opportunity to pick their brains as they share their experience conceptualising and incubating their past works. Don’t forget the network opportunities with like-minded individuals!

On the day of the event, you are to engage your own actors to do a 10-min dramatized reading. There is no cap to the genre, number of scenes, characters or pages, but the reading must be kept within 10 minutes. All works shall remain as yours.

Submission for this Open Call includes:

- Artist biography
- Proposed script (highlight the excerpt that is to be performed on the actual day)

All scripts must be:

- English-language
- Original, no adaptations
- Never been staged before

Assessor: Matthew Lyon, editor of The Flying Inkpot and Theatre Studies and Drama educator at RJC

Send the submissions to Goodman Arts Centre by 4 November 2012. We will reveal the five (5) chosen playwrights on the 16 of November 2012 on our Website and Facebook page. Should you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact Ysabel via email at ysabel_wong@toph.com.sg or call her at 6342 5795.

Excited yet? Get cracking then! =D

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Nanowrimo is HERE!

Hiya! Happy Halloween everybody! And I want to give a shout-out to those who were affected by Hurricane Sandy, do remain safe and sound. Now, today’s post usually features a writer or an artist’s interview but since Nanowrimo is going to officially kick off from tomorrow onward, I thought I will do a post on it. =)

For those of you who are not in the know, Nanowrimo stands for “National Writing Novel Month“. It’s a writing event that takes place during the month of November every year and during this time, you’re supposed to write up to 50,000 words or more. Clock in your achievements every day and watch your word count grow! If you’re a procrastinator like me, then this event is a good motivator. BUT! Before you stress out about the number of words, just remember that these 50,000 words do not require editing. YET!

Basically all you need to do is to write continuously for 30 days and to hell with all your spelling and grammar mistakes! Just let your creativity flow first. Why? Because Nanowrimo knows that we are often burdened with the need for perfection. We writers constantly pause in our great work to edit, which often interfere with the story, hence this event. And if you succeed, you’ll be rewarded with a wonderful sense of achievement as well as a Nano badge to proclaim your awesomeness! =)

“If you write 50,000 words of fiction by midnight, local time, November 30th, you can upload your novel for official verification, and be added to our hallowed Winner’s Page and receive a handsome winner’s certificate and web badge. We’ll post step-by-step instructions on how to scramble and upload your novel starting in mid-November.”

Many writers HAVE succeeded in penning their novels AND published their novels. Prominent examples include the following:

Awesome, right? So what are you waiting for? Keep track of your word count via widgets like these if you have a blog. I’ll be trying my luck as well (see my widget on the sidebar) so ganbatte to all of us! =)

Good luck!

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