Howdy guys! How’s things going this week? It’s the start of the Chinese New Year this coming Saturday so let me wish you guys GONG XI FA CAI! :3
Up next, an interview with the creator of Resident Tourist, Troy Chin! :3
How and when did you decide to use art as a mode of expression?
For comics, it would be mid 2006. It’s exactly like what is written in the Tourist. While undergoing therapy with my doctor, we discussed drawing and how I was terrible at it since my childhood days. I started drawing and got better and decided to try doing comics. The rest is…well, history. As for art in general, I started to use music a very long time ago. But that’s another story altogether.
Was it difficult getting publishers for both Resident Tourist & Loti? Tell us about your publishing experience.
I pretty much couldn’t find any publishers locally who would be interested in comics, let alone the kind of comics I do. Adrian Teo, who paid for the first 2 books, is a comics fan, so that doesn’t count. We don’t have any dedicated comics publisher here. Chuang Yi is only interested in licensing Japanese and Taiwanese material. And regular publishers like SPH don’t take comics seriously. It’s a dead end. That’s why I decided to publish TRT3 and Loti myself.
What do you hope to achieve with your publications?
The printed versions are purely for those who want to have a physical comic book to read. I was previously solely online and was happy with just putting stories out on my site. It is cheap and easy. Now that I am printing them and incurring actual costs, I guess I hope to recoup my losses. Self-printing is a monster though. I highly advise against doing it if possible coz you have to do a lot more than just sending it to the printers. It becomes a business.
What are your future plans for your comics?
My future plans aren’t anything great. The only plan is to continue with my existing series and perhaps try some random stuff along the way. Yeah, I don’t really make big plans more than 2 weeks away. I can’t work that fast and they all change in the end anyway.
If you could advise a struggling artist in Singapore, what words of advice would you give him/her?
Advice? Ha ha. I’ve only been doing this for about 3 years so I don’t have that much experience. What I’ve learnt is that making comics is a very SLOW process. If you want to do comics, you have to understand and realize that it is not something that you can do within an hour or even a week. It requires patience to complete a strip, a page, a chapter, a book (time length varies based on ambition and scope). You need to budget your time and money realistically to complete your panels. You absolutely do not want to rush and put out something you don’t like. Put in 100% of effort into your current comic. No less. If it takes you a week to do a 4-panel strip. Take a week. Everybody works at different speeds. Work at a speed you are comfortable enough to do the best panels you can at that time. If you need to do part time/full time gigs etc for wages, then go do those and come back later to continue your panels. I find that most people I’ve met who wanted to do comics but quit soon after is usually not due to lack of income, but due to an incorrect assessment of the marathon task of completing comics. Which is why I love this art form. Because it truly tests whether you love it on a daily basis, not like some throw-away, instant gratification that seem to exist in abundance today.