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. 😄
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?
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! 😄