I have been freelancing since 1989. Full time since 1999. Mindflyer was started because I wanted to work as a “dreamer”. I have been using that name since I started illustrating.
I have always been in love with drawings and drawing tools. My favourite subject in school was technical drawing and workshop.
My biggest “blessing” was not taking art for O levels because that signed my “death warrant” for not being able to go straight to Baharuddin to study Graphics ( Tht’s the place before Temasek Poly was born ). After O levels, I knew I wanted to study some kind of drawing and the only thing I barely qualifed for was a diploma course at Singapore Poly in Architectural Technology. It was technical drawing heaven for me then but still not really what I was looking for. After graduation- I spent 2 years working as an architectural assistant and also took a part time Graphics course at NAFA. The course was very basic but I got to know a very helpful part-time lecturer Theresa Yong ( Immortal Design ).
Then, a good architect friend got me a job as a junior Interior designer. I spent close to 4 years in this line while I freelanced on simple illustration work (Mindflyer was “born” then). I was very blessed in that there were many kind people who helped me along the way by providing me with encouragement, opportunities and tips.
I switched to Graphic design after my ex-lecturer / friend Theresa offered me a graphic design job and taught me all I know about graphics. Then in 1999, I decided to bite the bullet and work full-time as an illustrator.
Thinking back- I may not meet all these wonderful people if I had gone straight to study design. It may be a longer journey but I had a good time learning alot of stuff.
As Chairman of OIC, tell us how OIC came about. And why was it formed?
Errrrr..... I was sabo-ed to wear this "title" lor by 2 jokers.... and they happen to draw extremely well.......... and they are a couple lor..... so can bully me just one person...... Seriously......OIC was formed in Oct 2006 after some meetings by 3 of us ( namely - Drewscape+ FleeCircus + mindflyer ). We wanted a "group" where illustrators can meet, talk shop and spur one another on.
Introduce us to one of your oldest oldest drawings and a new work that you are proud of.
This is self portrait done in 1989- Its ink and prismacolor pencils on tracing paper. It still gives me a strange vibe when i see it now.
This is from my latest sketch book. More self portraits so that you can compare it to the 1989 one. Just trippin out with water soluble pencils and a water brush. (Seiji is the one that showed us how to have fun with a water brush!! He's da man!! )
Which illustration styles interest you presently? (eg.wallpaper vector style, collage, messy brush and ink)
I really wish I can spend time, sucking in massive doses of turpentine fumes and do oil painting! But -for now- if its not Photoshop & wacom, I'll just stick to acrylics on plywood and wood carving knives. I have been begging Xin (aka "MakiSquarePatch" , aka "the PAINTER" ) to give oil painting lessons....... she's been kind to share some tips but no formal lessons yet. I think she wants to know my pain threshold- I heard she brutal with a wooden stick! gulp!
Which artists do you recommend studying? and why?
I do not dissect an artist's work and try to emulate the technique. I am not that methodical nor analytical. What intrigues me more is the feeling I get when I see a nice piece of work, more so than what technique is used.
When I see something nice I try to absorb the vibes I get from it and try to put that kick I get into things that I do.
- Amedeo Modigliani ( He's the 1st painter that I really like. )
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery ( What are we going to do without "The Little Prince" )
- Jean-Michel Folon ( esp the flying winged men )
- Hiroshi YOSHII ( esp the earlier works)
- Yoshimoto Nara
I can only tell you what I think makes a "happy" illustrator.
- Charge wisely. Charge enough to make it worth your while. If in doubt- consult the seniors.
- Remember to have FUN!
- Do the bread and butter stuff, pay the bills BUT keep searching and building "your voice" & "your visual idioms"
- Keep and sleep with your sketch book!
- NEVER throw your sketch books! Try to keep to a standard format ( see pix below )
- Wake up everyday and be glad this is your full-time hobby!
Share a useful illustration trick/technique you have recently learnt.
I use my iPod as a night light when I need to sketch in the middle of the night. Pencil is best. Markers are too gravity conscious and you can't draw too long on your back.
No tips- just open your eyes- I can learn from anything and anybody. Keep engaged keep being interesting and interested.
Show us a photo of your working desk.