Tag Archives: webcomics

Starting The Year Right: Meeting with Zen Pencils

22 Jan

Hello everyone! We’re almost at the tail end of January so I figured it was about time to kickstart Indiedoodle for the new year!

 photo ZenPencils.jpgOmmmmmm….nomnom.

Earlier this month (actually, on the 2nd day of the New Year to be more specific) I had the honour of meeting the creator of the wildly popular Zen Pencils webcomic, Gavin Aung Than, when he stopped by Singapore for a short visit and hosted a Meet and Greet Session with fans. The session was held at a relatively new cafe named Wheeler’s Yard, which took me and my friends quite a while to get to.

 photo ZenPencils3.jpgWheeler’s Yard, a new cafe-cum-fixed-gear-bicycle-shop. Yes, I know, it’s a very hipsterish place.

In a nutshell, the Meet and Greet Session was awesome. I had the opportunity to pass Gavin some of my zines before he started his session and he is a really nice and down to earth person (I’ll elaborate on this later). I initially thought of doing an interview with him, but I decided that it wasn’t very wise to deprive the many fans there of his time. Also, lets face it, I’d be hard pressed to find a fresh perspective based on all the various interviews he’s done before.

 photo ZenPencils4.jpgGavin Aung Than, Man of the Hour, chatting with his audience.

Still, all is not lost even though I didn’t take notes or record anything, because here’s what I remember from that night off the top of my head:

– Gavin quit his job at a rather big Advertising Agency to kickstart Zen Pencils, a risk he was willing to take because he felt that the time was right. He had been gearing up for something like this for quite a while (drawing comics on the side), so it wasn’t a spontaneous decision.

– He had the support from his family and friends (Side note: surprise surprise, his wife is Singaporean!).

– His inspiration for making comics from quotes (and I’m paraphrasing here) stemmed from his initial annoyance with the tackiness of ‘Inspirational Powerpoint Presentations’ (you know, those with beautiful scenery and/or animals/people behaving intimately with quotes plastered all over them) and he thought ‘Hey, I can make something better and more tasteful out of those quotes!’. And he did.

– When asked why did he use some recurring characters in the quotes he has adapted thus far, he said that he doesn’t consciously make plans for story arcs for those characters as he’s drawing a certain strip. Instead, he summons those characters again when he stumbles upon new and fitting quotes that he considers suitable to continue telling that particular character’s story.

 photo ZenPencils5.jpgA view of the interior of Wheeler’s Yard from where I was sitting. The turnout was pretty solid as the place was packed by the time Gavin started!

Honestly, it’s hard to believe that Zen Pencils has only been around for slightly more than 2 years now, if the fanfare is anything to go by. I find it heartening to see people like Gavin working on comics which broach a different subject matter, as it draws a more diverse crowd to comics, and who knows where these readers might progress from here.

Remember that I said that Gavin is a really nice guy at the start? Here’s why: After the end of his talk and Q&A session, he stayed and signed anything and everything the fans at the venue wanted (from iPads to sketchbooks, including the free stickers and mini prints he brought and handed out generously), and even took the time to pose with each and every one of them for a photo. I’m not exaggerating, he really did. With every. Single. Person. In. Line. All this despite having already mingled with most of them even before the event started and still recovering from his travelling fatigue.

 photo ZenPencils2.jpgZen Pencils’s Buddha Quote poster for sale at 20 SGD a pop, and free postcards and stickers!

My first encounter with a Zen Pencils comic was on tumblr, and it was Alan Watts’s quote adaptation, ‘What If Money Was No Object?’. From there I was directed to the Zen Pencils website, and I’ve been a loyal follower ever since. I always find Zen Pencils’s comics a joy to read, especially on days when I am feeling down and need an encouraging word or two.

Naturally I chose to wait until the very end during the signing session to get a postcard and my patience was rewarded!

 photo ZenPencils6.jpgWise words indeed.


If, like myself, you crave a more tangible form of the Zen Pencils comics, fret not. There will be a Zen Pencils compilation published by Andrews McMeel, coming out sometime later in 2014, so keep your eyes peels for it at your local bookstores!

On a more Indiedoodle-related note, I intend to post an update at least once a month this year, so wish me luck.

Have a great year ahead, and an early Happy Chinese New Year to those of you who celebrate it!

P/S: Photos courtesy of the wonderful Joelyn Alexandra! Except, you know, the very last one.

Info Bites: 24 Hour Comics Day and Singapore Writers Festival 2012

17 Oct

Hello again everyone, it’s been a (long) while since I last updated this blog! I’ve been really (REALLY) busy for the past 8 months, travelling, drawing and whatnot! It’s been a crazy ride but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, though I do regret not making time to write about the comic-related things I’ve been up to. So this is me trying to make amends by kickstarting my writing engines again with an update.

24 Hour Comics Day

24 Hour Comics Day is just around the corner (like this weekend!) and will be happening on the 20th till 21st October worldwide. This year I’ve finally decided to take the plunge and commit to participating in the Singapore version of this event (since I’m still working here) but for those of you in Malaysia, there’ll be one taking place at the Balai Seni Visual Negara  organized by none other than Sarah Joan Mokhtar (about time too after the last one held back in 2007)!

 

The Poster for the Malaysian version of 24 Hour Comics Day

Both versions of the event require pre-registration so that spaces will be allocated for your participation, so please register quickly if you’re interested! I’ve not participated in one before but I am pretty sure that it’ll be a great experience as well as a good way to meet people who love comics!

The Poster for the Singaporean version of 24 Hour Comics Day

More information and details on how to register for 24 Hour Comics Day Malaysia can be found here on their Official Facebook Event Page while the 24 Hour Comics Day Singapore has its own pages for Rules (aka what to expect) and Registration.

Singapore Writers Festival

If you were like me a few days ago you’d probably be wondering what does the Singapore Writers Festival (SWF) that will be taking place between 2nd till 11th November 2012 have to do with comics, and you’d be delighted to know (like I was) that SWF has a lineup of comic panels/sessions in their itinerary!  Here are some of the comic-related highlights that I am itching to attend, if possible (click on the links for details of each event):

Brand New Books: Lingua Comica – Graphic Novels from Asia and Europe

Panel: Comic Artists Capture Singapore (Featuring Sonny Liew, Oh Yong Hwee, Miel)

Workshop: The Making of a Graphic Novel (Featuring Khalil, Creator of webcomic and graphic novel Zahra’s Paradise)

Meet the Author: Jimmy Liao

I’m definitely attending the Lingua Comica book launch session even though it’s on a weeknight I need to grab a copy of each of the books, especially the ones containing Hwei and Sarah Joan Mokhtar‘s comics when they attended Lingua Comica, a comics exchange program by the Asia-Europe Foundation! I’m still trying to make a tough decision on whether to attend the workshop or the meet-and-greet session with Jimmy Liao (a very famous Taiwanese Illustrator, in case you didn’t know. Go brush up on him on Wikipedia!), as the last three items on the list (Panel, Workshop, and Meet the Author) are taking place on the same day with overlapping time slots! The pains of being an avid comic lover!

Well, that’s all I have for now (that is, until Comic Fiesta rolls around in December)! Till next time, keep drawing!

P/S: There’s loads of drawing competitions currently bring co-organized by Comic Fiesta in conjunction with Comic Fiesta 2012, so you should probably take a look at the Comic Fiesta Forums if you want to join in! (Yes, I’m lazy to write about them now, haw!)

Review: Blogger Boy

21 Jul

How many of you watched Blogger Boy before? Judging by the amount of fanfare generated since Blogger Boy hit Malaysian television screens back in 2008, I doubt many Malaysians know about the existence of this underrated series. Produced by Red Communications for 8TV, the story is focused around Budi (played by Qushairi Razali a.k.a Qi), a middle-aged tuition teacher who’s down on his luck. Imagine getting dumped by the woman you’re about to propose to right after dinner, only a few minutes into the first season’s pilot episode!

 

Budi and Kid, chilling as they always do in their living room (Love the wall!)

All is not dreary in Budi’s life though; he takes solace in drawing comics depicting scenes plucked out from his own weary life, and uploads them onto his blog (Autobio Comic Artists, I’m sure you can relate!). His flatmate, Kid (played by Nas ‘T’ Muammar Zar of KAMI fame), is a heck of a joker and a playboy to boot, the exact opposite of Budi…which is also the reason why they help to keep each other in check.

Most of the time though it’s Budi who gets dragged along in one of Kid’s less-than-brilliant ideas which more often than not end in disaster. Then there’s Nina (played by the oh-so-sexy Julie Woon), Budi’s childhood sweetheart who comes into the picture when their paths cross again, thanks to his now ex-girlfriend-and-datuk’s-wife-to-be who commissioned her as her wedding photographer.

This review’s pretty long, so more behind this cut!

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