Sunday, March 29, 2009

Otto's animation for i-Seek

This is the animation I created for i-Seek, a company specialising in bluetooth advertising. It appeared in Vivo City's digital directory screens over the weekend of 28th and 29th March.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sir Fong in Vivo City 27 - 28th March!

If you are visiting Vivo City, Singapore's coolest and largest shopping city, this Saturday and Sunday (27th and 28th March 2009), watch out for a colourful and fun advertisement appearing on all the video directory posts within the shopping centre. My first 30-second animated comic is being used to promote an innovative new way to add to shopping fun - bluetoothing!

It features two new characters I created: My Bluetooth Princess and the Reluctant Handbag Boy!

It should appear every ten minutes. Watch out for it!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Popular Book Fair at Singapore Expo

Popular Bookstore held its March school holiday book fair at the Singapore Expo over the weekend. I was invited to participate, which is a great honour because my book and publishing company Ottonium are less than a year old!

I went for two days of the 3-day exhibition. Reaching out to the regular Popular customers is a great experience for myself. Kids as usual are amongst the most enthusiastic and open to new ideas, but so are the parents! Once the announcement about my book is made, my team got ready to field questions from families flocking to our location! Everytime I spoke to a parent, my heart went "wow!" at his/her dedication towards the child/children's education, happiness and improvement.

Being at the fair also brought unexpected insight and delight . . . from Mr Midnight!

I was buying myself a frappucino after the first day, when this cool Ang Moh guy standing next to me asked, "how was your day?" Looking at his exhibitor's tag, I figured he was an exhibitor but didn't know what was he exhibiting. It was only after we chatted a bit that I realised he was from Flame of The Forest, a successful local publisher with household titles such as "Singapore Ghost Stories" and "Mr Midnight". These books not only sold incredibly well, but changed the local publishing landscape. "It was hard at first - some bookstores would not even stock our books!" he shared, "but after a few years of persistence, things took off in a big way."

I was so bowled over by his generous sharing that I did not even ask his name. Later, when my mind cleared, I realised I must be talking to Alex Chacko - founder of Flame of the Forest!

Another great occasion was meeting Gary Goh. I'd mentioned his comic books in this blog previously, but never got to meet him. Well, that weekend we joined forces! He invited me to his location, and as I started drawing to entertain the kids, he walked up and down the exhibition hall with his trusty loud speaker.

While I was at the exhibition for only a few hours, Gary was there throughout. He talked and talked and talked, and we even went to make general broadcasts together - he in Mandarin, I in English. His dedication and conviction inspired me! Now this is the guy who quit his teaching job before I did, and started his comic studio dream years before me, so in some ways I'm walking in his footsteps!

On the last hour before I wrapped up my time at the Expo, a boy called Marcus came by. He is very independent, and has been well-trained by his parents to handle situations by himself. So he started making suggestions - "why don't you draw this?" - and even helped in my drawing. Moved by his can-do spirit, I drew him a cover of my book. Given that my book was entirely drawn in the computer, there were no hard copy of my own drawing on paper on Sir Fong's Adventures . . . until now. And Marcus owns it!

Two beautiful ladies are responsible for making this a great weekend for Sir Fong: Dorothea Lee, Operations Manager for this event and Amy Woo from my distributor Marketasia. They're the ones whose leadership made me one step towards the kind of publishers that Alex Chacko and Gary Goh are.

Again, to Singapore parents and Singapore kids. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Announcing a new Ottonium project!

I started my little publishing company out of necessity. Ottonium Comics was started because I did not want to follow the rules and schedules of other publishers. From the mouths of my fellow comic artists, some publishers publicized my friends' works poorly, others did not pay the artists their dues. "I was made to think that my work was bad, even though the books were sold out," said one of my friends, "and up till today (the publisher) did not pay me a cent."

We move forward on our journeys with only our hearts and passions as guide. We often do not understand why we have to take these paths in life. But as I am finding out gradually, if we follow our hearts and learn from our experiences, life helps in mysterious ways. When we are ready, life will take our hands and lead us to our dreams.

After publishing Sir Fong's Adventures In Science Book 1 with Ottonium Comics, I realised that the little company has some really exciting potential. So, without further delay, i decided my company will take on a different kind of project: MONKEY KING BLACK + WHITE.

The seeds of this project was planted more than ten years ago. See the picture above? A grand set inside Beijing Film Studio! The gorgeous palace interior was built for a planned movie Uproar In Heaven, an adaptation of a Monkey King story. I was assistant to the director.

Hundreds of beautiful storyboards were drawn - a sample is shown above, as drawn by my ex-colleague Ye Feng. Hundreds of costumes made. An army of artists worked for a year to prepare the filming of the most ambitious and expensive live action China movie in to be released in 1998.

The director, Zhang Jianya, was a classmate of Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige. His vision was great, and he lead us into the studios week after week, month after month. We were all happy to follow, because we believed that this movie would make film history.

It was during the filming that I rediscovered my love for drawing comics. Simply by participating in the project, life gifted me with the reawakening of my passion. It also gifted me with the publication of my first comic book Buddy Buddy (pictured above).

But life also said, "you are not ready to do the Monkey King." For after a year and a half of hard work, our hopes were dashed when the investor went bankrupt. The movie folded before filming could go into full swing, and the crew went on to other projects. I returned to Singapore, and would languish in an uncertain future for quite a few years during the Economic Storms of 1997. I shelved my Monkey King dreams, and told myself over and over, "I am not ready!"

In 2007, exactly ten years since coming home to Singapore, I put my foot down and decided to fear no more. I imagined myself as the Monkey King - like so many fans of the Asian mythical hero - and he has just been freed from Buddha's imprisonment for 500 years.

So, without further delay, I declare to you all I am ready. My dear friends, announcing the brand new project by Ottonium Comics. Thank you all for reading!

Cover of Sir Fong 2

Cover of Sir Fong 2