Interview:
Ho See Kum

Me

1. Tell us a little about yourself, what you do and like doing?

I am an art educator and teaching artist. I teach my client to draw beautifully and to overcome their creative limitations so that they can be confident and happy in life. I have worked with schools and private organisations, my youngest student aged four and my oldest is eighty-four years old. I like to doodle my cartoon characters and create random stories to entertain myself whenever I am free.

The Winged Tiger In Singapore
The Winged Tiger In Singapore

2. What makes you want to draw and submit your comics for the anthology?

I started Sg Cartoon Resource Hub and the anthology is part of the project submission. More importantly, I just wanted to have fun and do something together with everyone.

Comics Anthology My World - Ho See Kum - SG Cartoon Resource Hub - Singapore
Comics Anthology My World - Ho See Kum - SG Cartoon Resource Hub - Singapore
Comics Anthology My World - Ho See Kum - SG Cartoon Resource Hub - Singapore

Artwork done for our comics anthology “My World by Ho See Kum

3. Share with us your art style, what has influenced you that makes you want to draw in the style you are advocating?

I am heavily inspired by Japanese manga and anime, especially Ranma and Laputa anime. I always wanted to draw something like that when I first began learning to imitate a drawing style, but I never really make much progress despite putting in a lot of effort for many years (self-taught) until a year later after I enrolled in NAFA, I discovered my drawing style. This drawing style had evolved from the manga/anime approach to a personalised drawing way. The taste is like signing a signature, fluid, cartoony and focuses on lines and shapes in a minimal way. This style was “mind-blowing” to me during that time because I had never expected that it could be so fun and so being myself. I felt that I have been liberated from something that I am not really good at (rules and structures), and found freedom in gut-feel drawing. My first cartoon character is Emily and she has evolved three times over the past 25 years. I realised that as my mind matured my drawing of Emily matured too and it is really interesting to see how a character can ‘grow’ over time.

Pin Pong, artwork by Ho See Kum
Pin Pong, artwork by Ho See Kum
Pin Pong, artwork by Ho See Kum
Pin Pong, artwork by Ho See Kum

4. What do you think about when it comes to comics-making or publishing in Singapore?

I have mixed feelings regarding comics publishing, to be honest. First, I don’t like it to be just about fulfilling a dream or doing it for fun, which I can relate to finding an excuse for not being able to make it far or to sustain (I refer to publication). Second, I also don’t like the idea of throwing in lots of money to self-publish a book without any plan, which I did before but stopped myself from going further. 

I feel that you must be ready to walk this path if you want to publish your comic book. And to be ready means you must have a story that resonates with the mass audiences, not just your friend or people in your community. You also need to know why people will want to read or purchase your book. It is also important to know who your targeted audiences are, where to find them and how to reach them. 

If you don’t have a single idea or that has never crossed your mind, then you are just doing it for fun and gaining exposure, which is alright but don’t expect anything more than just likes and words of encouragement. Then again, the world today is different from yesteryear. You don’t really need to rely on a publisher to get your comics published. You can self-publish an ebook anytime when you are ready and you don’t have anything to lose.

5. If money is not an issue, what would you like to pursue in comics?

If I do not have to worry about money or the need to find the next meal, I will go full-time as a comic artist cum educator owing a school, gallery and publishing firm, all 3-in-1 space. I think that will be exciting.

Related Posts

Leave a comment