Hello Isaac! Please introduce yourself!
I am a deaf freelancing illustrator from Singapore. I do commercial illustrations. Nobody knows why I was born deaf. My mother is healthy when she carried me. I am the only deaf member in my whole family generation. Before I learned communicating with the world, drawing becomes very natural to me. No one taught me how to draw. I just picked up the crayons and color pencils and draw anyhow.
When did you start to draw, since you were a child?
Yes. Drawing is my first native language. Before I learnt a language: English. I have difficulty communicating with my Chinese-speaking parents. Their English is limited. We use gestures. I speak simple English words to my mother. I only have a sister. I speak English to her all the time.
Why didn’t you learn Chinese?
Good question, my parents sent me to a deaf school where the mother tongue is not taught.
In Singapore, everyone learns mother tongue (Chinese, Malay and Tamil) as a second language as a child, I had difficulty learning the languages, so I sticked with the English language all the time. When I got older, I attended basic Chinese classes. After I finished the classes, I forgot completely what I have learned, because everyone can speak English all the time in Singapore.
Then, what did you draw when you were child? Can you still remember?
I was too young to remember what I drew exactly, I guess I had expressed out my feelings freely through random drawings.
I drew a lot as a child, and I always drew it and pin it on the wall in my bedroom. Do you still have your drawings as a child home?
Unfortunately, no. I drew everything on my parents' cupboards and mine and on the walls in my former home.
oh, I see. Did you decide to be an artist when you were a child?
Yes, I fulfilled my childhood dream! Drawing gives me happiness.
Why did you study digital media design instead of art?
I was not sure of what I want to do in life. Art is very general. So I studied animation specialization, Digital Media Design.
Do you prefer draw by hand or computer? What’s the difference for you? And how do you choose the way you draw?
Both are good. But I prefer the traditional feel more. The traditional works are good but nowadays, it is very hard to get traditional work projects. Thus, I do digital works as well. It’s good I have both digital and traditional skills.
Well, to use pen or water color, it depends on my mood. If the weather is too hot, I use ink only, if the weather is good, I use watercolor (laugh). Sometimes, the places will inspire me to use specific method. I paint what I see, it is all about observation. For example, people's action and emotion are about animation and acting, then I will use pen to catch the moment.
I like your drawing, the portrait you drew in HPSG50 and the other projects include people in it give me a warm feeling, and you seems to have different eyes to see the world that we don't see.
Deafness give me an extra edge ( sixth sense): a sense of observation. I like to observe and study people in terms of fashion taste, personality and personal emotions. I feel very good, happy and achieved when I finished the project; it is like finishing the marathon.
I read that when you have new project, you would like to meet your clients first face to face. Why and what’s the difference?
Yes! My English is not good. Sometimes the words are too difficult for me to understand, and sometimes the emails are way too long. Face to face meeting helps me understand better and save the time, we can discuss through paper and pen.
What inspire you?
Great, so that's talk about the experiences in Taiwan. Do you like it here?
Of course, I love it! The buildings are fascinating. They are mixed with modern and traditional architectural designs. I like the homes which were built during Taiwan under Japanese rule and I like the temples here, the architectural design are varied to temples in Singapore. I feel that I went back to the past when I entered the temples. And I love Taiwanese food and beverage, they are very delicious and cheap!!!
What brought you to Tainan?
A friend, Ly Yeow, came here before. I saw her photos. I asked myself, "why don't I come here?" And another reason is I like traveling and working like a nomad.
I met her when she was in Planett last year! She gave me many great tips for traveling in Singapore!
I said," WOW!" when she posted the photos which are made in Planett. It look like a beautiful and nice place to work and sleep and it does. I still remember that when I asked her about Planett, she said,"Go Go!" That’s why I decided to come here.
My table and room are very small in Singapore, I enjoy staying here in Planett, in this good environment I can focus on my projects well.
Is this your first visit to Taiwan?
No, it’s my 2nd time. My first time is with my family. This time I face much more challenges as a solo adventurer, but it is fun! Language and communication are barriers that I need to overcome. I point at the pictures on the food menu. Sometimes I see someone eating the food, I simply point out at his food and order it.
A few days ago, I told a taxi driver to pick me up at 5 after we reached at National Museum of Taiwan History. After 5pm, he didn't appear again. (National Museum of Taiwan History is not convenient to travel but I didn't regret my decision to visit). I realized I may have miscommunicated with him and I assumed he would come at 5pm. Because of my deafness and my Chinese illiteracy, it is indeed very hard to call out a taxi by phone on my own. I had to approach a passer-by for help. Since there was hardly any taxi around, he told me to wait for him and he rode his motorcycle to find taxi for me. He indeed did that when he returned with a taxi behind him. I feel very touched and grateful.
Oh, the story is very touched! I see you draw a lot of sketch in MRT, and on the streets. What kind of topics will you draw?
That’s what I love to do! People are always with phones while I use paper and pen to practice my skills. Anything can be interesting to me, it could be fashion, personality, feelings. Sometimes I draw hands and foot only for practice.
I would not be who I am today, if I didn’t take the animation course. I learned how to sketch people, draw perspective, motion graphic and illustration. A teacher once took us to MRT for sketching session. it was my first time sketching in the train and I immediately fell in love with it. It happened 5 years ago.
Then how's your daily life like?
I wake up at 10 and check email before starting working. I doodle. After lunch, I go to fitness studio and then continue working after dinner.
Are you satisfied with your life so far?
Yes but not enough. I need to learn more and practice my skills. I learn online in and .
What's your plan or goal for the future?
I plan to travel-work around the world but of course I need to save up money first. I hope to publish my travel book and to write, illustrate and publish my children book one day!
Last question! Please describe yourself.
I am a passionate sketcher and illustrator who loves challenges in life.