SGCC2019: Work In Progress (W.I.P) Programme

SGCC2019

All budding creators, listen up!

SGCC this December will be an extremely productive affair, featuring the new Work In Progress (W.I.P) programme. Do you have too many storylines in your head screaming to be let out on paper? Do you aspire to see your work published? Well, the W.I.P programme offers you the chance to do just that! It’s a new initiative started this year, aiming to connect aspiring creators to publishers that can spot the talents they demand. 

Hurry! The deadline for submitting your best ideas is 31st October 2019. All submissions will be sent to established publishers for their feedback. If the submissions are creative enough and catches the attention of the respective publisher, you will be given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet an exclusive committee of publishers for some serious conversations at SGCC. 

Do hop over to [https://www.singaporecomiccon.com/en-gb/Community/wip-programme.html] for submission guidelines and more details!

SGCC_Esports

For everyone else, there’s more! A plethora of activities and events are available for you to participate in! Avid gamers can check out the PVP section, where the finals for PVP Esports Campus League are held. Prepare for exciting battles between the schools, with the winner walking away with the lion’s share of the $20,000 prize pool! Artists and illustrators can have spectacular meet-and-greet sessions up close with the special invited guests at SGCC. The lineup includes Greg Capullo, Mark Simpson (Jock), Tara McPherson, and many more pop culture personalities!

For general information regarding SGCC 2019, visit https://www.singaporecomiccon.com/en-gb.html!

We hope to see you there! What are you waiting for? Get your tickets now!  

SGCC2019 Feature

All budding creators, listen up!
SGCC this December will be an extremely productive affair, featuring the new Work In Progress (W.I.P) programme. Do you have too many storylines in your head screaming to be let out on paper? Do you aspire to see your work published? Well, the W.I.P programme offers you the chance to do just that! It’s a new initiative started this year, aiming to connect aspiring creators to publishers that can spot the talents they demand.
Hurry! The deadline for submitting your best ideas is 31st October 2019. All submissions will be sent to established publishers for their feedback. If the submissions are creative enough and catches the attention of the respective publisher, you will be given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet an exclusive committee of publishers for some serious conversations at SGCC.
Do hop over to https://www.singaporecomiccon.com/en-gb/Community/wip-programme.html for submission guidelines and more details!

Image: group photo of all team captains involved in PVPEsports Campus League

For everyone else, there’s more! A plethora of activities and events are available for you to participate in! Avid gamers can check out the PVP section, where the finals for PVP Esports Campus League are held. Prepare for exciting battles between the schools, with the winner walking away with the lion’s share of the $20,000 prize pool! Artists and illustrators can have spectacular meet-and-greet sessions up close with the special invited guests at SGCC. The lineup includes Greg Capullo, Mark Simpson (Jock), Tara McPherson, and many more pop culture personalities!

For general information regarding SGCC 2019, visit https://www.singaporecomiccon.com/en-gb.html! We hope to see you there! What are you waiting for? Get your tickets now!

STGCC2018: Kana Ueda’s Stage Session – Life of a Seiyuu

kana-ueda-profile.jpg.rx.image.fullPhoto Credit: STGCC

Kana Ueda is a renowned voice actress who has voice-acted Cyborg 001 from Cyborg 009, Herba from Final Fantasy: Unlimited PhaSE.0, Saki Miyanaga from Saki, Hayate Yagami from Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha series and Rin Tohsaka from Fate/Stay Night series. She was present at STGCC 2018 Day 2 (Sunday) for her stage session.

The topic revolving around Kana’s stage interview is “Life as a Seiyuu”. Making her entrance with a stunning Yukata, her choice of yukata was mostly inspired by Hayate from the Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha series. Surprisingly, this was her second time in Singapore as her first experience in Singapore was actually 10 years ago for a project.

 

What was your impression of Singapore since then till now?
Singapore is known for its cleanliness and greenery in the past, and my impression of Singapore now is even better as the atmosphere has improved a lot since my last visit. The cityscape/skyline of the city has a great mixture of Asian and Western influences. I can never get bored of walking around the city area with such beautiful scenery keeping me company.

When did you first discover your interest in anime?

In Japan, there is a variety of anime available and I have been watching anime since a young age. However, I started perceiving and understanding anime as part of an otaku culture when I was Primary 5, and that was when I discovered my otaku passion within me.

Additionally, my mother is also very into the otaku culture as well and her main interest is in doujinshi. So for me, I started making my first costume and cosplaying at a event at Primary 5 and 6 respectively.

Is that considered an early start for your career then?

Typically in Japan, people discover whether they have the talent to pursue this type of career during their secondary school days, and by the time they become high schoolers, their “otaku seed” that dwells inside of them starts to bloom. But for me, this seed bloomed much earlier.

 

You became a seiyuu from cosplaying, so you got into the otaku culture from cosplaying first, but when/how did you start becoming a seiyuu from there?

I started my career at an early age as a child actress appearing in musicals.

Takarazuka Revue is a all-female musical production in Japan and it was my dream to join the production company. However, in order to join them, you have to study in Takarazuka High School and receive special training in order to perform as a Takarazuka member. However, the entrance to the high school is limited to 4 chances per applicant, 1 chance per year. They actually have a height requirement and very “fortunately” I was 10 cm under the required height and therefore unable to take the entrance exam to Takarazuka High School.

After not being able to join my desired high school and develop my dream in musical performing, I then turned to my Otaku culture route and pursued a career from there. After a few years, I managed to become a seiyuu in the end.

What is a typical workday of a seiyuu?

A lot of impressions about seiyuu in Japan is that their schedule are quite flexible, which is not true at all. Their working hours are very rigid. On a typical day, they do their recording/dubbing session for 2 episodes per day. The first recording would start at 1000H or 1100H till 1500H, have a small break and continue on the second recording at 1600H onwards till 2000H.

If they have any other job obligations, for example, dubbing for games, radio show to attend, those will be done outside of those working hours.

How are seiyuu auditions conducted in Japan?

The auditions are normally conducted 6 months or a year before the anime starts on-air. The seiyuus auditioning will receive a picture of the character plus a few lines.

From looking at the character and their lines, the candidates would use their imagination to come up with what they thinks would fit the character the best. The audition venue is like a stage/large room, with a microphone on the stage along with a few judges.

How do you spend your off-days?

I like to go to Game Centres or arcades during my off-days. For idols, you can meet them in person just by attending to their live shows. But, for a seiyuu, you can find one or two in an arcade.

I normally would spend about 3 hours in the arcade, take a 1 hour break and go back to it for a few more hours. Altogether, I am able to spend about half a day in the arcade or game centers. Because of this, I would normally get noticed in public by the fans. But, my fans would leave me alone because it is such a normal occurrence to them.

During one of my day offs in the arcade, I met one of my fans from Singapore and we played Fate/Grand Order together. If you ever bump into me in a game center or arcade in Japan, I would be delighted to meet you, say hello or even play games together.

When you play a new character, how do you imagine the style and tone of your character’s voice?

When I first go to the audition for a particular character, I prepare a lot of characterization for the audition in order to set the tone of the character’s voice. Once I am chosen for the role, I would scrap my previous works and start anew while maintaining the most mutual stance to go to the recording studio.

Why is that?

Because if I were to fix my voice in a particular tone too much, then I won’t be able to change my voice too much. The aim is to allow myself to be as flexible as possible.

Another reason is that as there are many female characters in the same series, and therefore there are many female seiyuus in the recording studio. We  make sure that our voices do not sound too alike by varying our pitch to differentiate ourselves from one another. A collective teamwork is formed between the female seiyuus to make sure nobody sounds the same.

Being a seiyuu is now quite a popular career path. How does one actually becomes a seiyuu? Do you require special training or a specific school to learn how to be a seiyuu?

There are many ways to become a seiyuu, but the most common way is to go to a special seiyuu training school. However, in the school itself, there are many competitors around you. My advice is that you can try out for auditions that are open to the public.

There isn’t any correct or quick answer to become a seiyuu as everyone is different, and just because you went to a seiyuu school before, it may or may not be a good thing. Good in the sense, is that you have mastered and went through a proper training. Bad in the sense, is that each school have their own unique style and you may end up being influenced by their style. Even for people learning on their own, via YouTube or other way, the student would eventually gravitate towards a certain style, which may or may not be good thing depending on the character you are auditioning for. Hence, there are various ways to become a seiyuu and you just have to try your best for the right role.

One of the more cost efficient way to train yourself is you pick a series that you like, mute it, and voice act for all the characters using your own voice. This allows you to create various tones, sounds and style of voices. Most importantly, you must record yourself throughout the whole process, because what you think you sound like may not be what you actually sound like in other people’s ears.

After having voice-acted so many characters, do you have any favourite or most memorable character that you have played?

My most favourite character to voice is Rin Tohsaka, a character that I have been playing for many years. Only in the last 2 to 3 years have I felt that I have completed and perfected Rin Tohsaka’s voice.

My image of Rin was someone that is mature and the voice given to her was seemingly much deeper back then. But as the story evolved, I discovered that Rin is actually not a perfect person. Rin has some shortcomings and was not fully mature as a character. I kept having this dilemma of how Rin should actually sound like, and only the last 2 to 3 years, I was able to voice Rin’s character with confidence.

With the upcoming release of Fate/Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel Part 2, I have always been discovering more about Rin. It is a growing process for me to see my character grow as well.

 

MC of this stage session was Reiko [from STGCC].

Transcribed by: Wai Chun

Edited by: Kar Yee

STGCC2018: Post-event Editorial

An eclectic blend of Japanese and Western pop culture, STGCC, short for Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention, is back again in 2018! Retaining the well-received GGXP and Akiba Zone format from last year’s edition while bringing in new surprises, STGCC ensures a new experience for both first-time attendees and seasoned veterans. This year’s STGCC theme is fan oriented, following a “From the Fans, For the Fans” motto. To kick off the convention, fans were greeted by characters from the Game of Thrones!

001White Walkers and the Night King from Game of Thrones

002The Mandalorians stopping by STGCC ‘18 to catch fresh new bounties this year!!

003Excited fans whipping out their cameras to capture the moment

What’s a convention without booths where you can get the latest merchandise, meet your favourite guests and take part in exciting stage activities? Here’s a quick rundown of the event highlights and attractions.

Booths

With familiar names like XM Studios, Books Kinokuniya Action City, Beast Kingdom and the ever popular Tokidoki returning to exhibit, there is always something for everyone in that assortment of merchandise. Here are some things that caught our eye.

004

Red Hulk collectible at XM Studios

005

Iori Yagami from King of Fighters

006Various DC villains

007

A queue formed outside 1000Toys Inc, waiting to purchase new merch

008Action City booth

009Prequel Star Wars Figurines

010Sequel/Original Star Wars Figurines

011Pose with Jack-Jack and Dad from the Incredibles!

010.JPG

LEGO Harry Potter, anybody?

012

Life-sized Iron Man Mark 43 statue at the Royal Selangor booth

013Cuteness overload!

014Some unique accessories to make your day

015Qposket: Disney Characters

016A range of Disney Princesses to collect!

017The long line outside the tokidoki booth

018Little Akihabara booth

019Pretty merchandise *w*

020TAM and AkaiRyusei are always happy to play a tune ~

021Members at the Velvet Room Cosplay Gallery striking a cute pose

022Dare to dip your fingers into some venom?

023Feel like a superhero with these free capes at the SINGER booth!

024Doodle away and impress everyone with your drawing skills!

The Artist Alley, a mainstay of every convention, allows amateur and pro artists alike to showcase their fanart and original art merchandise. This year, the booths seem to be heavily-geared towards Western-style comics and pop culture, though there are booths here and there catering to fans of Japanese manga-style illustrations.

025Rachta Lin’s booth, where she also does live drawing

026

An artist hard at work!

Guests

This year, there is a solid lineup of artists from the Western comics and pop culture side, including familiar faces like Adi Granov, Frank Cho, Sonny Liew and new faces like David Finch and Ryan Meinerding. For the cosplay side, there were also last-minute additions to the lineup – Hikarin and Zekia, brought in by Yours Officially & Beast Kingdom, adding to the 3rd wave guests: Shiraga, AJO and Olivia Mears. For the creator guests, mainstay Touhou representatives TAMusic and AkaiRyusei were also present this year alongside new guests like YUC’e, D-YAMA and Polyphonix. For entertainment guests, one name stood out in particular – the highly-anticipated voice actress Kana Ueda! Known for voicing popular characters such as Tohsaka Rin from the Fate series and Hayate from Nanoha series, she was at STGCC on Sunday for her talk show segment.

027David Finch

028Ryan Meinerding

029Peach MoMoKo

030Li Yishan

031

Shiraga cosplaying as the cute Platelet from the popular series Hataraku Saibou

032AJO cosplaying as Super Sonico

033

Olivia Mears showing off one of her many creative outfits, the Poison Ivy Dress

034e

Hikarin cosplaying as Nick Wilde from Zootopia

Stage Programs

The main stage activities started off with talk segments and drawing showcases from various artists like Range Murata, David Finch and Frank Cho. Fans were treated to live drawings and learned valuable tips and tricks from the masters of the trade.

035‘Cuteness over 9000’ segment

Over at the mini stage, Mini LIVE @ AKIBA Stage featured a host of entertainment guests as well as local performance groups.

036eJapanese Idol group chuLa showcasing their dance moves

037eMauKana, a newly-debuted unit featuring veteran idols

038Shiraishi Arisa from Fukuoka Kanbe Girls

On Saturday, TAMusic & AkaiRyusei held a full-length Acoustic Live. Playing medleys of familiar anime songs like Connect by ClariS (Puella Magi Madoka Magica OP), Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari by supercell (Bakemonogatari ED), only my railgun by fripSide (Toaru Kagaku no Railgun OP) and Butterfly (Digimon OP) interweaved with Touhou medleys by ZUN, fans were chanting along and left wanting for more!

039eTAM on the violin

Afterwards, DJ Night @ STGCC wrapped up the first day of the convention. With heavy EDM beats by Shouya Namai, YUC’e and Polyphonix and the creme de la creme of MOGRA Akihabara, D-YAMA, it was a fitting end to the first day of festivities.

040Shouya Namai getting the party started

On Sunday, Kana Ueda’s talk show took center stage as the popular voice actress shared more about her world. Definitely a segment not to be missed! Check out our article about the stage program here.

kana-ueda-profile.jpg.rx.image.full[Photo Credit: STGCC] Photo of Kana Ueda

The yearly STGCC Championships of Cosplay brought together many talented cosplayers showcasing their artistic creations. Guest cosplayers Shiraga, AJO and Olivia Mears were also present to judge the competition. Here are some photos that we took of the contestants and the judges!

041eCosplay Judges for the STGCC Cosplay Competition: Olivia Mears, AJO and Shiraga

042eThe cosplayers in this year’s competition!!

043eThanos, 2nd Runner Up

044eOptimus Prime, 1st Runner Up

045eAnd presenting our Champion, another Optimus Prime, congratulations!

046e

Presenting all our cosplayers, judges and guest of honors~

Cosplayers on site!

After the cosplay competition, we got a chance to look around the event area to find our local cosplayers present. We’ve snapped a few interesting cosplays, and we can’t wait to share them with you!

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GGXP Area

Gaming is back, and it’s bigger than ever! This year’s gaming sections seem to have leveled up by quite a bit. With the Singapore Qualifiers for World Electronic Sports Games (WESG) held here, teams battled it out live in games like Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, Starcraft II and Vainglory.

073Game on at the WESG Dota 2 competition, featuring NutZ and his team

The indie games section is also thriving, with new additions like CUBIX joining bigger names like Daylight Studios. In the afternoon, the booths were packed with excited fans trying out the game demos available. An added incentive for fans to try out the demos was the chance to score a brand new Nintendo Switch console! Truly too good to be missed.

The casual freeplay zone was also a hit with people wanting a midday gaming break. With assorted console, PC and retro games available, there’s something for everyone. Can’t get enough of Overcooked? Participants put their skills to the test to beat the Overcooked High Score Challenge.

074Street Fighter for the nostalgic feels

075There’s tabletop games too!

076Chillax zone, perfect for a midday gaming break

077Check out figure painting done by the experts!

Interviews

We’ve also managed to interview some of the convention guests! Check out our interviews with Li Yishan, David Finch, Olivia Mears and Range Murata. Interviews with Shiraga and AJO are also on the way, so please look out for them!

Our Thoughts

Overall, STGCC 2018 was a great and enjoyable convention – allowing attendees to enjoy the best of both worlds from the Western to Eastern scenes. This year’s STGCC not only offered a great guest lineup but also included a range of activities for attendees to enjoy, including learning how to sew and make your very own cape at the SINGER sewing booth. GGXP’s inclusion since last year’s edition has certainly made an impact –  this year, more popular titles are presented on the featured match stage. Not to mention the awesome variety of tabletop games that attendees get to play or try out, providing hours and hours of entertainment! With that said, we hope that future editions would include more internationally-renowned guests for the Japanese culture side (and hopefully, earlier release of all waves of guests). Until next year!

Writers: Kar Yee and Wai Chun

Photographers: Helen, Victoria, Wai Chun

STGCC2018: Interview with Range Murata

NSC_9734

It’s Range Murata’s first visit to Singapore, and he’s here for STGCC 2018! With his unique glasses and wide-brimmed hat, Range Murata is easily recognisable among the crowd. We had an opportunity to find out more about his design process, interests and inspirations, as well as what motivates him to go one step further in his work.

Check out a sample of his art style:

ラスエグ_ビジュアル完成 - low res

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just to start off, could you give a self-introduction for our readers?

Hello, I am Range Murata and I am an illustrator from Japan. I do character designs for anime and games. Currently, I am simultaneously working on a few ongoing titles.

Welcome to Singapore! How has your stay been?

It has been fun, and it’s a little bit hot.

Did you manage to do any sightseeing?

I haven’t really had time to go around much yet. I’m actually staying at Marina Bay Sands Hotel right now, so I’ve gone around the area. I’ve seen the Merlion, at least.

Good to have you here with us. If it’s alright to share, what have you been working on recently?

I’m currently working as a character designer on 2 anime titles which will be released in spring or summer next year. That’s all I can share for now. The titles have not been released yet. In February this year, I released an artbook.

Was the artbook titled Futurelog?

Yes.

Congratulations on its release! Your attention to detail is breathtaking. What is your thought process when you design clothing, for example?

I also do human portraits, and when it comes to drawing humans, you have to think of the clothes and accessories and other things. What I usually think of when I do a portrait like that is to think of what kind of person the character is, what this character would be thinking of, what this character is interested in, so I guess that makes the basis of the character. This also adds up to how the end-product would turn out. I go for something that is realistic. I think, if this person were to exist, how would she think, how would she dress, that kind of thing.

Speaking of realism, since you work as a character designer for anime in particular. How much realism can you achieve through animation?

My job is to come up with the character designs. Let’s say that for the character I designed, I assign a numerical value of 100. When it’s being translated to animation, it’s not done by me but by the animators. Only about 20-30% is applied, in a sense. It’s sort of watered-down. In order to bring that 20-30% up to 40-60%, I personally visit the animation studio and work alongside the animators and directors in pursuit of getting more detail out of what the animators have perceived from my illustrations and character designs.

How often do you visit the animation studios?

When I was working on Last Exile, I stayed in the studio for one year.

Were you physically present in the studio?

Back then in the building, the animation studio was on the 13th floor while the lower floors had apartments for people to live in. I lived on the 8th floor. So I’m literally living with the studio in a sense.

It’s been hard on you.

It has been very hard.

Going back to your work, you often include elements of science fiction or steampunk. It’s been described as dieselpunk as well. Is there a reason for your interest in this area?

I have a personal interest in old machinery and old cars, let’s say about a century ago. I’m very interested in what existed back then. When I was born, those things don’t exist anymore, but in the past, they were there. I look up some information and dish out some ideas of what it was like back then. I have some longing of that era.

This is random, but do you own a car?

Yes I do.

What’s the model?

I own a Volkswagen Type 2, something that looks like a minibus. It’s a model from 1959, something from 60 years ago.

So it’s more related to interest, isn’t it?

Yes. It’s cute and it runs well. Right now the parts are still being produced so I have no worries about maintenance. The car has 2 colours – dark brown and light beige. There is no aircon in the car, and in summer it is quite hellish. The front windows can open so at least there’ll be some wind coming in. In winter, it is cold.

There’s no heater as well, is there? The car wouldn’t do well in Singapore because it’s hot.

It’s possible to modify it and add on the aircon.

But you don’t want to, right?

It can be done, but I don’t want to jeopardise the power of the car or the aircon, because the car may not be able to go up slopes.

I see. Going back to the topic of illustration, your style is very clean and unique. How do you approach style?

When doing human portraits, I like to use very clean lines to depict the human body. For example, when drawing the arms and legs, males have a more bony structure, but I try to define it and make the lines more clean so that it’s not so bony in that sense. I also take into consideration possible changes and differences in body types.

How do you find inspirations for your designs? Are there any illustrators or designers that you look up to?

Like I’ve mentioned before, I take interest in a lot of old things, machinery and the olden days, which also includes the fashion and accessories worn then. Even the cityscape and buildings are my source of inspiration. Good designs from those eras exist today because it is good. This means that human perception of what is good remains. Of course, there are many things lost along the way, which also reflects the change in what humans think are acceptable or relatable in the current era. What has been lost actually reflects the change in values, which I also take into consideration when I draw. I feel that change is fun and has a certain beauty in it. So I try to translate that change in thinking into art as well, be it like shoes or bags and stuff like that, in those areas.

How do you know what everything was like 100 years ago?  

I get inspiration from photos on the Internet and from sites like Wikipedia. It’s now easier to get information about what happened in the past. I’ve also seen how people 100 years ago tried to imagine the future 100 years later. It’s a genre called retrofuture. For advertisements in the past, they actually depicted cows flying in the sky, movie phones and other things. Interestingly, we have movie phones now, or smartphones, as they are called. The ‘what-if’ part, if the future was like that, greatly interests me and I try to draw that. Even if that reality doesn’t exist now, it could have and it is fun to think about how things would be different had these possibilities been realised.

Going back to the time when you stayed with the animation studio, what drives you as a creator? Why do you go to such lengths to stay with the work?

I started off as an illustrator and mostly worked with publishers for a few page inserts or covers. When I received talks of working for the anime Last Exile, it came from some other routes. It sounded interesting so I tried it out. I designed a total of 50 characters, which is a lot! When character designers work for anime, usually they do a few of the more important characters and leave the rest to the animators. But for me, I want a say even in the very minor characters that do not have names on-screen e.g. an old man. I want control over how my characters look and that is the drive that keeps me in the studio.

Because it takes a long time to design each and every character, before I slept at the studio, I got calls every 4-5 hours asking if I was done. I thought that if they were going to be so intrusive, then I’ll just stay with them. I moved. In hindsight, it was not that good a move because now that they are so close, they stuck to me and once I was done, they just took the design. They were running on a tight schedule.

In the production of animation, character design is very crucial. If the studio doesn’t have the character designs, the animation team doesn’t know how to work around those characters. If I’m late with my works, it will cause the rest to be unable to keep to schedule. It was good that I stayed with the studio.

After finishing the character designs, I have the fear of only 20-30% being translated, and because I want control over how my designed characters turn out, I want to bring the percentage up to 40-50%. This also contributes to my drive of wanting to stay with the studio, even though it takes away time from my other creative processes.

For example, the Last Exile anime was based on a world that existed 100 years ago, which is closely related to what I am interested in. The anime also deals quite heavily with flight. If you think about it, 100 years ago, plastics didn’t really exist that much then, so in place of that, what could have existed? If plastic buttons were not available, what material could people have used then? If using zippers, remember that but they didn’t have plastic zippers, but metal zippers which will become cold when they go to a high altitude. All these factors come into play when I design characters. I’ll think of what can or cannot be made in that era. Based on that, I will come up with the location of the characters, which includes the consideration of the climate surrounding the characters (whether they are on land or in the air).

That’s interesting! Do you have any advice for aspiring illustrators?

What illustrators want to draw will definitely differ based on the country’s culture and values. I would like to tell all aspiring illustrators to stick to what they think is good, then go ahead and bravely portray what they define as good. During the process, they will often have trouble with expression, colours or technique, but as long as they work on it every day, they will eventually get to where you want to be and be able to push out what they perceive as good. What is perceived as good by one person will definitely differ compared to another person. I wish to see more individuality! I would also advise aspiring illustrators to draw everyday. If you slack for even one day, you’ll be behind by 2-3 days.

We have time for one last question. Do you have any words to say to our readers?

It’s my 3rd day in Singapore and this is actually my first visit to Singapore. I hope to enjoy more of Singapore, like how I did when I enjoyed Singapore yesterday.

 

Interviewed by: Ivy

Transcribed and edited by: Kar Yee

STGCC2018: Interview with Olivia Mears

NSC_9205.JPG

Olivia Mears, a costume designer who has a penchant for using unconventional materials like recycled materials, to make distinctive designs often inspired by food. She is the creator of tacobelle and the pizza dress. Also a SINGER ® sewing ambassador, she was at STGCC 2018 this weekend to interact with fans and conduct sewing workshops. Visual Arts Society had the opportunity to interview her, and here’s what she said.

 

What made you interested in cosplay as a hobby?

At the age of 11,  I made my first costume during Halloween. Slowly it became an annual thing that I kept doing. In some school projects, I was able to expand my costuming horizon even more.

In the cosplay community, there are many variations of types of cosplay. What made you choose dresses for your cosplays?

Dresses were something that I liked a lot. Although I also like larger and bulkier costumes, making dresses allows me to add my own spins and twists to it. I am very fond of long dresses and little details, such as laces and certain pattern sequences. I also like the idea of making a dress that is “multi-variation”, meaning that it is suitable to wear for almost every other type of event, such as weddings and formal occasions.

Your dresses are usually very grand and extravagant. What inspired you to come up with the dress designs?

For cosplay, you want to wear something that makes you feel good. The more elegant and whimsical the dress, the more comfortable I feel in the costume. It is also more fun to play around the design with long skirts and sleeves.

What other unique materials have you worked with before?

Mostly paint, different types of paper, like wrapping and toilet paper, beer cans, latex, cling wraps, food wrappers and the label plastic from water bottles. These are the materials I can think of right now, but I am sure there are a few more that I am missing.

Most of your dresses are heavily influenced by Western comic book characters. What is it about them that you like to portray them so much?

It was something that I grew up with. Now I am able to revisit and relive my childhood dreams in the form of my dresses. For example, Wonder Woman. When I am wearing my Wonder Woman outfit, I feel much more empowered. And for the villians side, Poison Ivy. I feel a bit more “evil” on the fun side.

Are there any types of anime dresses that you have always wanted to try?

I have done a few Sailor Moon dresses but I would like to revisit them someday in the future. My current plans are Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Cardcaptor Sakura.

Is this your first Asian convention that you have been to?

Yes, it is my first time in Singapore, and in fact, my first time in Asia. The experience has been very enjoyable thus far.

How’s the food in Singapore? Are they to your liking?

I am very surprised at the large variety of food here in Singapore! I have tried chicken rice yesterday and it was very delicious.

Speaking of food, Food Fashion is something that you are very well-known for. What is it about this concept that you are so fond off?

Because it is a ridiculous idea, coupled with using strange materials and implementing weird designs to it, it made cosplaying a new and unique experience for me. The thought process of coming up with the designs is especially fun for me. It is something out of the box and not many people have tried it. It is a fun new experience to explore new realms of possibility for the cosplay community.

Would you consider doing an Asian Food-themed dress, if given the opportunity to? Which food would you be your choice?

I am currently working on a sushi outfit.

Given Singapore’s large variety of food, are there any foods that have caught your attention?

Not at the moment, but I’ll need more time to explore around Singapore to get inspiration.

Do you have any advice for any aspiring new cosplayers?

Do not be afraid to get started. Usually the first steps in costume making are the hardest, especially for sewing. It can be tough, but once you get started on your first costume, you should be able to gather more confidence in your next project and you will improve over time.

Any shoutouts you want to say to your fans here in Singapore?

Thank you so much to everyone for your hospitality and feel free to drop by my booth to meet me. Do approach me on my social media(s) too if you are unable to visit this weekend. I will be there to respond!

 

Want to know more about Olivia Mears? Check out her social media links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/avantgeekart

Public Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/avantgeek/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/avantgeek/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/avantgeekart

 

Interviewed and transcribed by: Wai Chun

Edited by: Kar Yee

Cover Image by: Helen

 

STGCC2018: Interview with David Finch

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David Finch is a Canadian-born comic artist known for his works for Top Cow Productions for Cyberforce. His works got in Top Cow, Marvel and DC comics. We sat down with him to have a little chat~

 

Where did you first start out your career as a comic artist?

I started out at Top Cow Productions with Cyberforce. Much later, I was able to work with Marvel and after 7 years, I switched over to DC comics.

Is there a reason for the switch from Marvel to DC?

Mainly because I have the opportunity to draw Batman and that was one of my main driving force for the switch. Batman is my childhood superhero and with an opportunity like this to happen, it is quite difficult for me to let it go pass.

What character designs have you been actively involved in throughout your career thus far?

I have mostly done Batman, Wonder Woman, Justice League and Forever Villains for DC. As for Marvel, I have worked on X-men, The New Avengers and Moon Knight and a few crossover series.

What were your inspirations when you started drawing?

I would have to say the Ghost in the Shell franchise, the Superior comics and Gerald Brom who does concept arts for Magic the Gathering were some of my inspirations when I started out drawing as my career.

Sidetracking a bit, there was a special mention of your name in the credits of the film, Avengers: Infinity Wars. What was your involvement in the film and how was the experience like?

To be honest, I was quite shocked to see my name in the credits and it was totally unexpected as I was not really directly involved in the film per say.

I guess that you probably got the special mention because of your work related to the Avengers. In that case, did you managed to see any of your art designs used in any of the Marvel films?

I do not think I saw any similar designs, but I am glad. Because in the film, I felt that they have taken a more realistic approach in the costuming department. Sometimes, the art we designed might not be as useful in real life and it is a fresh new look for everyone to see, which I like a lot.

Rose is a comic book created by your wife, Meredith Finch alongside Ig Guara and yourself. How did this comic book came about?

My wife and I casually drew a character and she named her Rose because she had that idea since about 10 years ago. She offered up the project to Ig Guara and he gladly accepted it. As for me, I mainly do some cover arts and I read some of the plot lines of the story and give reviews to her. Basically I am doing the editorial role.

What other projects are you currently working on with that you can share with us today?

I am currently working on a new Avengers cover, which I am excited about. I am also doing something special for Image Comics as well, but that all I can say for now.

Is this the first time you have been to an Eastern comic convention?

No actually, I have been to Shanghai Comic Con and the Philippines to do some store signings as well. So, I guess STGCC is my third stop in Asia.

How is the atmosphere and food in Singapore thus far?

Singapore is a very clean and green city! Flowers and greenery could be seen almost everywhere and everyone here is very friendly. Food wise, I had spicy frog legs yesterday which was unique because I could never have a chance to eat that back in Canada. Local food has been great and I cannot wait to eat more of it these few days.

 

Want to know more about David Finch? Check out these links:

Official Website: http://www.dfinchartist.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DavidFinchArtist

 

Interviewed and transcribed by: Wai Chun

Edited by: Kar Yee

Cover Image by: Helen