Monday, December 03, 2007

Interview with Kenny Mah!

And now we have an interview with the illustrator himself, the illustrious Kenny Mah! Ta da (drumroll)

1. How did you start out being an illustrator?

Almost by accident, actually. I've always loved drawing, painting, design, anything to do with art, really. There's a long-running story in my family that I started both reading and drawing at the age of two, a sign of precociousness that I hope I have outgrown.

Then there were the amateur comic strips I drew as a teenager that were never shown to anyone else... but the correct answer to your question, if there is one, I suppose, would be when I started blogging and despairing of suitable graphics to use (this was in 2001, when blogging was still a new thing), decided to dabble with design myself.

And a few years later, here I am. I'm still an amateur/freelancer, but the passion does feed the heart, if not the belly...


2. What gave you the inspiration for Dark City 2's cover?

Basically, I wanted a cover that moved away from the garish, long-haired "pontianak" look of so many local horror/suspense/mystery novels. I wanted something more sensual and classy-looking. To this end, I decided upon the concept of a sad, contemplative lady with secrets to hide.

Then I did three versions of the cover and had my blog readers vote on their favourite cover... which ended up being rather different from my own expectations! But what ever is marketable will be marketed, I say. Readers rule!


3. You're a writer too. What do you write?
An editor once called my pieces of writing "mood pieces" and she meant that both as a compliment and a word of caution, that such writing doesn't really have a market. I'm not too sure about that.

While I agree that having work that conforms to the "accepted" norm of what is available (e.g. novels, short stories, non-fiction) does help in its sales at least, I also believe that readers can discern for themselves what they would like to read; I've gotten enough response from my blog readers to glean at least some evidence of this.

And at the end of the day, what I write about is humanity --- our emotions and fears and greed and hope and lust and great, romantic love --- and I believe this is something we can all relate to.


4. How long do you take to do one illustration? What inspires you?

It depends. I wished I had more time with the DC2 illustrations, for example, for I can do some very intricate, complex work. But deadlines do dictate delivery, and as such, days would be sufficient. For more complicated, detailed illustrations, we could be talking weeks here.

And inspiration comes from my reading, my interpretation of the source material, i.e. the stories in this case.


5. Do you have any advice for budding illustrators out there?
What? When I am barely a budding illustrator myself? There is still so much for me to learn and explore and experiment with. So, if there is any advice to be given out at all, it'd be something I'm taking myself: Learn. Explore. Experiment.

And have fun while you're at it!


Argus Lou said...

Way to go, Kenny! Keep at it - both cover designing and illustrating - and they will fill your belly soon enough. ^_^

Lydia Teh said...

"Mood pieces" - that's it! I couldn't put a finger to it but this describes your writing, Kenny. I think they're a tad too contemplative.

Kenny Mah said...

Thanks! And even if they don't fill my belly, at least they fill my heart. :)

Haha, that they are, dear. Perhaps it's my signature? :P

Xeus said...

Kenny, you have a very slim belly :)

I also remembered who said that about your writing being mood pieces - I was there!

I remember thinking you'll write great poetry!

Kenny Mah said...

Poetry? Why does everyone say that? Samuel and some other folks just introduce me as a poet... but I don't do poems... I don't know the first thing about writing them, meter or verses or stuff, hahaha...

Btw, looking forward to your answers to my interview with you, dear. It's time the tables are turned! Lol.

Xeus said...

Ooops, I completely forgot, sorry! That's what happens when I don't reply to my emails immediately. Was in Jakarta, just came back.

Tunku Halim said...

It's an excellent cover for DC2 - wish it was mine! And Kenny you're a poet, just forget all that technical stuff because you write from the heart.

Kenny Mah said...

The interview I did with you is now up here:

Thanks, and will do as you recommended. :)