“Xuan’s Chatters” Interview Spotlight: Mentor Yeo Hui Xuan – Dream Walker & Mystical Gateway
Time flies and soon we’re on the second edition of Pura Comixmag! With “two” as our main theme this time round, we’ll be hearing from Singapore’s first full-time professional mangaka – Mentor Yeo Hui Xuan on the newest development of her work – “Dream Walker”, the production of her newest collaboration work “Mystical Gateway” and the nitty-gritty of her journey to becoming a mangaka star!
Read more about Hui Xuan here.
Credits: Video by “My Grandfather’s Story”
1. For a student whose dream was constantly denied by your teachers, why did you still insist to pursue the path of being a mangaka?
At that time, my Chinese teacher was asking the whole class what are their dream occupations and I replied, “I want to be a mangaka.” Well, it’s not as though she’s strongly against it, she’s just worried whether I would be able to make a living out of it. Being a mangaka has always been my dream so no matter what anyone says, I’ll still stick to it.
2. We heard that you’ve recently run into the same teacher who denied your mangaka dream time and again, what do you have to say to her?
Teacher, although the path of a mangaka is difficult, I still made it. I’ll stick to my path and I won’t give up no matter what. Hmm, not sure if she still remembers me? *laughs*
3. What’s the difference in conceptualization and production for “Dream Walker” and “Mystical Gateway” – the newest collaboration between you and Mr. Wee Tian Beng?
The production process of “Dream Walker” was determined by me and it’s a full black and white manga so it’s easy to conceal imperfections and the time taken to complete it was much lesser.
“Mystical Gateway” is my very first collaboration with my mentor – Mr Wee Tian Beng. I’m not the only one involved in its production process so I had to make careful considerations with regards to everyone who is involved in it. This comic has more of a masculine flavour to it, as compared to Dream Walker’s feminine feel. Not to mention, I spend more time refining and working on the details for colouring this time round as it’s a full-coloured comic, so the pressure is definitely more as compared to when I was working on “Dream Walker”.
4. This is the tenth year of your full-time professional comic artist career, did the opinions of your friends, family and relatives towards you differ?
My family had always been supportive, whereas friends whom I seldom have contact with will comment that they are surprised that I have persevered till now.
Some of my relatives are happy for me and will keep snippets of my media reports to share with my other more distant relatives. Though some of my elders still don’t really get what I do and they still show disdain at me whenever we meet.
5. As the first full-time professional female artist in Singapore, what is a day’s work to you? (as you work from home, how is the allocation of your day’s schedule like)
Every morning, I’ll turn on my comp and proceed according to the work schedule I’ve pre-planned.
For instance, if today is allocated for drafting, I’ll spend the whole day settling my drafts. If there happen to be any external projects, I’ll process it concurrently. My day’s schedule often comprises of my three meals, having ample rest, get some exercise in, shower and take care of my cats.
If I’m lacking inspiration, I’ll surf online for ideas. I’ll also allocate one day out of the week to go out, shop and take a breather.
Sometimes, when work gets hectic, I can stay at home the whole week and work till 2 – 3am before I hit the sack.
6. In one of your media reports, you mentioned that you received the phone call from TCZ Studio Pte Ltd inviting you to be their full-time comic artist when you just woke up. Did you think you were dreaming? Were you excited? Or did it ever cross your mind to turn down the offer?
I honestly thought I was dreaming then. It took some time for it to really settle in before I realized it was real. After I confirmed it with my publisher, I proceed to research, write my story and went into the comic production proper.
As I mentioned before, I’ve always wanted to be a full-time mangaka and since there were already comic artists around who were doing it on a freelance basis, I thought to myself, “Since others could do it, why can’t I?”
So I resolutely grabbed the chance to publish my own original comic series and made it past the 10th year mark recently, which honestly kind of surprised me too.