Monday, June 27, 2016

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

My BPPV experience (Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo)

Some of you were shocked to learn that I have stones in my ears but actually everybody has them. In normal circumstances, they stay inside a chamber with a membrane to keep them from going out. However when a person ages or suffer from a head trauma, these small stones may dislodge and float around in the ear fluid tubes that disturbs the body's balance system (aka vestibular system) and the mind perceives the room as spinning although it isn't, aka vertigo giddiness. The term BPPV means the vertigo is aggravated by certain head positions, comes suddenly and although it seems serious, it is actually not life threatening. However during a vertigo attack, it is very uncomfortable as the whole room seems spinning.

BPPV is common among elderly and people with head trauma. So the only thing I recalled doing out of the blue was an aerial yoga session 2 days before and an attempt on tripod headstand the day before. I only felt fatigue on that day and suddenly woke up to a spinning room the next day. Luckily, it only lasts a few seconds. I thought it would go away but when I laid down at night, the room spun again too so I decided to go to a polyclinic (subsidised government clinic) the next day fearing something serious.

The doctor said it could be an ear fluid imbalance problem so he referred me to Tan Tock Seng Hospital's ENT department. Sadly for me it was a month's wait (SGH is like 6 months). Meanwhile, I continued to do my yoga. But during the yoga session, my neck ached very badly and I wondered if it was actually neck injury causing my vertigo problem. Out of anxiety (and long wait to ENT), I went to visit a chiropractor and 2 TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) clinics. Frankly speaking the acupuncture was more effective in relieving the muscle ache than chiropractor's.

Thinking back I should have visited the ENT specialist earlier and pay the full rate instead of delaying treatment.

Treatment: Epley's Maneuver

Monday, June 20, 2016

Comics: Japanese Stairs

Anyone who has traveled to Japan will know that their train stations require a lot of stair climbing. Escalators and elevators are either far away or non-existent, so be prepared if you are bringing your parents or kids in strollers!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Comics: Trishaw and Rickshaw pullers in Singapore and Japan

You can find trishaw uncles at Chinatown and dashing rickshaw pullers at Kyoto~
Idea contributed by Catherine, one of my yoga teachers!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Drawing Tokyo Tourist map demo

A few of my fans on Patreon requested me to upload screen captures of me working, so I decided to do one of the pages of my second book that I was working on. The second part is a travel guide to Japan and this one showed how I came to design the map (which turned out to be drawing a Totoro fanart...). This is 17min long.

The second part shows more finished artwork but the final map is a bit different and you will be able to see it in my second book, releasing later this year. This second part video is 20min long.


Software: Manga Studio EX 5
Hardware: Macbook Pro and Wacom Cintiq 24HD
If you like what you see, please considering becoming my patron on!
Thank you!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Comics: Long-term relationship between Client and Artist

Quite a lot of us receive emails from companies who say they were looking to build a "long-term" relationship with the artist as a way to request more discount (sometimes free work too). But we prefer to see the cash first...

Another Naiise retail shop for local artists and designers to showcase and sell our products

If you have been receiving all the posts from my FB and Instagram, you'll know that my book and cat cushions are now selling at all 6 Naiise outlets in Singapore. They opened a brand new flagship store at the Cathay's basement this month and they invited all suppliers to party!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Patreon goal finally reached after more than a year, although for one day only

After relentless whining about the lack of support for artists and my expensive monthly medical fees, a friend decided to pledge and encouraged me to finish my second book earlier. And because it was my birthday month, a fan increased her pledge to $10 for this month only, hence for the first time in more than a year,
I finally reached the goal of US$600/month!!!
But after one day, a fan lowered his pledge for June...
... anyway, at least all patrons are still around!!!

It has not been easy and many times I was disappointed because although I have 96,000 likes on FB  and 5,400 followers on Instagram, I have less than 60 patrons supporting me. Which made me wonder WHY??? Sometimes I post about my disappointment on FB, but I would get random readers telling me to stop posting such demoralising posts, so I only post my comics nowadays...

#supportlocal ?

When my first book was published in 2014, I had around 48,000 likes but sales was slow. I had to spend an entire year renting stalls and doing talks to push my book and finally clear all 3,000 of my first print. I almost had to beg people to buy a copy from me sometimes. I was (and still) in debt for borrowing money to self-publish the book. But luckily I paid off most of it already and it's interest-free with no due date. No thanks to local publisher who rejected my work and no thanks to local chain bookstore for placing my books in horrible locations. Also no thanks to local distributor who gave me a wrong estimation of sales and delayed my payment. That's why I'm now with a Malaysian publisher, who had seen that my books were actually doing quite well despite being a first-time author. Although royalties will be paid in deflating ringgit, at least I can use it to buy back stock to sell at local conventions... and I'm happy I do not have to fork out the money or do crowd-funding for the second book, which I think is tough in Asian market + logistics nightmare.

Followers on FB and Instagram are not as loyal as those following bloggers and Youtubers

I had conversations with other artists and bloggers and we noticed that people who follow on FB and Instagram are generally more casual and do not have such a strong bonding with the artist/creator. For example there are some youtubers who published their own comic books and they sold very well despite looking very amateurish. Meanwhile professionals like us had to struggle or make great efforts to sell our books. When we have products, people are extremely critical about it (such as my 3D printed toy). Perhaps because YouTube makes you feel as if you know the creators personally and hence a closer bond and level of support. Also when you read a blog regularly or visit a Youtube channel, you are searching for its content actively, whereas on FB and Instagram is spoon-feeding into your newsfeed and everything disappears as you scroll. Although I have been updating new comics every Monday, many told me they haven't seen my new comics and I had to tell them to check out my timeline or blog. There is a setting to see my posts first, but I think many do not know about it.

Asians are practical and not used to the patron and crowdfunding culture

The idea of being a patron of the arts and crowdfunding are all from the West, maybe because they are more developed in terms of culture and economy. After all, you can only do art after your basic needs are solved. Disposable income in SE Asia, where majority of my readers come from, are still very low. The exception is Singapore, which is considered a very rich country by our neighbours, but Singaporeans generally still prefer to buy something practical that they can use instead of supporting something intangible, like art.


After many months of trying to get more patrons, I finally relented to the fact that it's not going to grow much. FB has skewed its algorithm such that my Monday comic strips are receiving lesser and lesser organic reach because they want us to pay. I still leave my Patreon link on every comic that I post but it seems pretty useless. Most people in Asia are still not willing to support creators that make free content for everybody. So I'm going to explore other sources of income after I finish my second book and pray that my new products will sell well.

Although I don't have many fans, I'm glad I have some that are extremely supportive. Thank you all for buying my books, goods and supporting me on Patreon! See you real soon at end of the year conventions after my second book is out!
In case you don't know what is Patreon, it is something like Kickstarter, but it works more like a paid subscription. You can just pledge from $1/month and you can...
  • ... have all your comments, questions and messages personally answered by me.
  • ... download 3 short manga stories, with each more than 30 pages long in English, Chinese and Japanese languages! (Japanese language not available with the last story)
  • ... your name included in my new book if you are still pledging when I submit my manuscript to publisher!
  • ...access to my sketches and work in progress when you pledge US$5 or more a month!


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