Time is of Essence

I spoke about how Sol evolved in another blog post not too long ago, and now here’s the creative process. I started on this project about 2 years ago. I had in mind that I wanted to publish an illustrated book, not only for children but also for adults. I thought of the story and then I went on to create the drawings. The very first draft was completed a few months after I started on this project. It went into the publication stages, the scanning, the text layout and all the other technical parts of publishing a book. I called it to a halt, mainly because I felt it wasn’t good enough. Colours weren’t being picked up, I basically wasn’t happy with what I saw. I have very high expectations and I wasn’t going to go easy on myself.

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Despite having done Art for the GCE “O” levels, techniques and skills do go rusty over so many years. It was a matter of getting acquainted with drawing and painting all over again, and I had toexperiment and learn on my own because I couldn’t find time out of filming to go for courses or classes (but I am determined to do so soon). Art is something that is strange and yet familiar to me all at the same time, I felt confident and yet so unsure. It was about making mistakes and learning from them, it sure took a longer time to get to the finish line, but you learn so much more because these experiences are etched in your memory. The beauty of Art is also the fact that sometimes the mistakes you make surprise you with quite a beautiful effect and texture on your artwork.

Here are some of the drawings from the original draft.

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I met with quite a few obstacles. Time was a main factor. I was filming every single day and sometimes it required travelling and being away from home for a few months. I brought my art materials with me wherever I went. Drawing for my book had to stop when I picked up a drama that required me to draw for my role. The production team knew I could draw and asked if I could include this element into the role, so they tailor-made this role for me in a way, so to say. I had to put my project aside to create new canvases for the drama, to create a whole new sketch book for my character. The production team even produced merchandise for the drama using my drawing. It was only when I wrapped up for this particular drama that I could continue with my own book. By then, it was probably already over a year since my first draft was completed.


Slowly but surely, my book started to take shape. Bit by bit, the pages were building up. Some were drawn and then put aside and new pieces were done again. The process was long because I had to make sure I was completely satisfied with what I had produced. This process went on right up to the final stages when I handed it over to the publisher. I looked at the pieces over and over, and if there was even just one spot that made my heart feel uneasy and unhappy about, that piece would be re-drawn. I was particular over text layout as well. I wasn’t exactly pleased with what was given to me. Text is also a kind of art, the layout and how it is to be presented can tell a story, it’s not meant to just be printed as a means to an end. Several emails later, I sketched out the entire thing to tell them exactly where I wanted to place the words.

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What was planned as a Valentine’s Day launch, wasn’t to be. Sol’s World: Somebody to Love was launched in May instead. The wait is well worth it for me, because the book makes me smile when I look at it now. It was a huge learning experience for me, to know what went on behind crafting and creating a book. I created Sol’s World with the intention of a series of illustrated books. So in many ways, the project hasn’t ended, it is just a new beginning for me.

Thank you Montblanc, for supporting my creative pursuits.