Tuesday, August 14, 2012

STGCC 2012: Gear Up For "The Battlemonks" by Kelvin Chan

It has been about a year since Red Dot Diva got to know artist Kelvin Chan. And since then, he is still keeping a very busy schedule maintaining a full-time job at a local newspaper, fulfilling family commitments, occasionally running a toy trading stall at China Square, and yet, able to practise his art by constantly drawing a whole range of pop-culture subjects.

(For an introduction on Kelvin Chan, check out this Red Dot Diva interview in 2011!)

So, it is even MORE amazing when Red Dot Diva saw the hard work Kelvin has been investing, with whatever available time he had left, in his creator-own material called "The Battlemonks".

Kelvin has already shared the first few pages of "The Battlemonks" on his own blog, and what had started out as a webcomic might see itself in print at this coming STGCC!

To get an early scoop about "The Battlemonks" and what Kelvin has planned for STGCC 2012, Red Dot Diva ate up even more his precious time for a pre-convention interview:

A page from "The Battlemonks"
Red Dot Diva: How did you come up with the concept and idea of "The Battlemonks"?
Kelvin: It's a story that I've been developing since 1995, just one of those " if I were to do an epic story" thoughts that I have been brewing. Over the years, it evolved into this story idea, with all the influences I've experience along the way.

Red Dot Diva: Tell us a little about what the story is mainly about and where will it be taking the readers to?
Kelvin: It's about a group of secret monks who have been tasked to safeguard an all-powerful relic and must keep it from falling into the wrong hands. It starts off some 3000 years ago in China against a background of real historical events and characters. But most of the story will take place in the present and in Singapore.

Red Dot Diva: What made you decide on the webcomic format?
Kelvin: I got the idea from some artists who have also used the webcomic format to promote their art. Then when a full story is done, compile them into a printed graphic novel for sale.

Red Dot Diva: What have been the main challenges that you faced while developing "The Battlemonks"?
Kelvin: The main challenge was to keep the styles consistent. I am quite fluent in a number of comic styles and painting, so I tend to move between techniques. I had to be disciplined in keeping with one style for "The Battlemonks" book itself. Oh, and to get all this done aside from my full-time career and family commitments.

Preview of the Battlemonks figurine "Abbot"

Red Dot Diva: I hear that you are releasing a "Battlemonk" figurine at STGCC. How long did it take for you to work on the concept to finished product?
Kelvin: Yes ,the figure is based on the master of "The Battlemonks" called Abbot. The whole journey has taken nearly 3 months liaising with the manufacturers in China. Much credit must be given to Adeeb of Hairyashell who has been an extremely great help.

Red Dot Diva: You have been working as an artist for a long time. Did you find yourself learning more new things while working on "The Battlemonks"?
Kelvin: I'm always looking for ways to improve myself and my craft. I set myself some milestones, e.g. getting to SDCC for portfolio reviews with the big 3 in the field of comics art. Then, it was getting a sketchbook out. This year, my objective was to produce an actual comic book and a creator-owned figurine. So I guess I'm on track. 

And in order to be able to produce my own figurine, I made myself learn how to sculpt with the actual tools sculptors worked with. However, as this was my first project and I was very busy, I left it entirely to my Chinese counterparts so I could learn the process from them. The whole process of preparing and producing and marketing the product also gave me insight into how a product should be marketed. And also working everything into a right budget!

Red Dot Diva: What else do you hope to achieve from "The Battlemonks" if it turns out to be popular with the readers?
Kelvin: I have already got a first book ready - "The Battlemonks" is going to be part of a 3-story anthology called "THREE" or "San" in chinese characters. There are two other collaborators, my nephews known as the 'Animation Twins'. Each of us will be producing a 20-plus page story with an Asian context.

Red Dot Diva: How is preparation for STGCC coming along ? What are you getting ready to showcase at the convention?
Kelvin: It's all coming together. All gears are in motion - the toy's on the way, finishing up "The Battlemonks" pages and getting that and hopefully, a second sketchbook to the printers by mid-August.
Also, I've started the marketing of these items. There will likely be an exclusive Battlemonks-TOYSREVIL edition. In addition, like last year, I will be doing a movie tie-in. This time, it is for the film "Dredd", for which I will be producing an exclusive poster and giving away movie passes with purchases. I will also have the prototype of my second Battlemonk figure on display for pre-orders.

Wow. Red Dot Diva is now even more impressed how Kelvin manages his time and get sooooo much done!

To check out all these goodies from Kelvin, including the launch of the anthology book called "THREE" or San, visit his booth G33 at STGCC on 1 and 2 September!


Go visit Kelvin Chan's blog: http://rocketraygun1.blogspot.sg/

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