Wednesday, August 28, 2013

STGCC 2013: Introducing Ray Toh and Morning Rain Studio

There is a treasure trove of very talented artists in Red Dot Island, with design, illustration and concept work being the primary kinds of artwork you usually find here. Most of these artists may not be internationally-known names, but they are hard-working and accomplished professionals in their own right.

All one needs to do is to drop by the ART JAMMERS SG Facebook Group to admire the amount of creativity and perspectives of the many artists there, and on a wide range of subjects!

One of the artists who posts regularly in the FB group is local freelance illustrator and concept artist Ray Toh. Recently, Ray's artwork was used for the cover of teen-mystery book "Triple Nine Sleuths" written by Maranna Chan and published by local house, Epigram Books.

At STGCC 2013, Ray will be hosting his own booth at Artist Alley G45 under the name of his brand new company, Morning Rain Studios. His guest Jerry Teo of "Rex Regrets" will also be accompanying him there during the convention.

(More emo on Jerry/ "Rex Regrets" here!)

Red Dot Dude caught hold of Ray so that he could introduce more art-appreciators to his portfolio and what his new company has to offer:

Red Dot Dude: How did the name Morning Rain Studio come about?
Ray: My business partner and I were just thinking that Morning Rain = Refreshing. So hopefully, the studio will be able to produce and explore some refreshing and interesting ideas.

Red Dot Dude: Is there anything being launched through Morning Rain Studios at this point in time?
Ray: There is currently a local-based crowdfunding platform for comic artists and creators that we are starting called Fantastic Fox. We are hoping it will provide a business pipeline for artists/ creators to make original content and yet to be able to make a living from this.

There is also an e-store portal tagged to Fantastic Fox called Big Green Store. The artist and creators can upload a .pdf format of their ebooks, and readers will be able to browse to access the items. This is an experiment for us and we will try to market it during STGCC, but we are still not sure how successful it will be.

Ray's Ideabook 2011

Red Dot Dude: You released a book a couple of years ago. Tell us more about your book and what inspired it?
Ray: Ideabook 2011 is a collection of my sketches from 2010 to 2011. The idea came from a group of students I was teaching at Lasalle. I was showing them my sketch book and one of the students suggested that I should publish it. I sat on the idea for a few days, wondering if it's a good idea to showcase all my half baked ideas. After some thinking, I decided to go with it in the end. :)

Red Dot Dude: Who are your favorite artists and how did they influence your work?
Ray: I have many favourite artists and it's really hard to say who I like more. Two artists whom I keep going back to are Otomo Katsuhiro and Craig Mullin. I'm not sure how they influence me. I think they do that on a more sub-conscious level. I really love Otomo's storytelling and how he creates pacing and realism in his comics. And I like Craig Mullin for his sense of light, detail and his amazing analytical skill.

Red Dot Dude: What will be your dream project?
Ray: My dream project would be any project that I would have full control over.

Red Dot Dude: In your opinion, is it especially tough for an artist to make it “work” in a viable way Singapore? If no, why not?
Ray: That's quite a difficult question to answer. I think there are two ways to look at this. One, making your personal and original work viable as a business. Or two, providing illustration services and earning from that.

If we are looking at the first option, it is tough by nature, here or anywhere else. There used to be a saying that the domestic market here is small but look at what Jack Neo did with his film. I think it boils down to understanding the type of audience you are targeting towards. So it's doable but it may be need more stamina for this kind of venture both mentally and financially. It will also boil down to how you chart your route between commercial projects and original content.

If we are looking at just providing a illustration service, making a living out from wouldn't be a problem because that kind of service is always needed. The choices of project may be limited though, due to your technical skill or the business environment. And there's a need to constantly market your work and showing people what you can do. For this option, it is really a juggle between business management and artistic work.

Ray's Ideabook, framed original artwork, A1 and A3 artprints, coasters and more will be available at the Morning Rain Studio booth this weekend, together with Jerry's creations.

So do say hello to them while you are wandering along Artist Alley this weekend!


Introduction by: Red Dot Diva
Interview by Red Dot Dude aka Andre Chee.
Edited by: Red Dot Diva 


Some links to check out more information about Ray Toh:
Morning Studio website:

No comments:

Post a Comment