Sunday, November 24, 2013

The dude just wants to be a comic artist.

My dad has been asking me when Luqman is going to start preparing for IGCSE. Because my dad still thinks his grand children will definitely take the degree route. The truth is, they might not. And I have not tell him yet :-P

It has been a year since we gave Luqman a break. When we made a deal he will have a gap year this year, the dude is just happy that he finally can draw in peace. Without being scolded by teachers. 
The deal is he's not going to do any academic work in 2013. He's free to explore his interests. He will start working on his IGCSE in 2014 and then proceed to A-level. We chose IGCSE & A-level as we feel it's one of the most recognized qualification. With IGCSE, he can apply to most universities in any part of the world except US. That's the minimum that I am most comfortable with. Whether he choose to proceed to pursue a degree, that's up to him. 

As we are coming to the end of 2013, I start having second thoughts. I am seriously thinking of extending his gap year. This year, theoretically he's free. In reality, he has been quite busy.

For a few months after his PMR exam, he was involved with Childline Child Advocacy Project. It was a great exposure for him on advocacy, children issues and media.
He started teaching art to the special teenagers in YIREH weekly since March. 
He has been travelling and learning on the road.
He has been attending courses and workshops related to art, writing, story telling, game design, animation and graphics. Introduction to sequential/visual storytelling by Sheldon Goh at KDU College.
When there's opportunity, we made him mingle with professionals. Just to expand his views. He won a scholarship to Ecoknights Camp earlier this year and he had the opportunity to listen to presentations from various professionals related to environment.
He has been volunteering with Box of Delights Family Theatre a few times to help behind the scene. He got to work with the artist and explore his strengths in creative lines.
So yeah. He has been quite busy. The good news is it's a healthy kind of busy. 

Throughout these activities, he learned more about himself. And I learn more about him too. Things I have never realized before.

I learn he's pretty good with kids.
 I learn he's a good teacher. I always thought he's more suitable to work alone. When he taught the orphans in Chiang Mai, I realized he can connect with people very well.
I learn he tends to over analyze things. 
His surfing coach told him to leave his brain at the beach and just surf.
I learn over time, he has learn to be more committed. Recently, while working with Box of Delights' crews, he was asked to create a few designs. It was a last minute thing and he's still very amateurish with Adobe. I have to admit I never thought he would pull it off. He stayed up all night and completed the design the next morning. I have to say, I was very impressed. Not with the designs. But with his commitment of getting things done. He has come a long way.
 In contrary to what he thinks, I learn he has other interests besides drawing comic. Like wood carving and building models. Which affirm my belief, he shouldn't narrow his option at 16yo. 
So yeah. Writing these down made me realize he has grown and blossom. And I think this is only possible because he has the freedom and luxury of time. Compared to his schooling days, he's not tired.

The next question is, should we stick to the plan and get him to prepare for IGCSE or should we give him a bit more time to explore himself?? 

When we went for Ubud Reader Writer Festival recently, he got the chance to meet quite a number of authors, cartoonists, illustrators and artists. Most of them say the same thing. Explore. Keep drawing, stick to your style but broaden your portfolio. If you love drawing comic, that's fine. Stick to it but learn to do other things too.
Maybe we should let him meet more people and explore more options before he decides on his path.

A friend asked me...
What's the rush? Yeah. I don't know either.
If he's doing well, why not keep it a bit longer? Errmm...yeah. Maybe.
If he's quite sure of his direction and he's leaning more and more towards art, why waste time do IGCSE? Why not explore liberal art education??

I have been scouring more information and talking to friends. We are still contemplating. Maybe we would let him have another year of gap year. Get him to do some internship or something. He told me he wants to start writing. Maybe children book or a graphic novel. I have no idea where this will lead him to. But I guess, another gap year will not do him  any harm. 

What do you think??? Do share with me your thoughts.


  1. I'd give him another gap year, but with a difference. Not as free and easy, but more structured. Internship, self-directed learning, workshops, and PRACTICE. whether he's a comic book artist or within the creative field, there's a lot more that he can learn and put into practice (we've had this convo before anyway). IGCEs are the bare minimum that we plan for the boys, what they do afterwards depends on them, their interests etc. Perhaps that's the willing compromise if you do agree on another gap year, he has to have a structured approach, while still keeping an open mind. :) that's my POV.

  2. Definitely another gap year but with more focus on areas he is interested in. Internship is good. Don't neglect the academic side as well... how about more exposure to science related stuff? Perhaps that might spark an interest? :)

  3. So far, only #2 and #4 are interested in Science. Another gap year will probably give me more time to do some science stuffs with him. Who knows he will suddenly be a science geek :-)

  4. I wish my son is like yours..:) And i think a year gap will not ruin his academic plan at all. Agreed to some of the suggestions above, make it more structured and printed and keep it as portfolio...we will never know what is waiting for him in the future. So proud of you as a mother, i wish i could be like you....

  5. If he wants to be a comic artist, encourage it, encourage education to help him make better comics and stories.
    Because the best comics have excellent plots.

  6. Angelia makes sense. I think that's the way to go.

    Being in the field myself, I can tell you that your young man will always find a place to contribute to in Malaysia. However, having reached out to the international community at book festivals and the like, it is AMAZING to see how many wonderful book illustrators are teachers at the best unis in the world. That's a gateway when you're an artist - a HUGE one. To have that mentor, to be able to go to art school can be liberating, and really helps with the isolation of having drawing in your blood - but to qualify to get in you usually need to have quals - so why not have L do his IGCSEs but stagger it? Art and Design, Development Studies, Physics, a language?

    Internships to consider can be places like Teach for Malaysia, Game Design Studios, Animation Studios.

    Good luck!