“Comics Are the Best Way to Meet My Needs”: Sloane Leong Talks to Pao-yen Ding

Pao-yen Ding is a Taiwanese cartoonist born in 1988. He was selected for Made in Taiwan—Young Artist Discovery (Art Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan, 2014) and nominated for several awards. He is deeply influenced by subculture and comics but also explores a variety of mediums. Pao-Yen uses the name “morning anxiety” as an independent publishing comics zine. While we hung out a few times in person, I talked to Pao-Yen over email and chat to talk to him more in depth about his unique body of work, anxiety and dreams.

Sloane Leong: What are you working on right now?

Pao-yen Ding: The story that is being painted now is a story related to dreams. I want to record the dreams I have made during my stay in Angouleme and turn them into short comics. I have always been interested in dreams, and I often do some weird dreams. The favorite cartoonist, Tsuge Yoshiharu, also has a lot of comics about dreams. This is the first time I have lived abroad for a long time. I want to see what changes will happen to my dreams during this period and convert them into comics.

Tsuge is really cool. Who is your favorite cartoonist?

I think that I admire different cartoonists every time, but I have always liked and influenced me. I think Umezu Kazuo, I like his anxiety and full of childlike plots, full of wrinkles. Strokes and naked bloody performances are my favorite elements, so the impact on my performance and content is great.

Why do you find that dreams are an important source of inspiration?

Although it is not always the case, sometimes people will do some impressive dreams. They can have feelings that they have never had in reality. For example, when I was a child, I was fascinated by UFO aliens. I always hope that I can witness the UFO in a day. And once it happened in a dream, I dreamed that I was experiencing an incredible UFO sight with the people around me. The huge aircraft and the dazzling light were in the sky for a long time. Of course, I don’t know that it is a dream now, and that I fully believe that the joy of the heart and the unbelievable atmosphere are not realized in reality. Of course, I will be disappointed when I wake up, but I will always remember that feeling. Since then, I have felt that dreams are incredible things. It seems that I can experience all kinds of feelings instead of reality, so I started to be interested in dreams. But in fact, boring dreams are still still the majority.

What prompted you to work in this particular medium?

My personality likes to work alone, and one person does what he wants to do. Images and stories are things that appeal to me at the same time, but movies and animations require huge manpower, and novels lack visual elements, so I think comics are the best way to meet my needs.

I find that there is a lot of anxiety in your work. Are you an anxious person? Is it helpful to draw comics about things that make you uncomfortable?

I think my anxiety comes from. I don't care about accounting or planning things. I always deal with all kinds of work by feeling. Of course I have tried to get rid of this bad habit, but in the end it is always useless. This also extends to personal career planning, and it is not always sure how the next thing you have to do and what you want to do (of course, the only certain direction is the various visual-related creations), I think I am still researching. in. Drawing my anxious things into comics, I think it’s always interesting, because he seems to be jumping off temporarily, watching his situation with a bystander, having fun seeing other people’s jokes (but actually being himself), not necessarily It will help the current situation, it is more like a mood to resolve, so if it is for emotional help, I think there is.

What is the process of transforming your story from concept to final form?

When I draw a comic, I usually don't have a complete script first. Usually, there is a vague concept. Maybe it's just a picture or a dialogue or a scene. Then I start to write immediately. I like to think about the story while painting. Like one's own solitaire, I often like to have unexpected things in the process. I like this feeling.

What are some challenges you’re facing with your work at the moment?

During the period of staying in the village, there were comics festivals and various authors. When the information was most abundant, I also began to want to change the style. I wanted to try different routes on the visual and styling, but I found that. It is difficult, it is difficult for me to get rid of the past painting habits, which is the biggest challenge for me.

How has the Maison played a part in your project?

Maison provides a very good creative environment, the best is to see the authors from different places, the way they face comics and ideas. Have a good atmosphere and at the same time take a good look at and think about your own comics.

I think the best thing is that this is a comfortable and quiet place. It is far from the big city. There is not much difference in the city that you are familiar with. The scenery is also very beautiful. The only thing I can complain about is that the time I spent was too short. In just three months, I think this is a very suitable environment for me to brew.

How do you feel about the current state of the comics scene in your hometown? Is it changing?

Perhaps next door to the big manga in Japan, comic book publishing has not been so strong and mature in Taiwan. But I think whether it is in the mainstream market or independent publishing, more and more people have invested in these years. Although it is not prosperous, some interesting writers have gradually begun to appear, but in Taiwan it is still a hard road.