Ho Wei Rong, or known as Carillus, is a Lead Artist, the Main Writer/Artist for ExCo Webtoon and the Mascot Artist for Doujima 2018.
Name: Ho Wei Rong
Artist Name: Carillus
Where do you live: Singapore
Your current project(s) that we should mention: ExCo – It’s a webcomic being published independently on the Webtoons platform.
Website for readers to find out more about you:
Q. What inspired you to start creating?
A: I have friends online who do webtoons. I do streaming on this online portal for digital artists called Picarto. Personally, though I didn’t draw comics before, I liked doing a lot of my own storylines and that kind of thing and figured “Let’s try it out.”
Q. How did you realize this is what you wanted to do?
A: Personally I always want to improve my own drawings, but at that point in time I was stagnating because with illustration you can only go so far, so I decided I want to try going to the other side again. So I thought of doing some writing again and doing a proper story while trying to develop my skills in that area. I could change up or try different techniques for every new chapter I release and I had a deadline to keep me creating.
Q. What are some of the first comics/webtoons you ever read?
A: My first ones were Japanese comics. When I was young, my sister was into comics as well, so I borrowed her comics to read because I liked reading a lot. So one day my sister bought “Hikaru no Go” (Manga series) so I read that as my first comic.
Q. Who/What are your biggest influences within the comic/animation industry?
A: The artist that has influenced me the most is a webtoon artist who does the comic called “4 Cut Hero” and it is on Lezhin (Comic platform). That has been my main influence, but apart from that, a lot of my style influences are from illustrators.
Q. Who was your biggest influence/support outside of this industry?
A: My friends and my editor, who does this in her free time and she keeps me going. She’s always giving me feedback during every chapter.
Q. What platforms/mediums do you use?
A: For my webtoons, currently I’m using only Webtoons. As for mediums, primarily, digital. I use Clip Studio Paint, Photoshop, and Google Sketchup to do setups for blocking.
Q. Do you only create webtoons? Do you create merch/official art/videos of your characters?
A: Videos, no, but merch, yes. I do keychains, charms, posters, badges, and books.
Q. What is your work routine like?
A: I have a full-time job, not art related, so I get home around 7 to 8pm. I start drawing at 9pm and stop at 12am. I draw on weekends as well.
Q. What do you enjoy most about the process of creation?
A: I find it is the improvement actually. I can feel myself improving with every new chapter I produce in terms of everything from scripting to paneling to drawing and how fast I can go and how much I can do.
Q. Tell us about some of the things that spark your imagination?
A: I have to say this first, I’m an engineer. So, when I think about ideas I go through a full analysis. I will start by studying the market to see my demographic. For example, for Webtoons, I saw it has a very young user base so I need to produce work that’s very colorful and flashy to attract visual attention. Moreover, Webtoons’ users are mostly female, so I use more female characters.
Q. What are some of your biggest challenges throughout the process and how do you get over them?
A: Keeping to my deadlines. Sometimes I get days I can’t draw so then I will decide to work on my script instead or go back and revisit old works to do repanelling
Q. What do you do when you’re in a creative slump?
A: Then I just don’t draw. But if I really have to meet my deadlines, I will break down what I have to do to even smaller steps. I make it very organized because if there is no creative flow, you have to go at it like you’re doing a job.
Q. How does your mood affect your craft?
A: So if I’m in a good mood I will draw happy scenes where people are talking and if I’m pissed off I will choose scenes that have betrayal or anger in it so I can vent through that.
Q. How did you develop your style? As artists, we are constantly experimenting with numerous style possibilities. Did you settle for one? If so, how?
A: My style is still changing but I know the direction it’s going and you can recognize it. Its built up over the years as I have a lot of other illustrators’ works I incorporate into my works. most of them being Japanese.
Q. Artists have a natural tendency to be perfectionists. When do you know when to stop and that it is “completed”?
A: For comics, people are scrolling past and you just gotta remind yourself that people are not gonna look at this very long.
Q. Just like animation, webtoons/comics are forms of storytelling. Do you think it is necessary to have a message in your stories?
A: I take a lot of inspiration from Japanese comics and they are more about the process than the final message. I just want to entertain my readers as they are very young. Deeper comics have trouble getting a following as the message kind of goes over people’s heads.
Q. What do you think about converting your webtoons to an animation someday?
A: Definitely. But the story would need some work. I think a challenge would be keeping myself motivated to continue and stick to MORE deadlines.
Q. What advice would you give someone who is just starting out as a webtoon artist?
A: Pay attention to what your fans are saying. Others would tell you to stick to your gut or to always have a message but for me, it’s not so much your message whether you readers are getting it. Knowing your demographic and listening to them will help you along the way. Get advice from other people and know that you have to change yourself and what you’re doing if it doesn’t work.
Interviewed by Athira Suresh