RICH INTERVIEW: Colin Tan Wei Artist for Folklore

Colin Tan Wei

First Comics News: How did you first begin to draw?

Colin Tan Wei: I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. Did a lot of it when I was in primary school in Singapore; grew up drawing whatever I could imagine, then I was introduced to Star Wars and I was completely taken in by it. That was followed by anime and video games. My parents were both creatives so I was definitely privileged and encouraged to draw all the time. My father was the one who first showed me how to use Photoshop!

1st: How did you come onboard “Folklore”?

Colin: Adam and I used to work as editors together for a gaming news outlet, and that’s where he pitched Folklore. The story and particularly the world-building was what convinced me to work with him.

Also, I wasn’t super familiar with the genre outside of enjoying movies like Alien or The Ring so it ended up becoming a challenge to expand my vocabulary, so to speak.

1st: What features do you focus on when drawing Helios?

Colin: Mostly his stature and the way he carries himself. I try to keep his silhouette conventionally heroic. You know, that Dorito shape you often see in Superman or Mr. Incredible. Early on I also wanted that shape to feel crushed by the weight of his actions. He’s taller than the others but is also almost always standing low instead of tall. Just as well, the color of his eyes is reflective of his powers and namesake.

1st: What did you find different in illustrating Quietus?

Colin: Breaking the body of Quietus’ host was very different and I was very cautious about looking up real-world references for it. That stuff gets dark and disturbing very quickly. That said, his powers were a lot of fun to explore.

Drawing the action for Quietus’ shadow tendrils was pretty straightforward, you see it a lot in anime and that’s where I drew the inspiration from; what I wanted to add to a power like that, and I hope it shows well, was the rot and decomposition that follows Quietus around. He’s like a plague that chases you.

1st: Who is your favorite villain to draw in “Folklore” and why?

Colin: So far it’s been Quietus largely because of the way his powers are affected by light. It’s given me a lot of opportunities to play around with the way I light and color volume 2.

1st: What is a gouache brush for?

Colin: Traditionally it’s a brush made specifically to hold and apply gouache. They’re an opaque paint. I use one in Photoshop to paint Folklore and it does a pretty good job of replicating the texture and richness of these paints.

1st: What is “Clowns and Calliope” all about and what character in it do you most enjoy drawing?

Colin: Haha, wow that’s a name I haven’t heard in a while. Clowns and Calliope was a start-up I joined when I was still in school. I did a lot of web development and marketing for them. I think my favorite projects were ones with clients looking for illustrations for their branding. I did prefer illustration over graphic design, although the two can often overlap.

1st: What is the most important thing you learned at Emily Carr University Art?

Colin: Staying connected with my classmates and friends. Networking is important, but the lot of us prefer working with friends first and foremost.

1st: What has been your best drawing job?

Colin: I can’t really say much about it because of NDAs, but it does involve storyboarding action scenes and world-building! The very same things I love about Folklore.

1st: Why do you enjoy drawing so much?

Colin: It’s a great creative outlet to express myself. Haha, I kid, at least in part; while it’s definitely a creative outlet it’s not really something I consciously think about.

I do it because it’s so much fun to create worlds and characters. It’s so much fun to solve a problem and it often comes down to just that idea. How can I portray fear in a character; how can I make a scene feel claustrophobic, and what tools can I use to best do that? Sometimes I use 3D before I even start drawing to block out a scene.

1st: What do you want to say to the fans of your art?

Colin: Thank you so much for your support. Seeing everybody’s response to Folklore, as well as my own personal art, has been and continues to be very humbling. I feel incredibly privileged and grateful. Creating Folklore with Adam has been a massive boon to my skills as an artist as well as a storyteller and I am so excited for what’s coming next.

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