Location: Anime Expo 2019
Interview Date: 7/5/2019
Anime Herald: When did you first realize you wanted to be an artist?
WaHa: When I was young I watched cartoons and anime on TV. I developed a passion for drawing.
Anime Herald: Do you remember any specific anime that inspired you?
WaHa: Cardcaptor Sakura
Anime Herald: What type of training have you had?
WaHa: I’m all self taught. It’s an ongoing process. I started doing it seriously in my college years, That would be around 2007.
Anime Herald: Where did you go to college?
WaHa: I went to my local university and then to the National University of Singapore.
Anime Herald: How did you get together with your current group of artists?
WaHa: We started as a group of artists who went to conventions and sell prints.
Anime Herald: So you all met at conventions. Do you remember the first convention you met at?
WaHa: It was a small convention an a place called Suntec City. It was organized by a small group of people called Kaleidoscope.
Anime Herald: Are there any particular artists who inspired you?
WaHa: Back when I was younger, Tsugumi Ohba from Death Note.
Anime Herald: Are there any manga you are reading today who’s art style really impresses you?
WaHa: I haven’t been reading a lot of manga lately. Mainly, I get my inspiration from him. He’s quite versatile in his art. You can see in Bakuman [that] he’s proficient in a diverse range of styles.
Anime Herald: How did you get involved with Anime Expo?
WaHa: One of the jobs we got sent in the studio was to draw the assets for Anime Expo itself. Including all of this was done by me (pointing at the badge art). We started in 2016 I believe, when they approached us to do character art.
Anime Herald: Does that mean you don’t have to deal with the mad artists rush to get in?
WaHa: I’m not sure about that. That’s KC’s side of things.
Anime Herald: What is your process? What tools do you use to draw?
WaHa: I use a tool called Paint Tool SAI. Nowadays, I also use Clip Studio Paint. I’m considered a “cel shader.” I draw the lines first. I’ll do a sketch, and then paint underneath.
Anime Herald: Are there any artists here at Anime Expo that have impressed you?
WaHa: A lot of them. It’s hard for me to name names off the top of my head. I see a lot of great artwork around.
Anime Herald: How long does it take you to complete one of your pieces?
WaHa: I do it on my free time. I’d estimate ten hours over the course of a few days.
Anime Herald: And the day job is working at Collateral Damage Studios?
WaHa: Yep. The studio is in charge of the artists at the show and the commercial work. We have two sections. There’s an artists circle, where a bunch of us are friends. Then there is the company that handles the official work that requires a corporate structure. There’s just a few of us working fulltime at the company.
Anime Herald: Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?
WaHa: It’s very exciting to come back to America again from Singapore. I’d love come back next year.
Special thanks to Collateral Damage Studios for making this interview possible.