Tuesday 3 May 2016
Chris is a first-year student from the School of Engineering and Materials Science (SEMS) who is making a splash with his comics. Student Communications Intern, Kajal Kumar, caught up with Chris to find out about his newest comic series ‘Doodle Diddums’, which reflects his lifestyle as a hobbyist artist and a student living a slightly unconventional life.
What subject do you study at QMUL?
I’m a first year studying Mechanical Engineering.
What is the best thing about studying at QMUL?
Probably the diversity of students studying in engineering alone is the best thing. Undoubtedly they are some of the most down to earth people I’ve met. My friends being an exception.
What’s your favourite thing about your department?
They are very supportive of what I do, whether it is studies, coursework, and surprisingly my love of digital art and graphic design. Despite being a busy department, the SEMS office is always something to rely on for queries and requests.
When did you first realise that you liked drawing comics?
I hate to admit it because, among comic book artists, illustrators and art teachers, Manga, or Japanese comics are considered a low form of art which requires little skill to draw. My art teachers have never failed to remind me that all Manga looks the same and it shows no innovation. Even cartoons are better than Manga. But that style from the age of 11 is what enthused me to get good at drawing, to improve on my proportions, learn the software required to make digital Manga and thus be able to create digital comics as I do now.
What inspired you to carry on working on comics?
Just like playing a musical instrument, it is a skill that I want to continue nurturing, even if it does end up as a hobby and not professional. I took a gap year doing an art foundation degree as well before starting my year in Engineering, where I met several brilliant people. Their portfolios evolve and grow just as I want my work to – not as a competition, but as a community.
We heard you have moved into digital comics – how did this feel?
It is nothing new, I have made quite a lot in the past. However, digital art is usually thought to be much easier than traditional but in my opinion, it is equally technical. Drawing on a graphics tablet takes a bit of getting used to, and I am still always more comfortable drawing on paper with pencils and ink. Anyone can learn Photoshop and Illustrator just as anyone can learn how to use traditional mediums.
How do you get new ideas for your comics?
Currently, I am grabbing ideas from my experiences as a SEMS student. I already have a list of ideas waiting to be drawn up, but it is difficult to choose out of them as I am a bit too aware of my audiences. Hopefully, I will come up with more ideas which don’t involve me and are a little more imaginative. I sometimes feel that I have to seclude myself from everyone else’s work to create something original.
Is it difficult managing academic university work with your work as a comic artist?
Good question. I am pretty unorganised and a bit all over the place when it comes to my work and my hobbies. Eventually, I will put all my focus on my work and all my dedication to one society. One thing is certain: the digital comics won’t stop. Alongside the comics, I hope to make much more digital works for fun, or even commissions if I get lucky. There may be one or two breaks, but I am sure it will continue.
What are your hobbies besides creating amazing comics?
I love music, I’m grade 7 with the trumpet and I play the guitar, piano, and sing for fun. A few friends from my art degree also animate cartoons, so I usually help them out with those whether it’s colouring, frame in-betweens, backgrounds or even voice acting.
Video gaming is a winner, though. Games are where I get a lot of inspiration for my works, including my comics. I am also starting up a Queen Mary Dodgeball society next year, which is very exciting.
Do you have any special plans for your future or after graduation?
I really want to join a small start-up company where both my skills as an engineer and a hobbyist artist can be exploited. It’s a long shot and a big risk, but I also want to try my luck at being a freelance graphic designer.
Where can students find out more about your comics?
If you enjoyed my comic, then I am sure you would love the next ones upcoming in QMSU’s CUB magazine. I also update my Instagram #IamDaboya and Facebook page “Daboya” with solely my art and comics, feel free to follow them!