A budding webcomic artist shares how his early interest in drawing and storytelling nurtured his passion for the art
THE name Abam Apam may not ring a bell but those who follow the local webcomic scene will know that he is a talented artist with quite a following.
He does mainly comic strips and occasionally one shots which are published on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Abam has been drawing for as long as he can remember but he only started drawing comics seriously at 13.
At that time, his drawing style was heavily influenced by local artists. He had experimented with the manga style but he never really made an impact as an artist until one of his comic strips about Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack On Titan) went viral six years ago.
Abam Apam, 25, whose real name is Imran Yassin Mokhtar, was born in Sungai Besar, Selangor. Growing up, he was fond of comics, animation and anything that has a good story.
“I have always been a visual person, which explains why I am more attracted to images rather than words. As comics require the use of both, I started to read at an early age.”
He read a lot of Doraemon comic books, which were immensely popular back in the day. He still considers Doraemon his favourite comic till today. It led to an interest in drawing before he moved on to drawing his own comics.
However, most of what he learnt is self-taught, with inspiration from other artists’ works. A graduate in Teaching English as a Second Language from IPG Kampus Pulau Pinang, Abam Apam’s interest in football and videogames helped to hone his competitive edge. Currently, he teaches English in a primary school in Sungai Besar.
Abam Apam has been doing webcomic for 10 years now, since he was 15. When it comes to creating his comics and other creative pieces, he begins by conceptualising an idea and drawing a sketch of it as a reminder.
Some of his comics may seem simple, but it takes him two hours to draw; longer if it’s a complicated piece.
Abam Apam likes Japanese anime-style of drawing but he has developed his own unique style, with anime integrated into it.
He is comfortable sharing his work online since he’s able to remain anonymous behind his pseudonym.
“My webcomics are usually done for the sole purpose of entertainment, nothing more. I just want my work to put a smile on people’s faces, so I usually don’t touch on serious topics, unless it’s a public service announcement.”
Injecting his ideas and brand of humour into his webcomic has gained him a following.
His proudest achievement so far is being recognised by local comic fans. While he has done quite well in local webcomic competitions such as Sucomi, he feels that getting his work viral on social media is the best achievement yet.
Being a webcomic artist has its challenges. People take his creations without informing nor crediting him for his work, and some launch a vitriolic attack on it. His toughest challenge, however, is staying relevant.
“You slip once and getting back in place there becomes a chore. Consistency is one of the toughest challenges.”
Abam Apam aims to launch his book and get even more people to follow his work.
1. What is your work philosophy?
Enjoy your work. I can’t work if I don’t feel like it.
2. Who are your role models and why?
Local comic artists Lambok, Nishiki, Datuk Lat and Salam Brothers (Misi series). International artists Hiimdaisy and Urasawa Naoki, whose storytelling technique is top-notch.
3. What do you do in your free time?
Play games and outdoor games — football, futsal, rugby, any contact sports.
4. If you weren’t making webcomics, what would you would be focusing on?
Coaching. If there is something else I am more into than comics, it is football.
5. What do you think of comic/digital comic artists in Malaysia?
We have great talent here but most are still unnoticed. Give these artists enough spotlight and support, and we’ll see the webcomic industry in Malaysia bloom.
6. How would you like to be remembered?
Someone who puts a smile on people’s face through his work.
7. Are you living your dream?
I’m contented with what I am doing.
8. What advice do you have for people who want to do webcomic or tell stories online?
Don’t hesitate. Just go ahead and do it.