When did your earliest memories start, and do you still remember them today?
Let me take you back to my five-year-old self attending kindergarten. One winter break, our assignment was to draw a ‘New Year’s Eve Feast.’ Excitedly, I borrowed my dad’s special engineering ruler and a compass for the task. I meticulously crafted the dishes on the plate, even ensuring the round pig’s head for offerings was perfectly circular. Convinced that I’d created a masterpiece, I eagerly planned to show it to the teacher the next day for some well-deserved praise.
However, as I stood in line to submit my work, the teacher, with an impatient look, asked, ‘Did your mom and dad help you with this drawing?’ Despite my insistence that I did it solo, she remained skeptical. Disheartened and on the verge of tears, I felt like my artistic effort wasn’t believed, and the creation itself seemed unimpressive to others. Yet, in a swift turnaround, I convinced myself that the teacher probably couldn’t draw it herself, leading to her disbelief. Satisfied with my conclusion, I left the drawing behind and happily went off to play with classmates. Looking back, it was likely the first time I overlooked my artistic talent, but the memory of that emotional rollercoaster is still fresh.
Fast forward to my student years, where I always enjoyed the creative process in art class. My works were good, but not exceptional enough to garner praise. Surprisingly, I effortlessly picked up new drawing skills, a talent I was oblivious to, as no one pointed it out. Consequently, I didn’t continue developing my drawing skills, thinking drawing wasn’t that important. And so, time passed, and I moved on.
Back in junior high, I had this moment while sitting next to my little sister, totally engrossed in her video game world, defeating monsters left and right. I was eagerly anticipating the epic storyline that follows victory when I casually grabbed a scrap piece of paper lying around. I started doodling her favourite snake lady character from the game. Surprise, surprise! Turns out, it was my first attempt at drawing a portrait, and it went pretty smoothly! No practice, yet the proportions seemed okay, and I found myself looking at a pretty girl on paper. This gave my confidence a boost, and I thought, ‘Hey, maybe I should show this to my school teachers. They’ll be amazed and probably call my parents, insisting I attend a fancy art school!’ I had this whole fantasy of being discovered as a hidden art genius.
But, alas, reality didn’t quite match my dreams. I handed my drawing to the teacher, she glanced at my dad’s slightly crooked work report, casually flipped the paper like she was handling a cigarette, and handed it back with a simple, ‘I think you should use better paper for your drawings.’ That was it. Before I could even say anything, I was sent on my way. No amazement, no phone call to my parents, and my dream of attending art school faded away once again. I shrugged off the possibility of being an artist, thinking it was just another average pursuit.
Fast forward to the working world, where I was contemplating which industry to dive into. I wanted something close to the art field, with a stable income and a cool factor. And then, I stumbled upon 3D computer animation. Despite lacking any specialised background, learning new imaging software seemed surprisingly doable. So, three months after university, I learned software MAYA and landed a lucky spot in the animation industry, spending a solid decade there. It was here that I met incredible professionals and realised that every animated movie required years of collaborative effort from a bunch of talented folks. From the story scripting, scene, and character design to post-production tasks like rig design, character dynamics, lighting, rendering, visual effects, music, editing, and marketing—every phase was a wild ride. I encountered exciting and novel things that kept my curiosity alive and well. Elements like brushes, colours, compositions, and characters still got me all excited. In this journey, I saw that I was still that little kid who wanted to be a creator, someone who desired to tell stories through visuals. Now, with the chance to draw, I’m determined to be the illustrator I dreamt of in my childhood!
Take a moment to think about it—do you have something you genuinely enjoy, something that feels easier for you than others? Maybe because no one has seen it, you’ve downplayed your own talents, thinking there’s nothing remarkable about them. But here’s the truth: when you genuinely like something, it fuels your effort and perseverance. And when the opportunity comes, you’ll be ready to ride those waves. So, please don’t underestimate your talents just because others might not see them. Whether you discover your talent in skills or personality, promise me that even without applause, you’ll continue to nurture and unleash your life’s highlights to their full potential!