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Recollecting SDCC 07

Journal Entry: Sun Aug 5, 2007, 8:20 PM
Looking back and looking forward

It is finally over and we are home again, feeling exhausted and excited at the same time.

The past few days I've been trying to catch up with my works, leaving me very little time to think about the trip until today, I can finally sit down and recollect my thoughts. Honestly I don't write often, but the experience I had for this Comic-Con was definitely worth writing for.

This year we had 8 imaginary friends attending the conference. It was my 2nd SDCC, but it was my first time traveling with such a big group of friends. Edmund, Kunkka, Kai, Junkman, King Mong, Sunny, Stephen any myself setting off to San Diego 2 days before the event. Our luggages were packed with the new Imagine Prime artbooks to be given away to the people we planned to meet along the way. The books were heavy, but our hearts were light, as we knew that it would be fun to share our art, which we had poured our heart and soul into, with others.

We've met so many people during the 4-days event. Ed and Stephen were busy running around setting up meetings with our clients. The rest of us went from booth to booth to our favourite artists and gave them our new artbooks. Many of these artists were our childhood heroes and we grew up reading their books or seeing their art on movies posters, inspiring us to be artists. It was a thrilling experience for us to meet them face to face, showing them our book, sharing with them our passion in art, not just as fanboys but as artists too who work in the same industry handling similar projects. However, what surprised me most was not how much they love our works, which we were very honoured as we heard that, but it was how humble and approachable they were even though some of them were recognized as the art legends of the industry.

That really got me thinking for a while.

Looking at how much IFS has grown for the past 2 years. From a small setup of 4 partners to a total of 40 men studio in both Singapore and Jakarta, the growth is tremendous and sometimes scary. On one hand it had shown that our approach to this industry is right – to come together as a group of artists, sharing our strengths and working together as a studio instead of individuals. On the other hand it has also given us, as employers, a greater challenge and responsibility to take care of the team and meet their needs.

We know that in this creative business, artists are the key assets and they are as important as our clients. As artists ourselves, we also realize that we are an emotional bunch of people that requires special attention. No matter how professional we are as artists, often the quality of works are still greatly affected by our emotional state. Although some people may find it being emotional is being unprofessional, I personally feel that managing our feelings well will result in creating artworks that touch people's heart rather than a mere eye-candy.

As a studio living by the motto of "By Artists, for artists", we ensure maximum transparency and honesty within the team. Just like our name suggests, we are working like a group of friends rather than colleagues that share common passion and vision. Since inspirations often come from our experience of life, we are interested in each other's life and always ready to share the joy or offer a helping hand when called for. It is a studio culture we value a lot and it is what makes us unique.

Looking back at this year's comic con, one thing that caught my interest was how the artists chose to relate themselves to the industry. Some artists preferred to go solo and were happy to be at their own table doing their own things, enjoying occasional chat with the fans and artists next door. Some if them got fancy looking booths with sale agents like the presidents' bodyguards, introducing the artist's works with a money tag. However, what impressed me most was seeing great artists like Justin Sweet, Marshall Vandruff, Vance Kovacs and John Dickenson come together as a studio, without fancy banners and signages, situated at a suburb location of the con. Looking at them was like looking at a yearly reunion of friends.

They were so friendly and approachable. When they flipped thru our book, they did it carefull and full of curiosity. In front of them, we felt like a group of art amateurs eagerly waiting for the masters' words of wisdom. However, the way that talked to us was so encouraging and filled with respect. It made us feel like a part of the community.

I was telling myself, if we have a chance to go back to SDCC twenty years later, probably it will be our 20th year as exhibitor, can we be still as approachable to others like Marshall? Will the success that we achieve along the way blind us or build us stronger in relationship? Can the founders of IFS still believe and respect each other and remain the same level of transparency? I strongly believe we can, if we consistently check our hearts and not taking each other for granted. At the end of the day, what is to gain if we win the world but lose our souls?

I am very excited about the cool projects that are coming to our way and I am looking forward to build a studio with everyone in IFS that makes both "imagination" and "friends" shine to their brightest. :)

:iconshern: :iconartgerm: :iconkunkka: :iconukitakumuki: :icontorei: :iconkingmong: :iconjasonlan:
:iconbenqwek: :iconscabrouspencil: :icondcwj: :iconmarcwashere: :iconwhoiszid: :iconpsychedelichic: :iconsunnygho:
:iconarf: :iconadmirawijaya: :iconsami-b: :iconerufan: :iconthegerjoos: :iconshuqing: :iconkiiiat:
:iconwraithdt: :iconchesterocampo: :iconmischievousmartian: :iconpumpkinbear: :iconluches:


For those who wanna know a little bit more about me, you can find the interview here:…

Written by :iconmidnightexigent: <--- Thank you!
  • Mood: Excited
  • Playing: DotA
  • Drinking: kopi ais
Add a Comment:
Jon-Law Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2007
Like a lot of people, I've kept an eye on your art and the founding / progress of IF for quite a while now. It's great to see the studio rewarded for the hard work and love you're all putting into it. Very cool. And it sounds like you're on the right track to making it last. The love keeps you humble, the humility keeps you wise, and the wisdom keeps you in love. If the studio ever branches out to include a writing department, drop me a line. All the best.
AuroraDark Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Congratulations on all of your success with the studio. It's a truly inspiring story, and very motivational for all of us :) I hope you all realize the profound accomplishment you have achieved with this "project" that became such a big success :D
mechangel2002 Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2007  Professional Traditional Artist
I was so sad to have missed you guys :( But I hope to meet you all someday :salute:
ayamei Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2007  Student
every time you write, i feel a burst of energy. i admire you and your studio so much!! it's a childish dream, but i'd really love to work with you in IFS. i know my skills at the moment don't even come close to the magnitude of the studio's standards, but i think this is something i'd love doing for the rest of my life.
lychi Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2007
As usual, your words are touching and inspiring. I can't say how much I admire you and your group; the ability for a team to work as friends and getting paid to do what you love-- such a whimsical dream, and to see something like this actually happening is truly, very touching and gives me hope for the future. :)

I'm currently attending a seminar of Marshall's. You guys have had an impact on him and he has brought you guys up quite a few times (and it was because of him that I was able to flip through your artbook; I looked for you at Comic-con, but only had half a day and did not succeed :( ahaha). Anyway, I can easily understand why you like the man so much; he is so warm and such a great teacher! And likewise, although I have only admired you from afar, I believe that you are a similar guy; being able to stay this open-minded and reflective despite being overwhelmingly popular says a lot about your character. I admire how you haven't developed a damaging ego, and how you encouragingly reach out to your fans. So with that thought in mind, I'll be looking for you "twenty years later" at Comic-con and I'm quite sure you can be as approachable as Marshall and have that encouraging and wise atmosphere about you. :)

Anyway, as usual-- keep up the spectacular work and improvement! I've had your first artbook for quite some time now, and was extremely impressed by the jump in quantity and quality that's now in the new IFS artbook. As Marshall said, you guys are truly productive! :) I can hardly wait to see what the third installation will be like.
Denchii85 Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2007
One day I will get my chance to show my stuff to my heros day!:D
surfer-girl Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2007
i hope one day i will be able to show my work to my heroes, and also nervously but eagerly wait for words of advice or perhaps even praise.
It's good to hear that you guys still have artists you look up to, it just keeps you true, and encourages you to work harder.
i know i definately would like to meet the IFS crew, i've always told ANTZ when i come to Singapore, he has to get me a studio tour of IFS haha
marvels Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2007
Hm... Usually, I will just watch your gallery and feel proud of you. Somehow, after reading your recollection, I wanna write U my thoughts.

All these years as you grow not only in your skills, but also in wisdom to lead and manage a larger team of artists, U have not fail to connect with everyone of them. As you share about your days with me, I can see that same or increasing passion you have, not only in their works abt also their lives and progress. Ur willingness to teach and share with no selfish reservation, your determination to upgrade, your desire to use your talent to speak to people through your work and management... All these remind me of the statement you shared "Design by God, Design for God!" In the stress and busyness of your work, I sense that inner peace that guards your heart.

10 years down the road, I'm looking forward to see a stronger, more passionate and personable Stanley designing for our Lord. Loving you always...
ukitakumuki Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
soooo sweeeeet :excited:

that aside, i heartfully agree. :thumbsup:
1cor1313 Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2007
I hope you will be approachable. I'd like to see you one day haha.

Many times people at your level get so self absorbed and they disregard any sort of critique or they think they're too good for people.
Little-kaiyou-Kame Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
"what is to gain if we win the world but lose our souls"
Well said~:clap:

It's so much fun working in IFS, i was really inspired that day :lol: *comes to your office more often* haha...
Derivitive Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2007   Traditional Artist
*claps* That really inspired me, thank-you so much.
Hideyoshi Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
Wow, very interesting and remarkable insights! I appreciate your sharing with us! :)
Komikino Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I was there and was wanting to stop by but I came down with the flu for more than half the con and was laid up in the hotel room sleeping most of the time. I'll see you next year! Glad you at least had fun at the con! :)
kieren024 Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2007
that's really beautiful. congratulations to all of you and i also wish everybody the best of luck, more blessings and a much more beautiful relationship! :#1:
Kosa01 Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2007
congratulations broth, i know that you'll be grown so much more on the next years, you and the IF. Happy life broth keep it up...
madmagnus Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2007
Nice report Mr. Lau.

The way you convey your team now suggests that you will not have to worry about such hasty things to come.

It is so great that your favorite artists have given you the treatment you were seeking and probably better.
When you spoke of them, those are the examples that you want to portray for not only your group, but your fanboys as well. That's right Stanley... you have fanboys. Treat them exactly how you expected your childhood heroes to treat you.

Although emotions and wants of worldly things can get in the way sometimes, there is a part of you all that still needs to maitain a "this is a business/company" aspect.
However, showing your friends that you are pationate and care for eachother is a huge part of friendship... and if your group of friends still show these traits after 4-5 years, then you can probably believe it will stand the test of time.

Whew, a long winded Journal makes for a long winded reply. LOL. Sorry about that, but you did raise some interesting issues. Also, great report about your experience at the con. I hope to have a booth next year. My group and I at are kind of like you guys in the beginning, however, we are always individually open for outside contract work or commissions (hint hint, XD).

Take care and I wish the best for you and your IFs.
chlora Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2007
Very inspirational and soulful words indeed. Mr. Lau, I'm working towards working for you and IFS one day :happycry:
keithsith Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2007
Great group of artist like IFS really gave me, oh! Not only me but the whole young artists to dream big. Big enough to break the unwanted doubts of the reality. If we can only believe the power behind those dreams, maybe we can change the course of the future and make those people around us to believe that we can change something in our own artistic way...

You really rock guys^^ Keep inspiring us young artists
mrcontroversial Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
what is to gain if we win the world but lose our souls? Powerful scripture right there man. Anyways, enjoyed reading what was on your mind. Very inspirational and encouraging. :)
Rulzdemol Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2007  Professional
I really like what you have written. It's very inspirational :)
Thank you
Enkera-2005 Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2007  Professional Interface Designer
aaaaaaa! you play DotA! :D
7th-Seal Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2007
Damn makes me jealous! =D
mujiri Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2007
the sharing of a passion is often one of the strongest bond people find among each other. glad that you had such an memorable trip.

well we shall all await the coming of the 20th reunion:) good luck
archvermin Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2007
Thumbs up Artgerm.

Btw your journal template is pretty slick.
QueenKairi Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2007   Digital Artist
wow, sounds like you had a very interesting and touching experience. glad you enjoyed yourself :)
lilythescorpio Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2007
i want to be your imaginary friend too XD (joking, but one day, i wish i can draw well enough to join IF).
thank you for sharing : )
you are one of the best artists in my book.
bitchinoki Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2007
:thumbsup: :salute:
maehao Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2007
wow! you guys are such inspirations! :D More power
sloth79 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2007   General Artist
great knowing u r surrounded by good friends sharing the same passion for art man~!! Cheers and keep up the fantastic work. :D
archanN Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
Thankyou for sharing your feelings and experiences mate. keep rocking ! :D
Kvibe Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2007  Professional General Artist
I'm not suprised they thought that you guys were amazing. You truly are an impressive of human beings, and artists.Good luck to Imaginary Friends.
Reallygay Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
hi, you're one of my biggest inspirations if not the biggest haha

as a future concept artist its satisfying to know that the industry can be such a friendly environment.

i would have loved to meet you during my first visit to comicon but hopefully there will be other times :D

best of luck to you and your team!
Myselfsama Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
You have a strong sense of insight, and that alone will save you from taking things for granted. I too as many others look to you and many other artists as our inspiration and hope. I Enjoyed reading your journal.
SaMaeL696 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2007
amazing, its really awesome that they stay humble. it is nice to know that people in that position can stay 'real'. i hope one day to be a great artist and have the opportunity to share some time with everybody in conventions like that. although i am a graphic designer, i share the same passion for art, and building a studio is my major dream. good luck.
Sh3lly Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
That was a very interesting journal entry :) I'd fave it if there only was an "Add to favorites" button. More power to you guys!
KiyoReae Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2007
As of reading this entry, I really felt that there are a lot of people who are ready to be there and support me through hardships and struggles and giving up is not an option. I felt that there are still people like you who are very willing to help and encourage a lot of people that they are good at what they do and love and teaching them how to nourish it...not by himself, but with the people around him, who knows that he can do it....

Thanks for being such an inspiration to a lot of artists...:D
deathsyte Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2007   Digital Artist
You guys and many others are my inspiration^^
and ya'll dont realize how strong of an impact your works are to us and the community. And as a future game artist/3D animator thats thats just a little of words I cant express enough. To learn from legends, to future legends, and and for myself; legends for the future..... is truly an honer:)

just wish I can afford to go to Comic Con some day^^;
Lazer-pirate Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2007
Very awesome to hear that you guys are alot like us other aspiring artists, i look up to the IFS like you do to those other artist and its great to hear that we have something in common : Heroes
kianahsaro Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2007
I'm glad you had such a wonderful experience, and I wish I could've been there to meet all of you!
TwilightTuason Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2007
Those words, I gotta tell you, were truly inspirational. I respect you and your studio and what you do and hope to become a great artist like you fellows. ^_^ Good luck, I'm glad you're back, and I'm glad you had a great time.
WidowsWalk Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2007   Digital Artist
Its always so refreshing to find like minded individuals with your same passion, and even greater when they become a positive mentor, that you feel is wind in your sail. ;)
Very touchingly written, it reminds me of one of my teachers I have now. He's "ULTRA COOL" I think he'd laugh if he knew I said that. But hay, its the truth. lol So when can I join IFS? Or at least meet y'all.
transfuse Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
Dunno if you guys realize it, but you're already pretty legendary yourselves. :thumbsup::)
bear48 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2007  Professional
Sound like a cool trip and event

I am glad it went well for you
Chrono1209 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2007
good times haha i was there stalking jessica alba haha
GermanCityGirl Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2007  Hobbyist Photographer
A lovely recap of your experiences... glad they were good :)

Have a great night!
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