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A Sit Down With Singaporean Webcomic Artist RandoWis
With AniManGaki 2022 having taken place this past weekend, the folks over there were generous enough to allow me to have a sit down with some of the guests, one of which was Indra “RandoWis” Audi, a Singaporean webcomic artist that has garnered a following of 280,000 Facebook followers, 160,000 Twitter followers, 150,000 YouTube subscribers and 140,000 Instagram followers.
RandoWis is most known for his animations and weekly four-panel comics but he also has an ongoing series called “We Live In An MMO?!”. AniManGaki was also his first public appearance, so this was a good opportunity to let RandoWis share a bit about himself, his experiences and series, and how he got into this space.
It’s beautiful, it’s great, I came into this without any expectations, and yet I’m still blown away by the hospitality and the kindness that has been shared. It’s been amazing so far and I really did not expect it to be like this, it’s beautiful and wonderful. The energy is great, the crew is great, and the other guests are wonderful. I’m having a hell of a time.
Before I came to be known as RandoWis, the name I gave to my series of comics was Random Wisdom. The series was originally posted on a private Facebook group featuring myself and my group of classmates from animation school. Back then I would just call them “Random Comics”, and in it, I would just make fun of my friends and teachers.
I felt that the name “Random Comics” was too short of a name so I thought of a word that would rhyme with Random, and I stuck with Wisdom, so it became Random Wisdom. There’s no real significance to it, but when I began to publish my comics publicly, I thought that Random Wisdom was too long, so I shortened it to RandoWis.
Back then, they thought it was funny because I was making fun of everyone in the class, including teachers that we didn’t like. They would get really happy when they were featured in that week’s edition of the comic. But after a while, they thought that I was being held back by just posting it only in the Facebook group. They believed that it could be something if it was public. So I took that leap of faith because of their faith.
Ha! Where do I begin? I have been drawing for as long as I can remember, even as a kid, I remember my mother putting me in a drawing pre-school — I think she just wanted to get rid of me from the house. So I spent most of my time drawing.
I remember I wasn’t good at it, but I remember having a lot of fun and I carried on that habit at home and so for a long time I was just drawing things that looked really bad.
After secondary school when I had to choose where to go for my tertiary education, I felt like I really wanted to do digital animation — just something that had to do with drawing — and the one that really called to me was digital animation, so I went for a diploma in it. From then on it solidified my interest in drawing, illustration, animation, and making videos.
I remember it being like a pivotal moment when I had to pick what to study for my tertiary education.
Any that looks good or that I find interesting. It doesn’t have to be media, sometimes I just look at the clouds and an idea pops up. Music is also a good one. Music sometimes helps me fantasise about certain scenarios and then I think “Oh that would look good in a comic”.
Especially in the “We Live In An MMO?!” comic, usually I try to take inspiration from as many sources as possible, like anything, reading, music, and sometimes just taking a walk just listening to nature. I guess helps the fantasy side of things.
If you’re talking about the weekly comics, those are normally based on actual events with a little bit of exaggeration just to make it funnier.
It’s my personal principle to draw because it’s fun so that the job stays fun. Because it does suck sometimes. Sometimes the process just gets really overwhelming because there’s just so much to do. And then you get your personal problems like “maybe I’m slow”, “maybe I’m not good with colour”, or “maybe I’m not good with proportions. You run into all these obstacles, and if you start hating just the job in general, you’re probably not going to last very long. So it’s a personal principle of mine to make it so that “as long as it’s fun, it’s going to be worth it in the end,” even if it’s hard now.
So would I say that it’s a job, yes, it’s definitely a grind but it can be fun as well.
I’ve actually been experiencing a creative block for the past two years, and the reason for that is because of a lifestyle change because my friends are no longer as free, some of them have left the country, some are even starting families leaving me the only one, still at home looking at the same walls and the same people.
Because of this lifestyle change, the inspiration no longer comes the same way anymore, because things are not the same anymore. So, for me when you run into an art block, I would say try to live a little differently. Maybe if you don’t go out as much, go out more. Maybe if you don’t go far away, then maybe you should go far away, instead of going to the same old places. If you don’t read as much, maybe read more. There’s inspiration to be found in a lot of places, so if you run out of one source, there are always other alternatives you can try, and so that’s what I’m doing now. I’ve been trying to read more, trying to listen to podcasts, audiobooks, just to get some new inspiration for comics, illustrations, anything and animation as well.
Normally it’s drafting out the idea on a piece of paper first. If it’s for the short comics, it’s whether or not I can get the punchline within the four panels, which sometimes can be really difficult because sometimes you lose the joke when you cut out too much of the context. So that’s the thought process for the short comics, but for the MMO comic I usually draft out all 20-30 pages on a piece of paper first, just to see whether or not the visual storytelling flow or if the textboxes fit in certain areas.
I’m self-taught when it comes to making a comic series, so whatever I do I learn from observing other manga and comics I read. So I try to replicate what I think is good, on a piece of paper as a draft first, then I go from paper draft to digital draft, which sometimes requires me to go back a step because once it’s in a digital draft, it’s a lot bigger, and the proportions of the page feel different. Sometimes you’ve got to expand or shrink certain things, sometimes you might need a two-page panel because you need that impact.
So it goes paper draft, digital draft, then outlines, base colours, backgrounds and then lights and shadows followed by special effects and then text.
I try not to think too much about how people will like or hate the joke. If it’s funny and it’s with good intentions I’ll just throw it out there. Because for me, I believe we don’t get to decide what becomes popular and what’s funny because everybody has a different sense of humour. For me what’s most important is whether or not it’s funny to me. Like if I look at it next week or even next year, will I still get a good chuckle out of it? Was it fun to make this comic? And if the answer is yes then out it goes and I’ll just leave it to the people to decide whether or not they like it or if they want to share it.
I don’t really concern myself too much with the numbers, because it’s a really dangerous game to play when you think “Ah people like this comic more,” “I like this joke more,” or “Maybe because people like this comic more, maybe I’ll make more like this instead of the ones I like,” which you can do but you might start feeling a bit of resentment. So that’s why I try not to concern myself with numbers, if it’s funny to me, out it goes.
For action, I recommend One Punch Man, because I closely observe the way action is drawn in One Punch Man and it has a lot of “impact” so I’m trying to reference as hard as I can for the action scenes in “We Live In An MMO?!”. Nichijou in general is good for punchlines and comedy.
I don’t really have a personal favourite manga, I just read whatever I think is interesting. So far Chainsaw Man is good — I read it all in one sitting. My favourite character has to be Makima.