Amy Ng: Staying Curious
Last week I was asked to be the moderator for a talk entitled Meet the Blogger. It was a free event as part of AFCC 2015, held in Singapore’s newest library, Library@Orchard on June 4th. I hadn’t met Amy Ng before, but I jumped at the chance when I took a peek at her blog, Pikaland, “Connecting the dots between creativity, illustration and entrepreneurship since 2008”.
Amy has been blogging for seven years; she teaches illustration in Kuala Lumpur, and runs online courses as well, attracting students from all over the world. Her Facebook’s reach is an impressive 25,000!
Amy snaps her own advert at the entrance to the library
It was my first experience of being a moderator, and so I prepared myself with loads of questions, but was thrilled when the audience came up with their own. And instead of keeping an eye on the audience, or doing anything else a moderator is supposed to do, I was so enthralled I took notes and photos. One question I did manage to squeeze in was, “Which illustrator, alive or dead, would you like to meet?” and her answer was Canadian illustrator and animator, Jon Klassen. You’ll see why:
We started by watching a video of Picasso painting, going over lines, changing, building up the image. “Don’t give up just because it’s not the right shape or size,” said Amy. “It’s ok to be wrong or fail.”
Below are the ideas I managed to jot down:
Art resides in the quality of doing. This was a quote from someone famous, but I scribbled it down before I had time to snap the pic.
“No one knows what they’re doing, so do what you want.”
Ways of seeing – seeing patterns, and not just visually, but in your behaviour too. Playing games with yourself, eg, looking at a street scene and seeing how many yellows you can spot. When you sketch, identify patterns.
Amy has been writing personal journals ever since 2007 when she gave up her fulltime job, and she keeps them all. Above left you can see two book covers created with needlework - another way of seeing.
Write down the important things. Read a lot. In response to a question from the audience, Amy told us that she reads when she gets writer’s block.
And finally ... a painting in an exhibition communicates a new idea, or an old idea in a new way.
Amy took a degree in landscape architecture, because it was the most creative degree on offer in public university in KL. But she discovered that architects don’t spend their time drawing! After working in the media, especially for architectural magazines, she left fulltime work and started her blog. She and her husband did up their house, existing for two years without a kitchen. But she never gave up. She knows how to make herself happy. And her followers would definitely agree that her enthusiasm and her vision is infectious.
Amy's loudest message, and one I shall certainly follow: Stay curious!