"I finally realised that I didn't learn much throughout my undergrad studies. Almost every piece of work I did then was based on intuition, not guided by underlying fundamental principles."

No stranger to the regional creative stage, Tanky shares his observations as an evolving independent illustrator.

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do

Tanky: I’m an ordinary guy who grew up here in Singapore. I am currently making a living as an independent illustrator while developing my own IP.

How did you begin your journey as an independent illustrator?

Tanky: I wasn’t enjoying my time working on “triple A” (so I was told) game titles in a game company, nor was I enjoying doing book illustrations in a publishing studio. So I decided to become an independent illustrator while working towards my dreams.

I uploaded my works to Facebook and my personal site, and slowly I started getting enquiries from individuals and companies seeking an illustrator to work on projects. Sometimes I got projects through word of mouth too.


Describe the location of your studio by the most frequented eateries around you.

Tanky: My studio (it’s just my study room actually) is a 5-minute walk away from Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh at Jalan Kayu, 7-minute walk away from Pho Street at Seletar Mall, and a 45-minute commute from my favourite Starbucks at One Fullerton.

How has your work evolved over the last few years?

Tanky: I think I’m gradually becoming able to fill my work up with more substance, instead of just randomly doodling something that looks somewhat okay.

How would you describe an ideal project / client?

Tanky: An ideal client to me is one that honours intellectual property rights, is willing to let me explore the concepts within the confines of a clear design brief, and pays well for it :)

Singapore is ranked one of the easiest places to do business. Is it one of the easiest to make new ideas happen?

Tanky: To be honest, over the years, I’ve come to realise that all that I need to start making ideas happen are a roof over my head, peace in the neighbourhood, some good computer hardware and software, good internet speeds, good music, good companions, some scenic locations with lots of negative ions to jog or take a walk at, and the usual basic necessities like food and bookshops etc. But even so, we can’t take these things for granted. So I do want to thank Singapore for these things.


What was an interesting discovery you made recently?

Tanky: I recently discovered that our cat is crazy over ice cubes. He enjoys staring at it… until it melts. The other thing is that I finally realised that I didn't learn much throughout my undergrad studies. Almost every piece of work I did then was based on intuition, not guided by underlying fundamental principles. It’s time for change.

What do 'ideas on adventures' look like?
Do a quick sketch for us! 

Tanky: This is a hard one and I’m running out of time so I just did a random sketch :p


Images & Artwork Courtesy of


About the OuterEdit Neighbourhood Project

When our journey in the creative industry began, we set out with a mission to share stories about talented creative people around the world. We made the spirit of honest and rigorous collaboration the core of all we do, to exemplify how design in silo, while beautiful, is able to mean more when the human abilities of experimentation, ingenuity, craft and empathy are shared.
We are now much further into our journey. Amidst our fair share of challenges, failures, and triumphs, we are most proud to have had the opportunity to make each step with the support of like-minded people and organizations - and to have worked alongside them on projects beyond just commerce, and our collective selves.
Through light-hearted interviews with people we look up to, our latest initiative, 'Neighbourhood' celebrates the spirit of inter/intra industry collaboration to ‘make meaningful matter’ in society - and hopes to encourage readers to continue embarking on new adventures for all to look forward to.