Illustration Arts Fest 2017 in Singapore

I’ll be selling the Good to Know zines + artist zines among amazing, talented people at the Illustration Arts Fair in Singapore from 12 – 13th August 2017 , so it would be great to see you there!

There’s workshops and talks by Icinori, Kristal Melson, Chiaos / Tseng Din Yuan, Louis Rigaud and Anouk Boisrobert; and entrance to the marketplace is free. I’m excited for the festival as last year’s festival was so much fun (and I made so many new friends!) It’s really exciting to see illustration get its long overdue stand-alone event here in South-East Asia, so if you’re looking to get inspired and to get yourself some illustrated goodies, come on down to the LaSalle McNally campus in Singapore this weekend!

(More information + tickets are available at the IAF website)

The need to belong (+ a new project in the works)


When I was in primary school, a few of my classmates would start up not-so-secret clubs, and inevitably they’d have all the cool kids in it. Knowing that there was a secret club (they did a crap job of covering it up, really), I was bewildered – why wasn’t I invited? Why can’t I join them? There would be a secret rule book, a secret handshake, secret meetings and the whole lot, all under an umbrella of a cool club name.

I was young and while I didn’t know it yet, I wanted so much to belong. To be a part of something, even if I wasn’t sure what it stood for. The fact that it wasn’t so secret made it so much worse. It made me wonder if I wasn’t special enough to be a part of it.
As I grew up and started working, I thought I’d left this silly world of secret clubs behind. Turns out, the secret rule book, a secret handshake, secret meetings, and the whole lot – they all still exist, only this time they didn’t need a name, nor was it secret. It’s still unofficial, to be sure. The only difference is evidence of its existence is plastered all over Facebook and posted for posterity on Instagram. And it still felt like a huge imposing wall I couldn’t scale.

I encountered the same thing working in publishing. And especially when I started freelancing. I watched as colleagues did other stuff together after work – shopping, watching movies, and chatting at cafes. I hoped to be able to slink my way in but at the same time can’t help but feel hurt – it felt like I never left primary school. I was again an outsider without an invite. I can’t help but watch TV shows like Friends and the Big Bang Theory and sometimes ask myself (stupidly, of course) – does everyone come with a permanent set of 5 friends but me?

To be clear, it’s not anyone’s fault – no one really thinks about these sort of things (maybe?) and I’d like to think that people don’t hurt other people’s feelings on purpose. Maybe I try too hard, or I don’t try enough. I understand that some people just click together, and some don’t; whether it’s through shared experiences, proximity, history or opinions. It’s just the way things are. Even if you try hard to be included, sometimes it’s just not in the cards – I’ve come to accept that fact, as much as I accept that friendships come and go. But it still feels rough.

When I started Pikaland, I didn’t know where I was headed. But one thing I did know was that I wanted it to be inclusive. It was to be that space (virtual as it was) that I could make for myself. Subconsciously maybe it was even something that I needed. If I couldn’t get on the inside, heck, I’ll start something. It would be a place where others could feel as though there wasn’t any pressure to belong. Just come. Stay a while. Or not – it’s okay. I’ll be here – if and when you come back. That has been a constant throughout my journey, even if my presence have been a little scattered of late.

Last year was a time to recollect, regroup and refocus myself. I went into hiding (well, just a bit), and soaked up things and experiences for myself. It was my time to be a little selfish – to fill up my well and to re-examine what I wanted for Pikaland, and how I can do better.

Being an outsider has been a constant theme and thread that has carried me through my life until now. I was always on the outside, looking in. Whether as a friend, colleague, illustrator, writer, or even a teacher – I’ve always chosen to do things a little differently. But this year, I realized something. I’m not alone. You guys are with me, from the outside looking in. You’ve always been there with me as I go through ideas that are fun and silly (but hopefully helpful at the very least). Demystifying the subject of illustration has seen me scratching an itch for almost a decade now, and I am finding that things are still continuously changing and growing. It’s a fascinating subject and practice that I feel has so much potential to make us better people. Better artists. A chance to make the world a better place.

And so with 2017, I’m launching a new project with this goal in mind. A place where everyone can feel they belong. A place where you’ll find unconditional support where we get to hang out together, and we’ll fight the same fight together, in a safe space. Will it be a secret club? Not really. It won’t be a secret (not anymore, anyway). It will be driven by a common goal of discovering your superpowers as an artist, and how you can train and harness your creative abilities. I’ll be there a lot, and I hope to see you there too.

While we won’t be sitting in a coffee place across from one another physically – I’m aware nothing comes close to being in the same space in real life – but hey, I’ll take what I can get. It’s an alternative that I’m thrilled to have, thanks to the internet.

Thank you for indulging me and for your continued support of Pikaland. I started the blog with the idea that it was to be a bright, happy place to be. You’ve made it so and so much more.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

[Illustration by Yeji Yun for The Mighty Artist]

Multiple passions = unlimited potential

A few months ago I received a message from one of my students who was really excited:

Student: AMYYYYY!!
Me: YESSS?! WHAT’S UP? (I obviously don’t write in caps often, but his enthusiasm was infectious!)
Me: What? Oh yeah! I was in a TED Talk! I didn’t realize you caught it!
Student: When I heard your name, I was like no way, but then your face appeared and I jumped out of my chair!!
Student: SO COOOOOL!!
Me: Thank you!

Then I realised that in the midst of me puttering around on my projects, I never did mention much about me being in Emilie Wapnick’s TED Talk on why some of don’t have one true calling. It was a huge honour of course – being a part of a talk was amazing; I was thrilled that others could identify with what it means to have lots of different skills that they could put to use in their daily life as a multi-potentialite. Heck I even learnt about the term from Emilie! I also know that I don’t toot my own horn enough, and therefore you would sometimes miss out on the crazy things I’ve been doing (sorry guys!) I’m posting the video above for you so you can catch the brilliant talk, but it’s also great for those who are keen to know what a multi-potentialite is.
Reminder to self: be less modest, include more chest thumping. Nailed it!

To celebrate multi-potentialites, I am thrilled to be a part of Emilie and Michelle Ward’s Multi Passionate Must-Haves bundle again – where they’ve gathered together digital products that were designed specifically for people who have a LOT of different interests, projects, and creative pursuits in their life. I’ve received a lot of great response to the Good to Know project zines and so they’re in there again this year, with issues that deal with fear, envy + jealousy, plagiarism and more! And as if that’s not quite enough, you can watch me geek out about what I do through this interview that I did with Emilie (savour it guys, because I rarely go on video often, and if I do, it’s mostly hidden away in a secret corner because I’m shy that way):

Did you see me sweat? I get nervous when my face is up on a screen for all to see, and I have to admit it’s hard for me to watch myself! But when I start talking about Pikaland, my classes and projects I lose myself completely. Talk about being in the zone!

The Multi-Passionate Must-Haves bundle includes 14 hand-picked books, courses, and resources that addresses three broad topics: work, creativity and fear, it’s a great kit to help you (or someone you know!) build a life and career around their many passions. Here’s the complete list of things you’ll get in the bundle:

Multi-Passionate Must-Haves

  • 78 Cards, All of the Things: Tarot for Multipods, Projects & Planning by Beth Maiden ($29 value – EXCLUSIVE)
  • Artist Websites that Sell by Cory Huff ($47 value)
  • Best of Productivity & Team + Best of Artists & Makers by Jennifer Lee ($274 value)
  • Branding Basics for the Highly-Creative Person by Tiffany Han ($97 value)
  • An Effective Escape by Michelle Ward ($57 value – EXCLUSIVE)
  • Figure Out What Fits by Scott Anthony Barlow ($397 value)
  • The Freelancer Planner by Michelle Nickolaisen ($15 value)
  • The Good to Know Project, PDF Issues #6-10 by Amy Ng ($16 value)
  • How to Clone Yourself by Amber McCue ($149 value)
  • Jump Start Your Podcast by Paula Jenkins ($37 value)
  • Life is Messy Planners® 2016 Edition, by Mayi Carles ($40 value)
  • The Niche Master Class by Jeremy Frandsen and Jason Van Orden ($194 value)
  • Renaissance Business: Make Your Multipotentiality Your Day Job, 2nd Ed. by Emilie Wapnick ($49 value)
  • The Ultimate Recharge and Renew Kit for Your Creative Life by Jen Louden ($198 value)

The total retail price for all of these products comes to USD$1599. But for 72 hours starting Tuesday, May 17th, you’ll be able to snag them all for only USD$97 right here.

And not only that, USD$10 from each sale will go to Michelle Ward’s team for the Avon 2-Day Breast Cancer Walk in NY. Michelle was diagnosed with Stage One breast cancer in November 2011 and Stage Three breast cancer in September 2015. This will be the 5th year she’ll be walking 39.3 miles with Avon over 2 days with her mother and bestest friends.

All awesome things do come to an end though, and this is no different. You’ll only have 3 days before the sale ends, so if you’ve ever eyed any of the resources listed above (of if you’re a big fan of any of the authors) now’s the time to get the most bang for your buck. It’s all delivered digitally online too – so there’s no waiting for a package in the mail (or the probability of it ending up lost for that matter). It makes a perfect gift too for the person in your life who has a multitude of passions and skills and who doesn’t quite know what to do with it all.

But don’t just listen to me ramble on about it – you can check out all the fantastic resources in detail over at the Multi-Passionate Must-Haves website!

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