Four Seasons Of Love

No, it’s not some 5-star hotel chain spinoff for couples. It’s one of the prettiest animated shows on television (in selected countries) right now.

Guess How Much I Love You – The Adventures of Little Nutbrown Hare is a co-production between Scrawl Studios and Australia’s SLR Productions. Based On the best-selling picture book that for over 15 years has enchanted children and adults the world over, this beautiful new series tell stories of a father and son’s efforts to measure how much they love each other. The 52-episode series is divided into 4 seasons of stories.

Here’s a peak at each season in this wonderful new pre-school show. Happy Father’s Day!

Character Mascots for Singapore Flyer


Series of Singapore flyer’s mascot in various poses we were comissioned by client

Animation for Yamaha Motors


We were comissioned by Yamaha Motors to do a series of animation. The aim of the animation is to promote the various motor parts like spark plug, fuel filter to their clients. We conceptualise and develop a fun way of creating more awareness for the products through the use of “anime” style and exaggeration to capture the essence of why Yamaha’s motors products.

Picture book for MOE

Ministry of Education commissioned a series of children’s picture books for preschoolers and Scrawl was selected to do one of the picture books-“I can do it!” . As the picture book was meant for pre schoolers, we use more vibrant colors and the composition of the illustration was taken into consideration to enhance the experiences of the children reading it.

Keeping It In The Family

I can’t remember how this happened, but I’m working with my Dad’s company – and him – on a new Scrawl project.

Basically, my old man’s really, really , really good at Chinese. In fact he’s been teaching it for 30 years. And he has his own school. And somehow he got into the iPad (even though he still hasn’t got one) and thought why couldn’t he teach Chinese AND look tech savvy?

So we’re working with him to develop a new iPad application that could bring his transformative powers in Chinese education to the Apple generation.

I have to admit I tried to distance myself from the project at the beginning. It’d just feel weird, I thought. But who was I kidding. The boss soon threw me on the project like a patty on a grill.

There have been family dinners where I had to tell Dad he’s kinda late on the next draft of the lesson plan, or he should really be thinking about what his royalty percentage should be, and how much he should be budgeting for himself as investment in return for equity…you know, just in case me and my unscrupulous colleagues rip him off.

But nah, to be honest there’s less conflict of interest than I expected – mostly because Dad isn’t too big on the commercail details. At times it’s almost like he’s in it for the fun and is just curious to see how students react to his lessons on an iPad.

Speaking of which, there is a borderline unscrupulous thing I’m trying to do – sell Dad my generation one iPad.

I need a new one.

Suddenly it struck Sewling where Ervin got his good looks from.

Life, Love and the Animation Industry

I’m perhaps what you could call a late starter to the animation industry.  It’s been about seven years since I took my first step into this wonderfully strange and dysfunctional world that is the animation and kids entertainment business.

Prior to that, I was an office suit holed up in a cubicle surrounded by diagrams of Internet protocol virtual private networks that I had to sell to corporations. It’s sad that the first job out of university is the one that kills your soul. But of course I found out later that your first job is not meant to be perfect, but to get you that membership card into the club known as ‘working life’.

And the key to ‘working life’ is not about making a living per se, at least not unless you have a family to support, in which case it is rightfully your priority. Everyone’s got a short window of opportunity to find out what is it he or she wants to do, and preferably it’s something they’re good at or have a passion for.

Jobs are like relationships. Each one is a rehearsal for the next one that comes along, and you do better and better each time, until finally you hope to settle on one that will carry you through the rest  of what is a very short time on this earth.

Sometimes people don’t always find what is it they want to do, or are good at. Just like some people may never find true love, sad as that may seem. The difference is that looking for the right job probably relies more on will and determination, whereas matters of the heart, I think, come down to fate much more than to will.  Still, both require a good amount of self-discovery, growth, and maybe maturity. Luck plays a part of course, but I do believe one makes his own luck.

It’s been said that love is like a butterfly – the more you pursue it the more it eludes you, but if you are calm and still it will land on you shoulder. Needless to say, that won’t apply to looking for a job (sorry to kill that romantic imagery). It’s interesting to draw the parallels if only because our work and relationships define largely who we are, how we live and why we are here.

While my early years in animation were largely focused on learning about the business and discovering how cartoons actually get made,  the remaining four years or so also saw me tackling creative development, and sometimes walking that harrowing fine line between art and commerce.

At the suitably balanced age of 36 (whatever that means),  I’m wary enough – maybe even cynical – of the entrapment of naivety or creativity as a self-indulgent enterprise.

But the business of telling stories is really like no other. It’s laborious, frustrating, excruciating, physically and emotionally sapping, confidence shattering, soul crushing, sometimes humiliating, and that could be even before a single frame has been animated. Take it from a development executive. It’s true.

But the reward – or the promise of a reward – if a story has a chance to be told, or a series has a chance to broadcast, or a film has a chance to be screened to an audience, could be so fulfilling that even if such an outcome occurs just once, that might be enough to make the years of hardship that came before worth it. That, in its essence, is what we yearn for in this business, I think.

I don’t think most creators do what they do because they think they’re creative or they know what others want. The best an artist can do is to tell a story that resonates with and moves him as a person, and if he does so with enough truth, empathy and understanding of relationships as only his life’s experiences could provide him, then he will find an audience, even if it’s just one person who might be moved or changed by his tale.

That could well be enough for some of us trying to leave this world a better place than it was when we found it.

“What makes a good story artist? Experience life. Travel. See the world. Learn about relationships. Fail. Have your heart broken. Talk to old people. Understand why people made big decisions that changed the course of their lives. Understand why people sacrifice.”

– Quote from a random Disney artist.

Image above from Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke, my favourite animated film of all time.

Nat Geo @ Scrawl

From left: David Beal (President, Nat Geo Entertainment), Tim Kelly (President, Nat Geo Society), 4 random Asian males.

National Geographic dropped in for a visit this week. A couple of projects are in discussion but it’s a first visit for Tim Kelly, president of National Geographic Society, to meet the team and staff working on some of Scrawl’s current productions.

In fact, Scrawl happens to have several ‘animal shows’ in production and development, starring rabbits, hares (they’re different btw), bears, zebras, all sorts of endangered wildlife, extinct animals, Chinese Zodiac animals, and a werewolf!

We’ve even got a hermit crab as the studio pet – although I’ve never seen it. I guess that’s why they’re called hermit crabs:-/

Hopefully we’ve managed to make Nat Geo feel a little more at home with our love of animals🙂