Digital artist Ko Kyaw
The famous illustrator will design the storyboard of a movie on General Aung San. LAE PHYU PYA MYO MYINT
5-year-old artist Ko Kyaw wears black shirt and blue jeans. He is calm, always. His characters, on the other hand, are mercurial and aggressive. An illustrator, Ko Kyaw has designed sketch for comics, cartoons, commercials and television. His tool of choice is tablets, computers, a mouse and a stylus. He is a digital drawer and a pioneer in the field.
His sketches and creations are very popular among the youth. So much, that movie director Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi entrusted him with the storyboard of “General Aung San Bio Film”, a movie project that keeps on being announced but never sees the light of day. “General Aung San is our nationalist leader and our hero. I am delighted and proud. I will try my best” says Ko Kyaw. He will start working on it in July this year (for real).
Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi says that it will take six months to write a script and another six to shoot the film, it will start at the begging of 2019 and end later the same year, he says.
Ko Kyaw is the only one up for the job, “Myanmar has not many storyboard artists. storyboard charges fees are expensive for film production,” he says. A storyboard is a series of illustrations displayed in sequence to pre-visualise a motion picture or an animation movie. The more effort is put into a well-though story, the better the visual identity of the movie.
‘I’ve thrown myself in art since I was 12 really’ Art runs in Ko Kyaw’s family. His father, Jit One, was also an illustrator. He was not very famous, but he interested his son in the art of drawing. He learned while reproducing his father’s work but also the work of the best Burmese illusatrators: Pagyi Wa Thone, Myike Win Htein, Sai Lashio.
“My father knew about my hobby. He sent me to illustrator Kyaw Aung Maw so I could finesse my art. I’ve thrown myself in art since I was 12 really. I dropped out of school at 14. I decided to focus on my art,” he says.
He studied illustration through his teenage years but in 2001 it became increasingly difficult for an illustrator to make ends meet. “Book shops started to close. People had lost interest in comics. Technology took over”.
He started a series of different jobs. He taught painting for a while. He became a cartoonist. He joined a media company. There, he learned how to handle pads and keyboards. In 2016 he established himself as a digital drawer.
He quickly rose to fame and opened Pixel brush digital art school where he teaches drawing and fashion design.
On his spare time he draws monsters and creatures. “I very much like creating horrible characters”. Who knows? Maybe he will give General Aung San an unexpected dark twist.
Artist Ko Kyaw, Yangon, 2018.
An illustration by Artist Ko Kyaw, Yangon, 2018.