Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Legend of Bukit Merah (or How Redhill got its name): Part 1

As part of BMCL reopening, my colleagues, Ivy & Hafsah, suggested that we present the story of how "Redhill" got it's name in the comic artform. It was a brilliant idea to present an old story using a fresh approach. However, we were unable to get volunteers or freelance artists to do the comic panels for us, so I did the next best thing -- I did it myself! Took me 3 weeks' to complete it 'cos I was doing it on my own time after work, and I'm feeling pretty damn proud of how they turned out. As of this post, the A3-sized panels are being exhibited at BMCL. I've posted the smaller images below.

In presenting the story of how Bukit Merah ("Redhill") got its name, we chose the 'comic' art form to show that stories can be conveyed in different ways. We have deliberately left out the words so that you, the reader, can make up your own story from the pictures. Libraries have a strong association with storytelling and folktales, or more precisely, the communication of ideas and thoughts through words, sounds, and pictures. Thank you for supporting the library and continuing this tradition.


The following resources were consulted in creating the comic panels:
  • Bukit Merah: From a hilly kampong to a modern town. Call No.: SING 959.57 BUK -[HIS]
  • Myths & Legends: Bukit Merah - Last accessed: 1 Feb 2005
  • How to draw and sell comic strips for newspapers and comic books!/ Alan McKenzie. Call No.: 741.5 MAC -[ART]
  • Teach yourself visually Photoshop Elements 2/ Mike Wooldridge. Call No.: 006.6869 WOO -[COM]

More related books on myths and legends of Singapore:
  • Singapore Folktales/ Pugalenthi Sr. Call No.: SING 398.2095957 PUG
  • Myths and Legends of Singapore/ Pugalenthii. Call No.: J SING 398.2
  • Legendary Tales of Singapore/ Catherine G S Lim. Call No.: Y SING 398.2095957 LEG
  • Tales from the Islands of Singapore/ Ron Chandran-Dudley. Call No.: Y SING 398.2095957 CHA
See also: Part 2

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  1. Thanks Isaak, and to everyone else who took time to visit and dropped me an email. BTW folks, my wife says to acknowledge her contribution in the project, i.e. she let me use her computer and Photoshop Elements 3 software for the pictures. Heh heh. It's true that I couldn't have done it without her. I might as well acknowledge our dog too, for keeping my lap warm during the cold mornings while I was rusing to finish the pics ;)

  2. This's GOOD!! I thot you were only good with words, but pictures also?! We need ppl like you in schools yah to inspire and stimulate learning.

  3. Anonymous11:56 am

    U haven't lost your skill brother :) Would have made a promising designer if u had taken this route as profession.....anyway, saw u on news the other day, u look taller on TV...mom was so excited when she saw u on TV. Proud of u....:)

  4. To oogachukka: Thanks! I did ask myself if I should be a teacher, but I think I'm too much of a "maverick" to thrive in our local school system. Or am I making excuses?

  5. wow !!!!!!!!!! u not only librarian, but a good designer ! well done....keep it up.

    You make us proud to be librarians

  6. Anonymous9:00 am

    awesome illustrations! U really should consider doing more digital art :)

  7. Just saw this. OMG Ivan, got some artistic talent going on there. Good job, man!

  8. Hi Sam, glad to know the images helped. Will email you. BTW, I've licensed them under a Creative Commons license.

  9. Anonymous2:55 pm

    Wow! Did you really conceptualized it from scratch yourself? Or where there other references you borrowed the idea from?

  10. Hey anonymous, yes I came up with the images from scratch. My main source of inspiration was my memory of an illustrated Children's storybook, about the Redhill legend. I didn't have the book with me when I drew the images. It was from my vague impressions from when I read the book as a child (maybe 20 plus years ago).

    The other significant reference source was Mike Mignola's artwork. He draws/ writes the Hellboy series. I liked his illustration style and thought it had character. Borrowed his graphic novels, took a few days to study his style and then made my attempt to draw. If you're familiar with Mignola, you'll notice my artwork ended up very different :)

  11. mom to 2 daughters2:06 pm

    Hi. I've chosen this myth for my daughter to present in school next week. I am very grateful for your comics! It would help her a lot as she is only in Pri 1 :) Thanks1

    1. You're welcome. Hope your girl will have a good time sharing the story.


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