Winner of the 2014 Digi WWWOW Awards, Leong Jin Onn, discusses her comic strip Pocotee & Friends, and what inspires her.

Allison Goh  |  Singapore
Published 2014-08-22 14:00:12

This is the second out of three series of interviews with winners of the 2014 Digi WWWOW Awards, Allison Goh brings you the latest insights from some of the greatest powerhouses existing in Malaysia’s cyberspace. 

From the first glance, it might be hard to fathom why the winner of 2014 Digi WWWOW Awards (Judges Choice) is an illustrator, Pocotee Loh. After all, cartoons are often considered child’s play or perhaps treated as something less significant. Nonetheless, give her a pen and paper and one might be forced to rethink their impressions of doodles. In fact, not only is her comic ‘Pocotree & Friends’ the main source of income for her, but they have propelled her to fame with several celebrities who professed a love for these characters as well.

Image Credit: Pocoteehouse blogspot
Image Credit: Pocoteehouse blogspot

I asked her for the reason behind the success of Pocotree & Friends. What exactly is it that makes people so attracted to her cartoons?

“It is because of the characteristics which Pocotee & Friends express. It is how most people would feel and react when having fun, or during strange times. Sadness and joy,” she replied.

It was a simple answer which left me feeling unsatisfied and yet it also made sense. Through our correspondence, I could not shake off the feeling that Pocotee Loh is a cheerful and bubbly person, it is almost like how her main character, “Pocotee” is modelled after her. She calls it a “reflection of myself” and similarly, Pocotee’s friends are also modelled after her friends.

Image Credit: Pocotee and Friends Facebook
Image Credit: Pocotee and Friends Facebook

“I’m so happy that I can put my full focus on Pocotee & Friends. I work closely with my lovely team members. I’m just a normal person, waking up at 9am in the morning. I enjoy making my own breakfast. Although my schedule can get really hectic sometimes, I will still make some time to hang out with my family and friends. I love travelling. It gives me a lot of opportunity to try new things, feel the environment, meet a lot of great people and most importantly, it gives me new ideas.

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When asked about the team that works with her, she had this to say: “We love working together. They always keep me motivated and I am truly grateful that I have such a wonderful team.”

Surely one can sense her infectious effervescent personality, the same portrayed in her work of art?  I must confess that by then I was charmed by her, it was no surprise to me that Pocotee & Friends are so popular. She calls her win for the award “meaningful for me and our team members”, and simultaneously, feels “honoured and humbled” by it.

Image Credit: Pocotee & Friends Facebook Page
Image Credit: Pocotee & Friends Facebook Page

Loh describes how the “worst part” of her job is also “the best part. “When my team faces a challenge, we solve it and gain the experience together. We always believe in the joy that follows after that.” Such team spirit is going to be put into the test, especially when I probed them about the future plans for their brand, they said, “Hong Kong is considered as our first stop to showcase our character, Pocotee and Friends, whereas in the long run, we’ll create more merchandise of Pocotee & friends, as well as collaboration projects with other brands & characters.”

There is a constant strife to improve and create more characters in Pocotee & Friends, and there are plans to grow and even initiate crossover projects with other brands as well. The team is also going to publish a comic collection of Pocotee & Friends soon. Loh concludes this by sharing her ambitions to become a comic artist, spurred by the slogan below, this is her advice on encouraging herself and others to keep on going and never give up.

“Every stroke of the brush reflects my passion, devotion and dedication towards my dream!’’

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