Penang artist makes global breakthrough


Pride and joy: Chang left a career in academia to pursue his passion as a freelance illustrator.

GEORGE TOWN: To many, the name Chang Lip Wei may not ring a bell yet. But the Penang artist is slowly making waves in the international comic book world.

The 37-year-old’s works include drawing Marvel characters from the highly popular comic series, The Uncanny X-Men, Avengers and New Mutants, to be featured on trading cards.

His latest project is one of the multiple covers for the first issue of the latest Thundercats comic series.“I remember getting a call from my agent in early December telling me that I have landed the gig of drawing a retailer exclusive cover for the latest Thundercats comic series. I was so thrilled,” he said.

Chang’s dream of drawing characters dear to him came true when he got to illustrate Lion-O, the leader and Lord of the Thundercats.

“I decided to draw and paint only Lion-O on the cover, as he has been my hero for as long as I can remember. It was a bit of a rushed job, but I still managed to finish it within four days.

“I even painted when I was in a bus on my way to the two-day Singapore Comic Con from Dec 9, and I am very happy with the way it turned out,” he said in an interview recently.

While Chang mostly does covers for various comic publishers and commissions nowadays, he has been busy providing art for Upper Deck’s Marvel Anime Vol 2 trading cards as well as Atomic Mass Games’ Marvel: Crisis Protocol’s attack cards.

“For these two companies, I have been drawing superhero characters like Wolverine, Magneto, Storm, Rogue, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Black Panther, Spider-man and many more.

“It’s like a dream for me to draw these legendary characters, many of which have been featured in blockbuster Marvel movies like The Avengers, Avengers: End Game, New Mutants, X-Men and others,” he said.

A former Jit Sin High School student in Bukit Mertajam, Chang’s ultimate dream is to draw the interior art for popular comic series like Uncanny X-Men or The Avengers for Marvel, or DC Comics’ Justice League.“Currently, my favourite artists, are Jorge Jimenez (the current Batman comic artist), Dike Ruan, who recently did a run of Shang-Chi with Gene Luen Yang for Marvel, and Filipino artist Stephen Segovia, who I met at the last Singapore Comic Con.

“But my influences when it comes to drawing are comic artist Arthur Adams, Katsuhiro Otomo of manga Akira fame, and Naoki Urasawa, whose creation Pluto is being shown currently on Netflix as an anime series,” he said.

Chang, who has been illustrating as a freelancer for the past 15 years, and his wife Jackee Liew, 38, were also the creative minds behind local publisher Gempak’s X-Venture Unexplained Files comic series, which they drew and wrote for 42 issues in 2015.

He is currently the artist for The Disputed Territory series by Michael Hinson.

Chang used to work for a private college as the head of the Illustration Department but decided that it was not for him as he preferred to draw than teach.

“I returned to Penang in 2020 with my wife and my then two-year-old son. As I have a son to raise, my priorities have changed. I started working harder to get to where I am today.

“Being a freelancer gives me more time to be with my son. But I still have to work between six to 12 hours daily.

“The good thing is that I can work anywhere even when I am out on a family outing,” he said, adding that he also works part-time as a lecturer in Penang.

More of Chang’s works can be seen at X (@LipweiChangArt), Instagram (@lipwei_chang) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/chang.lipwei)

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chang lip wei , artist , penang , comics , marvel

   

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