Uses This

1242 interviews since 2009

A picture of Shing Yin Khor

Shing Yin Khor

Cartoonist, experience designer

in cartoonist, designer, mac

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm a cartoonist and experience designer. I make a lot of things of no utility, like fortune machines, Gatorade fudge, gnome divination devices, epistolary games and stories, twitterbots that compliment your butt or give you gentle fortunes, and fish marionettes. I'm also a National Book Award finalist for my graphic novel The Legend of Auntie Po, an Ignatz winner for my short comic Say It With Noodles. I designed a shirt that raised $200k for voting rights. I designed an embroidery keepsake game that raised $190k in Kickstarter pledges. The Smithsonian wrote about my Animal Crossing island. I build apocalypse haunted houses in deserts. I do a lot of things, partially because it is necessary to do a lot of things to work as a full time artist with no institutional or corporate affiliation or support. I have a very expansive and also very silly, art practice. I've been making marionettes and carving wooden toys lately. So generally, I make things, usually tangible and delightful objects.

What hardware do you use?

A 13" MacBook Pro, one of the older iPad Pros with the old Apple Pencil, and an iPhone 11. But more recently, I've become one of those insufferable artists that care too much about typewriters, and my typewriter is a blue Olivetti Lettera 22 with a frustrating QZERTY key layout, but it nevertheless makes writing much more enjoyable and visceral (partially because sometimes my fingers get stuck in the keys; it makes the sedentary process of writing feel a little bit dangerous).

Most of my woodworking is done with DeWalt drills and chop saws, a Rikon bandsaw, a Sawstop table saw, an Automach power carver, a few sanders whose brands aren't relevant because I don't love any of them, and a variety of hand carving tools - one Pinewood Forge sloyd knife, a basic Opinel knife, a handful of Pfiel and Flexcut palm gouges, and a miscellaneous heap of vintage gouges I'm always buying at this one old tool swap meet.

I paint comics with mostly Holbein and Case for Making pan watercolors, with whatever brushes I have on hand, on Canson or Winsor and Newton watercolour blocks. I rarely buy expensive brushes because I am real rough on them! I paint on wood with Holbein Acryla Gouache, which I love using and has the most amazing standard color palette.

The best addition to my workspace is a vintage drafting table. Aside from being much better for my back, the angle prevents me from leaving too much clutter on it, or any mugs.

And what software?

I probably do most of my best writing on the Notes app, in the shower. iPhones becoming waterproof was really revolutionary for my creative process. I write short-form in Google Docs and Sheets (mostly for game design related tables), and for longer projects, I try my best to use Scrivener, which is wonderful for organizing my thoughts.

I used to drag my camera around everywhere but it has now been replaced with my iPhone. I miss the feeling of a camera, though, and I may try picking up a film camera soon.

For art, I primarily use Adobe Photoshop on the laptop, and Procreate on the iPad. Procreate is probably the software I use most for art these days. It does not have a lot of features, but the features it has are very good. I use InDesign for layout most of the time, but a highlight of making comics with a publisher instead of independently is that I no longer have to use InDesign that much. I avoid ever having to listen to my own recorded voice, but when I have to do it, I use a basic Yeti mic and Adobe Audition. I make silly little videos with my phone, iMovie, and Stop Motion Studio sometimes.

My brain runs on caffeine, ibuprofen, propranolol, and occasionally adderall.

What would be your dream setup?

Most of the tools on the hardware list, none of the ones on the software list, a sunny room in the desert, and a hottie leaving snacks under the door.

Uses This is supported by ZSA, makers of the Moonlander, ErgoDox EZ and Planck EZ keyboards. They also publish an awesome newsletter.