During Singapore’s circuit breaker in 2020, many of us spent our time picking up new hobbies and learning new skills. For 23-year-old Jarrod Chua, his circuit breaker hobby — drawing space themed comics — expanded his universe. His Instagram page @spaceytales, which feature the creatively simple and fun space comics, soon took off and was even picked up by NASA.
What was your experience like, working with your dream company?
I was over the moon! (no pun intended). NASA first reached out to me via a direct message on Instagram (in July 2020, a month after I started my art page) and asked to feature and repost my work on their own platforms. I happily agreed and thought no further about it. However, a few months later (in December 2020), they asked whether they could work with me to help them produce something for their public outreach. When the email came for that, I was in disbelief and excited. All through the very end of the public outreach’s execution phase, I was very happy and always looked forward to corresponding with them over emails to help do edits, brainstorm and send illustrations.
What is your process like when creating each illustration? How do you choose your content and decide what is relatable?
I sit down at my study table and will search up the latest space news on Google. When I do find a piece of space news that I think can be translated into a cute and fun comic, I will get to work on Adobe Illustrator and create the artwork. It all depends on whether I can make the link for that day of comic creation to find a way for the space information to appeal to the general public and if not, I will not discard but set the unfinished comic aside and get back to it another time when an idea comes. I do this also due to the fact that I believe any piece of space content can become relatable and appeal to the general public, I just have to make the link creatively.
Spaceytales started as a ‘covid-hobby’. Has the content changed now that your purpose has evolved since your first illustration?
The trajectory of Spaceytales changed when NASA reached out to me for a working relationship. I did have the thought at the back of my mind that this would be something fun that I could do for a long time as I love space, but never as a career prospect. I will still create fun and quirky space comics that everyone likes but am steadily looking into ways to productise and monetise the brand.
What is the future of Spaceytales – any other multimedia plans or potential collaborations you would like to embark on?
Right now, with the parties that have reached out to me, it seems like I will be working closely with stakeholders in Singapore’s space industry to prop up our very own space achievements and give them a wider and more appealing reach to the general public. NASA has also expressed that they would love to work with me again and am also looking forward to that.
What are your views on the sciences becoming more intertwined with social media/multimedia?
I think that it is awesome! There is never a downside whenever the general public decides to get more involved and learn more about the sciences.
Interviewed by Lydia Konig
Content images by Jarrod Chua
Featured top image by Lydia Konig