Meet Sheldon Chong – author, artist, cartoonist, trainer, musician

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Sheldon Chong is an author, artist and cartoonist, workshop trainer, pianist, drummer and public speaker. He’s only 10!

The Kidzania CongreZZ Kid also enjoys drawing, doodling and swimming.

Here, he tells us about himself:

“I recently wrote and illustrated a science fiction storybook for children entitled The Time Dimension, which I self-published. It was launched at the World Book Day Fest 2017 in Kuala Lumpur and I was invited to give an author’s talk on my book. There are four main characters in my book – myself, my brother and two other friends from another dimension.

This book is for readers aged eight to 12. I received some feedback from parents that my book has inspired their children to start creating and drawing their own stories. I am now in the midst of completing my second book which I intend to publish later this year.

I started working on my book early this year and my parents were surprised at the speed at which I wrote and drew. I even designed the book cover myself and coloured it using digital art tools on the computer.

I had a lot of support from my parents, who have always encouraged me to use my imagination and be creative. In fact, they bought me lots of storybooks and my mother read aloud stories every night ever since I was two. It helped me improve my creativity and imagination. When I was a toddler, she would put me to bed by asking me to imagine I was blasting off into space in a rocket and exploring the places that I would arrive at.

My favourite creative art activities are drawing and making music. Drawing helps me relax and express myself. I have been drawing since I was two. Instead of giving me an electronic gadget, my parents gave me a sketch pad. I brought the sketch pad along everywhere I went and doodled regularly. I think that’s how my drawings skills improved. I must have produced tens of thousands of doodles over the years. There are piles and piles of used sketch books and my drawings and doodles lying around the house.

To me, drawing is also a form of play and expression. I draw my own card and board games and play them with my younger brother. When I’m happy, I draw. When I’m upset, I draw my feelings and that helps me feel better. Sometimes, in the car, I would suddenly have an idea, and I would need to express it by drawing it out. When I was younger, I used to get agitated if I wanted to draw and there wasn’t any sketch pad around. I would draw on a piece of tissue instead. My parents had to constantly replenish papers, sketch pads and pens which ran out quickly.

At times, I have a lot of stories and ideas in my mind and I can spend a few hours writing the story or drawing it out in comic form. To date, I have drawn more than 30 mini-comic books and I published a mini-comic book last year.

I have performed piano solo at recitals and at an arts fest attended by over a hundred people. I also entertained passers-by by playing pop songs on street pianos in Southampton and Reading during my visit to the UK recently. I was also a drummer in a children’s band and we performed at a concert last year. I have been recording my music videos and I plan to create my own YouTube channel in the future.

Arts is very important as it helps children to be creative and happy. There are many forms of arts and it makes life more beautiful. In my presentations, I always quote Picasso, who said, ‘Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up’. I would like to inspire more children to unleash their creativity and hope that their parents will encourage and support them.

I am proud to be selected as a Kidzania CongreZZKid for 2017/2018. I also get invitations to speak and conduct drawing workshops and demonstrations for children and adults. I have been conducting drawing workshops for the past two years. I like to inspire children and adults to learn to draw in a simple and fun way. During my workshops, I met some children who didn’t like to draw because they thought that they were not good at drawing. I motivated them to be confident and not to be afraid of making mistakes.

During the school holidays, I conduct Kids Comic Drawing Workshops to inspire kids to be creative and express their ideas in a visual form. Some parents have told me that their kids were inspired to draw after attending my workshops. I have also conducted Scratch Programming workshops and workshops on making pop-up cards. I also facilitated sessions on breathing exercises, teaching children to relax, focus inwards and calm down their minds, at a children’s camp recently. I was also invited to be on air (radio) several times this year. I also participated in a storytelling event and spoke at a TED-Ed Club on ‘My Journey Through Art’. I have also won several art competitions since the age of six.

Despite all these achievements, my parents always remind me to be humble and to work hard on my talents because hard work is as important as talent.

I would like to continue doing the things that I’m passionate about. I would like to write and publish more books, create beautiful artwork and play music that inspires. I would like to inspire people to pursue their passion so they can enjoy what they are doing and realise their potential.

My favourite comic book is the Zita the Spacegirl series. It is a graphic novel about a girl who found a teleportation device which sent her to another planet. I like the story because of the science fiction element.”

Sheldon’s The Time Dimension is available from https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.807108762800050.1073741936.470037633173833&type=1&l=9a9f1ed799.