"I Want To Make Toys" Panel Recap @ Singapore Comic Con 2019

(Above image via @sgmediafest)
This day last week, I had the opportunity to moderate a panel on the Main Stage of the 2019 Edition of Singapore Comic Con, titled; "I WANT TO MAKE TOYS, HOW AH?". This post is a recap and summary, along with a showcase of visuals that were not shown at the panel itself.

The images were meant to provide a visual context and reference to whatever we - myself and the panelists - might have spoken about, for folks whom might be unfamiliar with their collective works - basically; "show-n-tell".

The primary function of the panel itself was more of a "Introductory"-capacity to "designer toys" (not your media-licensed toys that pepper the convention), and as well for folks have pondered on actually getting into toy-designing and even (self or factory) production.

Maybe a more in-depth industry workshop in the future, perhaps? I'm down if you are :)

For transparency sake, all panelists were provided with a list of basic questions I was going to ask (along with more notes that anyone might expect, and no doubt a burden to read).

I was meeting most of the panelists personally for the very first time as well, namely Tara McPherson (who had just gotten back from DesignerCon and Japan, and was heading out to Thailand after SGCC), Jason Freeny (whom I've never gotten to actually meet when he was in Singapore before), Jonathan Cathey (Owner of The Loyal Subjects), and Singapore's own Daniel Yu (whom I last met personally at BigBigCon, where I scouted him for this panel LOL).

And while I do not have (and neither have I asked for) video recording of the one-hour(ish) event, I will try my best to provide an impression and/or summary of what had been mentioned, so do pardon me if I am not 100% accurate, cool?


I had prepared a few slides of each individual panelists' work, so folks in the audience could recognise the collectibles, if not immediately the artists themselves, so that'll be a "quicker" connect, without them needing to spend time trying to figure out who's-who... or at least that was the plan.

I was gearing myself up to hype them up too! This would have (selfishly) functioned to warm myself up, truth be told. I have been a "blogger" for over a decade, and hardly a extrovert enough to stand on a stage in front of strangers, friends and peers (Although without interaction I think I could do a decent monolog for a couple of hours ~ HAH), but managed somehow, thanks to my experience in teaching, in recent years ... the notion/concept of "slideshow" presentation was developed from my classes actually!


Each question-on-slides would have functioned as both markers and quite literally reminders of the questions themselves, for me. Thank goodness I had the sense to scribble on a few cards the basic questions, or the nervous-me would've gone blank!

I had been intrigued at what answers would be revealed (I might have provided the answers before-hand but did not expect any pre-answers), and produced a series of images that MIGHT showcase their process - most grabbed from social media, except for Daniel, who had graciously provided me with WIPs before hand, when asked.

For myself, through blogging about collectibles on the past 14 semi-odd years, I've had the privilege to see the change/evolution of what it took to get toys being made. From literal drawings to sculpting, to turnarounds, to self-resin casting, to 3D-rendering and 3D-printing, whereby a creator's journey into making his/her idea into a 3-dimensional collectible in multiple releases, now involves more than just the creator alone - although there are tons of creators in the scene now who still do so, of course.

Looking at the images I had scoured, and with whatever descriptions that came with said images, I remained intrigued at the process, and as importantly how the artists felt, manifesting an idea and being able to share it with other folks. And hopefully be able to share with everyone else sitting in the audience in front of us.

Jason's background is in Industrial/Product Design, and his skills in sculpting and attention to detail is readily showcased on his social media. What I personally appreciate is the thought (process) that goes through the creation and execution, not just "random aesthetics", a marriage of "form" and "function". My personal fave had been the BMO, because it was a creation of a fictional innards, but still anchored in reasonable-function(?).

At the end of the panel he mentioned he had been teaching a class, where now of the modules was to create in 3-dimensions, which quite frankly intrigued me to no end, but no longer had time to explore further.

Stay connected via Instagram / Facebook / jasonfreeny.com.

Tara's illustration is at the fore of her creations. She does not "draw to make toys", toys are made from her drawings! A whole lot of characters could be traced back to her earlier depiction of them via various media/medium, and I discovered with glee, that her Stella and Flux figure was borne from her illustration for Japanese band "Shonen Knife" from back in 2005!

Stay connected via Instagram / Facebook / taramcpherson.com / thecottoncandymachine.com.

I had as well hoped Daniel's toy-jouney would inspire folks as well, from his non-artist education background, his interest in the genre led him thru experimenting with sculpting via learning from youtube videos, to him casting and painting his all-original character creations, and subsequently collaborating with Unbox Industries and have had his characters made into vinyl collectibles.

As well SGCC saw the debut of his self-produced MEI MEI vinyl toy, companion figure to DI DI in his "Fortune Twins" creation.

Stay connected via Instagram / Facebook / Online Store.

If everyone had been "dreamers", than Jonathan Cathey would have been the "dream-maker", with his expertise in reproducing collectibles. Jonathan shared with us his past and origins of starting The Loyal Subjects.

Stay connected via The Loyal Subjects' Instagram / Facebook / theloyalsubjects.com.


I had naively thought I could have more questions answered within the time-period, but in-experience got the better of me, and Paul Hendricks called it! It's not that I doubted you, I just over-estimated myself :p

Thank You Tara, Jason, Jonathan and Daniel, for your patience! An shout out to Paul for the opportunity!

And Thank YOU, for sitting through the panel (if you were there), and for your patience, and hoped you enjoyed yourselves :)


FYI#1: Descriptions has since been added to some images.
FYI#2: Most images snapped by my Mum! Hence so many pics of me, becoz Mumz :)