HK Magazine: How did you come up with the character Din Dong? John Chan: My inspiration came from Hao Hao, my cat. I met her on a street a year ago. She is rather special. While other cats usually hide from people, she came over, walked towards me and started meowing. I decided to bring her home. I started to record interesting anecdotes about Hao Hao and sketch her in my notebook. HK: What’s Din Dong all about? JC: When drawing this character, I have a little “mission” to cheer up people. Life is not all about money—just look at Din Dong, he can always live happily and get girlfriends without spending a penny. He once taught a poor guy named Die Hung to fold a paper flower for his girlfriend using old wedding cards, and to rub an eraser into an egg shape, paint it and give it to his friend as an Easter egg. HK: Is Din Dong serious or silly? JC: I’m rather a serious person. What I’m doing is pretty much putting myself in Din Dong’s shoes. If you can’t afford to buy your valentine some perfume, just think out of the box—spray deodrant on a paper flower to make it fragrant. All creative work begins with some sort of trival, nonsense idea. In a nutshell, it’s a combination of being serious and ridiculous. HK: What is your greatest source of motivation? JC: It’s rather embarrassing to put it into words—but it’s like giving birth to your own child when you create a cartoon character. Raising a kid is never easy. You’ll want to continue his story. Once you create the character, the biggest satisfaction is that your audience will know about your “son” and give you feedback which might in turn give you further inpiration. You don’t want to ever stop drawing because you don’t want to end your character. HK: Another piece of your work, “Hidden Elders,” won you the grand prize at Asia’s largest digital video contest. Were you surprised to be the first Hong Kong recipient of this award? JC: Yes, very much! I submitted my work without any expectations because it’s unusal for a local production to beat other professional Japanese animators. I didn’t even attend the prize ceremony in Japan when the result was announced! HK: Any advice for budding cartoonists out there? JC: Be devoted to your profession. The creative industy is for those who persist and dare to be different. Watch John’s animated video on www.youtube.com/user/postgalworkshop . Look out for his new book at the Hong Kong Book Fair.