We're really fond of Mark Twain's quotes. Especially the one's that inspire us to get off our backsides and travel the world. So imagine our excitement when we stumbled across one of them transformed into a kick ass cartoon by world renowned cartoonist Gavin Aung Than!
It didn't take much snooping around his website, Zen Pencils, before we had a massive cartoonist crush, and we haven't looked back since. Gavin's weekly cartoons now bring us a little dose of quirk and inspiration that we just can't live without.
Here's what Gavin had to say when we had a chat to him:
When did you first realise you had a gift for drawing?
Probably way back in Primary school when a classmate of mine asked me to draw a picture in her work file. I had a skill other people wanted!
What’s the biggest influence on the cartoons you do and don’t choose to use?
It's mainly just instinct. I get sent hundreds of quotes to adapt and the one's I end up using just jump out and speak to me on a personal level. I try to keep everything positive too.
Zen Pencils is celebrating its one year Birthday this month! How would you describe the past year for you in a nutshell?
The best year of my life. Before I made the leap and quit my old job to start the website, I was pretty scared that it wasn't going to work and I was questioning whether or not I had made the right decision. Now, a year on, my work has reached people all over the world and I've created comics that I didn't think I was capable of. It's been a year of really hard work, but the payoff has been better than anything I could have dreamed of.
Where’s the best place you’ve ever travelled to?
I visited Ho Chi Minh last year which was mind-blowing. Just the ultra-fast pace combined with the traditional Vietnamese culture was something I had never seen before. The noise, the traffic, the food and the friendly people - it was a sensory overload.
What’s been your career highlight or what’s the piece of work you’re most proud of?
Probably getting interviewed by The Washington Post (it was only in the online edition, not print ... but still!) last year during the infancy of the website. It was a big deal and kind of kickstarted the success of the website. The comic that got their attention is still the one I'm most proud of - Carl Sagan's 'Make the most of this life' - it was one of the first ones I did and set the tone for the website.
You’ve obviously been kicking a lot of goals lately – what’s next?
I'm happy to keep pumping out my weekly comics and continue to grow the site. I'm planning on translations of the comics into other languages, new products and hopefully fitting in some travel this year too!
Aside from your awesome website, where else can we see your work?
I've recently had some of my illustrations appear in a book (The 4-Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss) but nowhere else really. I'm doing my dream work on my website!
(Article and interview by Samantha Chalker of Saving For Cuba.)