With pen and paper, he follows a dreamKim Do-hyoung and I were engineering students together at the same college. Although Do-hyoung was shy and timid, from the first day I noticed that his talent did not seem to be with figures or formulas. Simply, he loved to sketch.
During class, Do-hyoung would often lapse into doodling cartoons instead of taking notes. Soon his friends, me included, urged him to do a comic strip that depicted the happenings on our campus.
Kim Do-hyoung, now 27, has come a long way. Like me, he gave up engineering. Next month, his first comic book will be published. The comic is tentatively titled “Crazy Campus.”
Do-hyoung says he cannot remember when he first noticed he had some talent. “I used to enjoy reading comic books and animation features,” he says. “I think I started drawing when I was able to hold a crayon.”
As far back as elementary school Do-hyoung had a reputation as a cartoonist. In his junior year of college he decided to become a professional cartoonist and announced his decisions to his friends.
Do-hyoung’s family was not supportive. Until he entered high school his parents had no idea about their son’s hobby. When his father found out, the older man gasped. “My dad thought cartooning was a poverty-stricken profession.”
In high school, Do-hyoung, hoping to enroll in a fine arts college, participated in a drawing class but had to give it up because of his parents’ expectation. They wanted him to be a salaryman at a conglomerate after graduating from a reputable college.
Do-hyoung did as he was told.
“Even my high school teachers wanted me to quit art and study for the college entrance exams,” he says. “When I told my plan to my brother and sisters, even they were against it.”
Nonetheless, Do-hyoung pursued his dream. When he drew for his high school newspaper, students asked him to draw their portraits. In college, he joined a cartoon club. “I don’t think that worked out too well,” he says. “They wanted a political strip and I wasn’t too eager to do that.”
After graduating, Do-hyoung had little time to give to his hobby. He entered the army and did his military service at Seoul’s district office. Later he worked at a research institute, which gave him little time to draw cartoons. “It was a stressful time,” he says.
He eventually quit the research job and went to work part-time at a video store and enrolled in a cartooning class.
“Even then I couldn’t tell my parents about quitting my job and trying to become a cartoonist,” Do-hyoung says. “I would lie to my parents, telling them that I was going to work, and then I’d go straight to the public library.”
It was a cartooning instructor named Choi In-sun who gave Do-hyoung his first big push by introducing him to Ahsun Media, a comic book publisher.
“Kim has explicit sense,” says Lee Boo-yong of Ahsun Media. “His story line is good and Kim shows talent in his presentation.”
Ms. Lee says my old school friend’s strip has a lot of humor and that his drawing skills are solid.
“Without strong basics, it’s hard to make a successful debut as a cartoonist,” Ms. Lee says.
Ahsan is hoping that Do-hyoung’s comic strip will hit it big with middle and high school students.
What Kim Do-hyoung looks for now is improvement. “I’ve achieved part of my dream and now want to find my own style.”
What he doesn’t want is to look for a job. He already has one.
by Lee Ho-jeong