Artist amazed at success of cartoon strip

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Artist amazed at success of cartoon strip

Listening to the original cartoonist of “Dasepo Girl” tell how his work turned him into one of the most popular online authors now, you might believe that everyone is given a chance for success some time in their life.
“I’m still in shock,” said Chae Jeong-taek who is “still surprised how fast it all came to be.” “But I still think it’s too early for me to be called a professional cartoonist,” he added.
The 34-year-old cartoonist said he was “on the verge of giving up once” because he thought he was terrible when he first started drawing. To make matters worse, the comic industry then was poor. To earn a living, he had to find another job, so he started working at a children’s workbook company as an illustrator. Chae continued to draw his own pictures and used his free time to upload the works to his Web site (www.dasepo.
com). He used the pen name “B-grade Dalgung” to hide his identity. After all, he was a children’s book illustrator and the comics were about high school students acting out sexual fantasies.
What started as a hobby, however, grew beyond that. In two years, his comic series became so popular that a film and a television drama have been made based on the online strip.
Aside from being “both hilarious and hardcore,” his fans also find his style of drawing attractive. His drawings look roughly (and quickly) sketched.
“I don’t use anything but a single pen when I draw,” Mr. Chae said. “Even when I have to draw a straight line, I just draw without using a ruler.”
“I wanted to convey a sense of freedom, just as a carefree high school student would doodle,” he said. “But I’m amazed by the readers’ responses. They have never once criticized my sloppy drawings.”
He said he got his ideas from imagining “how fun” it would be if adults went back to their high school days but with an adult mentality about society and sex. (His Web site warns you not to enter unless you are over 19.)
“My comics were aimed at adult readers from the beginning,” he said.
But don’t mistake him for being kinky in real life. He said that was not the point of his comic, although a lot of his drawings include material that is slightly perverted and sometimes even sadistic.
“Through these black jokes, I wanted to point out that discrimination and poverty are issues both teens and adults can feel sympathy toward,” he said.

by Jang Sang-yong
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