110 in 5*

Christmas came early this year (well, today) as the Asian Publishing Awards announced its list of winners for 2014. A total of 10 awards have been given to Ink Singapore titles, bringing the tally of awards won in the last five years to 110 *(thanks to Hamish for that stat). Wins came in two categories — the Gold Award and the Excellence Award —and if you want to see who won what, just keep scrolling down. Congratulations, everybody, what a great way to close 2014. (Posted by Tara Sering)

Jetstar Asia, Gold Award for Best Use of Illustration


Scoot, Gold Award for Best Editorial Brand Projection


Smile for Cebu Pacific Airlines, Gold Award for Best Wellness Feature

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Smile for Cebu Pacific Airlines, Gold Award for Best Use of Typography



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Jetstar Asia July 2014, Excellence Award for Best Cover Design

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Scoot, Excellence Award for Best Cover Design

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Fah Thai‘s “Welcome to the Punch”, Excellence Award for Best Photo Documentary

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Tiger Tales for Tigerair’s “Aloha, Taiwan”, Excellence Award for Best Use of Illustration


Fah Thai, Excellence Award for Best Use of Illustration

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Tiger Tales for Tigerair’s “On the road again”, Excellence Award for Best Use of Illustration


It’s a mud mud world!


Originally this Fah Thai photo essay, selected by photo editor Jenny Penas, was meant to run with minimal text, focusing on Indian-born, Australian-raised, Hong Kong-based photographer Palani Mohan’s incredible shots. After speaking to Palani about the process of capturing this century-old form of Indian wrestling, we realised that it was important to include his observations while working on this project, one that has lasted him over ten years. His prediction is that it is fast fading and will not be around much longer. This isn’t surprising as the sport involves groups of 17- and 18-year-old boys who are not allowed to have sexual thoughts – a rare find. (Posted by Alexandra Karplus)

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Fah Thai, from front to back

When she took over at the helm of Fah Thai at the beginning of this year, Alexandra Karplus’ first job was to change the structure and flow of the magazine altogether. Since the upfront section of the magazine wasn’t working, she ditched it entirely. Instead, after contents, a “What’s hot?” list and three glorious dps photo spreads (see below), the May/June issue dives directly into the lavish photo-features that have always been the magazine’s strong point. The idea is that Fah Thai is like the coffeetable book of inflight magazines.




Much of what was formerly upfront content – the news stories, Q&As, profiles and round-ups – has npw been moved to the back of book, where we have a new directory section, ‘The Guide’. This is divided by country/region, and content has been tagged to provide guidance to the readers. In the May-June issue, a Mumbai music guru tells us the best places to seek out indie music, a newly opened restaurant’s chef shares his inspiration behind the most popular dish and we catch up with a Singaporean bartender before he enters an international competition. The goal is to supply readers with a well-curated guide to each of our destinations, avoiding the more obvious picks and providing as many inspiring images as possible.


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(Posted by LizW)

Animal magic

These spectacular images of Siamese fighting fish and Ayam Serama cocks were originally sourced as two separate photo essays for Fah Thai. Editor Jake and art director Terence loved them so much, they paired them together for the Jan-Feb issue.

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The essay is inspired by the 18th century quote ‘neither fish nor fowl’ meaning ‘neither this nor that but something other’. Photographers Virasute Angkatavancih (fish) and Ernest Goh (cocks) both wanted to change their animals into objects of art, and they have done just that. Not merely fish nor fowl, these are stunning works of portraiture.

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Posted by Liz Weselby, Singapore

Ask a freelancer: Paolo Lim

Last week I posted about illustrator Paolo Lim winning an award for a set of portraits he’d done for Ink’s Fah Thai magazine. Paolo’s an Ink regular who has in the past contributed not just to Fah Thai, but also Scoot, Thomas Cook Travel and Cruise, bSpirit and bThere. I thought I’d follow up by asking Paolo a few questions in the first of what I hope will be a regular madewithink Q&A spot.

Originally from Manila, Paolo now lives and works in Adelaide, South Australia. You can check out more of his work here.

What was your first paid commission?
I can’t remember the very first, but shortly after college I joined a group of artists and illustrators in the Philippines called Ang InK, which is dedicated to children’s illustration. From connections I made there, I got to do a number of illustrations for Junior Inquirer, a weekly supplement in the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper, which features stories and poetry for or by kids.

Who or what have been your main inspirations?
Music is definitely a huge inspiration, but also books, movies, TV, other people’s work on the internet and in real life; the city, getting out of the city… Childhood has also always been a big thing for me. I owe a lot to the kind of pictures and design I was exposed to as a kid. I loved (and still love) looking at picture books, maps, exploded diagrams, encyclopaedias… There’s a certain nostalgia that inspires my work, of trying to hold on to that time. As cliched as it sounds, now that I have a child of my own, seeing things through him has definitely changed how I look at what I do.

If you weren’t doing what you do right now, what would you be doing?
I love making music and playing the drums – though some might argue that those are unrelated things. Except I have fewer delusions about my musical abilities (or inabilities) than my artistic ones.

What’s been your favourite commission?
I love creating artwork for friends’ bands back home in the Philippines. I was in a band for a few years and made a lot of good friends on the local scene, so being able to continue to contribute to it even though I’ve now moved away is a big deal for me.

What’s your dream commission?
I don’t really have any specific dreams but I would love to work on more music-related projects. To be part of an in-house team creating all the artwork for a great record company, like Reid Miles did for Blue Note records in the 1950s and 60s, that would be amazing.

What would your advice be to anyone who wants to become a freelance illustrator?
One of the biggest things I’ve struggled with and am having to learn the hard way, is that you can’t sit around waiting for big ideas to happen. There’s a Picasso quote that says it best: “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working”.



TOP TO BOTTOM: Time Warp for Gourmet Traveller WINE; cover for Scoot magazine by Ink; illustration for Adelaide magazine; cover for Fah Thai by Ink; LA map for Condé Nast Traveller; illustration for Real Living; art for ‘The First Album’ by Corporate Lo-Fi; art for the debut album ‘We Specialise in Cages’ by Helen; illustration for Gourmet Traveller WINE. (Posted by AndrewH)

Portraits win prizes


Congratulations to illustrator Paolo Lim, Ink art director Terence Goh and the team at Fah Thai for winning the Gold Award in the Best Use of Illustration Category in the Asian Publishing Awards, the results of which were announced yesterday. For Terrence’s madewithink post on the feature click here.

The Bards of Burma

Three literary legends – George Orwell, Rudyard Kipling and Somerset Maugham – introduced Burma to the Western world. But as the country opens to reforms, what might they have made of Myanmar today?

Each of these authors lived in a Burma that no longer exists, so for an article in the March issue of Fah Thai, we went for an evocative, bygone illustrative style to compliment the feature. First we examined the writings of each of the authors and then we built up each illustration, piece by piece, with images and icons from the poems, novels, books and plays which directly reference British Burma in its ‘expansionist phase’.

ORWELL: For Orwell, the ideas for some of his most famous neologisms (‘Big Brother’, ‘thoughtcrime’, ‘Ministry of Love’, ‘doublethink’, ‘four legs good, two legs bad’) were conceived during his time as an Imperial Policeman in Lower Burma. We also examined his two great Burmese essays – Shooting an Elephant and A Hanging. His illustration carries the hallmarks of the cold, harsh realities of colonial rule set amid an utterly foreign culture, hence the steely blue colour.

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KIPLING: For Kipling, we explored his wonderful Departmental Ditties and, specifically, his famous poem Mandalay. Kipling was particularly attracted to the exotic remoteness of the Burmese jungles – and these certainly affected the animal characters he later created in The Jungle Books – hence a tiger and a snake. The colour is jungle green.

MAUGHAM: For Maugham, we explored his famous travelogue The Gentleman In The Parlour, which followed his travels in Rangoon. Maugham was a hedonist and a sensualist, so the illustration is in the colour of ‘golden brown’ opium (which he used daily) set amid the sensuousness of the Burmese people.


Posted by Jake Hamilton & Terence Goh