Collateral started out as a doujin — essentially, an informal art clique of anime artists — a decade ago, adding, in 2013, a business arm as their commissioned projects grew bigger. These days, their clients include Microsoft, Faber-Castell, and Anime Festival Asia.
Its general manager Ng Kian Chuan, who joined the company when he was still in university, hopes to position the job of an anime artist in a more professional light.
“People think that anime artists are not very atas (high-class), and that the art is technically easier. That’s not true. It’s not just about big eyes. There’s a diverse range of art directions,” explains Ng, who recently gave a public talk on pricing artwork because he wanted to show aspiring anime artists that it is possible to make a living out of the discipline.
Two of the full-time artists at Collateral, Tan Hui Tian and Low Zi Rong have also been part of the outfit since their student days.
On being a full-time anime artist, Tan says that “you have to be willing to suffer or at least be patient for the opportunities to come. You have to train for quite a bit of time before getting such a job.”
Likewise, Low believes it is important to get the fundamentals right before thinking about being an anime artist. “You need to know how to draw figures and get your anatomy correct before breaking the rules and distorting anatomy as part of the anime style. If not, you’ll find yourself struggling if you have to draw comics.”