An Artist Breathes New Life into Classic Characters

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 7 August 2015

The comics industry may be struggling, but Ko Win Ko Aung, 29, sees a future in featuring many of the old favorites on postcards. 

What gave you the idea?

I like the old comics. And I wondered why we needed to import foreign postcards. I think we should promote our own products. That goes for different Myanmar arts products. I want us to modernize what we have, and find international markets too. We should innovate.

When did you begin, and with which cartoonists?

I started the Arkatha Ginga Company to produce the postcards in December last year. Now we have postcards featuring the work of Tin Aung Ni, Maung Maung Lay, Maung Maung Aung, Saw Min Wai, Po Zar, Ko Shwe Htoo and Arkar. There are two sizes and they cost 800 kyat for a small postcard and 1,200 kyat for a large one. They are selling in bookshops, floral shops and some supermarkets in Yangon and Mandalay and I am looking for distributors in the south. I’m also planning to sell them in Singapore as Myanmar people there are away from home and might be interested.

How did you choose which illustrations to feature?

Some characters such as Poe Zar’s twin sisters Lay Mon and Htwe Mon and Maung Maung Lay and Ko Shwe Htoo’s Ko Maung Tint are famous and were obvious choices. Other cartoonists like Saw Min Wai and Maung Maung Aung don’t have well-known characters but their designs are famous. I want to introduce more characters in the coming year if we make decent returns. Even if I don’t make a profit, I am happy to keep producing these characters, because I like cartoons.

Do you have other plans?

I want to create more postcards for seasonal events and special days such as mother’s day and father’s day. And I want to create designs based on our ethnic groups’ traditional dress. I am not rich; I will have to do many things to find the money.

This article originally appeared in the August 2015 issue of The Irrawaddy magazine.