FCX: Meet Malaysian Cartoonist Sam Hepburn, Creator Of 'Welcome To Agency X'

Published on 9 Sep 2015 12:42:51 PM

Malaysian cartoonist Sam Hepburn makes her comic strip debut in the pages of Star2 today (Sept 9), with her original new series Welcome To Agency X.

Hepburn, 29 and of Scottish-Chinese descent, worked as a copywriter for eight years before realising her real career as a funnies girl. “The comic strip is about people who have a day job but harbour a secret passion – a dream job – that they dare not pursue,” she says.

Hepburn’s comic strip – Welcome To Agency X – started from a few doodles she made when she was in advertising. No one could have guessed that the Selangor-based agency executive would one day turn her office shenanigans and job frustrations into a cartoon series!

“I felt there was something more cohesive I could do with the strip and I wanted to turn it into a proper project rather than an ad hoc blog. I decided to turn it into a panel strip with a few main characters and a story,” says Hepburn, who conceptualised the series in 2013.

Welcome To Agency X features jaded designer Percy, cynical writer Sam (Hepburn’s cartoon representation of herself) and wide-eyed intern Russell, all of whom have a sprinkling of Hepburn's own personality – part dreamer, part optimist, part cynic, and really small part sociopath.

“When I joined the creative industry as an intern, I used to be like Russell, an eager beaver who was ever willing to learn the tricks of the trade. I can be cynical at times and that’s portrayed through Sam’s character. Percy has experienced too much of the creative world, almost like the proverbial ‘been there, done that and bought the T-shirt’,” Hepburn says.

A self-taught artist, Hepburn ventured into cartooning in 2010, attracted by the art of putting a humorous spin on life. She says she's inspired by cartoonists like Bill Watterson (Calvin And Hobbes), Scott Adams (Dilbert), Stephen Pastis (Pearls Before Swine) and Richard Thompson (Cul De Sac).

“I like figuring out the comedic timing. Sometimes, a joke is better drawn out over a story arc, sometimes it works as a one-panel zinger. The best bit is that we cartoonists have to play out the options in our heads and see which one feels right,” says Hepburn.

In 2010, she published a picture book, NO! A Lesson In Love, about positive enforcement in caring for animals. In 2012, she was the illustrator for Even The Most Positive Person In The World Gets Cancer, an inspirational book by cancer survivor Mezwyn D’Junus.

Click on the Star2.com link below to see Sam Hepburn's comic strip 'Welcome to Agency X'!