Gavin Aung Than


Gavin Aung Than is a cartoonist based in Melbourne, Australia. After working in the corporate graphic design industry for 8 years he quit his unfulfilling job at the end of 2011 to focus on his true passion, drawing cartoons. Gavin launched Zen Pencils at the start of 2012, a cartoon blog which adapts inspirational quotes into comic stories, and hasn’t looked back since.


“The subject matter is dictated by the quote most of the time,” Than says in an e-mail. “Sometimes however, the comic is driven by an image that comes to me after I read the quote over and over again. For instance, the image of two soldiers playing ping pong came to me after reading the Carl Sagan quote and I worked backwards from there.”

via Washington Post

I launched my site in February 2012. I had just had a quarter-life crisis, was miserable in my corporate graphic design job and wanted to pursue my passion for illustration and cartooning. So I quit my job in December 2011, sold my house and put all my eggs in one basket by starting Zen Pencils. I gave myself one year to use the blog as a launching pad for a new freelance illustration career.

However, the blog has become more popular than I could have imagined. I’ve decided to dedicate myself completely to the site and to try and turn the blog into my sole source of income.

it’s a part-time income at the moment (mainly from selling prints of my comics), but I have no doubt I can turn this into a full-time income and plan to implement ways of making money through advertising, merchandise, ebooks, and workshops.

via Social Callout

On your Facebook page, you allow fans to suggest quotes to you for illustration. How has that worked out? Do you find a lot of inspiration coming from your fans?

It’s worked out great. I think about 75% of the quotes I use are reader-submitted quotes, so the website has also helped me connect with people and learn new things . I am constantly amazed by my readers and the response I’ve received.

via Below Zero to Here