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Wine Merchant Process

This simian alcohol peddler is a NPC for a future zine [note: we released the zine– it’s Ngelalangka!] selling all sorts of alcoholic beverages. Some obviously magical. 

I had originally wanted the peddler to be a stocky woman. I generally try to illustrate women just to offset my own bias with imagining characters, but also because women feature quite prominently in Southeast Asian history. Most local traders and merchants would be women.

But I felt it was pretty boring and lacked character, so tried a macaque-like character that’s drunk and jovial. Also removed much of the background to focus just on the merchant. 

Just to draw attention to these references, vessels made from huge bamboos for storing liquids. Things like that make me pretty excited to illustrate and share. Specific objects or material culture that just helps you hint at and shape the world you are in.

I’ve forgotten those references so am not sure what the liquids in the pictures are.

Switched the pose to have a more arched and playful look. I am an incredibly messy and sketchy artist! My lines are all over the place and I often need many sketches just to get it right. I am insanely grateful for photoshop layers, erasing a gazillion lines off paper was not fun.

Removing the layers with all that messiness, and even then I still have sketchiness in this layer. Urgh…

Merchant done! Now to illustrate all those implements, equipment and awesome stuff in the background. 

Here you can see that our merchant is a body art enthusiast, having huge earrings and a septum piercing. Often, having a deviance from the norm is supposedly interesting enough, like the fact that it’s a monkey instead of human. This one is a bit hard to balance but I usually try to give as much personality as I would to say a character that is more uhm… normal.


+ Centuries back, wine from Melaka was one of the exports to Ryukyu. Apparently Melaka was known for it’s palm wine.

+ Indonesian SEA-Wuxia film, Wiro Sableng features a character that has drinking palm wine as a big part of his character. I’m a huge fan of this visual treatment. He too has the giant bamboo as his giant tumbler.
I’ve got the artbook, someday I’ll share what I find wonderful about this movie. 


Text by Mun Kao. This post was originally published on September 1, 2020 on the A Thousand Thousand Islands Patreon.

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A Thousand Thousand Islands is no longer available on this website.
Thank you for your support.

A Thousand Thousand Islands is no longer available on this website.
Thank you for your support.