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  • Kin Da-hye

[On campus] Meet with Ajou University Students-Toon Writer Ju Da-bin: The Stories of our Ajou-Lives

No.162 / Mar 6, 2023

Instatoons can give a small but certain happiness every day! Instatoons (Instagram + Webtoon) are short, intense, and unique cartoons posted on Instagram, not a webtoon platform. They are becoming more popular owing to low barriers to entry, making it easy to access the daily lives or stories of various people through the platform.

For some, the ordinary stories of daily life can be engaging and empathic. The Ajou Globe (The AG) met writer Ju Da-bin (4th grade, the Department of Culture and Contents), who serialize Ajou University Students-Toon on Ajou University’s Instagram official account. She composes the ordinary daily lifes of Ajou University students into memorable and humorous stories that create a feeling of empathy and pleasure.

Q1. Can you tell us why you started drawing Ajou University Students-Toon on Instagram? Also, through what procedure did you get to serialize?

A. In 2021, I applied for “Ajou Contents Creator”, a school activity that produces content about Ajou University. Then, I was selected and started my activities. Content creators plan their contents in areas such as card news and videos. I have loved to draw cartoons since I was young, so I wanted to include the story of Ajou University in the Instatoons. I received a proposal from the person in charge of “Ajou Contents Creator” to serialize the Instatoons, and I have been serializing it so far.

Q2. The Ajou University Students-Toon character has bright yellow skin, rabbit-like ears, and round cuteness, which makes it fun. Can you tell us the story of the character, how you created it, and some of its characteristics?

A. When I first created a character, I chose a cute animal character that allows readers to project themselves onto it. If I made a character that resembled me, it would have been too specific and limited. The rabbit is the most familiar and simple to draw, and I chose it without much thought. Moreover, I put the round nose that was part of my identity. Bright yellow is my favorite color, so the yellow rabbit character was born.

Q3. Which episode was the most difficult to create and why?

A. The episode hardest to create was “homesickness”, posted in March last year. I wanted to create a useful story for freshmen in the new semester. It is about how to comfort and overcome homesickness and loneliness, which were my biggest concerns. However, I was worried whether students would sympathize with my story. In addition, I was afraid that my advice would look like a boomer, and I thought of ways to deliver it naturally. I hope it was delivered as I intended!

Q4. From October 2021 to the present, you’ve been serializing for two years! Is there anything different now compared to you at the beginning?

A. When I showed a cartoon to a friend in the early days of the series, I was told that the lines were little messy and that it looked complicated because I put too many lines and contents in one cut. Since then, I have been trying to draw the cartoon concisely and neatly, and compared to the beginning, it seems to be more organized now. There is always so much content that I want to include in cartoons, which makes reducing the content and delivering only the core very difficult.

Q5. Do you have any tips on drawing Ajou university students’ big and small feelings and events in a fun and empathetic way?

A. The most important tip is “writing”. Even the smallest things are okay. Just writing anything. Since I was young, I have had an obsessive habit of keeping records of what happens to me every day, such as diary, photos, and videos. This is a tiring habit, but keeping a record like this is a great help when deciding cartoon content and cartoon material because I can think of events and even trivial feelings from the past! Moreover, I usually enjoy watching daily toon (a diary-style cartoon based on the writer’s daily life) on the webtoon platform, and I apply any interesting expression or production in daily toon, to drawing Ajou University Students-Toon.

Q6. You drew various stories at a story-gathering event held in July last year. What is the most memorable story and why?

A. I don’t know if it’s because of the lack of publicity, but the story-gathering event did not receive many stories owing to the low participation rate. Still, to pick from them, I remember the story of the gwajams (varsity jackets that students of the same department wear to identify themselves) of flower design. Also, I wanted to wear the gwajams with a pretty design and thought I could draw it in a comic and sympathetic way. I selected that story as the winner and produced it in Ajou University Students-Toon.

Q7. What is your dream as a writer?

A. I don’t have a big dream, but I hope students who watch Ajou University Students-Toon sympathize, saying, “I wasn’t the only one like this,” and strengthen the bond we all share as Ajou University students.

Q8. What does “Ajou” mean to you?

A. To me, “Ajou” is like a palette. Like the colorful paints on the palette, I was able to experience a lot of new and varied experiences, including the Ajou University Students-Toon. I think I could fill my drawing sheet meaningfully through the palette “Ajou”.


By Kim Da-hye, AG Reporter

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