This Week in Design: Josef Lee

ArtZine takes a look at Singaporean illustrator, Josef Lee and his globe-trotting collaborative comic-strip project.

The Life of Mann, is the name – continuing the story is the game.

Heard of the game where Person A writes a sentence on a piece of paper, passes it to Person B who continues the story by adding another sentence and so on? The end result is a hilarious story, full of unexpected twists. Josef Lee embarked on a similar idea with ‘The Life of Mann’, a collaborative storytelling project.

The story evolves around the main character, Mann. “I started off the story with Mann stranded on an island, with no memories of his past. He met someone who claimed to be his Guardian Angel and had just saved him from death. From that point onwards, Mann has traveled from the island to hell, then heaven, and the upcoming chapters will see him being stuck in limbo and trying to figure out the next destination. This project is fun because I gave absolute freedom to the contributing artists so even I will have no say in how the story continues.”

So it’s completely in the next artist’s hands?

Yes it is! “Tell a story, of one Mann, in your own personal style,” says Josef. It’s interesting to see how Mann’s life progresses as he is “passed on” from one artist to the next. “Mann has no control over his surroundings and the things that are happening to him. Just like all of us. In short, Mann is named after ‘Man’. It never ceased to amaze me how a single common brief can result in varied approaches.”

Wanna take part?

The rules of the game are simple:

1. 5 pages (210mm x 297mm) per invited artist / writer.
2. Continue the story in whatever way and style.
3. Story can be in a totally different direction but has to CONTINUE.
4. Characters can be included / excluded, but story must always revolve around Mann.

Simple enough? Email Josef at if you would like to take part in this beautiful creative process.

What others are saying about ‘The Life of Mann‘:

“I was invited to do chapter 4, and after a lot of delay due to my regular job, I finally managed to finish off the chapter. It was an enjoyable experience and reminded me again that graphic novels are not so easy to make!!” – Designer, Kunal Kundu, India

“No one knows how the story will end. Each must continue from where the other has left off. The story is just about to get crazier with a number of global creatives in line to come onboard as guest contributors.” – Josef Lee, on LCS illustration portal

“A really interesting collaborative graphic novel project initiated by Josef Lee. Chapter 3 is beautiful.” – blogger Ian.ontheRedDot

“Unusual book” –  MoyToy Ltd

Read about what goes on behind-the-scenes here.

– Valerie Oliveiro

Images from The Life of Mann website.

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