LIFE­STYLE IN­SIDER: INTO THE WORLD OF A STO­RY­TELLER

FRESH OFF HER RE­CENT TRIP TO SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON WHERE SHE WAS NOM­I­NATED FOR THE EISNER AWARDS (THINK OS­CARS FOR THE COMIC BOOK IN­DUS­TRY!), COMIC IL­LUS­TRA­TOR, REIMENA YEE BRINGS US INTO HER WORLD OF STORYTELLING. BY TAMMY CHAN

Female (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS -

Comic il­lus­tra­tor, Reimena Yee shares what goes on be­hind the scenes in the comic world and more about Un­named – the col­lec­tive for comic pro­fes­sion­als in South­east Asia.

Co-founder of Un­named, as­sis­tant edi­tor and ad­min as­sis­tant for Hive­works Comics, and a free­lance artist who de­scribes her style as ‘strange [yet] fancy’ – this tal­ented il­lus­tra­tor/artist/writer might only be 23 years old but she’s got a LOT to be proud of. As a self-pro­claimed book nerd and pure sci­ence stu­dent with a BSc from The Univer­sity of Mel­bourne, it’s no sur­prise why Reimena cred­its her train­ing in sci­ence, lit­er­a­ture and re­search when asked about how she ap­proaches her cre­ative work.

FE­MALE: Tell us more about Un­named. Reimena: “Un­named is a col­lec­tive for comic pro­fes­sion­als across South­east Asia. It’s cre­ated to pro­vide sup­port and op­por­tu­ni­ties for South­east Asian comics and our main goal is to make our­selves known in the US, Europe and Ja­pan, all of which have very rich, es­tab­lished cul­tures for comics as lit­er­a­ture. Un­named was founded by car­toon­ist and il­lus­tra­tor, Sarah Joan Mokhtar who’s a well-re­spected and ex­pe­ri­enced fig­ure in the Malaysian comic scene, and my­self. The main ob­jec­tive of Un­named is to ad­dress the lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and in­for­ma­tion-shar­ing in comics. Even when I first started look­ing at comics at 14, I had no idea where to be­gin and most of the ad­vice only ap­plied to the Amer­i­can con­text, so Un­named is meant to fill that gap.”

F: How did you feel when you found out that you were nom­i­nated for the Eisner Awards? R: “Pretty cool! It’s a big deal es­pe­cially as a cre­ator in the Malaysian comic scene to be recog­nised in the dom­i­nant Amer­i­can comic in­dus­try. I just use this as an op­por­tu­nity to high­light Malaysian comics to the Amer­i­cans.”

F: Though you didn’t win, what was it like be­ing at the cer­e­mony?

R: “It was fancy, which was ex­pected since this is the most pres­ti­gious award in comics! We had a small buf­fet din­ner at the Hil­ton San Diego Bayfront Ho­tel and the em­cee was Phil LaMarr, who is the voice ac­tor of count­less car­toons. Many of the win­ners (and nom­i­nees) were women and per­sons of colour, which was re­ally nice to see.”

F: Which is your proud­est illustration that you’ve worked on and why?

R: “The Car­pet Mer­chant of Kon­stan­tiniyya – the graphic novel that was nom­i­nated un­der the Best Dig­i­tal Comic cat­e­gory at the Eisner Awards and the larger story where this came from, which is The World in Deeper In­spec­tion. These two works are what I feel re­flect my voice the most as an artist and a per­son. They’re also the pieces where I put in a lot of ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the cul­ture of hu­man­ity as these are sto­ries I’ve wanted to tell from the very start.” F: Which project helped to de­velop your per­sonal style the most?

R: “My we­b­comic, The World in Deeper In­spec­tion. I cre­ated it when I was 15 and I’ve been draw­ing/writ­ing it ever since. The comic re­flected a lot of changes in my style and my life but ev­ery­thing that it rep­re­sents re­mained con­stant.”

F: What’s the one cre­ative re­source you can’t live with­out?

R: “The in­ter­net, be­cause it has ev­ery­thing!”

F: Share with us the process of cre­at­ing an illustration or dig­i­tal comics.

R: “For an illustration, it’s sim­ple. I think of a con­cept, do some thumb­nails if it’s a com­plex one and work through it us­ing Pho­to­shop. For comics, it’s more com­pli­cated as I need to have con­fi­dence in the con­cept first be­fore writ­ing the script. Once that’s done, I work on the thumb­nails and that’s when I find out how many pages I’d need to draw out to tell the story. Then it’s all sketches, inks and colours. There’s a lot of labour that goes into il­lus­tra­tions and comics, and both re­quire dif­fer­ent sets of skills.”

F: Pic­ture your favourite draw­ing space. What are the five ob­jects we’d be able to find there?

R: “It’d be a room with book­cases on three walls filled with fic­tion and non-fic­tion books. There’ll also be a big win­dow over­look­ing a gar­den and nearby, there would be an in­ter­est­ing set-up of a chaise lounge and a ta­ble where I can work from.”

F: What would your ad­vice to young as­pir­ing il­lus­tra­tors be?

R: “Make sure you’re able to do some­thing else be­sides draw­ing. It can be some other cre­ative pur­suit like fur­ni­ture build­ing or dancing or even some­thing that’s not cre­ative, like sports. You shouldn’t let art be the one and only thing that de­fines your iden­tity.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.