Applying to Rimbun Dahan as a Comics Artist/Writer

I’m excited to announce my month-long stint at Rimbun Dahan Southeast Asian Arts Residency in late 2020! I’ll be their first resident comics creator (artist and writer), and I’ll mostly be working on my comics during that time – I’ll either be wrapping up my middle-grade graphic novel, or preparing for my Alexander the Great comic.

I would love for more Southeast Asian comics creators to apply to Rimbun Dahan, so this post is going to show you my application. Please feel free to use it as a template!

FIRST OFF:

Please read Charis Loke’s guide on applying to Rimbun Dahan.
Charis’ guide covers all the information you need to apply for this residency. She’s an unusual interdisciplinary artist who works in the commercial arts, just like me. So I was able to use her guide as a starting point and adapt my application to my particular field.
(Thanks Charis, you’re a champ!)

What my post aims to do is show, specifically, what an application to Rimbun Dahan as a comics creator can look like.

Note that I am their first and only resident comics creator (at the time of writing) so I don’t think my application is the best or the only way to do it. But I hope it gives yall a good idea of how to tailor your comics accomplishments for this.

Some notes if you have any doubts:
– I don’t have an arts education (I am self-taught)
– I also make a webcomic and I listed that in my application
– I don’t have a gallery exhibition…yet

– if you think you have very little to show off, please apply anyway. Do not reject yourself. What matters is your passion and ambition.

 

THE APPLICATION (BIODATA, CV AND RESIDENCY STATEMENT):

I collated biodata, cv (resume) and residency statement into a single 4-paged PDF.

Here’s the structure I used:

  1. Full name
  2. Birth year, the Southeast Asian location I am from
  3. My email and website
  4. My artist bio. I managed to make it less than 60 words, but anything less than 150 – 200 should be fine. Explain who you are, what you do, and a notable accomplishment.”Reimena Yee is a strange and fancy illustrator, writer and graphic novelist. Once a STEM student, she left academia to pursue a passion for the world and all of the histories and cultures within it. She is the first Malaysian graphic novelist to be nominated for an Eisner Award, for The Carpet Merchant of Konstantiniyya.”
  5. Education
    I had no art education (I studied for a BSc) so at least that wasn’t a barrier.
  6. Organisations
    If you’re a member (important or average) of any organisation, write that down.
  7. Group Shows and Exhibitions
    I didn’t include this in my application as I never had one, but if you do, mention them too.
  8. Awards (and Grants)
    If you were nominated or won any awards or grants, include them.
  9. Selected Works
    Write down in a list your most notable or favourite works in your portfolio. Since I work as both an illustrator and comics creator, I created two separate sections, choosing works from the resume in my website.Here’s what it looks like on my application:

    ILLUSTRATION: SELECTED PUBLICATIONS AND CLIENTS

    Voiceworks #115 Gothic (2019), Express Media, Australia, Cover Illustration

    Rolled and Told #8 (2019), Lion Forge, USA, Illustrator

    Voiceworks #111 Riff (2018), Express Media, Australia, “Truffle”, Interior Illustration

    Neither Hair Nor There (2018), Petrie Press, Australia, Cover Illustration/Design

    Dropmix (2018), Hasbro and Harmonix, USA, Illustrator

    People of Colo(u)r Destroy Fantasy (2017), Destroy SF, USA, “The Things My Mother Left Me”, Editorial Illustration

    Liquid City Anthology (2014), Vol 3, Image Comics, USA, Content Page Illustration

    SELECTED COMICS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

    Seance Tea Party (2020), Random House Graphic, USA, Writer and Artist

    The Maker’s Club Book 1: Game On! (2020), Difference Engine, Singapore, Writer and Colourist

    Popeye’s 90th Anniversary Cartoon Club (2019), June 30th, King Features Syndicate, USA, Writer and Artist

    The Carpet Merchant of Konstantiniyya Volumes I and II (2016 – 2018), originally self-published webcomic, print edition (2020) by Unbound UK, Writer and Artist

    Adventure Time Comics (2018), Issue 20, BOOM! Studios, USA, “Downhill Derby”, Artist

    The World in Deeper Inspection (2013-present), self-published webcomic, Writer and Artist

  10. Media and Interviews
    If you have been featured on a newspaper, blog or review, list them down!
  11. Residency Statement
    A cover letter explaining more fully who you are as an artist, why a residency at Rimbun Dahan will benefit you and the residency project you will be working on during that time. For me, I said I would like to make use of Rimbun Dahan’s idllyic landscape to focus on completing my graphic novel (my residency project) and to develop my craft as a storyteller, by taking time off the internet and talk with fellow resident artists. My letter ended up being 257 words long. It’s pretty short!
  12. Project details
    The project that you wish to work on during your time at the residency. It can be a comics pitch, a webcomic, development work, a script, a whole book, etc. My project was my second graphic novel with Random House. Mostly just wrapping that up. From what I hear, Rimbun Dahan will not penalise you if you don’t complete your project, or your goals slightly change. As long as you have something to show, that is good enough for them.For my book, I explained it as technically as possible.

    “A 250 paged graphic novel for children, to be published by Random House Graphic. A 5 x 8 inch book, with story and full-colour art. I’m both the author and illustrator. All art is made digitally on a laptop. The book has a deadline of March 2021, and is projected to be released in summer 2022.”

  13. Proposed dates
    Offer them approximate periods for when you are available during the year. They offer residencies between 1 to 3 months. I asked for a one month residency and offered them three availabilities in my schedule.

THE PORTFOLIO:

I wrote my comics portfolio separatedly from the application. It looks like this:

  1. Title of Comic
  2. Link to Comic (webcomic URL, press page, publisher website)
  3. Short description of what the comic is: premise, genre, length, publication date if any.
  4. 2-3 comics pages

I listed 4 comics, including my project. It ended up being 8 pages long (mostly because of the comic pages I had to paste into the PDF).

SUBMITTING THE APPLICATION:

Once you are ready, attach both the application and the portfolio into the SAME email to the Rimbun Dahan arts manager.

In the email itself, greet the manager and introduce yourself, and tell them you’re a comics creator/artist/writer and you’ve attached your application and portfolio.

The email title is “Application to Rimbun Dahan Residency Year XXXX as Graphic Novelist”

If you’re nervous, request that they confirm receipt of your email.

And that’s it.

OTHER THINGS TO NOTE:

Applications open sometime between August to October.

Once application closes, Rimbun Dahan doesn’t take very long to reply to you. I got my answer in early November. If you are accepted, they will arrange residency details then.

Make sure you understand your obligations as a resident artist. Please do not bail or ghost on your residency, either before or during. Plan ahead of time.

The residency is open to all Southeast Asian artists, not just ones in Malaysia.

———————————

That’s how I got my residency! I super hope this helps. If you ever apply to Rimbun Dahan, good luck! And please, let me know by sending an email or a DM on Twitter/FB. 😀

Hello, hello

Reimena Yee is a graphic novelist, artist and flamingo enthusiast.

She creates the webcomics The World in Deeper Inspection, and The Carpet Merchant of Konstantiniyya; the latter of which is the first Malaysian graphic novel to be Eisner-nominated.

Currently writing and drawing a whole bunch of stuff. Is a nerd for all things spooky and historical.

Melbourne / Kuala Lumpur

Appearances

Open Studios Penang
A Weekend of Comics and Illustration
TCM Book Launch
March 27 – 29

You’ve likely seen this by now, but this thread is a pretty cool way of thinking about art in comics— take any two, see how you respond to it and unpick what it’s doing to generate that. Some are particularly dynamic, some push the gag more directly, etc. each for diff reasons. https://twitter.com/cred_art/status/1219625740624453633

Project Art Cred@cred_art

We had an idea to demonstrate the impact an artist brings to a comic script. We gave artists a one page script written by @kierongillen and they put their stamp on it. #artcred

Here is the script, followed by the resulting pages.

First pages by @StephenByrne86 and @nellucnhoj 4

Mini review! The Carpet Merchant of Konstantiniyya vol 1 by Reimena Yee. 1st vol of 2. Very good art and story. Cultural fantasy involving vampires. Beautiful comic can be read online. #graphicnovel #graphicnovelreview

The Malaysian bootlicking and coddling of authority figures, the 1% and gatekeepers is gourmet-class clownery

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