Not many of us can recall being nominated for any prestigious awards when we were 21 years old, but the same cannot be said for the young and bright talent who is Erica Eng.
A Malaysian illustrator, animator and comics creator, Erica has been sharing her pieces all over the internet, especially through her Tumblr, Facebook and Instagram accounts. Her most poignant work to date, the webcomic Fried Rice, has recently been nominated for the Eisner award. For the uninitiated, that’s basically an Oscar for best webcomic, which is a very big deal.
Fried Rice is essentially an autobiographical fiction, according to Eng herself. It revolves around a 17-year old Malaysian girl who aspires to be an artist and animator. Eng cites Lat as one of her biggest inspirations, for she started reading his comics while she was still in primary school.
As an animator first and comic second, Fried Rice was initially an idea for a short film. Once she started shaping the piece in May 2019, she realised that it was better suited as a comic.
As an independent artist, Eng published Fried Rice as a webcomic on Tumblr where it’s free to read. When asked about the process of drawing, Eng told The Star,
“Currently, one page can take me anywhere from one to three days to complete, depending on my schedule. I thumbnail pages in an A4 sketchbook, then draw the final lines on a A4 art block paper with pencils. Sometimes I use tinted charcoal for dark fills. Then it’s walnut ink and water for an ink wash.”
As a final step, she scans the drawing, saves it on her computer and does adjustments through Photoshop. Her intricacy in crafting each page is evident through the details accentuated amidst the soft watercolour. The sepia tones also evoke a sense of nostalgia and endearment for those who know what it feels like to chase a dream.
View this post on Instagram
Being inspired by other Malaysians who have paved the way to the Eisners, Eng decided she wanted to try her luck as well. Rightfully so because Eng’s Fried Rice is now in competition with 4 other webcomics for the prestigious Eisner. When she received the news, Eng said,
“I was still in bed, and it took about three seconds for the news to sink in before I sat up and started yelling. I whacked my sister awake to tell her, then we told our parents. All of their first reactions were, ‘What’s an Eisner?’”
Usually the Eisner is given out at Comic Con in California but with the pandemic going on, the ceremony is unfortunately cancelled. However, the winner will be receiving their prize come July albeit the method in which they will receive it is still unknown.
A huge congratulations is in order for Erica Eng for making Malaysia proud and by showing the rest of us that we are all capable of greatness, regardless of our age!
To read Fried Rice, click here
For more news, choose JUICE.