News about the premier academic journal devoted to all aspects of cartooning and comics -- the International Journal of Comic Art (ISSN 1531-6793) published and edited by John Lent.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Introducing SG Cartoon Resource Hub, a new site for exploring Singapore cartooning

by CT Lim

Despite my reservations about state funding of the arts [1] (not that I think it is not needed, but I hope it does not lead to a crutch mentality among writers, artists and publishers), I am still grateful that the National Arts Council of Singapore launched many initiatives to support artists in the last two years of COVID-19. One of the grants launched was the Self-Employed Persons Grant (SEPG). It was spotted by a friend, Ho See Kum and he quickly brought in myself, Clio Hui and Clio Ding to send in a proposal for the SG Cartoon Resource Hub last year. It was approved and here we are:

What is this website about? From our website:

The study of comics has recently gained traction globally, yet comprehensive documentations of Singapore comics culture remains scarce.

SG Cartoon Resource Hub is a project undertaken by a team of comic enthusiasts, practitioners and educators to raise awareness of comics as a significant part of our local cultural heritage, promoting a sustainable industry landscape by connecting comics practitioners, readers, academics and the wider community. SG Cartoon Resource Hub is a one-stop resource platform supported by National Arts Council (NAC), that publishes educational articles on local comics history, features works by veterans and upcoming artists, keeps track of the latest happenings, and engages with industry professionals to provide training resources for aspiring comic artists.

The purpose of SG Cartoon Resource Hub is to promote local artists in the comics and cartooning related field regardless of whether you are a student or a professional. The problem with many artists is they are good at what they are doing (creating their art) but they are not as good when it comes to promoting themselves.

art by Foo Swee Chin
While I have been documenting Singapore and Southeast Asian comics on my own for many years at, mine is a singular perspective of the comic scene and I do not want my views to be taken as monolithic. I have blind spots. With more collaborators, more can be done - research articles, features, reviews, interviews, tutorials and online discussions. See Kum is a freelance artist-educator. Clio Hui is an artist and a web designer. Clio Ding is an artist and art teacher. We come from different fields and interests in the comic arts. To create engagement and anticipation, we went for the magazine concept of an edited group of posts on a specific schedule - we will release a new "issue" every other Friday, until content runs out. 

As I shared in my editorial for the first issue [2], "our comics scene and industry are complicated and fractured by language, race, class, gender and history. But we do not want to focus solely on that. We want to focus on building the comics community." So in a bid to overcome some of our current limitations of how we think, write and conceptualize comics in Singapore and to build the community, we have featured more female artists, artists who are veterans, and newcomers. We still need to feature artists of different races and working in different languages. 
art by Alan Bay

We also put together My World!, an e-comics anthology [3], to showcase new talent, bring people together and use this opportunity / platform to solicit feedback from readers on what kind of comics they like to read. This sort of market research is usually done by publishers, but comics creators need such information too. Unfortunately, comic readers are rather reticent, at least in Singapore. 

We see our work as complementary with our peers and friends in the comics world. [4] is an online directory for Singapore's comic community. Unnamed [5] is a Facebook group for Southeast Asian (SEA) indie comics. We will also feature works from the SEA region, as it is important for us to know and learn from and about our neighbours.


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