Founded in October 2016, Pencilled In is a labour of love by Brisbane writer Yen-Rong Wong and her collaborator, Melbourne-based comic artist Rachel Ang. The femme duo, Founding Editor and Art Director, have carved out a unique space for young Asian-Australian talent, enriching and diversifying the landscape of the Asian-Australian arts and literature.
The magazine came into being from a place close to heart. Yen-Rong expressed her frustration in an interview with Liminal, recapping her shock in her inability to locate any books for her Asian-Australian literature research studies in Dymocks. It was this absence that drove her to conceive such a publication, for young Asian-Australians to draw, to write, to express.
The magazine has seen the two fabulous issues so far: ‘Fear & Hope’ and ‘The Suburbs’. And the latter issue was launched at the OzAsia Festival in October last year. It showcases visual art, poetry, fiction and non-fiction works by young and emerging Asian-Australian talents, such as Max Nie, JZ Ting, Justina Ashman, Jigo Langit, Cher Tan and many more. Currently, the third issue ‘Food’ is cooking – and looking like it will be a great one.
Pencilled In captures the bittersweetness of navigating cultural identities, such as in Vindhya Nivunhellage’s ‘Displaced by Geographies’, which explores the nostalgia of being caught between geographical homes. There are also pieces like Jigo Langit’s ‘I live in a shithole and my only friend is a spider named Slash’, which tells a suburban tale of rental nightmares induced by an obnoxious English housemate and flying moths. Then there is the self-reflectivity of the hyphenating experience of being Asian-Australian, vividly explored and captured by Leah McIntosh and Rachel Ang’s ‘Sun-warm’.
What Pencilled In offers is distinctively fresh, edgy and relevant. Here, we see the unspeakable being externalized, we see missing dots being connected, and the experience of in-betweenness is articulated and legitimised.