From architecture, to nostalgia to cats, illustrations somehow give off an endearing quality.
Although executed on a relatively smaller scale than more avant-garde art forms, illustrations – be it hand-drawn or digitally rendered – have the capacity for self-expression, documenting the everyday and highlighting the charm of unassuming local practices.
Unfortunately, illustrations are usually relegated as accompanying elements to other media, especially text-centric work, yet several Malaysian illustrators are gradually breaking out from this mould.
From doodling, sketching to watercolour drawings, the illustrators listed in this post maintain a consistent output of works – an encouraging indication of their dedication to refine their expertise. These illustrations might just provide some light-hearted visual respite whenever you need a break from your hectic routine!
Psst! Follow the artists by clicking on their names!
At a glance, one might be forgiven for assuming that these illustrations by Loka Made were created by a Japanese Anime Studio.
Co-founded in 2015 by Chong Fei Giap and his team of talented local artists, Loka Made strives to recreate vignettes of Malaysian life. Its pieces depict familiar Malaysian streetscapes with muted watercolour hues, evoking a warm, nostalgic sensibility as well as a whimsical, Studio Ghibli-esque aesthetic.
But the best parts are the main architectural features that are constantly depicted in Loka Made’s works include heritage streets, fishing villages, kampung-style houses and traditional provision shops. Girls in pinafores also occasionally make prominent appearances in the landscapes. Think of it as a marriage between Malaysia and Japan in an artistic sense!
Recently, Loka Made has imprinted its creations onto postcards, pop-up cards and notebooks in addition to compiling them into art books.
While Loka Made focuses on architecture, culture and landscapes, quirky animated everyday objects, animals and elements of nature, sometimes with corresponding pun-driven quotes are the central features of I Love Doodle’s works.
The illustrations are characterised by simple lines, vibrant colours and a minimalist aesthetic, exuding a comforting and cheery vibe. They’re just so… good to look at!
The artist behind I Love Doodle is Lim Heng Swee, an illustrator and graphic designer who is based in Kuala Lumpur. According to its website, I Love Doodle is established on the basis of Lim’s mantra ‘Doodling A Smile’, which reflects his aspiration to ‘make people smile more in their everyday lives’.
Oh, did we mention that he is set to hold his first designer workshop this Sunday at Isetan The Japan Store KL? The workshop organised and hosted by Designers Weekend begins at 2pm!
Nostalgia is Fadhli Hamdan’s forte. The creator of Conteng Conteng produces drawings that relive memories of a Malaysian childhood.
Rendering the illustrations in subdued or even monochromatic colours, Fadhli’s illustrations give the impression of viewing one’s childhood memories through vintage photographs. Malaysians will be able to relate to the scenarios depicted in Conteng Conteng’s graphics, which range from school life to everyday mischief.
Apart from single-frame drawings, Fadhli also produces a comic series, Famili Jimi, which chronicles the misadventures of the titular character, Jimi.
As part of her early efforts in assimilating into the Malaysian life, Luisa WanLu Hung, a Taiwan native currently residing in Penang, joined Urban Sketchers Penang and started sketching as a creative means to record her discoveries in Malaysia.
Luisa’s engaging illustrations, complemented by handwritten annotations, capture the various aspects of local customs and traditions that form our multicultural tapestry. Besides the customs and traditions of Malaysia’s various religions and communities, Luisa also documents her keen observations of Malaysia’s architecture and natural resources.
Luisa’s collection of earnest, organic sketches offers a medium for us Malaysians to view taken-for-granted everyday practices through a fresh perspective.
A self-professed ‘visual storyteller’, Sanuri Zulkefli crafts doodle art pieces that resemble intricate, sublime dreamscapes. Abstract yet detailed black-and-white illustrations dominate his repertoire of works, which are imbued with affective intensity and an eccentric edge.
Sanuri bases his work upon a variety of themes, ranging from local folklore, flora and fauna to mythical entities and architecture. Occasionally, he also partakes in doodles of a more casual nature by conceptualising iterations of seemingly random subjects in a minimalist composition – a pleasant deviation from his more elaborate, sophisticated pieces.
Pssst! Did you know that he also “vandalised” the walls of the Masjid Jamek LRT station last year?
Her serene illustrations often take the form of watercolour paintings and ink drawings that collectively exude a hopeful, lively and reassuring tone. Just like Sanuri, animals are constant subjects of Yee Beh’s works. Besides that, her illustrations are also inspired by imaginations of distant lands and reflections of everyday moments.
Her love for cats is evident in her illustrations – a constant feature of her regular Facebook postings of illustrations is a white cat with orange spots. Moreover, she has a collection of illustrations that depict an avatar of herself surrounded by cats in various shapes, sizes, colours and patterns.
By now you’ve got to admit that these illustrators have proven that illustrations possess the potential of establishing itself as a substantial, productive art form that is equally worthy of appreciation.
*** Illustration by Lim Heng Swee aka I Love Doodle
Think we’ve missed out an illustrator? Drop us a comment below and we’ll add the artist in! Have an artwork to show off? Tag us on Facebook and Instagram @eksentrika