Malaysian illustrator SofsDoodles rediscovers her roots with new comic book

by AryanArtnews
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After graduating from college in 2019, when Malaysian graffiti artist Sofia Shamsunahar (well known as SofsDoodles) took a break on a trip, she knew little about the dream of a comic book coming true.

While traveling to Malaysia, graduates of political science and human geography recorded her experiences through cartoons, looked back on them, and shared them with friends and loved ones.

“During the trip, I had a lot of downtime and brain time due to the limited internet and phone connections. That’s why making comics became a natural joy every day. Until the end of the trip. There was an unexpected comic edit, “recalls SofsDoodles, 24.

She was overjoyed when the local publisher MPH responded favorably to the sale of comic books. She contacted them using a link to an Instagram account with lots of her travel comics and other graffiti created since 2013.

“I couldn’t believe my luck. They were keen to publish what I had already created. That’s how the idea in this book came true. People read my comics and their feelings I hope I don’t feel lonely in my life experience. That’s my main motivation for making comics, “she explains in detail.

“Sof’s Doodles: Returning To My Roots” is a compilation of cartoons about the Sofs Doodles experience of learning about Malaysian life and culture. Photo: Chadel Soon

Born in Sarawak, Sofs Doodles left Malaysia at the age of four and grew up primarily abroad. Later, the engineer’s father and geophysicist’s mother moved to countries such as Canada, the Netherlands, Norway and Oman.

Her first book, Sof’s Doodles: Returning To My Roots, Is a compilation of her experiences of learning about Malaysian culture and a cartoon about her memories of talking to her grandmother for the first time in Malay.

“When I grew up abroad, I lost the ability to speak Malay. Gran communicates primarily in Malay. I couldn’t communicate with her all the time I was growing up. But when I first returned, I tried to learn Malay as much as possible.

“When (Hari) Raya came and talked to her for the first time in Malay, we were very excited to communicate for the first time. We talked about all the dishes she made and the history of each dish. It was really nice to be able to talk with her, “she recalls.

During the pandemic, Kuala Lumpur-based artists lost their jobs in the outdoors and had to think about ways to work digitally and virtually. She began asking if anyone was interested in asking her to create a Doodle, and she was surprised to receive many requests.

SofsDoodles draws in a minimalist and playful style in her thoughts on life, self-compassion, love and happiness. Photo: Sofs DoodlesSofsDoodles draws in a minimalist and playful style in her thoughts on life, self-compassion, love and happiness. Photo: Sofs Doodles

“By sharing Doodle, I was able to connect with the people around me, because I knew that when I connected to my work, people would reach out. Doodle built a small art-centric community and expected. It helped create an opportunity not to. Seeing graffiti better shaping my life made me feel really empowered, “said Free now, with a special interest in animation and digital art. Reims artist Sofs Doodles says.

Graffiti and healing

“I never took graffiti seriously because I always thought that’real’art was realism, painting, and pieces of chalk. That was always what I did to spend time. When I started graffiti, I helped overcome. During the tough times of my life, I began to realize that there was a certain amount of power behind them. They were others themselves I was able to help feel lonely with that feeling, “she wrote on her website.

She shares that returning to Malaysia had both friendliness and new adventures.

“It was new and unusual to live around a large family for the first time, but it was very comfortable. I made a lot of efforts to get to know them better. It may be awkward at first, but It’s really nice and warm when I do it. Getting to know my family better made me feel more grounded, “she says.

“When I started scribbling to get over difficult times in my life, I started to realize that there was a certain force behind them. They help others feel lonely in their own way. I was able to do it, “says Sofs Doodles. Photo: Sofs Doodles

In her book, she states that she was saddened that the “Malaysian” was not growing very much. But when she returned here in 2020, she realized that she was more like the people she actually met than she initially thought.

“We learned that we share many of the same characteristics. They focus on caring for the people around them and have a joke or informal personality when communicating. I sympathized with both characteristics and felt a stronger connection with Malaysian identity.

“I still put a lot of energy into learning about Malaysian culture. Social norms, customs, art. Sometimes I get a little culture shock and feel a little uneasy. But going home again It feels good. I feel. I am very proud and lucky to be Malaysian, “she says.

Last year, Sofs Doodles completed two virtual artist Residencies at KCH Haus and Lights On: George Town Festival to virtually showcase her work.Her animated short story I got Covid When When two worlds collide – Collaboration with Chadel Soon – was also part of last year’s G-Short ShortFilm Festival and Isle of Design: ProjectionMapping Competition.


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