Happy drawings for happy people—we could do with a bit more of it in the world, right? Well, Malaysia-born illustrator, Minifanfan has got it covered. She’s known for a vibrant brand of optimism, and her work makes us so happy.
Hi Minifanfan! Tell us about your background and your earliest experiences with design. What was your starting point?

I studied graphic design at a local college. I developed a passion and interest in illustration after joining some art markets. Our lecturer suggested we promote our artwork under an exciting and easy-to-remember pseudonym. So I combined my petite size with my name “Fan”, this is how I’ve come up with the name of Minifanfan for my art label.

After I graduated from college, I worked as an in-house designer for almost two years, and then I decided to quit my tedious job with no backup plan. That was the most challenging time during my career, but it often leads to the greatest moments of my life. I never thought I’d become an illustrator, and I can make a living doing what I love.

What do you enjoy drawing and painting the most?

I’m always immersed in the creative process, particularly when creating illustrations depending on the client’s requirements. I can’t point out what makes me enjoy drawing the most, but I’m more inclined to enjoy the challenges I face when approaching clients. When I use my talent to solve the customer’s difficulties, my profession gets the customer’s recognition and love at the same time. It gives me the most incredible sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

You have a very specific colour palette—can you tell us more about that?

In the beginning, I often struggle to work with colour combinations. However, I will observe the artists I admire, the colour palette they usually use to present their artwork. The movies or beautiful things that I found online or around my life are also the best way to help me for broadening my sense of colour. I build the colour palettes that suit my style and artwork eventually.

Tell us about your first children’s picture book Frida Kahlo, which has been reprinted several times and translated into multiple languages. What’s your favourite thing about the project?

Frida Kahlo is my first-ever children’s picture book, and it plays a vital role in my career. I learned about Frida’s artwork during my art history class until I had a chance to go deep into her life, art and mental illness through Frida’s remarkable story in the process of my research. Though she lived a life of struggle, she was a strong, intelligent and passionate woman. Being one of the great inspirations, Frida Kahlo motivates me to become a good artist.

Following the success of this book series, the stable passive income allows me to focus mainly on creativity, and the best part is I’m able to choose a more suitable project for my style.
How does creativity connect to self-expression for you?
Art came naturally to me. Maybe it was because I came from a broken family. Art helped me to go through tough times. Thus, Happy Drawings for Happy People is my motto and a mantra that I practice every day in my life and work. Through the process of creating artwork, I connect with the healing powers. Nobody sees the power, it connects with our inner self, and we don’t have time to look at it. So I said to myself, I’ll draw what I see in my way, turning ideas from something abstract to make things visual. A tangible idea can help preserve our unique voices and life stories.
What’s getting you through the lockdown?
A balanced life! I start to do cardio during the lockdown. I can see the change in my physical and mental health since I adopt this habit in February. Exercise helps me stress relief, reduce anxiety and sleep better. I realised that when your body feels better, so to your mind. Fitness has become a consistent part of my life routine, and I hope it could strengthen my self-discipline and willpower.
What made you laugh recently?
My husband Khoo’s silly jokes always make my day. My cats and dogs melt my heart every day, and they bring a big smile to my face!
What’s next for you?
I’m currently working on a children’s picture book with my agent. I hope I could deliver the artwork very soon.

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