Nurul Atika —an illustrator based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia—took us through a journey on how she composes each artwork, revealing who is behind the warm and bright illustrations.


Where does your love for illustration stem from?

Growing up I’ve always deeply fascinated for comics and video games, the characters and the illustrations are so full of life and the world that these things have created are beyond imagination.  That world sparks a lot of things in me. It has been the main drive and love that have for illustration ever since I picked up my first comic book.

How did you develop your personal style?

It was an experimental journey in regard of my style; I was unbothered about finding one when I first started. I was completely invested with the world that I once created. Seeing that it’s getting serious, I slowly created my own thing day by day, drawing every single day, making fan arts and actually this helped me tremendously on developing the skills to draw human figures. So instead of stressing over finding styles, I was really just practicing the basics on drawing characters. Then, finally I found my own style that I vibe with.

Which is your favourite artwork? And why?

My favourite artwork is the one titled ‘How Gentle You are with yourself’ I like it because it just speaks a lot to me and my audience during this pandemic. The artwork depicts two identical looking girls hugging each other that is actually, the same person. It’s your reflection somehow.  How do you treat yourself kindly in these hard times? Did you gave the same amount of love and comfort to yourself like you did to others? The warmth that associates with a hug, did you give some warmness to yourself too?

Did you draft on the sketchbook? How’s your relationship with your sketchbook?

Yes I do, often times I always rough sketch in my sketchbook or sometimes on a piece of random paper and I would just paste it in my sketchbook. I’d consider myself as a bit messy when it comes to sketches as I’m not that organized or try to make it aesthetically pleasing. You can see my sketchbook is a bit chaotic with paper scraps, random thought processes, doodles, some serious sketch here and there. I’d say it’s more like a documentation of my thought process rather than an art gallery there. 

Can we take a look at your sketchbook?

Go ahead! Though, I warned ya it’s very messy.

How does it feel to see the works out in the wild (Instagram)?

I think there is still a love and hate relationship when it comes to see my work in the wild especially in Instagram. Don’t get me wrong it has been a great platform for me. Truly proud of what I have achieved. I’m really happy when sharing becomes a lot easier with a click of a button and was really touched by the overwhelming amount of love and support.  But somehow I still prefer looking at my work printed, like exhibition and in products. It would give a different kind of feel for me. 

Why do you think your work draws such a diverse audience?

A friend of mine always reminds me that ‘kau kena ikhlas bila bekarya’ – translated as ‘You have to be sincere when you are creating.’ I carry that at the back of my head, remind myself to always keep it true and create something that actually close or deeply connected to me as human being. Because when it comes to making an artwork, I want to tell the truth that’s relatable as simplest as the emotional journey in your daily life. And I find that by doing this, I managed to reach my wider audiences out there. I got messages from people on how soothing my artwork are and how it reaches them, and that’s just so rewarding and the reasons for me to keep on going.

ana tomy x Nurul Atika

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