Sofia Munira – Malaysia’s Doodling and Digital Artist

Doodling is seen as a form of quick sketch of a text or image. It is a casual and simple way of illustration where certain artists have been successfully charting their way into the world. Mr Doodle became one of the most popular Doodle artists where his work is loved by people across the world.

Expressing art through doodling

Sofia Munira Mohd Shamsunahar is a Malaysian doodle artist who has documented her work in the form of a book. She recently published the book Sof’s Doodles: Returning to My Roots. Her artwork showcases her search for life’s meanings. It was not the original idea and was one that evolved through her documenting her journey and experiences. The art collection was not intended to be published in a book form and was only materialized when the publisher showed interest.

As such, a lot of emotions can be derived from the drawings found in this book ranging from loneliness to joy, sadness to tragedy and being ecstatic too.

How did it all start?

Doodling was something Sofia did during classes she found boring and she began drawing everywhere she could. Through such drawings, she transcends above the rules and guidelines and before long, the edges of her books are housed by her doodle art. She underwent formal art classes in high school but did not appreciate the concepts of serious art and it was only when she got an ‘A’ for her doodles that she was made aware that something interesting is there, as stated by her teacher. This gave her the inspiration, knowing that doodling is actually a type of ‘art’ too.

Not an art graduate

Sofia is a student in political science and human geography as she wanted to help people but later found that art too can contribute in its own ways. She then started her Instagram account SofsDoodles and it was originally not to monetize her work. Sofia was born in Sarawak and through her work on Instagram, it was surprising to find that many people were inspired and connected. It did not only make her feel better but others as well. Among her earlier works include painting the mural at the University of British Columbia, Student Life & Sustainability Centre in 2017.

Throughout her childhood, Sofia and her brother followed her parents to different countries for work since 4 years old. Associated with being a ‘third culture kid’ (as coined by Ruth Hill Useem), she experienced life that mixed her birth and adopted culture to create the third culture, one of their own.

Coming back to Malaysia

In 2014, Sofia and her mother were supposed to be on MH17 flight (which was shot down when flying over Ukraine) but had to reschedule to the next flight. That was a sign for her to come back to Malaysia and to reconnect with her beginnings. She has since moved back to Kuala Lumpur where she is involved in digital art and animation. Among her achievements so far include:

  • Completed Virtual Artist Residency with KCH Haus twice, each for a month.
  • Lights On: Georgetown Festival July 2021 – Showcased her doodle art
  • Finalist at the G-Short Short Film Festival for I got Covid and When Two Worlds Collide (collaboration with Chadel Soon)
  • Funded to run 2 art projects by Cendana. The first is to teach doodling for refugee students doodling and classes for storytelling and designing of an e-comic book. The second is to teach the creation of a four-panel clinic through a tutorial.

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