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Meet illustrator from Malaysia, SillyJellie.


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Ellie, and I operate under the super professional name of SillyJellie. I’ve been drawing pretty much all my life, starting on the empty spaces in books that needed drawings, and whirlpool belly buttons on my dolls. Recently, I’ve started to question if I dreamt up drawing on dolls as I couldn’t find my any dolls with the said belly buttons.


Describe the city you’re living in and what it’s like to live there.

Kuala Lumpur (KL) is.. honestly, I don’t think I’m the best person to ask about the city life since I’m a bit of a hermit. However, I’ll answer it relevantly from my hermit-y point of view, which basically involves me staying home, traveling to and from work and meeting friends in some eateries.

Kuala Lumpur is quite what they say, a melting pot of stuff mashing together. There’s always something happening, a lot of artsy cafes that are out of my budget, not very safe to go out at night in, could do with more green and less city.

I hate driving into the heart of Kuala Lumpur. The roads are convoluted, there’s always construction somewhere, there are way too many malls, and if you should take a wrong turn during peak hours, say goodbye to an hour of your life. I sound pretty negative right now, but that’s mainly driving around the bustling area of it. The cultural part which is Central Market and Petaling Street are essentially tourist and SillyJellie traps. There’s a lot of beautiful things to see, and I get way too excited walking past the stalls. The buildings have their own charm, they were built during British colonial times, and embody the straits eclectic charm. I used to sit there drawing the streets, but the hot sun eventually chased me away 🙁 I actually do enjoy traveling around the city if I’m not driving, and if the traffic isn’t bad. Almost every corner is a completely different view, and my boyfriend has slowly enlightened me on how to view the city differently, and find the charm in the tall urban structures, how they jutted against the skyline and possess a rhythm of symmetry and life.

Kuala Lumpur is quite what they say, a melting pot of stuff mashing together.

What is the best and worst thing about living in your city?

Haha, think I’ve kinda answered that above.

Worst thing: Traffic. Public transportation has improved a lot, but it doesn’t connect everything fully yet.

Best thing: Convenience, artsy happenings, and cultural hot spots.


Give us 3 words that describe what it’s like to be a creative in your city.

Opportunities, unappreciated, embraced


How did you start your career in art?

To start, I’m currently working as a concept artist in a game company, as well as being a freelancing illustrator and mural artist on the side.

Back in high school, My aunt used to ask me to paint flowers for her. She’ll pay me for them. Does that count? Otherwise- straight out of college, I was asked to paint caricature portraits for a bunch of mugs. I was heavily ripped off, however. Shortly after, I got a three-month job working in an animation company as a background painter. It was pretty boring for me, so after my contract ended, I left. I participated in a local art festival and the organizers let me try my hand at mural drawing. That’s how my mural career started. I won a mural competition shortly after and started getting jobs from there. Everything else mostly came when I posted my work online and got people noticing.


Were the people around you supportive of your decision on working as a creative?

My parents were overwhelmingly supportive. Every weekend, my mom will drive up to an hour to send me to art classes and wait patiently for hours for my class to end before driving us back home.

Now, they are as supportive as ever, but maybe just a little worried, as I tend to work late into the night.


What are some goals and ambitions you have for your future work?

I have this IP called Pyper Fixity, about a little girl who wants to make the world a better place by fixing things rather than throwing them away. I would like to create a line of children books or animation relating to this and inspire the next generation to be environmentally aware and care for Mother Nature. Other than that, I want to expand my little mermaid world, create more thoughtful works involving my mermaids, as well as creating a good story around them (somewhere in the works). Also would love to publish a book collection in the future filled with mermaids.


I want to expand my little mermaid world, create more thoughtful works involving my mermaids, as well as creating a good story around them

If you could collaborate with any person in the world who would it be?

Holy Moly. This is a very terrifying question, I have a tad too many people I look up to. I think I would love collaborating with Billie Eilish, she has fantastic vision and so much edge.


How would you describe the women around you?

I guess they come in a lot of different personalities, and you can probably fit all the words in the dictionary around them. My mom Is a very stoic and hardworking woman, but also respectful and loving to my dad. She is stoic and hardworking, caring and responsible with a twinge of righteousness when it comes to our upbringing. She’s also a very proud woman. There are some aspects of my personality I picked up from her, and some I vowed not to. Likewise when it comes to my father, as I am not a product of a single woman XD


Were there any local female creatives that you looked up to when you were growing up?

I looked up to KidChan. Her sense of composition and colouring baffles and enthralls me. Her art stood out from all the other works I’ve been exposed to and is also one of the reasons I chose the college I did. I first came across her work during one of those exhibitions my art school held to try and attract new students. I didn’t really know what art was at the time and thought it only involved portraits and still life. Her art showed me a different emotion, and that’s also where I bought my first art book.


Are there any challenging aspects of being a female in your industry?

Hm. Not really. Portfolio came first before gender. Perhaps when it came to “closing the deal” with certain clients, I lacked the “bro” attitude that could have gotten me the job. I’ll never know. But I think that’s more of a charisma thing, rather than a gender thing.


There’s no need to feel secondary because of your gender. Create a kickass portfolio that nobody can say “no” to.

Do you have any advice to young women who are aspiring to work in your field?

There’s no need to feel secondary because of your gender. Create a kickass portfolio that nobody can say “no” to.



Photos courtesy of SillyJellie.