Illustration by Mohd Khairul Azman Ismail

Malaysia has a plethora of talented individuals who are not only skillful writers but illustrators as well. Many of these creative souls are individuals you’ve probably never heard of but they’ve made Malaysia proud by winning awards locally and even internationally. Some have been illustrating and writing for a long time. Here’s a list of them!

YUSOF GAJAH

Born 1954, Yusof Gajah, or his real name Mohd Yusof Ismail, has a deep and abiding love for children’s books and working with children. While a busy artist, he has managed to write and illustrate a number of books for children and have won the National Book Council Award for best picture book and the Noma Concours (ACCU) award for best illustrations. His popular picture book, ‘The Real Elephant’ was first published in Malay and has been translated into Japanese. Its enduring qualities have enabled an English publication in 2010. Some of his books have been translated into German, Korean, Chinese and Arabic.

Author/Illustrator:
Si Meot
Gajah Sejati
Tiga Ekor Gajah
Tidak Lama Dahulu
Hendak Ke Mana, Cantik?
Sebuah Taman Permainan
Cendawan Pelangi
The Real Elephant (2010)
Mother & Child (2010)
Elephabet {2010)
Garbage Monster (2010)
Elephabet Amazing Activity Book (2011)
Yusof Gajah Creative Learning Series (2011)
Dill,The Little Elephant (2013)
ELEPHABET: Alphabet with Elephant (2014)
My Red Pencil (2016)
My Haircut (2016)
Yusof Gajah’s ABC (2015)
Where Is My Ball (2011)
Let’s Build A House (2011)
Elephant Teapot (2011)
Transport (2011)
At The Foot of The Hill (2011)
Sang Montel (2013)
My Home (2011)
Elehangul (2016)
Wer hat den roten Ball? (2014)

Illustrator:

Ke Mana Perginya Anak Biawak? By Rejab Ismail (2012)
Chemophant by Niamh Walsh
How To Teach An Elephant To Jump by Xiao Mao
Where Is My Red Ball, Korean Version (2014)
Elephant Teapot, Korean Version (2014)
Transport, Korean Version (2014)
Let’s Build A House, Korean Version (2014)
Home, Korean Version (2014)

Awards:

2nd Winner, Annual Painting Competition, Sabah Art Gallery, Kota Kinabalu, 1985.
Encouragement Awards, ACCU Noma Concours, Tokyo, 1986.
Encouragement Awards, ACCU Noma Concours, Tokyo, 1988.
Best Picture Book, DBP, 1990.
Runner-up, ACCU Noma Concours, Tokyo, 1992.
Best Children’s Picture Book, National Book Council, KL, 1992.
Best Children’s Picture Book Illustrator, National Book Council , KL, 1992.
Grand Winner, ACCU Noma Concours, Tokyo, 1997.
Nominated for Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, 2011, 2012.

 

JAINAL AMAMBING

Born 1968. Jainal Amambing is from Sabah, East Malaysia on the island of Borneo. His works have appeared in a number of exhibitions and art activities organized by the Sabah Art Gallery. He has won many art competitions and awards at the state and International level. His book, The Magic Buffalo has been translated into German.

Author/Illustrator
The Proud Butterfly (2010)
Rugading (2010)
The Magic Buffalo (2011)
The Wonderful Sparrow (2011)
Longhouse Days (2011)
The Proud Butterfly and The Strange Tree

Illustrator:

I am Itut-Itut by British Council’s ELTDP.

Awards:
1st Winner DBP-KotaBuku Picture Book Illustration Award, 2013.
Green Island Award, Nami Island Illustration Concours, Korea, 2013.
2nd Winner, ACCU Noma Concours, Tokyo, Japan, 2006.
2nd Winner, ACCU Noma Concours, Tokyo, Japan, 2000.
Runner-up, ACCU Noma Concours, Tokyo, Japan, 2004.
Runner-up, ACCU Noma Concours, Tokyo, Japan, 2002.
Encouragement Prize, ACCU Noma Concours, Tokyo, Japan, 2008.
Encouragement Prize, ACCU Noma Concours, Tokyo, Japan,1998.

 

AWANG FADILAH


Born 1972. Awang Fadilah comes from Sabah, East Malaysia, on the island of Borneo. He started illustrating children’s picture books after attending a workshop organised by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) in the late 90s. Since then he has had several picture books published by DBP. He has also participated in several exhibitions in Sabah. At the international level, his illustrations have been exhibited at the National Diet Library, International Library of Children’s Literature, Tokyo.

Author/Illustrator:
Puteri Gambus (2013)
Kucing Borneo (2011)
Land Below the Wind (2006)

Awards:
Runner-up, ACCU Noma Concours, Tokyo, Japan, 2006.
Purple Island Winner, Nami Concours, Korea, 2015.

 

EMILA YUSOF


Born 1969. Emila Yusof is an illustrator and blogger based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Her blog, emilayusof.com is extremely popular as she not only writes but also illustrates about her travels, art and illustration process. She has published a number of children’s picture books, big books and craft books for children. Her most popular books are the Dina series which started with My Mother’s Garden, followed by My Mother’s Kitchen and My Father’s Farm. They are available in English and Malay and My Mother’s Garden have been translated into German and Chinese. Check out her website!

Author/Illustrator:
Princesses of Malaysia Colouring Book (2016)
My Mother’s Garden (2010)
My Mother’s Kitchen (2014)
My Father’s Farm (2015)
Siri Buku Kraf Bersama Kak Emila: Origami (2010)
Siri Buku Kraf Bersama Kak Emila: Kitar Semula (2010)
Siri Buku Kraf Bersama Kak Emila: Alam Semulajadi (2010)
Siri Buku Kraf Bersama Kak Emila: Kad Ucapan (2010)
Siri Buku Kraf Bersama Kak Emila: Kartun Haiwan (2010)
Siri Buku Kraf Bersama Kak Emila: Melukis Dinosaur (2010)
The Lil’ Guardian Flashcards (2011)
The Lil’ Guardian Alphabet (2013)
Alphabets For Boys (2014)
Alphabets For Girls (2014)
Taman Bunga Emak Saya (2014)
Dapur Emak Saya (2014)
Diya dan Biji Durian (2010)
Tree House Colourart (2015)
Mother Earth Colourart (2015)
Nature Sings Colourart (2015)
Dreamworld Colourart (2015)
Malaysia Colourart (2015)
Coloring Book Dream World, Indonesia Version (2016)
Emila’s Travelogue (2016)
Fleeting Moments: An Illustrated Haiku (2016)
Colours of Malaysia (2016)
Mama Erde (Mother Earth) Colouring Book, Germany (2015)
Liebe Natur (Nature Sings) Colouring Book, Germany (2015)
Mama’s Garten, Germany (2015)
Malaysia Colourart (2015)
Nhà Cây (Colouring Book), Vietnam (2015)
Mẹ Trái Đất (Colouring Book), Vietnam (2015)
Thế Giới Trong Mơ (Colouring Book), Vietnam (2015)
Malaysia (Colouring Book), Vietnam (2015)
Thiên Nhiên Hát Ca (Colouring Book), Veitnam (2015)

Illustrator:
Legendary Princesses of Malaysia (2014) by K. Raman
Ke Mana Perginya? (2013) by Nani Menon
Jangan Takut! (2013) by Nani Menon
Di Mana Ibu Saya? (2013) by Nani Menon
Apa yang Bergerak? (2013) by Nani Menon
Baju Cantik (2013) by Nani Menon
Cuba Buat Sendiri (2013) by Nani Menon
Kawan Baru Hanani (2011) by Nisah Haron
Biring Sikunani (2014) by Rahimidin Zahari
Over The Bridge (2015) by Tang Su Lan
Nina dan Rama-rama by Naemah Ismail
Pelangi Pagi by Mahaya Mohd. Yassin

Awards:
Best Illustrator, Children’s Literature Award, Malaysia. 2015.
1st winner of Best Early Childhood Reading Category, Children’s Literature Award, Malaysia, 2015.
1st Winner of Best Picture Book Category, Children’s Literature Award, Malaysia, 2015.
3rd Winner of Best Early Childhood Reading Category, Children’s Literature Award, Malaysia, 2015.
Winner, Parent’s Choice, Children’s Literature Award, Malaysia, 2015.
3x 2nd Winner, Samsung Kids Time Author’s Award, AFCC, Singapore, 2016.

 

NOR AZHAR ISHAK


Born 1972. Nor Azhar Ishak is a science museum educator and award-winning picture book writer/illustrator who is passionate about children’s books. His favourite pastimes include storytelling and making picture books. His favourite illustration medium is hand-drawn batik but he also illustrates using other medium like acrylics and guoache.

Books:
Indahnya Pulau Sipadan (2014)
Alahai, Anak Gajah (2015)
Tuty the Turtle (2015)
Under the Sea (2015)
Wah, Sedapnya! Ayam (2015)
Under the Sea Colouring Book (2016)

Awards:
Consolation Prize, DBP Picture Book Award, Malaysia, 2013.
3rd Winner, YGL-Oyez! Picture Book Award, Malaysia, 2015.
Best Children’s Book Award, Children’s Literature Festival Award, Malaysia, 2015.
2nd winner, Samsung Kids TIme Award,Singapore, 2016.

 

LIM LAY KOON


Born 1972. Lim Lay Koon comes from a computer science background. She is a self-taught illustrator and enjoys illustrating the little details of everyday life. She has won several awards with her sister such as The Samsung Kidstime Author’s Award 2015 for The Currypuff War of Kampung Asam and The Calistro Prize 2012 for Master & Apprentice. She has illustrated several other chapter books such as The Mystery of the Missing National Anthem and The Nanobots and Other Stories.

Author and illustrator:
Pip’s Peculiar Problem
Menagerie – Fun with Animal Groups

Illustrator:
Atuk’s Amazing Sarong – by Lim Lay Har
Master & Apprentice, Calistro Prize 2012 Winner – by Lim Lay Har
Pigeon Post and Other Stories – by Gwen Smith
The Nanobots and Other Stories – by Golda Mowe
The Mystery of the Missing National Anthem – by Heidi Shamsuddin
The Case of The Talented Trio – by Heidi Shamsuddin
The Case of The Football Champion – by Heidi Shamsuddin
The Case of the House at No. 74 – by Heidi Shamsuddin

Awards:
Winner, The Calistro Prize, Malaysia, 2012.
DBP Picture Book Award, Malaysia, 2012.
Samsung Kids Time Author’s Award, Singapore, 2015.

 

CHOOI LING KEIONG


Born 1977. Chooi-Ling obtained her Diploma in Fine Art from the Kuala Lumpur College of Art, Malaysia (2002). She works as a freelance artist and illustrator and lives in Raub, Pahang. Prior to that, she worked as a graphic designer, designing Corporate Identity, Press Ad, Brochure and others.

Author/illustrator:
The Last Dream of The Old Oak Tree (2016)
Health, Wealth & Happiness (2016)

Illustrator:
The Sweet Potatoes That Remained by Lu Kam Yin
Rainforest Hike and Other Stories by Dr. Cecilia Leong

Awards:
Runner-up, The Calistro Prize, Malaysia, 2012.
Second Winner, Malaysia Children’s Literature Festival Award, Malaysia, 2015.
Grand Winner, Samsung Kid’s Time Award, Singapore, 2016.

 

KHAIRUL AZMIR SHOIB AKA MEME


Born 1975. Khairul Azmir is currently a Lecturer of Arts at PJCAD , Petaling Jaya. He has won numerous awards and illustrated two picture books. He obtained his Master of Art (Fine Art and Technology), from UiTM, Shah Alam in 2004 and his Bachelor of Fine Arts, Hons., UiTM, Shah Alam in 2000.

Author/Illustrator:
We Saved the Moon (Author/illustrator: Khairul Azmir)

Illustrator:
Tulip, The Dog That Ate Nightmare by Quek Sue Yian
Kailash by Quek Sue Yian

Awards:
2005 Best Malaysia’s Picture Book, Malaysian Book Council 2012 for Kailash.
IBBY Honour List 2014, Switzerland for Kailash.

 

AZALAN BIN HUSSAIN AKA SINAGANAGA


Born 1967. Azalan Hussain, better known as pen-name Sinaganaga, had his first picture book, Kasut Belang Hilang published by DBP in 1997. In 2002, his illustrations from the book was acquired by Chihiro Art Museum, Azumino, Nagano, Japan and has been on permanent exhibition ever since. In 2009, he was invited to be the guest illutrator for a picture book, My Friend, at Asia/Pacific Culture Centre of UNESCO (ACCU), Tokyo untuk Asia-Pacific Co-publication Programme (ABC). In 2013, he was appointed as Art Director for World Heritage Convention for UNESCO Project in Tsuruoka, Yamagata, Jepun.

Author/Illustrator:
Rion’s Hair (2010)
Kasut Belang Hilang (1997)

Illustrator:
All About Gragong by Zainuddin Jamil (2009)
Anak Itik Cerdik (2006)
Din Nakal (2006)
Meet My Friends (2001) ACCU Japan Project
Sayangku (1997)
Adikku Sayang (1992)
Si Lalai (1992)

Awards:
Best Illustrations, Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka, Malaysia, 1989/1990
ACCU Noma Concours, Tokyo, Japan, 1990

 

MOHD KHAIRUL AZMAN ISMAIL


Born 1975. Mohd Khairul is a school teacher. He started writing and illustrating picture books in 2013 with the guidance of Yusof Gajah and has won several awards in Malaysia. He uses water colour as his favoured medium and he likes to depict animal characters in his illustrations.

Author/Illustrator:
Where Is Owly? (2015)
My Owly Family Tree (2015)
Malam Seribu Bulan E-book(2015)
Night of Thousand Moon E-book(2015)

Illustrator:
Tolong, Saya Tak Pandai Berenang! by Razisatul Asyifah Ismail (2015)
Burung Pipit dan Api by Razisatul Asyifah Ismail (2015)
Rekrut (2015) by misc authors
Di Mana Sebelah Lagi? by Razisatul Asyifah Ismail (2014)
The Traveller E-book by Razisatul Asyifah Ismail (2015)
Pengembara E-book by Razisatul Asyifah Ismail (2015)

Awards:
Hadiah Sastera Perdana Malaysia 2014 –Kategori Buku Bergambar, Malaysia
Best Illustrations for 100 Picture Books Project, Karangkraf 2015, Malaysia
2nd Prize Oyez! Illustration Book Award, Malaysia 2015
2nd Prize Samsung KidsTime Authors’ Award, Singapore 2015
Distinction List, Nami Concours Picture Book Illustration Award, South Korea 2016

 

WEN DEE TAN


After spending 10 years in the corporate IT world, Wen Dee finally decided enough was enough. She quit her job and went back to her first love: drawing. She recently graduated from the MA Children’s Book Illustration course in Cambridge School of Arts (UK) and Lili, her first book, was one of her projects on the course. It won third place in the Macmillan Prize 2013. Besides her love for drawing, Wen Dee loves telling stories. She believes good stories appeal to all ages, not just children. Check out her website!

 

Author/Illustrator:
Lili (2015)

Illustrator:
The Great Dragon Warrior by Ng Swee San
Grey Bear Days by Sabrinah Morad

Awards:
3rd Winner, Macmillan Prize 2013, UK
2nd Winner, Voices of Future Generations competition 2015, UK
1st Winner, Illustrator’s Award 2015, Sharjah UAE

Awards Longlist/Shortlist:
Shortlisted North Somerset Teachers’ Book Award 2015, UK
Longlisted Kate Greenaway Award 2016, UK
Shortlisted Klaus Flugge Prize 2016, UK
Longlisted House of Illustration competition 2017, UK

Exhibitions:
Lili at T-BOX Gallery (Tokyo) 2016
Lili at Art de ART VIEW Gallery (Osaka) 2016
Lili at Gallery HANA Shimokitazawa (Tokyo) 2016

 

BASARI MAT YASIT

Born 1963. Basari Mat Yasit is a Graphic Designer. He started writing and illustrating picture books in 2010 with the guidance of Yusof Gajah and has won several awards locally and abroad.

Author:
Pabila Bintang Berkelip – Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (2010)
Pabila Mentari Senyum – Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (2010)
Pabila Meteor Jatuh ke Bumi- Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (2010)
Pabila Bulan Mengambang – Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (2010)
Novel Remaja ‘Part Time Baby Site’r- terbitan Mustread Sdn Bhd (2012)
Novel Remaja ‘Saya Miya Ezoya’ – Mustread Sdn Bhd.(2012)
Buku resepi “Masakan Bunga-Bungaan’ – Utusan Karya.(2013)
Novel sains fiksyen ‘Pistol Laser Lisa’ -Syndicate Sol-Jah.(2013)
Menulis 20 buah skrip untuk projek buku Interaktif by Multi Media Synergy Corporation Sdn Bhd. (2014)

Illustrator:
Kain Pelikat E-Book by Kota Buku-(2012)
Mimpi Bertemu Busu E-Book by Kota Buku –(2012)
Happy Birthday E-Book by Kota Buku- (2012)
Oza dan Ozi E-Book by Kota Buku-(2012)
Siapa Punya? – Karangkarf Sdn Bhd(2013)
Rama-rama dan Labah-labah – Karangkarf Sdn Bhd(2013)
Awan, Bintang dan Bulan- Karangkaraf Sdn Bhd(2013)
Cik Siti wan Kembang – Tomodachi Sdn Bhd (2015)
Puteri Bunga Raya – Tomodaichi Sdn Bhd (2016)
Wah! Cantiknya – Gapeniaga Sdn Bhd (2016)

Awards:
Ikon E-Rezeki (20114)
Best Illustrations for 100 Picture Books Project, Karangkraf 2015, Malaysia
Saguhati Oyez! Illustration Book Award, Malaysia 2015
Distinction List, Nami Concours Picture Book Illustration Award, South Korea 2016

So there you go! Much of their books can be purchased at local bookstores or even on Amazon!

Think we’ve missed out some of them? Email us at editors@eksentrika.com or drop us a comment below!