A Date with My Sketchbook

Doodle artist Sofia Shamsunahar takes us on a day trip within the city to some cool spots that inspired her to sketch away.

Sometimes getting a change of scene helps get the creative juices flowing. As a creative myself, it’s what I do when I get a block. Months of being contained in my room this year, I felt my motivation slowly seep away. So when things in Malaysia began to open up and the art scene started to slowly become alive again, I was eager to be inspired. I’ve put together a list of spots which I felt were great spots to draw and paint at. For those looking for ambience and ilham, here’s a list of places to have a date with your sketchbook:

Ilham Gallery: A public art gallery that is committed to supporting the development, understanding and enjoyment of Malaysian modern and contemporary art, Ilham Gallery is a great place for those seeking inspiration. Housed in a wonderfully sleek and modern space, one may immediately feel he or she is somewhere sophisticated when visiting. The gallery has a lively environment with all sorts of people, young and old and from walks of life bustling in and out. You may be inspired creatively by not just the artwork on display but the gallery visitors too! With many benches situated in the middle of the gallery halls, Ilham Gallery is a great spot to spend the day sitting, observing and creating. Address: Levels 3 and 5, Ilham Tower, 8, Jln Binjai, Kuala Lumpur, 50450 Kuala Lumpur; Tel: +60 3-2181 3003

Merdekarya: In this Petaling Jaya neighbourhood bar created to support and showcase local grassroots music, you can sip a bottle of cucumber-flavoured tuak on the balcony whilst you create in your sketchbook. The place has a personal and friendly touch, with its flickering electric candle light lamps and furniture made by those who work in the place – bartenders, waiters, cooks. Once SOPs allow, live music from locals can help groove the creative juices too. A space that strives towards and allows freedom of expression on stage, Merdekarya could be that place that helps you express creatively. Address: 352 First Floor, Jalan 5/57, Bukit Gasing, 46000 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Tel: +60 16-207 1553

The Godown: This is a building with a 100-year-old history, which has been transformed into an event space. There’s always some type of artsy event going on here. The spacious rooms with high ceilings, brick walls and fringed with big leafy plants and trees, create a peaceful environment for one to be left alone with one’s thoughts. Spend an afternoon here whilst the sunlight trickles through the colonial windows, and perhaps you’ll find your inspiration sooner than you expect. Address: 7, 11, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur; Tel: +60 12-623 8260

RexKL: Once an iconic cinema in KL turned community-based cultural and creative hub, RexKL oozes with creativity, colour and cool. From hip dining spots to pop-up skate parks to an artsy IG-snapworthy bookstore, it’s brimming with art and life in the heart of the city. Choose between the usually hipster-clad visitors to local artists performing music or selling pieces to get your inspiration. You can either settle in RexKL’s dining hall, open-windowed cafe or concrete steps in a maze of bookshelves to start drawing in your sketchbook. Address: 80, Jalan Sultan, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur; Tel: +60 11-2600 4808



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