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Author’s Blurb: I was never a natural when it came to art. It was not until I mistakenly joined an illustration class in university that I realised it’s a skill that could be learnt, even without natural talent. From there, I picked up an interest in watercolours, which then unraveled itself as a self-taught hobby.

For 9-year-old Rayyan however, that skillset was purely natural. Sure, his mum, Sarah is an artist, but she wasn’t even the one who taught it to him.

“To be honest, I’m not sure where exactly he picked up this skill because back then I was doing baking more than arts. So I wouldn’t think that he picked it up from me per se,” she told Vulcan Post.

She recalled a time where he first picked up a paper and pencil at age 4. He would scribble and draw whatever sparked his interest at the time.

Some recurring motifs would be LEGOs, the KLCC skyscraper, space, Santa Claus, and movie scenes, the latter of which even shot Rayyan’s artworks to virality, but more on that later.

Nurturing The Talent

My watercolour endeavours never lasted more than a year. Once I started working, I got too busy to pick my paint brushes up again. Yet, they still sit in a corner of my desk in hopes that maybe one day, I’ll come back to them.

Sarah’s art hobby too became a dormant past time for an interim. She later joined an art class in Mont Kiara to pick it back up and has been pursuing it as a career for roughly 2 years now. Her works can be found on her IG, senisara.my

Sarah’s a full-time artist herself / Image Credit: senisara.my

At 6 years old, Rayyan wanted to join her art classes too. The group classes weren’t suitable for kids though, so Sarah began scouting for a different tutor who could guide his lessons.

They eventually landed on the founder of Amcorp Mall’s Artists’ Corner, Khalid MS who remains Rayyan’s art tutor till today.

Sharing an affection for art, the two would discuss and exchange techniques they’ve learnt independently with one another.

Sarah added that Rayyan’s also been picking up new methods from YouTube tutorials on top of his art classes to upskill. Such areas include character drawing, for instance.  

“Rayyan, with or without art classes, draws every day. That’s just how much he loves it,” Sarah said.

No matter how packed his schedule, Rayyan will always squeeze in some time for his art / Image Credit: senirayyan

Now 9 years old, Rayyan carves out time around his schedule to dedicate to his art. From going to school online, cycling, or socialising with friends over virtual card games, he would still manage to make time to draw.

Virality At Age 9

Pairing character drawings and the love for movies, Rayyan recently went viral for his compilation piece of P. Ramlee sketches. Simultaneously proud and amused, Sarah shared it on Twitter, where it gained much praise from followers.

His drawings of P. Ramlee came about from stumbling upon some of the actor’s films / Image Credit: Sarah’s Twitter

In fact, those aren’t Rayyan’s only fans. Since being taught under Khalid, the duo had been selling their pieces at an art booth in Amcorp Mall pre-MCO.

“In 2019, Khalid asked if I wanted to open up an art booth with Rayyan for an event Collectors Pick at Amcorp Mall. It then led us to have a permanent art booth every weekend. The rest is history,” chimed the artist mother.

And Rayyan’s not a shy kid. The excitable young artist never hesitated to share the stories behind his artworks and how they came to be when interacting with customers.

His art cards are sold at RM10 for an A5 size and RM40 for the A3 size. Tote bags are priced at RM40 while notebooks and magnets are RM25 and RM10 respectively. Sales could vary, but there was always a little something every weekend. 

He’s happy to sell their merch at booths / Image Credit: senirayyan

On what the blooming illustrator wants to be when he grows up? “He wants to be an astronaut, and after coming back to Earth he wants to become a doctor,” Sarah chuckled.

Based on the latter ambition, his mum plans to buy him some books on anatomy to nurture and expand his knowledge.

“I personally feel it’s too early to tell, but whatever path he chooses to take, I’ll support him through and through. That’s the only definite answer. I encourage him to explore and try things he has an interest in because we never know.”

Bottom Line: Credit has to be given to his art teacher for opening up the opportunity to sell Rayyan’s artwork. Not only does this provide a child with the necessary validation that his artworks are admired, it also exposes him to what the future holds if he chooses to follow his mum in pursuing art as a career.

  • You can find out more about Sarah and Rayyan’s artworks here and here.
  • You can read about more Malaysian startups we’ve covered here.

Featured Image Credit: Sarah

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© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)