Pride and Joy
Jennifer Choo | 24 Oct 2017 12:48
Eng thinks her optimistic outlook is a key contributor to her success today as an artist

We live in the age of third-wave feminism, a time when fashion designers produce T-shirts declaring “We should all be feminists” and rallying cries of “Down with the patriarchy” resound across Twitter and Instagram.

But educating little girls (and boys) that great things are achieved by great dreamers regardless of gender is a lesson which should start early as the inspiring book series Little People, Big Dreams aims to do. Targeted at readers ages five to eight, the books feature the life stories of outstanding women in history from Coco Chanel to Frida Kahlo, each story accompanied by cool artwork.

While most of the books are authored separately by Isabel Sanchez Vegara and Lisbeth Kaiser, the illustrations are done by specially chosen artists who best suit the feel of the famous women depicted. For iconic Mexican painter Kahlo, Malaysian illustrator Eng Gee Fan was picked to lend her vibrant yet whimsical style.

Eng, who is currently based in Perlis, was always enthusiastic about art growing up in Kota Tinggi, Johor. She loved watching anime and would sketch the characters, then make them into toys. Eng was also actively involved in her school’s drama society and made costumes for the plays they put up.

After high school, she furthered her studies at Selangor’s New Era College, majoring in visual communication. “During my studies, one of my professors continuously encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and find a way to bring my art into the society. Heeding his advice, I began to attend art markets, selling my art and handcrafted items under the name Minifanfan (which eventually became her brand). My confidence was built from day to day, from knowing that people enjoyed my work and from clients who told me how much they loved what I do,” she reminisces.