Comic Art Festival Kuala Lumpur is a free online event this year

Malaysian artist Ernest Ng will be discussing his ongoing webcomic series surrounding pandemic themes at Comic Art Festival Kuala Lumpur Online on Aug 8. Photo: Ernest Ng

Comic Art Festival Kuala Lumpur (CAFKL), a creator-focused event on illustration and comic art culture, will take place as a free online event from Aug 8-16.

For five years, CAFKL has been an annual highlight for many local artists, content creators and illustrators as well as international guests. This year, the pandemic forced the festival to adopt the online format, with a series of programmes to keep "stay home" festival-goers busy.

“With CAFKL Online, we have more content to share and a diverse list of special guests. We're taking advantage of the online reach to run new activities on a larger scale... something which would otherwise be logistically impossible, ” says Audrey Leong Kai Xin, CAFKL event director.

This sixth edition of CAFKL features over 75 creative booths, an online marketplace, online portfolio reviews, themed art jams, an online Comic Worm, forums and online interviews, all of which would be aired via Facebook Live on CAFKL's page.

“A new activity we're introducing to CAFKL Online is the online themed art jam, where participants from around the world will be drawing together on one online canvas based on the theme provided. We will also be getting our first TED Talk presented by (Manila-based comic book artist) Rob Cham,” says Leong.

On Aug 8, you can listen to Cham's TED Talk titled Telling Stories Without Words here at 4pm.

Also on Aug 8, Ernest Ng, the comic artist behind Bro, Don't Like That La, Bro and the viral Covidball Z webcomic joins the festival online at 3pm for a special interview and live Q&A.

On Aug 9 at 11am, viewers can explore long-form comic book culture in South-East Asia with creators N Maulina, the artist behind the award-winning Raruurien comic series, Eisner Award winner Erica Eng (Best Webcomic, 2020), Eisner Award nominee Reimena Ashel Yee (Best Digital Comic, 2018), Eyugho Art, the creator of the internationally-acclaimed Magical How? and moderator CT Lim, the Singapore country editor of the International Journal of Comic Art.

“It has definitely been challenging but our team has learnt to adapt to this new normal. Just because there isn’t something tangible, the general impression is that this festival requires less effort but in actual fact, it’s just as much effort as running a physical event. The online event is also a community event so there isn't any monetary gain involved, ” says Leong.

“We hope that our attendees (in this case, viewers) will have a better appreciation for the comic art talent coming from Malaysian and South-East Asia," she adds.

CAFKL Online's schedule can be found here.

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