Give us a brief introduction about yourself
I am an Illustrator from the UK, living in Abu Dhabi. I’ve also spent many years teaching Graphic Design and Illustration to university and college students and am passionate about art and design education. I love reportage drawing and have recently spent almost a year drawing the neighborhoods of Abu Dhabi. It is a fantastic way to meet people and become part of the community.
When did you realize you want to become an artist/illustrator/designer?
I have always loved to draw and to make things. My parents encouraged me and I remember my Dad, who was a designer then, bringing home huge sheets of paper for me to draw on. My mum was a brilliant embroiderer and could sew anything, and now I’m starting to include embroidery in some of my images, I think directly inspired by her. When I was young, I used to collect old boxes and paper to make little towns and maps. I think I liked to create imaginary places and worlds. That hasn’t really changed.
If you weren’t an illustrator, what would you be?
I also wanted to be an archaeologist when I was young. I love history, and still, a lot of my work is about memory and place. If I could start again, I would like to try concept art for games.
In terms of your craft, which taught you more, school or life? Please elaborate
With drawing, you learn all the time, so definitely ‘life’. I keep a sketchbook on me at all times and draw every day. However, I do think that your experience of art at school is absolutely formative in your relationship with the subject. I’ve seen so many young people turned off art because they haven’t been encouraged in the right way.
How do you start working on a project?
Lots of cups of tea!
I write myself a brief, to begin with. I have to know why I’m making the work and what I want to communicate. I research and draw from life as much as possible and if it’s for a commission, work out composition and color in a layout pad. I quite often scan in all my drawings and compose that way too.
Who is the most inspiring person to you?.
My three children are inspirational. They are all old enough to be making their own way now and it’s brilliant to see them following their own passions.
What’s your favorite pastime?
Drawing is my number one pastime, but I do love my PS4. I like to read too
Probably a Thai green curry, or a really good roast dinner, with Yorkshire puddings and gravy.
It depends on my mood but Mahalia Jackson for her voice. Looking at my most played playlist today, it includes, the Beatles, Etta James, The Foo Fighters, White Fever, and the Black Keys
Ill health I suppose, in anyone close to me
Waking up to the sunshine every day
Favorite Yislamoo Home Decor Piece?
‘The Bedouin man’. The colors are fabulous, and also ‘Hob’ by Dina Fawakhiri.