madame coco is here

coco jalila chocolate box design (final) . 2020

coco jalila chocolate boxes (final) . 2020

hello from the confines of self isolation! i hope everyone is staying safe and washing their hands regularly and practising social distancing. i'd like to think that i'm trying to stay calm during these troublesome times. but it's hard to do so when almost everyone around me is in panic mode. let's all do our part, stay calm, and rid the world of this silly corona virus together. 
on a lighter note, she's finally here – madame coco has been introduced to the world on coco jalila's newest chocolate boxes. i'm so happy to finally see this illustration printed. i started working with coco jalila shortly after moving back home post risd. i created some fun illustrations last year for their upcoming line of boxes (you can read all about it here). however, 2019 wasn't the year they'd print new boxes. cut to corona 2020, and madame coco was selected as the face of coco jalila's new boxes! i made a few minor adjustments to the background on the final artwork. i'm really happy with the end product and how the printed boxes turned out. i think the artwork really stands out amongst the other chocolate brand packaging out there. 
i really wish these boxes were launched during better global circumstances. but better late than never i guess. if you're reading this, keep a look out for coco jalila's chocolates located in all the address hotels around town (once it's good to go back out into the city). or you can place orders via their instagram and website. trust me when i say, their chocolates are realllllllly good! support homegrown businesses like coco jalila, especially in these difficult times.


saturdaze in samandal

'saturdaze' in samandal issue #16 . 2020

i am happy to announce that 'saturdaze', a mini comic by yours truly and my buddy mohammed (momo) al shaibani has been included in the latest issue of samandal. it was early last year when momo and i first saw their open call to submit comics for their upcoming issue. we worked through all of ramadan last year, making sure we finish our comic and submit it on time. i'm so thankful that we did. along with exhibiting 'saturdaze' in last year's 'made in tashkeel' summer show, i can now add that 'saturdaze' has been officially published as well (you can read about last year's 'saturdaze' post here).
i've been somewhat of a follower of samandal comics over the years, and love their commitment to showcasing independent artists and their stories. it's a real honour to finally be included in samadal alongside some really cool artists, and with my buddy momo. thank you team samandal for having us included in your current issue.
unfortunately, samandal isn't sold in the united arab emirates so if you're looking for a copy, it's best to reach out to them via their website or on instagram. and if you're in beirut, or somewhere around the world that sells samandal, i hope you get a copy. issue 16 is pretty great!


things to colour in

the lighthouse colouring placemat (front) . 2020

the lighthouse colouring placemat (back) . 2020

the lighthouse colouring placemat (final) . 2020

the lighthouse colouring wall . 2020

the lighthouse colouring wall (final) at depachika food hall, nakheel mall . 2020 (image courtesy of the lighthouse)

here are a couple more fun projects i worked on for the lighthouse (you can read about the earlier projects here).
the lighthouse team were really keen on working on a couple of colouring themed projects for their younger audience (and the young at heart). the first was a colouring wall at their recent pop up space for the launch of the depachika food hall, located in nakheel mall. the colouring wall was themed around the various food items found in the lighthouse menu. the final result was a simplistic illustrated presentation of different food items, beverages, ingredients and kitchen utensils for children to colour in. i really liked how the final illustration ended up, given that we worked on a very tight deadline. i hope the explosion of food got the kids excited to colour it all in. i must say, i'm pretty confused with some of the colour choices the kids decided on when colouring certain things in! but i'm glad to see the impressions left by the children on my illustrations.
the second project i worked on is the illustrated placemat at the top of this post. again, the placemats are meant to target a younger audience, which is why the back of the placemat also includes the kids menu. unlike the colouring wall, i didn't want to just illustrate cartoon-like food items, but wanted the overall placemat to look sophisticated, yet fun enough for the kids to colour in. along with including items off the menu, there are also design items that are iconic of the lighthouse, as well as products that can be found in their shop (books, crayons, kitchenware). i'm really happy with how the final placemat turned out, and i hope everyone who pays a visit to the lighthouse enjoys them too.
thank you to the lighthouse team for wanting to work with me on a really great collection of illustrated collateral for the restaurant. i hope we can work together again on more stuff in the near future.


sharjah at the london book fair

'london book fair sharjah market focus' final illustration . 2020

'london book fair sharjah market focus' character illustrations . 2020

here's a project i'm super proud to have worked on, yet that silly coronavirus has managed to have stolen the spotlight from it (damn you covid-19)!!!
i was approached by the british council uae to work on creating a visual identity for the 'london book fair sharjah market focus 2020' programme in partnership with the sharjah book authority. in this year's london book fair, sharjah takes the stage as the 2019-20 world book capital, showcasing sharjah's growth and contribution to literature and publishing on an international platform. the programming for the 'market focus' includes talks and discussions by key figures from the literary and publishing world in the emirates.
the brief was quite simple – to create a graphic illustration for easy application onto various formats (web banners, social media, printed collateral, etc.), and to respond to the theme of 'contemporary uae'. theme's are very tricky for me, and i'd like to think i responded to it successfully. the illustration above is comprised of characters interacting with traditional (books, parchments) and digital (laptops, phones) reading/writing tools. i tried to make the characters representational of the emirates through their outfits, and. the background includes abstract representations of traditional architecture (wind towers and domes) and natural landscapes (desert dunes) found in sharjah and the emirates. we went through a series of colour options until we decided on the final green and beige palette you see above. overall, i think it looks pretty great, and the clients were very happy with it.
i was really excited to see my illustrations represented at the london book fair and to an international audience. but unfortunately, the london book fair this year has been canceled due to the worldwide conronavirus outbreak. i was really disappointed to realise my illustrations wouldn't be shared as effectively as i thought it would be. i'm not sure if there are any activities lined up for later in the year. but if there are, i hope my illustrations will still be used.
i end this post with a couple of applications i found online via the british council's 'london book fair sharjah market focus' webpage. below are a couple of images of the illustration applied as a roll-up banner and as a digital web banner. thank you british council uae for reaching out to me to be a part of this project. it's a true honour to represent the emirates on an international level. and to everyone reading this, stay safe and keep washing those hands of yours!

'london book fair sharjah market focus' final illustration as roll-up banner . 2020 (image courtesy of the british council)

'london book fair sharjah market focus' final illustration as digital web banner . 2020 (courtesy of the british council)


hbd k&c @ difc

kava & chai art print . 2019

it was around this time last year i worked with kava & chai offering live portrait drawings to visitors at their kiosk during difc's art night. it was quite a successful event, and i was really happy to be a part of it (you can briefly read about it here in one of my rant posts from last year). 
another project i worked on for them was an illustration to be displayed in their cafe and for potential use on merchandise. it's been a year since their difc activation, and i never had a chance to share the completed artwork when i finished it late last year. so as an anniversary post, here it is! there really wasn't much of a brief – the final illustration was my colourful interpretation of the brand. fun fact – i used use the same brush pen that was used for the live portrait drawings. i love the line quality of a good brush pen.
if you visit kava & chai at difc, grab a coffee and keep your eyes peeled for the illustration above. it should be on display, and might be on some mugs. i should make my way there at some point to see it for myself.


karak man

final illustration for karak house food truck . 2019

illustration application on karak house food truck . 2019 (image courtesy of karak house)

here's another project i worked on during the final quarter of 2019. i was approached by karak house to work on an illustration to be used on their food truck. if you've been a follower of my blog, you might be familiar with my previous collaborations with karak house (see here and here). it was great to hear from karak house and their interest to work together again.
the brief was pretty simple – they were looking for an illustration to apply onto their food truck which would make the rounds around town for certain events and activations. they weren't looking for pattern designs (which i did for their previous two projects), and wanted a bold illustration this time around.
with that in mind, i created 'karak man', in homage to all the tea boys serving us sweet cups of karak we've all encountered while living here. i tried to make him as welcoming and kind looking as possible. i think the final illustration is pretty cute.
i'm so happy to see an illustration of mine on a food truck. but the application of 'karak man' wasn't completely to my liking –  the illustration was slightly revised to meet 'brand guidelines'. and with the client's graphic additions ('yalla karak' arabic text and abstract patterned backgroud), i felt my 'karak man' gets a bit lost amongst it all. but this being my first project for a food truck, there's definitely a learning curve here, understanding how illustrations can be applied better for such a format.
if anyone's seen this around town, let me know – take a photo, send it over, let me know what you think!


postcards and coasters

the lighthouse postcard (front) . 2019

the lighthouse postcard (back) . 2019

the lighthouse postcard (final) . 2019

'hungry?' coaster (front) . 2019

'thirsty?' coaster (front) . 2019

coaster design (back) . 2019

'hungry?' coaster (final) . 2019

'thirsty?' coaster (final) . 2019

since march madness this year seems to be at a standstill thanks to the not so lovely coronavirus, i thought i'd take the time to post about projects i was unable to share at their time of completion. i also noticed that since the start of 2020, i really haven't posted any projects besides workshops, talks and exhibitions. so let's start with a fun project i worked on during the end of last year.
i was approached by the team behind the lighthouse, a super cool restaurant located in dubai design district, to work on some fresh collateral for the restaurant. the requirements were illustrations for a postcard design and an interactive pair of coasters. for the postcard, the illustration is a simple line drawing of an identifiable view of the restaurant when dining in. and with the coasters, the client wanted a 'word search puzzle' themed set of coasters – an english version with items from their drinks menu, and an arabic version with items from their food menu.
i illustrated and designed both fronts and backs of the postcard and coasters, which showcases my illustration style yet still keeping with the feel of the restaurant and it's branding. i think the end result of all 3 items are pretty fun! if you visit the lighthouse anytime soon, make sure to get your hands on some postcards and/or coasters. i'd like to think these items could be collectors items in the future! 
stay tuned for an upcoming post on further items i worked on for the lighthouse. until then, if you'd like to play the word search puzzles, let me help you a little bit with what to look for: