I am a Syrian French illustrator living in Dubai with my husband and two little girls (Sara 7 and Mariam 3). I am a daydreamer introvert, left-handed and short which I find so special! I have loved painting since I was a teenager and used to take my sketchbook everywhere I go especially when traveling. My family loved traveling and seeing the world which I still do now and has a big influence on my art. I have studied Business and Marketing in college and then worked in finance for over a year. When I moved to the UAE I decided to be an illustrator and fulfill my art dreams I had growing up.
Dubai has been my home for the past 8 years! Living here feels like being on vacation all year long especially that I work from home. It offers plenty of cultural and entertainment venues like museums, exhibitions, adventures, experiences and theme parks. It is a costal city with beautiful beaches and tall towers all along and It is home to the tallest skyscraper in the world (Burj Khalifa). I love Dubai and I am happy I was able to grow my artistic career here. Damascus is the city where I grew up in and has a big place in my heart. Every memory I have about Damascus is whimsical and full of poetry. It is a floral city that becomes very colorful in spring. The inside of old Damascus open houses are also full of floral and fruitful trees. Even the furniture carvings are mostly botanic and floral designs. I really wish everyone can visit it and discover its beauty and cultural richness.
My family loved traveling and seeing the world which I still do now and has a big influence on my art.
I really like the aspect of the multicultural society in Dubai and how it is home to over 200 nationalities. Safety is also a big plus for sure! The downside is definitely the hot weather from May to October and I also miss forests and green nature here.
Freedom, Inclusion, and opportunity.
When I have decided to quit my corporate work back in 2013 and become a freelance illustrator I started making custom travel portraits via Etsy. Then a couple of years later I have decided to learn how to become a children illustrator so in 2017 I took a few online courses via Make Art That Sells with the lovely agent Lilla Rogers. That gave me the push I needed to develop and grow my kidlit portfolio. I then had the opportunity to illustrate a few books and some magazine articles. A couple of months ago I became proudly represented by Astound Publishing / Licensing Agency which is a dream come true and the start of my professional career.
Yes, every single one of them. My family and friends are very supportive and motivate me every step of the way. My husband has a big role in me reaching my career goals and is a big supporter of my work. Even my daughters keep encouraging me. They are the reason why I wanted to illustrate children’s books.
There are so many. I feel like they will never end as every time I achieve a goal I make a list of ten more. However, I make sure they are small and achievable goals so I can stay motivated and be able to celebrate my achievements more often. My current goals are to learn how to develop and write stories, making many surface design collections and develop my digital drawing skills as I use mostly traditional paints to create my work for now.
My current goals are to learn how to develop and write stories, making many surface design collections and develop my digital drawing skills as I use mostly traditional paints to create my work for now.
The illustrator I really admire is Rebecca Green! She uses a dreamy color palette and has a wonderful range of art styles. So if I can work with anyone in the world it would definitely be her! As for amazing art businesses out there, I would love to work with Anthropologie, Vogue Arabia, Flow Magazine, Bravery Magazine, Rifle Paper co. and Liberty. Maybe one day!
The women around me are creative and driven! I really enjoy my conversations with my sister and my girlfriends as it is mostly about ways to make this world a better place and important for women to work hard but at the same time not to be afraid to show honesty and vulnerability.
The women around me are creative and driven!
My dad was my biggest creative inspiration while growing up in addition to two male art teachers. However, my big sister is an interior designer and a painter. She was an important example for me on how to live creatively and channel my inner imagination through different creative outlets. I asked for her opinion on every step of my creative journey while growing up. I learned so much from her and still do!
I actually gravitated toward leaving the academic or the cooperate world because I sensed how challenging it is for women there and I wasn’t ready for it. Being an illustrator opened the door for me to be free and express my self as a woman which is very important to me! Also, the support system between female illustrators around Instagram is incredible and very positive!
I would tell them to keep learning as much as they can and that learning new skills never ends really.
I would tell them to keep learning as much as they can and that learning new skills never ends really. Keep experimenting with your art and stay up to date on what is happening in the illustration field. Go to fairs, participate in exhibitions and contests. And don’t be afraid to ask for advise! Also, I really advise to learn skills outside of making art like negotiations, presentation, photography, finance, etc.
Photos courtesy of Asma Enayeh
April 21, 2020