Friday, December 30, 2011

Roy the New Year Monster

(Click image to enlarge)
Meet Roy, the New Year Monster and his trusty snail (who has yet to be named). Like all the other bic drawings on this blog thus far, he started out as a product of boredom. As I looked at him again recently, I noticed that he looks like a guy who may have partied a little too hard, hence his name...

Monday, December 12, 2011


The above image is the cover illustration for a book entitled "Zeina's Story: Divorce," published by Asala, a children's book publisher. I had heard a lot of good things from other illustrators about Asala before I got the chance to work with them so it was already nice to be approached about illustrating a book. After making all the usual arrangements, I was sent an early draft of the story and was surprised by the subject: Divorce! (that was the first word exclaimed at the opening of the story).

It's usually disappointing reading most children's books because it's usually just smiling people and cutesy things— not that there's anything particularly wrong with that but at some point, you have to ask yourself how many cute animals or whatnot you can draw before you want to try and contribute something new (and hopefully helpful) to what's already out there in a million different ways. As it turns out, the author of this story, Dr. Sanaa al Haraka, felt the same way and decided to write about several subjects that she felt have been neglected thus far in the realm of children's books (or at least it is this way in Lebanon).

As I read the story for the first time, it felt more and more with each page like a very lucid examination of the subject but broken down in such a way that was clearly understood. I also enjoyed a parallel that was drawn to "Beauty and the Beast," an aspect that I ended up incorporating into the illustrations.

The following are some of the illustrations from the book:

For any illustrators reading this, I'd like to share some technical gibberish that made my life a lot easier and hopefully might do the same for you. The way I usually work with comics is to pencil something and then ink it before scanning and cleaning it. Given that this was a black and white book, the same approach made sense at first.

What I learned on this project was a way to skip the inking part. If the pencils are drawn at a much larger size and then scanned at a very high resolution (600 dpi at least), a little bit of cleaning can give the same effect as inking. What I did was blur the image just enough that the line edges came together a little bit. I later increased the contrast to the point that the image was reduced to being only black and white. When it got shrunken down to the resolution required for print, it gave the same effect as ink. The only downside of this approach is that the pencil work has to be extremely clean (otherwise, it's just faster to ink). The great benefit is that makes it easier to erase a mistake and redraw it where necessary.

On an ending note, I'd like to add a last word about Asala. All of the good things I had heard are true! They allow for a lot of freedom as far as style goes and keep their illustrators heavily involved in a lot of the storytelling decisions. It doesn't hurt that they're very nice people too.

A big thanks goes out to Shereen Kreidieh Hasbini.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

L'Agenda Culturel

This was something very fun to do. L'Agenda Culturel has a segment in which they ask an illustrator some questions and the answers are illustrations. Here are the questions and my answers:

What's your view on the political situation in Lebanon?

What's something you're working on now?

What's beauty to you?

What's a bad habit/trait of yours?

What's a dream you have yet to fulfill?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Lucca Comics and Games 2011

This first illustration is the cover image for a game entitled The Gang. It's a card game developed by DV Giochi that's based on the idea of playing odd versus even numbers. It's visualized in such a way that the two sets of numbers are rival gangs trying to capture each other (by collecting cards). There are also special cards (a spy, a lookout, and a boss) that give the gangs extra options in capturing each other. Here are the character cards:

An important aspect of the game-play is that the cards are sent to three cities to capture each other. Here are the illustrations for the cities (New York, Chicago and Detroit):

In addition to the game illustrations, I was asked to create a short comic as a promotional item to be distributed with the game during the festival. The title roughly translates to "Odds Against Evens" but I'm told that in Italian, it works with a double meaning that involves shooting.

During the second day of the festival, the game was presented at this conference:

After that, I was free to explore the rest of the festival and similarly to last year, I found the best part to be all the original artwork on display (both in the festival exhibitions and from collectors/dealers who had pages up on display). The work on display ranged from contemporary independent pages to the works of such figures as Jack Kirby. From what I managed to see, there was a grater variety of styles and techniques on display this year which made for a very interesting experience. There were also several renown artists in attendance and drawing before the audience. That was a real treat to watch.

My favorite part however, was this:

V for Vendetta was the book that got me to finally try and write a complete narrative through comics after many short attempts as a kid. Seeing a room full of David Lloyd's original work for the book brought out the fanboy in me more than anything else at the festival this year.

On an ending note, I'd like to thank DV Giochi, Gioco Inedito, ECF (for sponsoring the trip) and COSV for their continued support.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

International Day Against the Death Penalty

Due to some unexpected events, I ended up having to take over from another illustrator for this month's calendar illustration for COSV. This turned out to be my favorite to illustrate so I'm glad to have gotten the chance to work on this another month, and would like to give another shout-out to the other illustrators on this project: Rafic Saab, Armine Seferian, Hanane Kai, and Joseph Kai. I'd also like to thank COSV again for the really good experience working with them as well as all their efforts relating to drawing attention to illustration in the rest of the region.

If you click on the image above, it's at a resolution high enough for use as a desktop background as well as print.

Not Far From The Tree

This is the last design I did for the new collection from TreeShirt. It was particularly fun to draw because of the evil little girl.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Back to Roots... And an Animal Bomb

These designs are part of the new collection from TreeShirt. It was a very fun process working on these because of the freedom to try and follow what might normally seem like a crazy idea to put on a shirt. What ended up on the shirts varied slightly from what I originally submitted simply because it worked better that way on a shirt, but for the purposes of this post, it seemed like a good idea to put up both versions.

Make sure to visit the website provided at the above link to check out designs by the other illustrators working on this collection.

Monday, August 29, 2011

International Day of Democracy

This is another calendar illustration I worked on with COSV celebrating the International Day of Democracy. As this is the last one I'll be contributing to this particular calendar, I'd like to take the opportunity to thank everyone at COSV again for a really smooth and fun work process. I'd also like to give a shout-out to the other illustrators also working on this: Rafic Saab, Armine Seferian, Hanane Kai, and Joseph Kai.

The version of this image without text also looks pretty good so here it is as a desktop background:

If you click on the image at the beginning of this post, it's also in a resolution suitable for a screen and this image below is printable:

Thursday, June 9, 2011


This is an older project from my last year in the Graphic Design program at AUB. It was part of an animation course entitled If Walls Could Talk, instructed by Lina Ghaibeh. Each student worked on a short segment that was later compiled into a longer film entitled Durrafourd Mon Amour.

The animation process on this involved several stop motion techniques that involved painting on the walls of the abandoned East Durrafourd Building as well as using objects found in the location. The film was screened in the Building upon the completion of the course and was subsequently shown in the first edition of the Beirut Animation Festival.

This was one of the most valuable and enjoyable courses I have ever been able to take but it was disappointing that the Durrafourd building was later demolished to be replaced by a parking lot...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Beirut Animated Festival: Part 2

The Beirut Animated Festival held two workshops this year, one of which I got to participate in. It started on April 27th and ended on May 7th. In those ten days, a number of stop motion animation techniques were used to create a short film that was screened at the closing ceremony of the festival.

The other participants I got to work with were Ali Rafei, Huda Adra, Nuha Innab, Sandra Fatte and Rajwa Tohme under the direction of Isabelle Nouzha and Alex Baladi. They're a very nice bunch of people.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Beirut Animated Festival: Part 1

This is the illustration I submitted for the postcard design competition held by the 2nd Beirut Animated Festival. It was selected as one of the five postcards that were available for purchase at the festival this year.

The festival also held two workshops; one of which I was fortunate enough to take part in. More on that in the next post...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

However Silenced...

This is the second image I worked on for the illustrated calendar project with COSV for the World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd. It can be downloaded for a screen background here, at a printable resolution here and the press-statement that it is launched with (in Italian) can be found here.

World Press Freedom Day has been established by the United Nations General Assembly on May 3rd  to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom; to evaluate press freedom, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Together with the press agency IPS and the comic publisher Becco Giallo, COSV celebrates 2011 World Press Freedom Day with May Calendar this illustration, an original graphic novel by Becco Giallo online tomorrow on COSV and IPS websites and reports on Press Freedom (and the lack of it) around the world on - .

Updates on Facebook/COSV – Soldiarietà italiana nel Mondo 

Thanks again to the people over at COSV for being great to work with.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

May 15th

This was a series of posters worked on through the Jamaa al-Yad collective. They are presented here as the single image they were designed to create when put together.

Jamaa Al-Yad, an artists' collective located in Beirut, in coordination with representatives from various Palestinian and Lebanese civil society organizations, is providing at this LINK a collection of materials (posters, flyers, handouts, stickers, stencils, etc.) to be used to publicize "The Return to Palestine March" and related activities scheduled for May 15 throughout the world. These materials are free to download and disseminate.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Like the illustration in the previous post, this one also began as a sketch that was too much fun not to develop further. The difference being that this time, the sketching process started with a more studied approach as part of developing an idea for a kids' book with a friend, Alaa Kabalan (although it's now moved to a place where it might not necessarily be for children anymore).

It's drawn in pencil with some adjustment of the contrast on Photoshop. What I like most about this technique is that it gives a grainy feel, almost like an old movie. It's also a rather dark drawing so for me, it functions as a reminder of the sort of stories that I was most affected by as a kid. As I see it, getting a little frightened, creeped-out or sad is more memorable as there's a lot more to learn form that.

The most recent example of such a story I've come across was Henry Selick's animated version of Coraline. I've yet to read the original book so I'm not in a position to offer a comparison but the drawing in this post and the story it was made for were greatly inspired by the movie. Something that's often annoyed me is the number of encounters I've had with parents who deemed it too scary too show to their kids. A child's intelligence deserves more respect than that so I wanted to end this post with a recommendation.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

"Ya Reyt" by Ashekman

This was one of the best collaborative efforts I have had the chance to work on so far. It was art directed by Michel Karsouny (who I most frequently collaborate with) through The Konstrukt, and David Habchy animated using my illustrations. This was the first project that I have worked on with David and there aren't enough good things that can be said about him.

Thanks go out to Omar and Mohamed Kabbani for choosing animation as the medium for this project, and also to Alain Nasnas for all his help.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

El Molino

This is a poster for El Molino on Hamra street. Part of the project brief involved the words "go crazy" so it was fun drawing this. It was also nice working with an old classmate of mine, Amani Bou Dargham, who came up with the original idea from which to base this drawing on.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

World Day of Social Justice

This is an image drawn for a collective project worked on in collaboration with COSV ( It's part of an illustrated calendar where the image for each month represents a day celebrating a human right.

This illustration can be downloaded as a desktop background here:

And in high resolution here:

I'd like to add that the folks over at COSV are some of the nicest people I ever had the pleasure to meet. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Zawarib-Part II

A while ago, I worked on a cover design for Zawarib (see previous posts). Now, it's been adapted into a poster:

For more information, please visit

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Journal of Bizarre Illustration

Sometime in 2007, I came across a small notebook I had lying around my room. It was a bunch of colored papers that were Japanese-bound together, and it was completely empty. Back then, my work was mostly in high contrast black and white. It seemed like the right time to try something different.  I set two rules for myself:

1) No penciling. Everything had to be done directly with ink without a plan (I started breaking that rule halfway through the notebook).

2) Every page had to use a new pattern or combination of patterns that I had not attempted before.

Early in 2010, I ran out of pages and haven't found the time to start a new notebook (yet). I'd advise anyone reading who's an illustrator or likes to draw (or whatever else) to try this sort of ongoing project. There's no deadline, no style to be adhered to other than whatever rules you might impose upon yourself, and the only purpose is to try things out. It was extremely liberating.

Some of the drawings from this journal were exhibited at a larger size during the FLUKS exhibition on January 15th. The following are the ones that got shown (recolored here with a different limitation):