Where did you grow up and when did you say to yourself: ‘’I want to be an Artist’’?
I grew up in Alexandria, in Egypt. Since I was a little kid I've always loved drawing but I decided to be a professional artist only when I was in college.
Have you always been supported in your artistic path or has it been challenging to let your family and friends understand your choice?
It was challenging, especially in the Egyptian society where these fields of work are not very well known (or sometimes even at all). My family left me alone to do what I wanted, which was enough for me.
What was the strongest influence you had when you were growing up ( artists, movies, cartoons, comics etc.. ) ?
It was mainly comics, there were many local comics magazines which contained the works of Egyptian artists like “Fawwaz” and “Ma’louf”. The greatest influence though came from DC comics (especially “Batman Adventures”) and later on from Marvel comics. Recently I also get passionate about Japanese comics and manga style in general.
Did you go to an art school or are you self taught? What helped you prepare to become the artist we know today?
I’m self taught artist. I was originally studying at the faculty of law when I decided to get into art, so I had to rely on my personal efforts to build my skills as an artist, especially with the lack of art schools we have here in Egypt.
Did you have a favourite subject to draw when you were a child and do you still have one today? If you do, what makes it so special?
When I was a child I mainly enjoyed drawing fan art, particularly superheroes. Now my interest is focus Arabian folk tales and history, which is the inspiration for a personal project that I’m currently working on.
From the initial client idea to the final work: what goes through your mind when you're designing and what is the method you use when starting a project? Could you describe it?
Research is the golden word. I never start a project without researching the subject and after gaining enough understanding of the subject and collecting enough reference, it’s time for brainstorming. I just grab my pencil and paper and start sketching ideas. I go very messy and loose on paper, just to get the ideas out. Once I got what I want I scan the messy sketch and I refine it digitally, trying to take more care in rendering because from my experience it’s a major selling point.
What is your process in coloring your art and what type of tools and media do you use?
I only work digitally and I always start with line art. I’m not very good at choosing colors, so I mainly focus on getting the values in greyscale first, which is the most important point as I see it. Then I add the colors, mostly experimenting until I'm satisfied with the results.
What part of the creation process is the most fun and easy and what part is the hardest?
The most fun and easy is sketching of course. The messy brainstorming sketches where you let your hand and imagination go wild. The hardest is turning it into a clean line art artwork.
What are some of the things you have learned from other artists who you have worked with or whose work you have seen?
I think the most important thing I’ve learned is the importance of using a reference and how to effectively you can benefit from it without falling in the trap of copying it. Another thing is the importance of good rendering, because although I’ve always enjoyed sketching, rendering is the stage that can take your sketch to a whole new level.
Is there something that you have designed that you are most proud of?
There’s actually a female character that I’ve designed recently which I was most proud of because it was something very new to me, unfortunately I can’t show it because it’s part of a project currently in development.
What is your longterm career goal and what would your dream project be?
They’re both the same for me, my goal and dream project. Is to start producing my own comic book series, which I’ve already started working on recently.
Working for a company or freelancing: what suits you best? And why?
Working for a company, because for me financial stability is very important.
Who are the artists who inspire you the most today and what are some of your favorite designs?
Humberto Ramos, Jin Kim, Ryan Lang, Hayao Miyazaki, Tsuninori Saito, and Ahmad Abd El-Warith.
We have a soft spot for hand drawn animation, what is your opinion about the future of this art form?
“God Bless Japan”.
Social networks, crowd funding websites, print on demand online service, you name it. New media on the internet are connecting the artists directly with their fans like never before. In your opinion, how is this affecting the industry and what are the pros and cons?
I think it’s very beneficial for the fans to be able to communicate with their favourite artists, or even just see their updates, keeping up to date with their work it’s a great thing. But on the other hand, I think it has also a very negative impact on the artists, especially the ones who are still at the beginning of their artistic path. As fans, most of them are biased, no matter what they do, the feedback on social media from their fans will be far from objective, and nothing hurts the artists more than biased opinions about their work. The other problem is that the effect the fans have on the artists can unfortunately put more pressure on them to try to appeal to their demands instead of following their artistic vision.
Thank you Eslam :)