Becoming an Animator – Learning What It Takes to be a Successful Pro

Animator at work

Unlike the rest of us, Toothless and Hiccup were not born in a day. Actually, this loveable duo from How to Train Your Dragon loved by many children around the world was amazingly designed by a group of talented animators facing their computer screens. While you may have seen them on cinemas, the adorable dragon and the determined young boy are simply a product of simultaneous still images intricately controlled in order to visualize an illusion of series of movements on the screen.

The army of animators doesn’t just work on your favourite children’s movies. They also play imperative roles in the making of action blockbusters such as The Lego movie, Transformers, high resolution video games, exquisite television commercials and many others! So, how would you like to become one of the people who make these exciting projects come true?

Also known as multimedia artists, animators create animation, special effects and other visual images using electronic tools and computers for creations or products. In such competitive field, it is essential for you to know that you have everything that it takes to pour your energy into career in animation. So, what does it mean to be a successful in the field?

Successful Animator – Defining the Character

If animation is your forte, you have to determine if you have to qualities to pour yourself into the profession. For instance, a successful animator knows when to be inquisitive and curious about the world around them. An animator sees the world a lot different than an average person.

Animators should be experts of the art of movement. This is the reason why big studios around the world consider an acting experience helpful in carrying out animation. For instance, Pixar Animation Studios like to stress the importance on how their candidates ensure they know how to show their character’s feelings through its motion.

The Technical Skills

So you have decided you are a natural animator and are ready to excel in your career. What about the technical skills needed?
Animators are artistic. They think outside the box. For them to give life to their ideas and visualize the dream they have in mind, they need to be analytical and creative. The mixture of being tech savvy and practical skills can be the perfect ingredient to foster in this field.

A lot of individuals also ask whether you need to know how to draw in order to become a good animator. Experts emphasize the importance of firm drawing skills. It is essential to have a vivid understanding of how a character is drawn and how the animator visualizes its movements. You, however, don’t have to draw like a famous painter but you need to know the fundamentals of drawing and art.

While some institution’s procedure of teaching animation varies from one to another, it is important for you to understand the skills of audio-video editing, color conjecture, web authoring and digital media production. Exposing yourself to advanced software such as 3D Studio Max, Adobe Flash and Mudbox is integral. These are the common skills you can get by getting an animation degree.

The Most Needed Experience

Apprenticeship plays a vital role in your career in animation. Why? The answer is simple. Not all institutions with animation courses can give you the most updated resolutions towards a modern animation product. You however, can obtain training through getting experience from entry-level jobs. Internships on animation studios are a good way to earn practice hands-on animation career. It provides you a good material for a professional portfolio that shows your artistic skills as an animator. Above all, it is your best chance to work with professional animators who can give worthy inputs.

Are you up for the challenge?

Bringing characters to life is a fun, challenging and exciting job. However, don’t expect animation career to be an easy path. Animators work long hours to beat deadlines. If you are passionate about your dreams and determined to do what you do best, this high-pressure field shouldn’t put you off a bit.


Each of us has goals in life. Being successful is what we want – in our careers, in our business ventures, our family life and relationships. One of the key to be successful is to have self-confidence but more importantly we also need to have self-belief in the areas we are striving to succeed.

Achieving a goal in life is like taking a road map for a trip in which you need to take time to plan, prioritize, and determine where you are going. Having a plan helps to focus on the destination and allows to have an early warning when we are deviating from the path.

Here are some tips that might help you to embark on that road to success:

1. Set the goals. One of the most important steps to achieve success in life is to set the goal that you want to aim. When you set your goals, you are also setting a direction where you want to go. It might be helpful if you will write down your goals too.
2. Learn to visualize the goals. Visualization is an essential personal development tool. It is a way to train your mind to see your future and your goals. Through that way, it can help you then to motivate and focus yourself to that goal.
3. Be positive in life. One of the best ways to be successful is to stay positive. Get rid of negative thoughts and be with positive people. Practice positive affirmation to help you feed your mind with positive thoughts every day. It is on how you see things that will help you stay positive and happy.
4. Seize opportunity. Opportunities in life may come and go and in reaching your goals, you need to grab opportunities that may come to you. Be open to new opportunities. It is also essential to give effort, time and resources to attain what you want.
5. Keep yourself physically fit. To be successful, it is important to keep your well-being physically fit. Doing an exercise or even a 15-minute walk every day, having a balanced and healthy diet and enough sleep are essential things. Having a physically fit body can help you to appreciate and enjoy life fully.
6. Be thankful and learn to share. It is in giving that you will receive more. Learn to thank the people who help us and give without expecting something in return. Through this way, life tends you to give more reasons to be grateful for.


Do not forget too that being happy will lead you to be successful in life. Be happy while working on your goals, this will help you do your best.


Finding the right employees for a business is not always easy. In fact, there are so many applicants all over the world nowadays. One of the primary challenges that employers facing today is employee recruitment and retention.

Many employers receive hundreds of job applications. Among to these applications, we have to think which resume is suitable for the job position. The question goes: How to make hiring decisions that will help to hire the best employees? Of course, employers seek for applicants who are strong performers and engaged to their work. Let us help by giving some tips for hiring the right employees:

1. After receiving and reviewing a resume, the employer should have a list of all the job duties required in the job. While conducting an interview, employer need to speak about the job role and develop questions that will help you to understand whether the applicant have any of the experience listed. It will be better to conduct a behavioral type of interview to evaluate the candidate experiences and behavior. Through this, it can determine the candidate’s potential for success.
2. Determine the type of skills and education required for job. For example, does the candidate need a particular degree to perform the job or does the candidate have enough skills and experience suitable for job?  These questions will be answered by the employer itself. Let the candidate share the previous job experiences, skills performed, awards received and many more. Employers should see the awards or certificates that the applicant received.
3. Conduct a thorough background check. There are proper ways to find out the candidate’s working background such as talking to their previous employer or associates in order to get summary information about the candidate.
4. Provide a concise and clear job preview. The employer has to be sure that the job description and deliverable are explained in detail to the candidate. The candidate should not be left guessing about the job responsibilities. In that way, the chosen candidate will develop his/her ideas in the job roles.
5. When the employer found the right candidate, make the candidate hire! Make sure that salary range and offer letter has been discussed. Orient the new employee to the company and other members of the organization. Encourage the new employee appropriately and let the employee be comfortable.


Hiring the best employee will be possible if the employer understands what the employee needs before hiring them and supporting the employee to the job. Remember that the quality of people we hire is one of the key enablers of success in any business. This is similar to the quote from a German writer named Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, “A great person attracts great people and knows how to hold them together.”

Freedom and Passion in Creating Dreams – The Key to Entwining Your Future

freedom to achieve dreamsWhen you look at a corporate office or perhaps you have opened a magazine or you browsed a website, you see what seems to be a ‘perfect life’ for someone. You might also see someone reaching his dreams. Suddenly, you just feel that string of being unsure of yourself. Suddenly, you just feel a streak of low self-confidence in you, that someone else looks like they have the ideal state of reaching their dreams with the perfect opportunity while you are there, struggling to keep your head above the water. Believe us, you are not alone.

Some people have found a realization in the process of reaching their dreams. Some people just don’t. But, you have to know that there is one insight out there that puts someone above the others. Sometimes the feeling of being limited can paralyze you from reaching your dreams. However, when you understand the true meaning of lack of restrictions, you will start living by it. You will finally allow finding yourself in your career path. You have to realize that there are no rules. You need to live with the fact that freedom does exist.

Creating Your Dreams with Passion

You desire for excitement. You yearn for change. You have this big dream in you continually flowing like a secret fountain of youth. Having a dream is potent, beautiful and energetic – but at the same time, it can also be frustrating and exhausting, especially when you are trying to fit in the industry where competition is high. We know passion will keep you recharged and going. Passion is going to pump up your inspiration and motivations, making you feel like a huge part of the group of people chasing their dreams. Then, you realize that when the sense of freedom and passion sprouts in you, you suddenly feel hopeful. So, what is next? You need to find the medium of making that dream come true.

This is what Middle East Talents Awards is all about. We thought that it is one medium for the younger generation who want to be somebody in the digital arts industry. Yes, we want to make you feel like you are catching the stars. We want to make you feel like you are running in the field, trying to reach for the sky stretching right before your eyes. Some of you may feel like this is next to impossible and believe us, this is where most dreamers like you give up. But, you also have to believe us that the distance between your life now and the future is never that far. You just have to believe that you are capable of doing so, and that you are choosing the right paths to take.

Middle East Talent Awards isn’t just a competition. We want to motivate you on the positive side of ambition and desire to succeed. We want to keep you excited rather than feeling the pressure of life’s challenges. Be a part of your dream. Feel the freedom. Sense the passion. Create your dream. Entwine with your bright future.

Pixelhunters & Middle East Tallents Awards in a collaboration with ANIMAGO AWARDS

animago AWARD 2014 – Participate now!

Here we go: DIGITAL PRODUCTION, German trade magazine for digital media productions and visualisation, is already in the FINAL CALL FOR ENTRIES for the 18th animago AWARD. And you’re invited to register online at for the 2014 contest. The registration deadline for submissions is July 21, 2014.
More than 1,000 submissions in 2013, which were sent to us by international digital artists from 66 different countries – what a great recognition for our project. The animago AWARD has indeed now firmly established itself as a major name across the entire globe. Last year, the animago celebrated a record number of submitted productions and once again reflected a fantastic range of themes that showcased not only the inspiring creativity of the artists but also their outstanding technical performance and skill.

Especially we like to call attention to “BEST YOUNG PRODUCTION”. Each year this category is endowed with prize money € 3,000. Each person of the winner team additionally will get a RenderCube sponsored by our partner CADnetwork.
Also a big Thank You goes to Dell & Nvidia. They will be sponsoring the category “JURY´S PRIZE” and the lucky winners will receive a Precision Workstation M3800 with a high-performance NVIDIA® Quadro® graphics card.

Participation is free of charge and worthwhile for both professionals and newcomers. Individuals who send in their productions are not just subjecting their work to the vote of the independent jury; they are also taking advantage of the opportunity to showcase their abilities within the industry. The ceremonial animago AWARD gala on October 16, 2014 at the Potsdam-Babelsberg Media City is the climax of the two-day animago AWARD & CONFERENCE.

Click here for all Information & categories:
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Pixelhunters & FUNN Sharjah Media Arts for Youth and Children in collaboration for Middle East Talents Awards

We are very pleased and excited to announce that Pixelhunters is now in collaboration with FUNN Sharjah Media Arts for Youth and Children (– an organization under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness, the Ruler of Sharjah that promotes media art for the youth of Sharjah and United Arab Emirates.

Governed under Sharjah Islamic Culture Capital, FUNN works on its vision towards nurturing the future generation of creative artists in media and film.
The first Middle East Talents Awards created a huge hit among young artists and thriving individuals in getting their skills seen across the world. This year, we would like to announce that META will coordinate with FUNN to bring about the best of our youth in media arts.

Middle East Talents Awards will help in supporting and promoting Sharjah International Children’s Film Festival – an event hosted by FUNN to develop young film makers and digital artists amidst this highly competitive industry. The film festival is to encourage and promote the media literacy of young generation, cultivate children’s sense of creativity and show their skills in filmmaking.

In relation to this, short films created by children participating in Middle East Talents Awards will also have the chance to be showcased to FUNN’s film festival. A representative from their organization will also become one of the judges for META’s next season of awards.

Just like FUNN, Pixelhunters will conduct workshops on computer animation during their festival – all free of charge. This is to continue to impart our knowledge and expertise to the children who are showing interest in digital arts. We are happy to be a part of this collaboration while we continue to push through our educational activities for the youth.

Middle East Talents Awards is announcing the winners

Middle East Talents Awards, together with Pixelhunters, 3D Artist, Chaos Group, CG Record and Stylus Copywriting, go hand in hand in bringing brightness to the world of undiscovered talents in Middle East. We hunt for individuals who have strong interest in showing their talents in digital arts. We would like to recognize that talent and give them the support they need as a budding artist by giving them the platform of learning, fun and sense of competition.


We were astonished by the hundreds of entries submitted for nine different categories from different individuals across the world. We are more than happy to see a lot of aspiring individuals trying to make a difference through their skills. We are overwhelmed with the number of people wanting to be somebody in the industry. Above all, we are so delighted to be a part of their humble beginnings as young professionals.


With an overwhelming 569 submissions, we decided to not just pick a winner for a particular category. We would also like to notice the talents across the entire section. Some of our artists have multiple artworks that show their uniqueness and skilful hands in different categories that is why we would like to award not just their single masterpiece but the artist himself as a whole. Since META is all about discovering talents, all awarded artists will be featured along with their best outputs.


Today, we announce the first winners of Middle East Talents Awards. May this be an encouragement to all individuals who have hopes of becoming an artist to continue showing the world that their talents can make a difference.




Category: Most Rated Artwork: 717 Rates Khaled Jalal-most rated

Artist: Khaled Jalal, Syria.

Submission: Self Portrait Concept Art



Category: Short Film Made by a Single Person egg-factory-short-film

Artist: Vishwanatha, United Arab Emirates

Submission: Egg Factory



Category: 2D Characters wrinkledterror2D

Subcategory: 2D Still:

Artist: RENJU.MV, India

Submission: Wrinkled Terror


 Category: 2D Characters 2Dvideo

Subcategory: 2D Videos

Artist: Amaal Abdullah Alkhasheb, Yemen

Submission: The Government Line




Category: 3D CharactersImage converted using ifftoany

Subcategory: 3D Characters Stills – Cartoon

Artist: Raorohith, United Arab Emirates

Submission: The Pussycat Dolls






Category: 3D Characters3Dphotorealistic

Subcategory: 3D Characters Stills – Photorealistic

Artist: Rishi, United Arab Emirates

Submission: Monster Sculpt






Category: 3D Characters3Dcharactersvideo

Subcategory: 3D Characters Videos

Artist: Alaa Aldeen Afifah, United Arab Emirates

Submission: Character Animation Demo Reel


Catergoty: Interiorsinterior still

Subcategory: Interiors Stills

Artist: Muhammad Taher, Egypt

Submission: Maroccan Majlis






Catergoty: Interiorsinteriorsvideo

Subcategory: Interiors Videos

Artist: Ahmad, Jordan

Submission: Art Class Movie


Category: Exteriors exteriors2D

Subcategory: Exteriors Stills – 2D

Artist: Binu Rojers SP, India

Submission: Market


Category: Exteriors exterior3Dstill

Subcategory: Exteriors Stills – 3D

Artist: Mohammad Yazdi Rad, Iran

Submission: Chaharbagh School


Category: Exteriors exteriorsvideo

Subcategory: Exteriors Videos

Artist: Sherif Gazzar, United Arab Emirates

Submission: Bab Al Bahr


 Category: Carscars

Subcategory: Cars Stills

Artist: Ajdin, Croatia

Submission: Trucks Caravana


 Category: Carscarsvideo

Subcategory: Cars Videos

Artist: Fabien Vantroys, Qatar

Submission: Need for Skid


Category: Motivationalmotivationalstill

Subcategory: Motivational Stills

Artist: Jones, Iran

Submission: Frantic Perception






Category: Motivationalmotivationalvideo

Subcategory: Motivational Videos

Artist: Sreekumar Thottathil, Qatar

Submission: Show Reel Sreekumar


Category: Innovationinnovationstill

Subcategory: Innovation Stills

Artist: Ehsan Sarahian, Iran

Submission: Desert Lucast Vehicle, Iran



Category: Innovationinnovation-videos

Subcategory: Innovation Videos

Artist: Eyad Orabi, United Arab Emirates

Submission: Absract


Category: Expo 2020

Artist: Vijay, India


 *All Statuettes winners will receive also a Pixelhunters T-shirt





Artist: Mohammad Yazdi Rad, Iran












Artist: Raorohith, United Arab Emirates


Submissions: The Pussycat Dolls & Doll Beauty Salon

Image converted using ifftoany   edulicense













Alexandra Kavalova, Canada for her Baianas and The Romanovs submissions












Denitsa, Bulgaria for her Elf Legolas and Fairy Forest submissions



Zdravko Barisic, Serbia and Montenegro, for his Architects Loft Daynight Time









Rakan Jandali, United Arab Emirates for Mondrian Inspired Hotel Room and Split House Interior submission

mondian  rakan




Eychenne Mickael, France, for Pirat town submission








Veselin Gyurov, Bulgaria, for Veselin Georgiev Gyurov Showreel submission



Shahriar Hosseini, Iran, For Ford GT 500 submission



Richard, South Africa, for 1955 BMW Isetta 300 submission








Stephen M Rupia, South Africa, for Haunted Villa








Huda Abdul-Razzak, United Arab Emirates, for he Portrait of a Woman submission 

portrait of woman











Kudzai Gumbo, United Arab Emirates, for his Queen submission








Salama Alhajeri, United Arab Emirates, for her Old woman submission











Rozan Alsadi, United Arab Emirates, for his Old Man submission

old man












Muhammad Taher, Egypt, for his Morrocan Majilis

interior still











Yones Bana and Mohammadreza Mohseni, Iran for Frantic Perception submission











Mohit, India, for Interior Bedroom Top View and Summer Hear submissions

mohit mohit2








Rakan Jandali, United Arab Emirates for Split House Interior and Modern Apartment Dining Area submissions









Zdravko Barisic, Serbia and Montenegro, for his Architects Loft Daynight Time








Pawel, Poland, for Public Space Submission











Ahmad, Jordan, for his Robot submission











Nitin.D.Mahale, United Arab Emirates for Court Space Submission

court space










Rishi, United Arab Emirates for Monster Sculpt submission












Richard, South Africa, for 1955 BMW Isetta 300 submission








But this doesn’t end here. In fact, we are just beginning to discover what our future generation can offer.


Congratulations to All Winners! We are looking forward to see much more of your works.

Please email us at to inform us about your latest address and telephone number.



Career path for young people

Knowing What Hinders Them and How to Deal With It Have you started thinking about which career to take?


Some people may think that choosing a career path might be as easy as picking a major. Well, this is not generally the case. Planning your career is a little bit complicated and is considered a tough process by most individuals. This is the reason why you should take the steps needed and act accordingly in a very attentive way.


One good example are young individuals showing their interest in the arts industry. The evolution of digital arts in that matter brought about hundreds of young people wishing to take part in the breakout. The thing about digital arts industry is that it changes constantly. It is dynamic by nature. Without professionals to teach young minds, one digital artist can never ride along the bandwagon of innovation. It is due to this example that you should study your field well and know how to catch up with it. This is also the reason why one digital artist should consider scouting for internship opportunities in order to go along with the updates and trends.


Yes, there are different programs that have been developed by companies and universities in order to help young people jumpstart their career. Moreover, these choices allow young jobseekers to narrow their choices and find a path that yields success. However, just like any path, there is always a rough part of the road. It is common to see a lot of young individuals facing challenges and it is more common to see them feeling lost. If you are in this situation, then learn to do something about it.


Survival of the Fittest for Young People in the Job hunting Market


During the current economic climate which is originally described as the most challenging labour scenario for young people, market researchers found out that most of these young jobseekers are overwhelmed with high competition, low demand and speed of digital process of recruitment that seems like moving faster than ever. Because of the vast competition, it is a little bit challenging for these young individuals to catch up with the highlights in the labour market.


There has been many researches that highlight the hardships these young people face in today’s job hunting arena. With a competitive economy, most individuals find it a little bit daunting to enter the work force, making it vulnerable for young ones to fall on underemployment and even unemployment at its worst.


Competition- It is indeed one of the challenges that these professionals face. In this digital era, the entire recruitment process has been made easier and faster. This is why some people seem to be unaware of the available job openings nearby their area. They also do not know that a quicker response to any job posting is required to determine success. This is particularly accurate in the digital arts market. Since most of these professionals are taking their game online, it follows that a fast moving process online also makes it available to almost everybody. In fact, these kinds of vacancies are easily filled, causing the employers to close the applications within few days and even hours.


Finding Employment in a Tight Economy


One of the best ways to jumpstart your career is to begin working on your passion projects during your free time. If you are a struggling digital artist, start it off. Having such activities and hobbies related to it will validate your diligence and efficiency. These are actually some of the qualities every employee is looking for. It could be related to any of the following:


• Participating in voluntary works related to your career


• Creating and building your online portfolio and blog posts


• Attending workshops and seminars


• Taking technical courses and scouting for open internships and trainings.


If you are going to engage yourself to these options, you will increase your chances of landing a job and even getting yourself ready. Sometimes, an individual who starts to interact with other people who share his passion is capable to get employed easily through recommendations or social media platforms sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn.


In a firm labour market, it is hard to get employed. Nevertheless, don’t stop sending your resume and portfolio. Take the proactive way of calling a possible employer or ask the employed people if their companies have openings or accept internships. If you are able to identify your strengths and determine which ones you like doing the most, you won’t make mistakes in taking your career path.


About Dr. Ani Atanasova:


Dr. Ani Atanasova is the CEO of LIFIHUNTERS & PIXELHUNTERS companies. She has a multi-faceted and multi-national background in science, culture, management, and a strong scientific background in the Quantum and Optoelectronics field. Dr. Atanasova is the United Arab Emirates’ Correspondent for the Young Business Leaders Organization France, she is the chair of the UAE Chapter of the International Game Developers Association, a core management team member of CEO Clubs UAE female division, and is a juror of the 2012-2013 International Business Awards, Stevie Awards and “A Design” Awards.


The original article you can find here:

Featured Story I – Mirror Images

Mirror Images

Be careful what you wish for as sometimes the consequences will bring you somewhere you don’t want to be.

Perhaps it is human nature to argue on different things or not be satisfied over the things that they have. People who know what they want have obviously have so much passion in their life’s work as well as mix in great amount of endeavours to everything they are involved with. However, for somebody who is far from reaching their point of interest, you can see that they are willing to do just everything in their power to get it. This is their means of achieving their dreams.

This story reminds us that some wishes may cost us everything. Instead of getting everything we wish for, we might actually end up with nothing. We hope you are with us as you read this. Here it is.

Mirror Images

Author: Shamma Humaid Obaid Humaid Al Mansoori

Illustrator: Noora Abdulrahman Abdulla Abdulrahman Al Shaikh

Mirror Images

Click to Read

About the Author

In order to give us more insight, and get to know the writer, we have interviewed the author Shamma Humaid Obaid Humaid Al Mansoori in regards to her story. It goes here:

1. How long have you been writing stories?
I started writing a few months before this project began.


2. If this is your first story, has the success of your first effort encouraged you to continue writing?
Yes these are my first stories.  I wrote “Mirror Images and Hamda’s Nightmare” for this edition of the Story Mile. Yes the publication of these stories has encouraged me to keep writing.


3. How did you come up with your story idea?
It all started with me sitting with my cousin and making up scary stories.


4. What was your objective as you plotted your story?
My goal was to recreate our “Emirati” traditional stories.


5. How do you think your stories can relate in today’s society?
“Mirror Images” is based on a true story.  This story and the other Story Mile tales were created to share important life lessons, not just to simply entertain.  I’ve found that some parents have a tendency to play favourites with their children and as a result jealousy grows and plays a big role in their lives. Parents shouldn’t divide their children, but guide them to do the right things in life, and understand that external beauty is not the answer to everything. 
My second story, Hamda’s Nightmare is designed to show the reader how toxic fear can be when we allow it to take over our lives.  I also wanted to promote the importance of mutual respect between life partners. 


6. How does it feel to be featured in a publication?
Exciting yet terrifying.


7. What is your message to your readers?
I go by the saying “Never judge a book by its cover.” It also talks about family, siblings and how the most love and support each other.


8. Why do you think the Story Mile or similar projects like this are important for the community?
The Story Mile helps us to spread our words and as I mentioned previously, it allows us to share life lessons passed down to us through the generations using these ancient characters from our past.


9. How does your family feel about your participation in the project?
They are very supportive and proud of my success.


10. Do you plan on making more heritage stories in the future?
I might think about it. 




 About the Illustrator

Every story can spark an imagination, especially when an illustration is included. It takes the ability to relate and the skills to come up with a creative output. Here’s Noora Abdulrahman Abdulla Abdulrahman Al Shaikh, the illustrator for Mirror Images.

1. How long have you been drawing?
I do not recall the exact date I started drawing, but I do believe I started drawing sometime in 2005.


2. Which mediums do you work in?
I work in traditional mediums as well as digital. For traditional mediums, I work with pencils, pens, markers, and sometimes watercolors. For digital Illustrations, I use my trusty Wacom Tablet Intous 4 and Adobe Photoshop. On occasion, I do experimental sculptures with wires and different types of clay.


3. If this is your first illustration in a book?
No, I have published a few illustrations in an illustration book prior to the Story Mile called Garden of Pearls, which was released for the Middle East Comic Con 2013.


4. If so, has the success of your first effort encouraged you to continue illustrating professionally?
Regardless of any success or failures for previous and coming publications, I will continue to draw and illustrate as it is my passion to do so.


5. How did you approach the illustration process?
First research, then look for as many references as I could possibly find then went about planning my layout, composition and designing the characters involved.


6. What was your objective as you sketched your illustration?
My approach for the illustration ‘Mirror images’ was to try to portray the story in one single image. Mahra was the twin adored by her parents and Mariam was the jealous twin, and of course, there was the wicked Um Al Heilan, I wanted to show Mahra’s calm expression, oblivious to her sisters plan, Mariam’s face twisted in jealousy and hatred, and finally Um Heilan’s evil eyes gazing upon them.


7. How important was it to match the narrative that was written?
In my opinion, if the illustration does not match the story, then the illustrations weren’t a success. The purpose of illustrations are to draw the readers’ attention to the story, make them curious as to what the story may be about and as to who are the characters that are shown.


8. How do you think your visual story can relate in today’s society?
In the case of Mirror Images, it is common for individuals to be blinded by their jealousy towards their kin and friends. But the importance lies in knowing to be thankful for what they have rather than causing harm to others, because who knows? If one harms the other, the mistreatment will eventually return to the doer.


9. How does it feel to be featured in a publication?
I feel happy to see my illustrations in print, there is something special in knowing that the work I’ve put into the illustrations has paid off and has a purpose.


10. What is your message to your readers?
I would like for the readers to get inspired and to enjoy doing what they like to do most whether it is reading, writing drawing or anything! 


11. Why do you think the Story Mile or similar projects like this are important for the community?
Projects that are like the Story Mile are important not only as a way to conserve heritage in a special way, but also as a source of entertainment to let individuals have fun in reading about the characters that make up the cultures almost forgotten folklore, and also come to love and remember them as well.


12. How does your family feel about your participation in the project?
I am thankful for my family’s constant support in what I like to do most, and I hope that they are proud of me. 


13. Do you plan on making more heritage art in the future?
I do not plan to stop at heritage art. I would like to explore other themes as well, whatever proves to be fun and challenging.


14. How would you like to see your art develop professionally?
Art changes constantly, therefore styles continue to develop and improve with constant practice. For the future, I plan to create more illustrative books and other works of art and further develop my style.



This is The Story Mile and Middle East Talents Awards first featured story. What do you think of the story? Is it something the younger generation can relate into? Let us know on comments and find out the next featured story soon!

The Story Mile Project and Abu Dhabi International Book Fair

The Story Mile Project is an initiative by Zayed University and the members of Al Kharareef Storytelling Club to uphold the Emirati storytelling heritage. It resulted into many tales and illustrations featuring the arts and skills of Zayed University students, wanting to express simple lessons through the characters they are able to bring to life.

On April 30th to May 5th, 2014, Abu Dhabi held its annual Abu Dhabi International Book Fair where The Story Mile has gotten the chance to be featured and luckily, the community has responded with warm and positive vibes.

The Story Mile expanded its partnership with Sheikha Alyazia bint Sultan bint Khalifa Al Nayhan’s ZOWD Foundation as the latter expressed the interest of co-distributing and publishing the Story Mile and expand its audience.

With the Sharjah International Book Fair coming in, The Story Mile shares its exciting news as the fair is keen to add the project in their Cultural Program and workshops, allowing them to create the Story Mile’s very own gallery.

So, are you ready to jump with us? Make sure to support The Story Mile!