Thursday, December 13, 2012


     As we can see here, this image contains a lot of curves, textures, and very intense detailing. There is an Arabic word in the middle, with layers of decorations moving outward from the center point. You can see some Lavenders on the upper and lower areas, along with two Lions looking at each other.

            Both lions seem like they are twirling and going towards the middle. With both their eyes gazing at the name in the middle. These two lions are created using Arabic letters, combined with a lot of calligraphic decorations.

            As you move outward you see more calligraphic decorations surrounding the design, and complete the circle between the two lions. When this circle is closed you can see more Lavenders surrounding the lions. Four smaller circles in each corner , with a smaller geometric pattern similar to the original bigger pattern overlapping the name and underneath the lions.

           This type of design is called a Mandala, a form that has a lot of spiritual meaning, found mostly in the Hindu and Buddhist cultures. Usually in Mandalas there is a radial balance going outward from the center point. A Mandala - or as requested from our Design teacher Kohl - must contain a herbal element, and an animal element of some sort (fauna and flora). Both must represent a meaning to the designer that infuses them in his Mandala.

           Interpreting this image without knowing the designers inspiration could be difficult, Yet if you understand Arabic you can actually read the letters that build up this design. We can notice a phrase inside each lion saying “ i love the lion “, with a lot of letters in the lions hair that make up that phrase.

We see a lot of contrast between the lions and the geometric pattern they complete. Circle within a circle with four circles surrounding it gives the feeling of comfort, and stability. The Lavenders integrated in the design, and surrounding the mandala, show a harmony that is keeping the whole design intact along with the use of positive and negative space.

Every ancient, eastern culture in particular, use a lot of “Sacred Geometry” in representing their idea of wholeness and oneness. Geometric shapes that represent the flower of life, or the fingerprint of god. These geometric patterns usually appear everywhere in nature with amazing precision. In this piece the designer tried to incorporate some of that knowledge in the flower like structure in the middle made with leaf like shapes, moving outwards in a circular harmonized pattern.  

This piece was a design made for my Fund. of design class. I picked the Lion and lavender for it’s very special resemblances to my heart. The phrase within the lions, was always said to me by my younger brother. He always loved my Afro, and considered me a role model to look up to. He would describe me as the Lion always. Saying it in both hard situations and funny situations just to mock my hair. When I’m mad he would say a lion, and when joking around am still a lion.

The lavenders represent my younger sister, the youngest of my siblings. Her name is
“Khozama” or Lavender in English. I decided to infuse her name in plant form around the lions and within the geometric pattern that surrounds my Name in the middle. She is a rebellious and very smart young girl. She really brings out what I had as a little kid, yet with the softness and beauty of the feminine right brained personality.

             My name is in the middle, with the design elements radially moving outward in a balanced harmony towards the lavenders, the two lions then finally to more lavenders around it all hugging everything with a lot of care, and beauty.

This design was a major project for me, took me a lot of hours and planning. Always loved the beauty of Islamic geometric designs, along with Arabic calligraphy. My companion was always the black pen throughout my childhood till today. My younger siblings are my fauna and flora, and I exist right there within that harmony. Surrounded by both texture, designs, and calligraphy.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Jamal - the graphic novel

- Jamal Project -

The Class:

Conceptual storytelling is a tough class. In this class you develop the skill to create a story  for any kind of visual entertainment project. And pitch it. 

time to work on it : 4 weeks 

Any student can pick any type of production: 

-Comic book
-TV series 
-Video game 

The rules for the story were the following: 

- Any date before the 1950's
-Any country or place
-No fantasy characters 
-Has at least 4 characters 
-At least one 4 legged Animal. 
-No history alterations 
-Show at least 6 chapters/episodes/sequences/or levels.

The rules for the pitch were: 

-Show Character Development sketches
-Show research data
-Show character and location designs.
-Let the viewer understand the story and conflict
-Monochrome (1 color and it's shades) 
-Show illustrations from key moments in the story.

-Show props
-Show key Backgrounds

- How My Idea Developed -

I was always interested in restudying the history of Saudi Arabia. I heard a lot about the movie Lawrence of Arabia. A 1962 film that won 7 Academy awards. It was about the British officer that was sent to the Arabian peninsula. I first started researching throughout the web about this character. And how he ignited the Arab revolt, and was sent to break apart the Ottoman empire during World War 1. 

Lawrence of Arabia 1962
Prince Faisal with Lawrence on the Right 
T.E Lawrence was sent to al-Hejaz in 1916, where he arrived in Jeddah. He was treated by the Arab tribesman like one of them. Successfully captured Aqaba and destroyed the Ottoman train line, along with other stuff.

T.E Lawrence, aka " El-Lawrence"

Yet T.E Lawrence was not alone. Their were two other British officers that were sent to the Arabs to give them an "Arab Country" independent from the Turks. Lawrence was sent to the west coast. Two others William Shakespeare (the explorer) and St. John Philby, were sent to the East. 

St. John Philby in Riyadh 


After researching intensively about the history of Saudi and Hejaz. And with the help of one of my closest friends Amin. I thought of making the story about the Camel that Lawrence used for transportation in his journey. 

Development of Characters

Jamal had to have the camel features, and the right anatomy of a camel. Yet looked cartoony and funny. Every character in a cartoon is never created out of nothing. A lot of research must be done, along with long studies of the figure. 



A bunch of Rough sketches

How to create the Atmosphere 

In order to create the same atmosphere in the time between 1916-1925, I had to research pictures from that time period in both Hejaz and the harsh Arabian desert. Check out the old traditions, and architecture as well. 

Old Jeddah

A scene from Lawrence of Arabia

Saudi Desert

Since we were asked to create the whole story in Monochrome. I picked the color Brown and it's shades. Because the color of the sand and the old Hejazi houses was in that range of colors. Which suits the mood very nicely, and will compliment the stories mood. 

WWI gun 

While illustrating the props.  as you can see they share the same color theme.

 - The Pitch -

After all the research, and working on developing an interesting conflict within that era. After writing the story down, developing the characters personality and complexity. I was ready to put it all in one pitch, to present it to the future investors "the class" lol. 

Here is the result of only four weeks of intense work:

or Actually - to be continued -

- It's a REAL Personal Project -

After finishing the pitch. I highlighted that this is not a mere school midterm.

 The Jamal story is a prequel for a future story currently in the making. The Jamal graphic novel will be completely done in the near future. 

 For all you investors "classmates" here is the project, and I promise you a sequel. So0oo0o.... it's up to you 

thank you

More Development:




nights of working

-My father Raafat Zaini
-Amin Mudarres
-Kirk Douglas

note: I got an A <3