Saturday, August 25, 2012

Cartooning People = Making Money ?

An Artist Must Have Sort of Income .. Right ?

First days of cartooning people - (Garage Sale Bazar )  Ramadan 2008

Artists always need some source of income to keep going, sadly in the country I was raised   in - Saudi Arabia - , not everyone around me supported the idea of being a cartoonist. Being an artist is not something a dad will brag to his friends about, unlike being a doctor or an Engineer. Therefore the whole mentality of the public or community is messed up about artists, and that if they make money then it should be insignificant because all they do is draw on a "piece of paper".

 A lot considered drawing human characters "Haram" or forbidden by Islam and religion. I remember having to draw some characters without a neck, or draw a distorted face, put a line on their neck, and other stupid suggestions from some family religious members or teachers. 

So even with a community that doesn't appreciate Art and considers it as a hobby that won't make you live, Another portion considered it Haram and by doing so you are disobeying what god and his prophet said -which is of course Bull shit and Islam is innocent from this crap - . 

This Religious mentality changed a lot nowadays, and it's less strict about this subject. Yet the community still thrives with the appreciation of Artists. God blessed me with amazing parents that never cared for what other people may say, and that supported me all the way. One of the first things that my father cared about teaching me, is always make your own penny, work hard and whatever you want to own, buy it yourself . Even though the community maybe messed up, keep going in the direction god blessed you with. 

At a meeting with some german visitors 2009

It's Ramadan 2008. My friend Mohammad Ghulman, and his brother rented a table in a Bazar. It was organized by, and it was called "the Garage Sale". My friend was selling used items around the house, such as used video games, some antiques, and so on. I went the first day and the place was packed with people from all over Jeddah. I brought some games to sell, but didn't feel that was any fun nor did it bring any real cash. 

A light bulb exploded above my head, with an idea I honestly never tried before...

Why not bring a sketch book and start sketching people for money ? quick 5 minute cartoony portraits of random people.. and so I did.. 

I started at my friends table with a price of 25 SR, and I was bringing costumers to his table and at the same time making nice money, while drawing a smile on whoever was drawn. 

I was moved to my own spot next to the cashier the second day, after attracting a lot of customers, and I reduced the price to 10 sr ( almost 3$). Yet the amount of people kept increasing and I was the happiest cartoonist on earth. 

From that Garage sale I was introduced to the people that I must say changed my life forever. A community I wasn't aware of that existed right next door. A community of Artists,  and pioneers. That were going against all the odds. I found a Jeddawy community that embraced me as an artist. Appreciated the work I did, and exposed me to the professional world of artists and designers in Saudi Arabia. 

I must say they were my first Artistic Family.. 

more from the German visitors 2009
From cartooning people, I went on to comic Design, Cartoon illustrating, Logo Designing, Caricatures, Animations, and I'm still on the journey of more and more. Yet I never stopped the cartoon portraits that were almost my signature. By time it kept getting better, adding colors, using photoshop, and adding affects to them. 

American School Carnival - 2009

Another Ramadan Bazar with Mohammad Ghulman. 2009


The Journey will never stop, I'm still learning, and still going forward to establish more skill and professionalize even more. 

One of the most recent huge Portraits 2011
Drawn on The Jusoor Cafe wall 2011
In conclusion... in this journey of becoming a professional artist one must know that being an artist doesn't mean you can't make any income. Looking back at how Cartooning people changed the way I interacted with the artistic community in Jeddah, I learned that as an artist you have to get out there and work. Start early, start with motivation... You don't need to get paid a lot, yet your name is very important so get yourself out there. I went through some rough patches with clients that didn't appreciate my hard work, and that would tell me this is just a "piece of paper" that doesn't mean anything.. I would work countless nights, and then get paid nothing. Every artist must go through this, therefore never give up. Keep going and you will find the way. Follow your passion and god won't let you down. 

My Senior Class of 2011 
funny portraits in school haha 

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