Beginning from a partly autobiographical place, I was asked to illustrate a form of liberation for Muslim women. One way to be "free" is to create. To create something, anything really, that is a part of who you are, that's out there, outside of you and independent. From that principle of "freedom of creation" I drew a sketch of a Muslim female artist.
Below is a brief explanation of the process behind that.
After a few drafts of initial ideas the final image is developed in ink and a basic line of perspective. The young woman needed to be the focal point. At this stage I'm still mulling over the quantity of objects and their location. I like the idea of organisation in the background-a trait developed with maturity-but the innocence of seeing all of one's tools on a table.
The final drawing is then scaled and traced onto bleed-proof paper. I keep any 'mistakes' at this point in case I want to switch objects or add/remove lines. I find that fewer objects near the female figure help the balance (whereas normally I would chuck a lot more in). A sturdy easel is an essential investment for artists whether novices or professional. I am able to rest my documents on my easel's sliding ruler or hold in place with corner-tacks.
A waterproof fine-liner pen outlines all the basic shapes in the drawing. After a dose of colour, the pen is used to fill in finer detail: fingers, expressions, pages. I decided to paint the drawing with water-colours as a nod to the famous British illustrator Quentin Blake.
I also decide to use diluted colours and less of them so that is more empty space. Following the iconic image of my hijabi comics, the headscarf is once again a lovely thinking blue. The completed drawing fades from the shadowed background to bring the foreground to light, emphasised by a table lamp and blank sheets of paper, ready to be liberated.