Today is the second part of a two part series on Artist Strong. Last week we welcomed children’s author Zeina Kouzi. Today, we welcome the artist and illustrator behind Zeina’s story Cuddles and Leil.

Nadine Feghaly is a Lebanese illustrator and visual artist mostly known for her illustrated character: Viola’. She loves to create colorful worlds based on poetry and daydreams. She currently lives in Barcelona where she is doing her masters in “Art therapy.”

Creative Spirit Nadine FeghalyCarrie: Nadine we are pleased to have you on Artist Strong. Welcome! You’ve recently illustrated a children’s book entitled Cuddles and Leil. How did the idea come about? What is the story about?

Thank you!

The book “Cuddles and Leil” is a children’s story written by Zeina Kouzi and illustrated by me.

It is a story about two cats who living together try to overcome the difficulties of their differences and accept them.

Carrie: What was the process of illustrating a children’s book like?

After reading the story, we divide the text into parts according to the page numbers of the book and highlight the important scenes to illustrate. Then, I start working on the storyboard, create the characters, draw the scenes for each page or spread, design the cover, and finalize everything…

Of course the whole process also consists in communicating all of the above steps to the writer and making decisions together about the visual output.

Carrie: For the book, you collaborated with writer Zeina Kouzi. How did you two work together?

When Zeina contacted me I was living between Toulouse and Barcelona and she was also moving between Syria, Lebanon and Jordan so the whole process of creating the book was done through emails and skype calls.

Carrie: What was the best part of working collaboratively?

I think the best part was that I never met Zeina in person, not during the process nor after finishing the book. I had to draw the characters that were inspired by her two cats, her husband and her without meeting them.

The whole process was so smooth and enjoyable.

Creative Spirit Nadine Feghaly

Cover of the book Cuddles and Leil by Nadine Feghaly

Carrie: What advice do you have for people interested in illustrating a children’s book?

To connect with the child inside of them and start playing!

“Connect with the child inside of you and start playing!”  (Tweet Me!) 

Carrie: Besides this book, you are also known for your character Viola. Will you share a bit about her with us?

Viola’ is a character I created out of a necessity to express my emotions, questions, thoughts, fears…

She dreams of a colorful serene world asking herself or her surrounding questions about life, love, war…

We find her sailing the sea on a paper boat looking for home, or listening carefully to a flower, even talking to a tree, loving her elephant friend or some other times simply living on a cloud.

“Viola’ is a character I created out of a necessity to express my emotions, questions, thoughts, fears…” (Tweet Me!)

Carrie: You use Society6 to host the sale of your work. Can you share a bit about how this works?

It is an online shop where I sell my art applied to different platforms like bags/pillows/phone cases/mugs/prints…

Carrie: What were some of your first strategies for generating business for your art online?

When I was still living in Lebanon I started doing it on my own, people would contact me online, choose the illustration they’d like to have on bags, t-shirts or art prints, then I printed them and delivered them by myself. It was really interesting because it gave me the chance to meet the people who bought and loved Viola’.

Creative Spirit Nadine Feghaly

each tree, each fish, each sunset has a story to tell by Nadine Feghaly

Carrie: What do you do when you feel creatively stuck?

I wander spontaneously around the city, take the train, visit a mountain or the sea, read, clean or just sit quietly for some time to allow a space between my thoughts for new ideas.

Carrie: Who/What inspires you?

I am often inspired by poetry (especially by the sufi poet: Rumi), by the beauty and absurdity of the world that surrounds us, and by people I meet and people I love.

Carrie: How do you define Creativity?

Creativity is to give life,
color and form
to a voice that comes from within.

“Creativity is to give life, color and form to a voice that comes from within.” (Tweet Me!)

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Have you taken the time to “To connect with the child inside” of you and start playing? Tell us how it helps your creativity by sharing in the comments.

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