Artistic Flair

Our personality of the week is Zainab Al Lawati, a young artist whose forte includes illustration, manga and anime

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Zainab Al Lawati, a young artist whose forte includes illustration, manga and anime. She is successful because she believed in herself and her art, won the Al Mar’a Excellence Award in Fine Arts. We met her to understand how her creativity works and how far this young woman would go to fulfill her dreams and achieve what others may think of as the impossible.

On Herself
“I am a freelance manga artist and anime illustrator who goes by the name of TaiGa Blush. I am currently working on a project for children. I have conducted many workshops in Oman including an online workshop every three to six months. I have participated in many art conventions, including the Behance International Portfolio in Muscat where I was awarded the first option among the presenters. Last year I won the ‘Best Design’ award and became the first Omani artist to win this accolade at the Middle East film and Comic Con in Dubai in which more that 150 artists from all over the world took part. The Al Mar’a Excellence Awards was of course, the jewel in the crown.”

On Manga
“It’s called manga art which has Japanese comic art lines and features in black and white. Manga in Japanese means comic; anime is what we call cartoons but are about animated manga pictures only in 2D technique, so what I’m doing is designing characters, drawing up a storyboard, creating manga, illustrating and sometimes animating. Although I haven’t still created my own manga, but have begun preparing for it as it takes a long time to finish. I am planning to publish it as a book as it will feature more than one chapter – I have to plan the story, drawing the manga pages and so on and so forth. I don’t want to do things in haste and then regret if things go wrong. I have already worked on short colour comics for different magazines.”

On her interest in anime and art
“As a young girl, I was obsessed with video games and cartoons in Japanese called anime, dubbed in Arabic, that were aired on Oman TV and other channels in the Gulf. Though most kids would outgrow this obsession when they reached their teens, I always and will be influenced by such amazing art and stories. For me, this was a representation of what art means and so I kept watching them and searching for new anime on the internet. The fascination continues.”

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“Go for it and follow your dreams. As long as you’re satisfied, serious and have courage, you can do whatever you want to.”

On being self-taught
“It all started just two years ago. I am a self-taught artist. In Oman, manga or anime workshops are very rare. I was not the type of artist to depend solely on short online tutorials that are not really helpful to beginners. So in addition to learning online, I kept copying what I saw and repeating them, as practice makes perfect. After three to four months, I started on my own art designing my first characters solely depending on my creativity and imagination. I am still learning.”

On reaction from family and friends
“To be honest my family was not too keen on the idea but they never stopped me from doing what I wanted to do. My friends supported me right from the start and are really proud of me. Some of my friends had the same reaction as my family as they thought that art wouldn’t take me anywhere. They probably felt that I was just wasting my time. But after I achieved some of my goals, my family started supporting me. I think at times, they still feel that I shoud be like any other ‘ordinary girl; working and married. But I am glad that they are happy about my success.”