Welcome to this week’s interview!
Today I’m interviewing the very talented Abeer Kasiri.
Hello Abeer, I am so excited to know about you and your art 🙂 Lets start by telling my readers a little about yourself!
Abeer : Hi! I’m Abeer Kasiri, The artist behind AK Toonify, known as the toonify girl.A bachelor’s in sociology and a self taught digital artist and an illustrator! I love animals and cats more and I posses the power to make anything cute *slight laugh*
Q: What is art?
A: Art is everything, It is In everything. Look around, look anywhere, Art is the language that Allah SWT uses to mark his presence, It is a form of expression. For me, art is my escape, it is my savior, It connects me to everything in the nature that has been created yet disconnects me from the world at the same time.
“Life unfolds itself in mysterious ways.
For me art has always been my escape, my hope and my home”.
Q: When was the time that you decided to pursue the art career? was it something that you always knew at the back of your head?
A: You won’t believe I wanted to be neurosurgeon when I was a kid, I have always been a huge Disney fan, collected all the story books and cassettes, I grew up drawing scenes and princesses but never in my wildest dreams I thought that I would choose art as a career, I’d rather say it chose me and I am glad it did.
Life unfolds itself in mysterious ways.For me art has always been my escape, my hope and my home.
Unfortunately, when I was in my intermediate, I was bedridden for quite a long period of time. My friends and classmates all moved forward with their lives, pursuing the careers and studies, beginning their university life, it was very heartbreaking for me at that time and because of my health issues, I was unable to take admission in university and continue my studies..All these hardships and struggle was the Allah’s plan of preparing me for the journey He chose for me….I’m a not a trained artist or an art graduate so, you can imagine whatever I have learn’t by far is on my own, few years later, I was appointed in a software house as an illustrator when I didn’t know how digital paintings work or the softwares, I just knew how to paint and sketch. I have been blessed beyond measures, I met some awesome people at the right time who had been there for me since day one they helped me learn and guided me,It is amazing to be surrounded by people who believe in you, the people I met there Sufyan, Waqar and Wasiq they have been my guide, friends and mentors throughout!
And that is how my journey began as a digital artist and illustrator.
And today, it has been almost 6 years in the field.
Q: What is your way of studying art? what do you think will make you improve the most ?
A: I don’t believe in sticking to certain style or genre of art. Learning ,growing and sharing the knowledge is what I believe improve us. I try to learn from wherever I can and however I can. I’m glad we are born in the era of Internet and how easy it is to access all the tutorials and books.
I think practice makes me improve the most, I see artist’s work I try re creating the pose the style the feel and it helps me explore more. I’d rather say I study how the other artist paints and do their work.
Q: What does your process of creating an illustration look like? where does the idea come from? where do you start?A: Everything inspire, I think this is the best part of being an artist your mind is constantly working, you are thinking 24/7 and everything just motivates you to keep drawing.. People, sky, trees, flowers, conversations, animals…
That’s how I work.. I work on an idea, collect references and then start painting…
Q: How many hours a week do you draw on average? how long does it take you to finish one art piece?
A: Ummm! I draw at work and then for my personal illustrations or freelance or for toons I take out 2-4 hours a day after getting home and then of course the whole weekends..
It totally depend on the artwork and how much I am motivated to do it.. Usually it takes 10 to 12 hours minimum to complete an artwork and sometime way more
Revisions turn me off totally so I’m not including that time at all 😛
Q:what do you find the most challenging in working as an artist
A: To satisfy my clients.
There are so many hurdles that I go through to make the perfect toon LOL. The first and foremost is to explain the difference between a portrait, a toon and a caricature. Toons are suppose to be simply stylized but they are not exaggerated like caricatures or they are not exact replicas of the photographs like portraits, that loses the purpose of getting toonified if you need exact replica of your photograph.
Another biggest challenge I face is to get the features right! I always emphasize on sending us the HIGH RES pictures and no selfies. I do not trace over an image or manipulate their photographs instead I recreate the toons by looking at the reference photographs people provide.
And to express what I feel without actually offending people 😀
Q: Who are your favorite artists right now? do you feel your style is somewhat similar to theirs?
A: Aaron Blaise, David Ardinaryas Lojaya, Anas Riasat and Wasiq Haris. No I don’t feel my style is similar.
Q:What inspires your art?
A: My friends, Family and cats. The road towards success is always bumpy, Gladly I have family and friends who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself and my cats who were there to sleep on the laptop while I was working so I can just pause and adore the fluff balls and relax lol.
Q: You’re a self trained artist but has it ever happened to you or if there’s come a time in your life when you regretted not going to an art school?
A: No, I don’t regret it! I do think I have missed working on deadlines, projects submissions, thinking out of the box, impressing teachers, learning techniques, actually studying. I don’t know how it feels like but no I don’t regret not attending one, I’ll attend an art school if life ever gave me chance in future.
Its never to late to learn anything.
Q: What is your big art dream?
A: To publish my own book.
Q: Tell us about your upcoming ventures?
A: Toonifying and working on my own book hopefully I do get it published soon.
Q: You’ve made many amazing illustrations but which one of them is your most favorite and why?
A: I love all of them, I guess most favorite one the “cutest owl” haha and “work hard” one..
Cutest owl is my own depiction of myself if I’d be a bird I’d have been an owl, cute, small and wise. Work Hard is actually cutest illustration that I have made so far, it was inspired from my 8 years old cousin who loves to read books and is writing her own book as well, she dreams to be an aspiring author one day, her spirits and ambition inspired me to make that painting.
Q: You have come a long way as an artist and done really well for yourself what is that one advise you would like to give to the artists in the making?
A: What I have learn’t in life is that “Never stop learning” it is okay if you don’t have a formal degree in particular subject, or you are not trained. It is alright if you failed. Remember you can always learn and it is never too late to learn and do anything..
Always be kind to your fellow beings and especially those who look up to you for advices, your words can either make them motivate them more or break them and bring them down.
Be the best version of yourself.
Love animals, you will learn how much love is out there in the world waiting for you!!!.
Thank you so much Abeer, It was a pleasure having you here!
Hope you guys enjoyed this interview.
To get updates on Abeer’s latest artworks follow her on social media at ;