Fashion illustration workshop at The Archive

If there’s anything I have noticed about teachers, it’s that there are generally two types.

There’s the bitter ones who have had big career dreams in the past but failed and so they ended UP teaching, much to their dismay. As a result, they’re disillusioned and don’t hesitate take it out on their students. These are the ones who are skeptical, negative and revel in giving you a good hard daily dose of their (not so) delightful “realistic advice.”

On the flip side of the coin, there are the teachers who genuinely love to teach and let you in on all their secrets and tricks of the trade. They are teaching from a place without scarcity and truly want you to succeed. Those are the ones inspire. Like Miss Honey from Matilda. I’ve encountered both types and I’ve always known that if I were to teach fashion illustration, I’d strive to be the latter type.

In short, I wanna be a Miss Honey.


When I was invited to teach an illustration workshop at The Archive, I knew this was my chance to inspire. After all, I love what I do and so the idea of sharing what I have learned so far in this field really appealed to me.


As I mentioned before in a previous post, The Archive is an art community center/library and cafe located in Safa Park, Dubai. I thought their location was perfect for my class – the tables were large and spacious with plenty of natural daylight flooding the room – just perfect for a leisurely afternoon of illustration! Another upside is that because it’s in a library, there’s lots of reference material to browse through for inspiration.

The workshop was an introductory one which was primarily used just to gauge if there is any interest in the subject. I’m happy to report that it turns out there was an abundance of interest!!! I had lots of people wanting to sign up, and a great turnout for the first class!

In a nutshell, we went over some basic 101 watercolour techniques. These included tips on how to control the paint, what brushes to use for what purpose, how to shade and render fabrics, how to draw clothes on the body and a little information about prints and simple ways of covey them realistically.

I was very impressed by my students’ work! Here’s a few photos of what we got up to!





And here I am with my adorable youngest student who is just ten years old! Talk about a prodigy in the making! 🙂


It’s still early days, but hopefully we plan to include a much more intensive course in March spanning over a few weeks where I will cover an array of illustration related topics in even more detail.

Hopefully this will keep the art aficionados happy! Until then, as Dori would say (if she was an artist) just keep sketchin’ …

Ruben Sanchez and eL Seed at The Archive


Don’t you just love that feeling when you discover a great new place hidden away in some corner of Dubai? That’s exactly how I felt this weekend when I came across The Archive for the first time. It is a community space located at gate 5 in Safa Park and it’s a library, cafe and art center all in one. The Archive focuses on the arts and culture of the MENA region and frequently holds workshops and seminars on the topics of art, illustration, murals and all things related. Funnily enough, The Archive has been around for 8 years already and I’ve only just discovered it! (Doh! How slow am I, eh?!)



Often featuring some pretty impressive talents, it also has an awesome collection of coffee table books to browse through and excellent food to nibble on! Exhibit A … my eggs Benedict which had some serious om nom factor.


I stopped by because I was very eager to check out the joint live collaboration that über talented artists Ruben Sanchez and eL Seed were working on.

To give a brief overview, Ruben Sanchez is a Barcelona-based urban artist whose inspirations include break dancing, skateboard and graffiti culture of his native Spain. He has been living here in Dubai for a year as part of Tashkeel’s art residency program and has been doing a variety of interesting projects and commissions all over the city as well as a recent solo show at Tashkeel.



I really love his vibrant tribal style.




His use of pattern remind me of Aztec/South American designs and motifs. Regarding his murals in particular, I love the contrast of his bright, cheerful and eclectic work on the sandy, broken down walls of Satwa. It’s like he has given these old areas a fresh new lease of life, and breathes an unexpected zest with his quirky, imaginative art.




As for eL Seed – to put it plainly..(and not to sound like a total groupie) he is a LEGEND!! The French Tunisian street artist is known for his signature style which is a hybrid of Arab calligraphy and graffiti. He coins his unique invention as “Calligraffiti ” and believes that the art of graffiti brings people together. He is most famous for his decorative (and some say controversial) Calligraffiti work on the minaret of the Jara Mosque in the southern Tunisian city of Gabes in 2012.

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Some of his other work


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He’s also known for his artistic limited edition collaboration with designer Louis Vuitton on luggage.
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Soo..getting back to the point, these two amazing artists were joining forces for the day to beautify The Archive walls with a massive graffiti style mural. The air was heady and artistic that Friday afternoon with the addictive aroma of spray paint. It really was a sight to see and experience. The best part of it was that it was completely interactive as passers-by could partake in the project and actually join in with spray cans, impromptu style.








No-one was excluded. In fact, even kids could have a go with their creative input!



The joint painting paired up with the gorgeous sunny December weather at Safa Park made the energy a very infectious one, indeed!

With the intriguing projects, the massive library and the delicious food that seduces my taste buds, I have a feeling The Archive will become one of my new favorite haunts – right up there with Bastakiya!

the finished mural

the finished mural