Born and raised in France by Moroccan parents, illustrator (and plant lover!) Sakina tells us how her childhood had an impact to her art.
At home she would speak French and Arabic so she grew up already learning about different cultures and traditions. This made her fall in love with such a multi-cultural and vibrant city like London and nurtured her style and desire to represent this beautiful mix of cultures that characterises her personality and art.
Her work focuses on the beauty and diversity of womanhood. She loves to represent the world that surrounds her using a cheerful palette with a positive and motivational message. She believes in bringing people together through love and positive values and this is something that you can see in her cards and prints.
We are aware that art and illustration is a key part of your artistic expression, however, what do you think you would be doing today if you weren't an illustrator?
I have been a graphic designer for years, starting back home in France and more recently in London. Although I took a slight detour to science before finding my way into the creative industry, I think that one way or another, I would have always found my way to the artistic world.
What would you say are the challenges faced by artists nowadays?
I think that being more open to emotions and feelings as well as emphasising with the world can be challenging, because even if I see it as a strength, it also means that we can be more vulnerable and open to self-doubt.
What does a normal day at the studio look like?
Everyday is different, really. Generally I try to draw something or at least doodle everyday but sometimes is just not possible. There are always things that I like to do at least once a week to keep my creativity (and sanity) levels up. For example, I love going to Crystal Palace Park to unwind and breath some fresh air. I also love going to independent local cafes and work on some ideas and sketches on my iPad; visiting exhibitions and museums and meeting up with other creatives and friends.
"I prefer to draw things as I remember them. I feel more connected to the artwork this way and I like the idea of reinterpreting memories."
Could you tell us a little bit more about your creative process when it comes to designing and making?
My art comes from a desire to express my ideas and the things I care about the most. The message comes first to me and the drawing is just its manifestation.
I usually start with the a sketch and explore some colours. Once I am happy with the concept, I draw the line work and add the details and colours.
I rarely work from reference, I prefer to work from memory and draw things as I remember them. I feel more connected to the artwork this way and I like the idea of reinterpreting memories.
We understand that each piece is different and unique. How long does it take you as an average to make one of your pieces?
It is difficult to say. Sometimes it takes me a couple of hours and sometimes a piece can take much longer because it evolves with each line as does the concept does too along the way.
Being in lockdown and this new slow pace of life has given me more time to explore more narrative pieces. I really enjoy the process and normally get lost for hours into drawing details.
What are your favourite materials to work with?
I work with my iPad and on my computer with a digital tablet linked to the screen. However, I really enjoy playing with paint, black felt pens and paper. That's really how everything started when I used to draw at my desk to empty my mind and unwind at work!
What would you want to communicate to the person who purchases one of your products?
I want my art to bring people together and for them to feel connected to my illustrations. Maybe because the message is close to their heart or maybe because the colours speak to them! Ultimately, I want them to have something that makes them happy when they look at it.
A more sustainable lifestyle is extremely important to us and our customers. Could you tell us what you do to approach your business in a more sustainable way?
I have always tried to operate in a respectful and human scale. All my paper is recycled and FSC approved. I really researched and looked for plastic free packaging solutions and I am happy to say that everything, from the envelopes to the tape I use for packaging the orders, it is all compostable. I also work in small batches and print my art locally.
Do you have any plans for the near future to increase your sustainability even further?
I am always thinking of ways to improve the impact that my activity has on the environment, so I am very conscious of that when I develop new products.
I, for example, designed stickers for my new collection and I spent some time researching what the best environmental option was and so I decided to make them on paper rather than on vinyl.
If you had to choose only one of the products that you made to take with you forever, what would it be?
It would be "Grow through what you go through". It was the first illustration I made that was personal to me and that encouraged me to continue exploring this style.
This illustrations has been with me since the beginning, it has connected me with people on Instagram and it is still relevant today. I always come back to it!