Featured Illustrator: Leila Nabih

 This month's Featured Illustrator is Leila Nabih. After some years in corporate work Leila changed course to study and pursue illustration, since when she's developed a strong output through self-publishing, and is now regularly submitting to traditional publishers through her agent. See more of Leila's charming work in her Featured Illustrator Gallery.

Like many others, I have been drawing since forever. I was top of my class, and even got a special mention in my final year exams. But upon graduating, I wasn’t encouraged to pursue this field as a career. So instead, I chose to study Advanced Chemistry at Uni. I completed my degree and later went for a Masters Degree in International Business. Over the years, I got various jobs, in various industries, and in multiple countries. But regardless of where I was, and what my day job was, I always had sketchbook and pencil on me.

It was only when I got made redundant in 2013, that I decided to do this full time and see where it would take me. I left the UK and moved to Hungary, signed up for a study abroad programme for illustrating children's books, bought the materials I needed and started to work.

One of my current sketches.

I have done various jobs for individuals, custom made illustrations for specially written little books and illustrations for their children, nieces and/or nephews. I’ve done birth announcement cards, birthday cards and wedding invites. Calendars and home decor items. It’s all been fun and worthwhile, always on a small scale however. Here are a few of them.

Self-published books that I have authored and illustrated.

I came back to London in 2016 with renewed energy and motivation to see this through. Since then, I've self published four books, participated in various competitions, got interviewed online a few times, got an opportunity to meet with a picture book editor in my neighbourhood, networked online and connected to several other authors, illustrators, and author/illustrators, and recently found an agent to represent me. My agent is currently submitting one of my dummy books, and I’m working on another one as I write this. I can't wait to see what else is going to happen this year ! I would love to be a traditionally published author illustrator of picture books.


My general process is fairly simple. I either make a very rough sketch on my iPad to save an idea or on a sketchbook that is always open somewhere around me. I then take that idea further once i have a moment to myself. I tighten the idea into a very detailed piece of artwork and once I am happy with it, I render it digitally.

I then look for a colour palette that I like and use it as a guide for colouring the illustration. And voila. Job done.
Sketch reproduced digitally
Final artwork


One tip in particular comes to mind right now. Keep experimenting. Try various methods, and as many different possible approaches to your illustrative work as you can think of. You’ll know when you will find one that one style or approach you are most comfortable with and which you can claim your own.

And, obviously, draw every day, even if its just for 30 minutes.

Check out Leila's Featured Illustrator Gallery for more examples of her work.

Leila's website is here, and Facebook here.
Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Her agent is Allied Artists


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