Illustrator Spotlight: Leila Nabih

© Leila Nabih

Mar. 3, 2017

We are thrilled to present illustrator Leila Nabih today! 


© Leila Nabih



Tell us about your background and how you came to illustrate for children.

I have a French baccalauréat in sciences, a Bachelors degree in chemistry with a thesis in organic chemistry, a Masters degree in international business and a certificate of achievement in illustrating children's books from a London based school. I speak several languages and have grown up and lived in around 10 countries across the world (so far). 


© Leila Nabih

In 2013, I got made redundant from my job. Remembering this experience isn't pleasant so I'll move right onto what happened next. I took six months off to decide what I wanted to do next, and illustrating for children came naturally. I was already drawing as a means to meditate and relax. But one day, I wrote a poem for a young friend, I illustrated it and then published it. And that was it. That's how it all started. Now I can't stop. And I don't want to do anything else.
© Leila Nabih

You both write and illustrate. Tell us about your work. Who or what are your influences?

If you have a look at my website, you will see that I keep a blog of all the picture books I bring home from the local library. It's changed the way I look at picture books and how I write as well. I review the books from an illustrator's perspective primarily as this is the focus of my attention right now, but I also look at how the story is structured. I have been doing this for about six months and there are a few illustrators or author/illustrators that I look up to, both in their writing and their illustrative style. Helen Oxenbury, Emily Gravett, Philippa Leathers are just a few these fabulous artists. That said, I'm a forever fan of Beatrix Potter and Sarah Kay and I grew up watching the classic Disney movies. I think these all left their marks on me somehow.


© Leila Nabih


What projects are your working on now?

I am working on three projects at the moment. I am illustrating a story for a friend of a friend who is a children psychiatrist. I can't say more about it as it still is in the 'making of' stages. She has the dummy and I am waiting for her feedback. The other project is a book that was commissioned by a family member, which revolves around a little girl, her sneaker shoes and a cat. This project will also be used as a means to create some stationary products. 


© Leila Nabih


And the third project is a personal one, for my baby boy, who is soon turning two, and it's a bilingual book of random animals (French and English). Of course, I am still open for commissions should someone have a interesting project to propose. 


© Leila Nabih




Can you walk us through your illustration process?

I usually sketch and draw on paper. I tried going digital but the feel on a screen is just not the same as the feel of pencil on paper. Once I am happy with the drawing, I take a picture of it and line draw  the whole thing again on my iPad, changing a few things on the way or rounding up shapes, straightening lines, etc.... Then it's a matter of choosing my colour palette and colouring it. It usually takes me two to three attempts before I am happy with the colours. After that I add textures and layers and I adjust their saturation and opacity until I feel satisfied with the outcome. Here is a step by step process that I've especially done for you. 


© Leila Nabih
© Leila Nabih





What advice would you give to your younger self? 

Follow your heart and study art/ animation. I studied chemistry but never really enjoyed it. It was a very interesting subject matter but I didn't feel passionate about it. As far as I can recall, at my final year examinations in high school, my English teacher asked me what I wanted to do. I replied without hesitation that I wanted to make animated movies, Walt Disney style. She was surprised at my answer but supported me in my choice. She was the only one I ever confided to about this. 


© Leila Nabih


What is the one thing most people don't know about you?

I have a drawer full of very colourful scarves that I never wear but that I love to collect. and I love Violettes. . . 


© Leila Nabih


Where can people find you online?

I have a website, two blogs, a Facebook page, an Instagram account, and a Twitter account. Here are the links: 

Website (https://leilanabih.com ) 
SCBWI page (https://www.scbwi.org/members -public/leila-nabih)


© Leila Nabih










Leila Nabih is an author/illustrator of picture books. A French national with a very rich cultural background, she has settled in London and is currently seeking agent representation. She is a current member of SCBWI British Isles and is actively pursuing her career when she isn't looking after her little boy.

7 comments:

  1. I love your illustration of the Asian guy in the "wok boat." Very cute styles. Great interview.

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  2. Thank you for sharing your interesting story and artistic style. I'm so happy for you that you are following your passion and doing what you love! Wishing you continued success!

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  3. The video works fine. It's good to see plenty of illustrations too. You should get some exposure on this site - good luck!

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing what you love to do, Leila! I enjoyed reading this interview and seeing the process. I am just wondering what program you use on your iPad?

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  5. Such an interesting path to illustration & I loved experiencing your process. I wish you continued success in your career & hope to see your illustrations in bookstores soon.

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