Illustrator Spotlight: Leila Nabih


© Leila Nabih

Sept. 1, 2021

We are pleased to feature illustrator Leila Nabih and her banner design for Kidlit411 for the month of September. Illustrators: our current banner design contest is open for submissions until October 15! Enter to win a copy of her book BEAR LOVES PEARS (2020), UK addresses only.

Welcome back to Kidlit411! The first time we featured you was in March 2017. We also featured you in 2019 when we used your previous banner design. Tell us how your art has evolved? Have you changed your style consciously, and if so, why?

Thank you. So much has changed since then, amongst which my art has indeed definitely evolved. I just felt that I could do better, and wanted to be better at it so I’ve worked hard at it. I feel like my work reflects who I am as an individual, a lot more than it did then. I am more conscious of my choices when I draw as well. I know I can draw better, but ultimately, my goal is to illustrate, not just draw.

Congrats on your banner design for Kidlit411! Tell us about the process for designing and illustrating it. 

© Leila Nabih

Thank you. I thoroughly enjoyed that project. I approached it a little differently from the last time. I consciously chose to give it a go for the fun of it, not really to win it. It was an experiment to begin with. It actually somewhat helped me reach my current stylistic approach to illustration. I loved your original birds of a wire from 2017, so just got inspiration from there. I’ve also been doing a lot of self searching, in order to produce art that reflects who I am.

Here's a video of the making of the banner:


What projects have you been working on, and what are some upcoming releases?

After Little Lena and the Big Table by PJ McIlvaine and published by Big Belly Books Co. which you had featured on your platform back in 2019, I worked on The Worries by Rachel Taranaki and published by Brigand, illustrated Ellie Goes Exploring, and a collection of nursery rhymes for a learning to read platform. 

© Leila Nabih

I also worked on a second indie book by Lisa Jones Surprise, self-published Bear Loves Pears, and then illustrated a story written by a little girl called Asma : The Genie in the Molasses (the story is based around how the latest pandemic affected her life). 

© Leila Nabih

I’m currently working on a second version of my debut picture book, Joy’s Sneakers, which will be published in September 2021, and a wordless book about a little girl going to the circus. 

© Leila Nabih

You've had some experiences with self publishing. Tell us about it and what are some key takeaways and lessons learned.

It’s a learning curve. You make mistakes as you go, until you eventually find a platform you are comfortable with and a process that feels somewhat seamless (after a few attempts). 

© Leila Nabih

There are some very good self published books that have been bought by major publishing houses. That’s something worth considering. Not all self published books are badly written or badly illustrated.

I do sometimes wish I had a team behind me that would help with the aspects of self publishing I dislike (read marketing and promotion). 

But I also do love having complete control over the art and the content of my books.

© Leila Nabih

How has the pandemic affected your creativity?

For my part, yes it did. Mostly because I was in charge of homeschooling my son, and couldn’t find time to recharge myself.  Between that, house chores, trying to manage my son’s mental health so the impact of lockdowns would be minimal, and my own mental health and a crippling anxiety …. I burned out and had to stop taking commissions for a good portion of the last year and a half. I’m getting my stride back now, slowly, and starting to enjoy the process again.


© Leila Nabih

Where can people find you online?

I answer emails quickly if sent through my website. Otherwise, Instagram’s private messaging is the fastest way to reach me. 



Instagram :



Leila has loved drawing and illustrating for as long as she can remember. As a young girl, she used to have folders and folders of illustrations that she’d cut off from magazines and old books. Amongst her favourite illustrators are Georges Lemoine, Genevieve Godbout and Helen Oxenbury. 

Her dream would be to leave behind a legacy of genuine and unique books, amongst which would be a collection of wordless picture books for children.



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  1. Lovely artwork! I'm so happy you are able to enjoy creating again. I'm adding your book to my TBR.

  2. I love your artwork! Congrats on the banner and your Bear book and your debut book! Yay!

  3. I love the soft brush-like quality to the pictures.

  4. Love your style. The children and animals are all adorable. Wishing you continued success!

  5. I love the illustrations! This looks like a cute book.


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