Samia Al Homsi Dagher: Perfect as Can Be
Samia Al Homsi Dagher, a native of Tripoli, Lebanon may only be 28 years old, but her work is testament to an artist who has developed a unique visual style unlike any other. The allure of interpreting her reality began at the youthful age of five when she innocently drew a sketch of her grandpa who at that time was laying down. Surprisingly, the uncanny resemblance she purposely captured drove her parents to take notice. As a result, and in hope of helping her grow that remarkable talent, they provided her with all needed materials to nourish the voice inside her, which has ever since matured to become more exacting and unbelievably life-like. Besides design, what are you passionate about? Aside from a diploma in fine arts, my passion has always been technology, which drove me to pursue a BS in computer science and an MA in software engineering from the Lebanese university. I also love reading, playing chess, hiking, and occasionally dabble with photography. How do you describe your design style? It’s a bit sharp as I tend to use bright colours and dark shadings in my sketches, which is why my drawings are neat and well-executed.
My father has had the biggest influence on me as he raised me to have a free mind and seek perfection along the way without losing my main goals.
What, in your design process, are some of the tools you use on a daily basis? Most of my sketches are made with a simple ballpoint pen, which everybody uses while writing. I sometimes start with a little doodle and end up with a complex piece of work that has lots of details.
Lebanon is your country, so how has life in Beirut influenced your work? There’s no doubt, the political situation affects us as artists and being based in Tripoli is no exemption. That kind of unrest only added more inspiration to my work and made me realise that no matter what the circumstances are, I can still express myself as an artist and work to deliver my ideas to the outside world.
What is your favourite piece and what was the idea behind the design? I tend to love the pieces I create more than any other artwork. I draw portraits but I also create designs and doodles, which are dear to me. However, my favourites are the ones inspired by the exterior, the places I visit, the noises I hear, and even the talk shows I watch on TV.
Which project or period have you enjoyed most so far? My artistic journey back when I was in college was a memorable experience, however, the period right after my graduation saw me taking the biggest leap where I was released from the limitations of academia to develop my own style and enhance my professional skills.
What are some of the perks of your numerous online presence? Creating my online portfolio allowed me to communicate with the people around the world who were interested in my work. This helped me extend my reach and widen my professional network. It also assisted me to present to my followers the best I can draw, which further motivated me to practice more in order to become better.
What do you enjoy most about your job? The reason I love my job so much is because I am not attached to a specific schedule or professional constraints. I am a free spirit who feels more comfortable working according to her own rules. I respect the deadlines I set for myself, which in turn allow me to provide the best for my customers.
What type of brief or project do you enjoy working on most and why? I enjoy creating my own designs, namely, projects that neither follow any rules and specifications, nor deadlines. After all, being free is so important in my line of work as I am an artist and have to follow my inspiration.
What are you currently fascinated by and how is it feeding into your work? I have always been fascinated by the realistic results achieved using a simple ballpoint pen, which is why I challenged myself into creating artwork entirely based on the use of that common instrument. You could say that it’s a challenging yet amusing experience.
What would you say is your strongest skill? My strongest skills are sketching and colouring using a ballpoint pen.
Who or what has been the biggest single influence on your way of thinking? My father has had the biggest influence on me as he raised me to have a free mind and seek perfection along the way without losing my main goals. I have him to thank for what I have become today.
So, what’s next for you? I am planning on creating my Youtube channel where I plan to upload videos of my drawing process as well as post tutorials explaining the ballpoint pen technique to beginners. In addition, I will have a ‘Ballpoint Pen Technique’ workshop in the upcoming weeks in Tripoli.
Anger from Disney/pixar's film 'Inside Out' in ballpoint (2015)
Her version of Adele (2015): "I added some of my doodles and I used black ballpoint pen and a uni-pen for the mini black squares."
Georges Khabbaz (2015), in ballpoint
Katy Perry (2013), in pastel colours
Sirine Abdelnour (2014), in charcoal and pencils
Adel Karam (2016): this portrait took more than two weeks and is entirely drawn with a black ballpoint
Haifa (2014), in pastel colours
Amy Winehouse (2013), in pastel colours
Marylin Monroe's sketch (2016) is Samia's first attempt with coloured pencils
Will Smith (2014), in charcoal and pencils