De­sign Tal­ent

Samia Al Homsi Dagher: Per­fect as Can Be

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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

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