Saudi digital artist Latifa Rashid’s drawings live by a motto, ‘It’s a pleasure to make the world smile.’ Her drawings have been transferred into an international language that conveys mutual human feelings. She creates special characters which she calls ‘Latifa’s characters’ - most of which touch the lives of hundreds of people through social media.
Between Da Vinci’s principles and Mark Twain’s wisdom, Al-Rashid uses a simple language that is rich in meanings and small details. She brings her characters to life through animation scenes to explain an idea, a piece of information or create happiness within a community. We took some time out with Rashid to talk about her work, ‘Latifa’s characters’ and how she uses art to express herself.
Tell us about your journey in digital drawing.
I used to draw when I was very young, but I couldn’t get full access to abstract drawing. When I started I couldn’t stop. I used to stand for hours on end in front of a white canvas and each painting took a lot of time, colours and thoughts. Gradually I entered the realm of digital drawings, where mistakes were allowed and the cost became a lot less than before. I started dealing with thousands of colours which I didn’t see before.
Digital drawing not only allowed me to deal with different colours, but allowed my paintings to reach the whole world, and was no longer imprisoned in my room for even one night. I draw and the let the world read my message. I came up with a language that is understood by young and old, Arab and foreign; a language that that everybody admires because it is simple and free of letters.
Tell us a little about Latifa’s characters.
Cartoon drawing gave me more space and freedom to express myself. Sometimes I draw a portrait for a being that isn’t noticeable in reality but from my viewpoint this being has a life. Each artist has a special feeling towards things around him, and I love to tell short stories through my drawings. I also love to present the expressions and feelings of my characters, whether they are happy, distressed or suffering, for maybe these characters can sympathize with us at some stage.
Where do you get your inspiration from? Reality or imagination?
The brain is designed to help us in imagining the best, and the more we involve our senses, the more we reach our artistic self. Our imagination with mental and analytical ability is necessary to encourage creativity. The beauty of reality floods my soul with inner light. One of Leonardo Da Vinci’s principles is to learn how to see, and learning to look at things encourages the brain to communicate with reality and discover the secret of its beauty. When I incorporate what I see in reality with my imagination, my work becomes harmonious. Sometimes I hear a verse or a tune or I see a light that moves my imagination. Imagination is an interesting stage which I call the stage of soul-flying. Mark Twain said “You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” Art addresses the soul and its artistic work embodies human feelings. I love my work to reach everybody; near and far. I wish they would be a reason for their happiness. I use a simple method that brings out the children in us.