Talent can never go un-noticed and Art has no boundaries of any kind. I strongly believe in that and now I proved myself right. How in the world could I imagine to notice something very random on my Facebook newsfeed, instantly loving it and following it up, only to end up writing about this talented young lady, living across the oceans and who I never met or have known earlier!!! Thats the magic of ART!
Meet, Nourane Owais.. the beautiful Doodling Marketeer.. 🙂
Nourane is an Arabic name and it means light or the beacon of light that guides lost ships in the sea.
Can you tell me about your childhood? What was your childhood dream?
I had a very normal childhood, I was a lonely child until I was nine years old then my baby sister joined the family. I was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt. I Spent all my childhood and many teenage years in a french school called “Sacré-Cœur”, then went to college and studied Computer Science. My childhood dream was to become a cartoon character. I had a wild imagination (still do) where the grown-ups’ world didn’t make any sense to me. Why would I become anything but a cartoon character? They can do anything; fly, eat all the candy and have fun all the time. Then it hit me by the age of eleven that it’s never gonna happen so I settled with becoming a software engineer (sad, I know). Somehow now, I ended up being a Marketeer who sketches a lot, so you never know what’s gonna happen next!
So, how and when did you decide to move from being a software engineer to Marketeer?
I loved studying Computer Science, it’s a field I am always interested in. I enjoy coding, developing and problem solving and I’m always curious about what’s new in the field of technology and the digital industry. However, after my graduation in 2012, the first job I got was in Marketing, then I had an opportunity to become a Marketing Intern at Microsoft for a few months. When I became a full-time Technical Support Engineer at Microsoft later on, I was still relatively fresh and my experience was not that long, so it made more sense to me to pursue a career related to my bachelor degree. 3 years later, I knew for sure that this was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and decided to go back on the Marketing track that I started right after my graduation.
Please tell me about your day job being a Marketeer
It’s been going amazingly well. Switching from a purely technical background to Marketing was one of the best decisions I made for myself, I always knew this is what I wanted to do. The work field is extremely interesting and is going through its golden age, especially within the digital industry and social media peaking. You get to learn a lot and work with different teams and leaders from around the region and the world. What I love the most about my job is my team, I have been so lucky to be able to work with such a unique team at Google, they are my colleagues, my mentors and an inspiration to me. Such a positive influence. As long as I wake up every morning wanting to get out of bed and join my team to work on our next project, then I know things are alright.
How is it working in Dubai?
I moved to Dubai in March last year, and I currently work at Google. I travelled many times before but never actually lived anywhere outside of Cairo, so this is the first time for me to move. It was overwhelming to say “GoodBye” to my family and friends even though Dubai is only a 3 hours flight from Cairo. But thank God for existing technology that allows you to have video calls with everyone like you never left the room!
Dubai is a very busy city, I start my day on a Sunday morning and in a blink of an eye it’s Thursday evening. Time here flies because you have a lot to do and so little time, and it’s very different from Cairo; less random and more advanced. What I love about Dubai, is that it’s full of expats; you get to meet so many people from different backgrounds and cultures and it expands your mind. What I really, really, reaaaaaallllly dislike is the weather: you only get a few good months from December to March, and then spend the rest of the year in extreme heat and humidity. That explains the gigantic indoor malls everywhere. Did you know that people actually jog in malls because it’s too hot to jog outside in the summer, and they go to the beach in winter? Yes, it’s THAT hot!
Are you from a family of artists? How and when did you start sketching? What inspires you to sketch/doodle?
I have been told that painting and calligraphy run in both sides of my family. For example my grandfather was an art teacher. I guess art runs in my blood one way or another. I’ve always loved to draw and color since I was a little girl. I didn’t get the chance to study art because I chose a different academic path, yet after I graduated in 2012, I started this series of sketches of the little girl “Nou”, who you could say, is some kind of a diary that represents me. Everything I sketch is inspired from a life event or something I bought, or a place I visited.
I see lot of cats and owls in your sketches ☺ Anything to do with your likes or thoughts?
I love all sorts of animals, I have a dog and had a cat “who unfortunately passed away last week :(”. I would say I’m more of a cat person and my cat was my best friend, that’s why he is with Nou in many sketches, because he was around a lot in my life through the past couple of years.
What kind of sketching or doodling do you do? (Digital illustrations, pen sketches etc)
The simpler the better.I enjoy the simple cartoonish doodling with my pencils and PITT pens, I love turning my pencil sketches into digital illustrations and I use Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop for that. Recently, I started using watercolor in my sketches, which is a new challenge for me. I am always fascinated by watercolor paintings and how delicate brush movements can turn a white canvas into a masterpiece.I am also a stationery addict, I waste all my money on school supplies and accessories for my desk and noone was able to stop me! My favorite stores are Paperchase, Muji, Typo & Kinokuniya. I can spend hours there wandering the halls and shelves full of notebooks, sketchbooks, all types of colors and supplies and never get bored.
Since when have you been doing freelance work in sketching? I know you are also making T-shirts now. How is it going?
I started freelancing almost 2 years ago. As much as I am enjoying my current job, I believe at some point I would want to become my own manager and start my business. I’ve been receiving many requests from NouSketches’ followers if I’ll ever sell my designs somewhere, and so I started the small T-shirt business. It’s going very well so far and the feedback is really mind-blowing. I’m still figuring the business out and have big hopes for it to grow in the future and be more than just T-shirts 😉
I just love the way you click pictures to post of social media. Great composition of pictures, I must say. Are you into photography too?
I love photography and beautiful photos that take you away from the ugliness of our world. I am not a professional photographer but only an amateur who studied the basics of how to run a camera. I love still life photography and landscape photography. If I ever become a professional photographer those would be my interests.
Tell me about your thought blog. Are your sketches inspiration for your blogs?
They were not earlier, since the blog was there 2 years before I started sketching, but now they are. Isn’t it just great to be able to write or draw your thoughts to the world in a blog post? Blogs are amazing; you discover so many people through them and it gives you the ability to express and release positive energy.
When you wanted to switch professions from engineering to Marketing, did you also think of being full time artist?
I sometimes think of becoming a full-time illustrator, things are not clear at this point, so I’m settling for freelancing and NouSketching for now 😉 The more my family, friends and loyal followers support me, the more I’m encouraged and dedicated to my illustrations.
Ok! The main question, how do you balance your time with your work at Google and your blog?
I have to be honest, I don’t. It’s very difficult for me to manage it, when you have a 9 to 5 job, and you’re in an important meeting and suddenly you have an idea that you want to sketch right now but can’t because it would look awkward, and by the time you go home, the moment is gone and you’re too exhausted to hold a pencil or press a button. That’s what happens most of the time. So for now I simply try to take advantage of the weekends and holidays. The less I plan for it the more it works itself out. I don’t know if it makes any sense, but somehow it’s working.
Lastly, tell me something interesting and something you like to share about Cairo, the place you grew up in!
Cairo is a big city with so many places to explore. What I love about it is that -despite the unbearable traffic- I never get bored there. You can go to a fancy modern restaurant in a 5 stars hotel with a panoramic view of the whole city, or have a sandwich with less than a $1 in a historic alley in downtown and enjoy the old streets of this ancient city with a good company. Very contradictive, very random, very beautiful. Thats’ my hometown.
Having/born with a talent is a blessing but nurturing it and making it a passion is a gift to oneself. Nou’s passion towards her art and making time to pursue it with her day job and more importantly enjoying both, is inspiring. I am totally in awe of her strong personality with a childlike enthusiasm. Thats what I believe keeps anyone curious, zealous and successful in life! Wishing Nou, a very good luck with all her future ventures. Waiting to meet her in person sometime 🙂