digital art + blog design work // start of 2017

it has been a while since I last posted about my design work here on the blog. from the very start of 2017, I have shifted my focus to a new kind of design and that is digital art. I also launched greetings cards that were sold on Instagram - giving me hope about the future of my design work. But blog designing was and will always be a part of me; something that I just can't stop doing.
so today, let me show you some of the digital design work I have worked on so far:
it's a custom blog design I did for Lydia from My Simple Little Life blog. working on custom designs always feels so so personal since this whole process is like giving shape and life and breathes to a vision that resided in someone else's mind. This blog design project was exactly the same. If you want me to design your blog as well, you can check out my portfolio and service.

the idea of digital art is too comforting for me. There are absolutely no restrictions. You can pick any photo, no matter if it's the skyline of your favorite city or the face of your celebrity crush, everything is possible. With this freedom attached to digital art, I started making digital collages. Currently, my work revolves around mixing Pakistani & South Asian famous phrases/proverbs with modern and contemporary techniques. I do plan to make other kinds of collages too, but for now, I have got these to show you.
خیالی پلاوُ پکانا (khayali pulao pakana) | to build castles in the air // collage art of my favorite Urdu proverb (meaning: to daydream; to make plans that can never come true)

this Urdu proverb has been a part of my life for as long as I can. The elders of my family used to use it for the young daydreams and when I grew up, I had to hear it for my own self as well. It's a sarcastic phrase but when you look closely, the meaning of this proverb is more inclined towards not losing your mind in daydreaming. Dream as high as you want but don't let it all hurt your present.

I changed this lyric from Justin Bieber's song Sorry that says 'is it too late now to say sorry, 'cause I am missing more than just your body ~to~ 'is it too late now to say sorry, 'cause I am missing your haath ki biryani' (which means someone's hand-cooked biryani, which is a very popular south asian dish). Since I LOVE biryani, this twist in Biebz song was actually very very accurate.
(if you ever come across it Bieber, please don't mind. I love the original one even more but food comes first).

next collage is about the classical Pakistani problem and that is 'log kya kahen gai?' (what would people say?)
I have seen people ditching their dreams, plans, even careers because they're too afraid of what the society is going to think if it's not something others wholeheartedly approve of. Log Kya Kahen Gai is a reference to society's judgmental opinion (which is usually kind of biased). I really respect my cultural terms and traditions,  but I cannot stand where they are absolutely wrong. This collage came into existence as a protest against this disastrous phrase.

then here are the motivational greeting cards I designed in this very style and sold them on Instagram. They're called 'If Nike Was Desi' (desi is a term for the typical South Asians)
since Nike's logo says 'just do it' and it is considered a motivational phrase. But when I had to desi-fy it, the motivational level had to at par with my wonderful people as well. So I added khuda ka wasta (which means for god's sake) with just do it. And my friend, it worked well.

annd I also designed a ~chic~ media kit for Caitlin from Cait's Cozy Corner (I also designed her blog). You can check it out here.

so this is a little summary of what I have been doing so far. There are more art collage pieces on my Instagram and much more is yet to come. It had been a while since I last posted on my blog and asI type this post, I wanna buy my blog chocolates and write handwritten apology for being this bad owner *sighs* I am going to try my best to change this sad troubled fact yasss

PS: i just got a profile at Famous Birthdays. Their team surprised me on a fine morning with a fabulous profile and lots of love, it feels unreal to have it TBH bUT I AM SO SO HAPPY

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photo diary: metanoia

Metanoia - the journey of changing one's mind, heart, self or way of life.

today's photo diary is based on this word that effortlessly stole my heart - metanoia

when I googled it, it appeared to mean more like a transformative term; a change of heart, a psychological transformation, a spiritual conversion.

my journey of change has been a bumpy ride. It's not easy to embrace it. It arrives like a noisy kid who wants every beautiful thing you have and snatch it ungratefully, usually throwing it down with a thud so loud, it hurts your ear. And destroy whatever it threw; totally, completely, absolutely. 

What I have learned so far is that nobody remembers your journey of transformation, but they can hardly forget what you become after that. 

in past few years, my idea of change has taken a lot of shifts. Now it doesn't only mean replacing something, it also means adding elements to an existing body and make it something new. The idea of the replacement is fading away for me. I'm learning to change things in a different manner.

in this photo set, i'm exploring the idea of metanoia. the elements of the photos are contradictory and depict the change only a supreme transformation could bring.

no matter where you are or who you choose to become, I hope you allow change to visit you after every once in a while and let it transform you, let it make you think and then leave you as a person who's not entirely changed but only better than before.

what is your current favorite word & why?

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latest on my youtube channel: ― when the time comes (spoken word poetry + writing tips)


kindness and my mother // art journal + poetry

Have you ever asked yourself about the most important person in your life?
I mean the most-most-most-most important person; not the i-like-your-face-so-you-can-be-my-most-important-person.

I did and the answer didn't surprise me at all.
a word so plain
an impact too great
i first saw this
8 lettered word
in the browns of
my mother's eyes
and i don't remember 
the second the third the fourth time
but the last time
i remember 
i looked for it
in my own eyes
for my own self
― kindness & my mother

Life took an unexpected turn during my transition from teen to ultra-teen. This term ultra-teen phase is my way of explaining life after high school, the acquittal of freedom and the power of enduring the power punches destiny had in store. In short, I became a teen who was less of a kid and more of an upcoming adult.
I knew everything was going to change. The faces too familiar would fade in history, all the memories will turn into stories and I will be left with a void that can never be filled.

And it happened. With all its glory, change walked in, walked on the floor of my school's dark hallways, roamed around the streets I used to go and shopped from the departmental store that used to be my favorite. After that, it wrapped everything I loved in itself, walked on the very same road it came from, and disappeared until next time. And I could never go back loving all of it, ever again. Change had arrived and I had to go.
When the transition was over and ultra-teen was carved on my forehead, I asked myself the same question I had always dodged from myself 'who's the most important person in your life'?

All my answers led me to one person; my mother. It's been always hard for me to talk about her yet I keep doing it and do it quite a lot. I got to know her as a person in my transition phase. Before that, our relationship had been rocky and the blame is on me. I was a very, very troubled child - the overly adored family kid who didn't take no for an answer. I feel guilty talking about how my childhood was spent. At this point, I might want myself to be held accountable for all the things my 5 year old self was allowed to do and had all the means to do that. For so many years, I couldn't know my mother better. But when it happened, it changed me.

I asked my mother, Amma Jaan, to give me one solid piece of advice; something that would just make things easier for me. Perhaps I was looking for a magical formula to turn my life upside down or something along those lines. She, in her perpetual calm composure, gave me the answer, 'be kind, Noor Unnahar'. And that conversation did go on for a while and we talked about a million things that included society's injustice, her favorite mystery thrillers, my fictional (and real) crushes; we covered everything. Yet the answer remained the same - she wanted me to be a kind person and I do not wonder about it now. She remembered my childhood and knew the person I could become under that influence. Her one advice's stuck with me for the rest of this life.
Kindness is a weird weird feeling. But it's probably the most important one in this whole wide world. In my hardest times, I often don't remember my best friends or the wonderful things I got to do in dreamy places - I remember faces of people who were kind to me in difficult times. And they're not always the people I know - most of them are strangers or at least nearly strangers. A woman helping me in the supermarket as I sorted my basket absentmindedly, an old man looking like my grandfather giving me duaa as we walk together to board our plane, and so many unknown other faces that I don't know by name but by a feeling - that ominous feeling of kindness. After all this time, as I sit in the comfort of my room, thinking about life, I don't think I want too much from it. I have had more than I could dream of yet it just keeps getting better. I am content with the idea of being a daughter of a kind woman and after that, everything else just becomes irrelevant.
thank you amma jaan for saving me from becoming a catastrophic mess, I am sorry for being a child who wasn't kind, but I can tell you that I won't be that kind of a grown up. and it's a promise I am willing to keep.

This post is inspired by nestle pakistan's campaign #ProudToBeMyMum (see their video here)
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