This sketchbook is my attempt at illustrating the first letter my mother wrote to my father in 1953. I enjoyed it thoroughly and hope to illustrate another letter in the next edition of the project. I also hope that my illustrations help connect the reader to the author's (Florence) stream of consciousness as she is composing each paragraph. Her words are full of youthful imagination and simply call out for a visual backdrop.
This project was technically challenging because I wanted to paint with watercolor but every attempt I made bled too much into the paper. I also tried India and calligraphy inks but they seemed to bleed also. I finally settled on acrylic ink for the text and illustrations. It dried very quickly and had very minimal bleeding.
I drew much of my inspiration from mid-century modern art, graphic design and textile patterns of the early 1950s. I focused mainly on the works of Charley Harper, Alexander Calder, Lucienne Day, Gerald Downes, Stig Lindberg, Marian Mahler and Sylvia Chalmers.
I live in Petaluma, California with my wife (Heidi) and two kids (Kareem & Leila). I spend most of my time programming for the Web, but when I get the chance, when both kids have gone to bed, I like to write and paint. My most recent story, “Echoes” was published in Salaam, Love: American Muslim Men on Love, Sex, and Intimacy (Beacon Press 2014). Feel free to check out more of my work at www.mohammedshamma.com.
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