Ep.39: Ahmed Aldoori on talent and discipline

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: Oct 27, 2017 •  Interviews

Ahmed is aa senior concept artist from Los Angeles, US. He graduated in Entertainment Design from Art Center College, Pasadena and worked on a range of projects from movies, theme parks, and video games.

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Recently he spent a year and a half at ArenaNet Studio working as a concept artist on Guild Wars 2, Heart of Thorns.  Now he is enjoying teaching art at the Art Center College and also at CG Master Academy running online classes on character design. He has a very popular YouTube channel where he posts videos about his drawing process inspiring almost 150’000 fans!

Get in touch with Ahmed

Key Takeaways

“Don’t think failure is bad … do it even on purpose … it’s part of the process and you will find your way!”

Resources mentioned

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Special thanks to Ahmed for joining me today. See you next time!

All artworks by Ahmed Aldoori, used with permission

Episode Transcript

Announcer  

Creative, artistic, happy! That’s you. There are endless possibilities for living a creative life. So let’s inspire each other. Art Side of Life interviews with Iva.

Iva Mikles  

Hello, everyone and welcome to the next episode of Art Side of Life where it’s all about how you can turn your creative passion into a profession. My name is Iva, and my guest today is senior concept artist from Los Angeles, us. He graduated in entertainment design from our college center Pasadena and worked on a range of projects for movies, theme parks and video games. Recently, he spent a year and a half at ArenaNet studio working as a concept artist on a Guild Wars two Heart of Thorns. Now he’s enjoying teaching art at Art Center College, and also a CGM master academic running online classes on character design. He has very popular YouTube channel where he posts videos about his drawing process, inspiring almost 150,000 fans. So please welcome Ahmed Aldoori. And let’s get to the interview. So I’m super happy to have you here today. And please, welcome.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Hi, yes, hello.

Iva Mikles  

Hi. I would like to start with some background, how you maybe grew up or how you go to art? And maybe what was the first thing you remember drawing?

Ahmed Aldoori  

Oh, my God. First thing I remember drawing? I think I was trying to just draw a person because I saw my mom draw something. And I tried to replicate it. Then it was Batman, of course.

Iva Mikles  

And so maybe what was the first conversation you had with your parents that you want to take art professionally? Do you remember?

Ahmed Aldoori  

It was very early on. But the conversation was more. Because we didn’t know what the future had for artists. And we always thought, Oh, you could just become a cartoonist. But as I kind of graduated high school, there’s more options like concept art, but the conversation was more like, you could try it. But you should try engineering. You know, as is, you know, the concern parents might say so yeah, classic.

Iva Mikles  

That’s why I studied management. So yeah, sure, yeah. And so would you mind kind of the biggest turning points or decisions you had to do in order to follow your passion?

Ahmed Aldoori  

Definitely, to pursue art instead of engineering. That was, that was it. But I’d say the biggest turning point that made a profound impact on my life would be when I moved to California from Ohio to attend Art Center. And it was it was a tad bit different back then in 2009. But because I recently taught there, and things are kind of different. But that opened up a lot of opportunities and connections and I’m that are extremely valuable still today. But yeah, so that would be the main turning point. Because then that just shifted everything to say okay, for sure. This is it. Art is it. There’s no turning back now.

Iva Mikles  

And you mentioned your mom, she influenced you or maybe inspired you a bit with the drawing as well. Was there someone else as well, like kind of inspired you? Like, I want to be like this person? Or did you have a mentor?

Ahmed Aldoori  

I remember, see, my grandmother was an oil painter, so she’d make oil paintings. And so art was kind of in the family. They weren’t the best, but it’s just something I can’t really say I had a mentor. Other than like, just watching DVDs, on concept art and drawing. And I’d say the most memorable, vicarious mentor would be Ian McCaig. And, you know, watching all of his DVDs is like, whoa. And so that was something I was kind of shooting for. But at this point in my life, it’s like I have to turn all that off and say, What’s my path? And like, kind of figure out what that is.

Iva Mikles  

So then how do you get inspired? Like you study other artists as well kind of to to learn maybe how they simplify and maybe combine the knowledge and do do do I guess also life drawings, right? And of course, how do you combine all of these learnings or into your style maybe?

Ahmed Aldoori  

Well, yeah, I mean, especially early on, like a lot of it was just getting the technical foundations like learning perspective life drawing, doing copies of master paintings, like old masters like John Singer Sargent Bouguereau. Serota, like, a lot of those influenced what I was doing. But as I’m doing the studies, they sort of you add them to your tool belt, and when you go to do your own thing, when I do my own thing, they sort of naturally show up and so Have, I would say in a habitual way, like it’s a bad habit, but it’s actually influenced by something. So it can be a good habit. But yeah, that’s kind of what I would

Iva Mikles  

do. Yeah. So you have like a visual memory of these kinds of tools and how should be done basically,

Ahmed Aldoori  

I guess so. But it’s not something conscious is most like, it’s much like the way you learn to write and you learn to write regularly and then cursive or a couple different ways. It’s not like you force it every time it just comes naturally, like your own autograph, or signature. So signature style.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, I think that’s really cool. Because then everyone can imagine like, okay, yeah, you will learn one way. And then you adjust basically, to your way of being or whatever. Yeah, and

Ahmed Aldoori  

if you learn five different fonts, all those fonts are going to influence the new font that you do without trying to do those. And that’s your style. So

Iva Mikles  

yeah, definitely. And do you remember maybe what was your best advice or something you kind of remember and stuck with you?

Ahmed Aldoori  

Yeah, I’d say, Well, it depends on the time, which era of my existence, but uh, I guess, the most recent one that’s been sticking with me, it’s that, uh, you know, to not depend on talent, because I mean, I always grew up with people telling me, oh, you’re talented. And you know, you got talent, blah, blah, blah, Here have some praise, right. And so I got used to that. But the problem was, I didn’t learn discipline, because when things came so easily, I didn’t learn what it actually took to work hard to get somewhere. So as of right now, the best advice is, for me, that that’s helping me is that, you know, you have to work anyway, you have to actually put in a lot of effort and not expect things to come to you easily. Because I can easily be like, lazy like, Oh, I’m too good. And it shouldn’t be whatever. But that’s, you know?

Iva Mikles  

And was there a time period where you maybe stopped drawing? Because when you were a kid, and everyone was telling you like, Okay, you are really good. And maybe with the laziness, was there some time where you’re actually like, ah, yeah, okay, I have this.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Now, not Well, I think I was always drawing and always like, fascinated. And I was always curious and like, Okay, how did they draw that thing, and blah, blah, blah. I think it wasn’t until recently where I got to a certain, like, from my childhood up until now is like this learning getting better. But then I plateau. It’s like, okay, now what I kind of can figure out how to do anything, if I put my mind to it, but what do I do? And that kind of just sat there. And then that’s why it took such a long break recently, if anyone follows me on YouTube, for like, three months, and just kind of thinking, right, but yeah, so I don’t know. I, I think the break was recent, but it was, but I still drew every day no matter what. I think the longest I’ve gone without drawing was maybe three days because of like, traveling or something. But at least something I’m drawing on something. Yeah, it’s obsession.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, you also went to mountains. I think I saw some of the videos are actually throwing there.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Yeah, I mean, yeah, that was an Alaska beautiful place. And we were hiking in the mountains. And I figured, well, I got to draw these mountains that are right in front of me, because we’re, especially when we’re here in our comfortable chairs that our computers, we want to use reference. So this photo reference of mountains, but it’s completely different when you’re sitting in front of them. And so that’s why I just whipped up the sketchbook and just started drawing them.

Iva Mikles  

So how long does it usually take when you are like throwing a location?

Ahmed Aldoori  

Well, there’s, it can take, like, maybe three minutes just to do a scribble. The thing is, I don’t do art, right? To do art is to go there. But like, I’m going to make this beautiful piece, this beautiful drawing, and I’m going to get everything. I don’t do that. Not yet. At least it’s more like okay, oh, look how that cloud is doing that thing. I’ll take a note. Put a little shadow. And then like, it’s a note for me. Right? So I think, but I’ll spend about 30 minutes just taking notes like that.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, that makes sense. Because like, if you have basically something which interests you on that theme, so it’s not necessarily the whole thing? Sure. Yeah.

Ahmed Aldoori  

A lot of people get bogged down by Oh, I have to make this big, beautiful, full masterpiece, and they get really caught up in that. And I usually tell them, why don’t you take a step back and pick one thing and just draw that thing instead of trying to make this you know? Yeah, yeah. And

Iva Mikles  

what about maybe the worst advice you ever received or something maybe change the opinion about you know, what you believed in the past?

Ahmed Aldoori  

Oh, well, I guess that goes back to the the other thing, the the best advice, but the worst advice was that something I told myself and I said, and I lied to myself and said, There’s no such thing as talent. And I was because I didn’t like the idea that I was given some like gift and other people didn’t get to have it. So I guess everyone could do it, which to an extent with enough practice and skill. People can get to a very high level no matter what, whether you’re born with it or not, it’s just faster for some people who are born with it. But then then it goes to like the worst advice. And it’s not necessarily worst advice, but rather, the worst things that you can hear along your journey as an artist. And that’s the type of people who don’t want you to succeed. And we have we all have people like that in our lives who don’t no, no, don’t try that. Don’t, don’t, don’t do our I mean, it’s engineering safer, and like things like that. And but the thing is, they do that, because they want to dissuade you from advancing in life, because they’ll feel left behind. And I felt that before when other people are succeeding. So it’s like, I get it. But I have to, like, keep that out of the equation. Otherwise, otherwise, nobody wins. Yeah, yeah.

Iva Mikles  

And what do you think I just heard this recently that someone was describing art or artists is, you know, not something, how you create things, but you have to learn to observe, you know, so it’s not like how you draw, but how you’re observing?

Ahmed Aldoori  

That’s part of it. Absolutely. I think, you know, just just making pretty lines is one thing, but then seeing something and drawing it exactly. That’s one thing, but seeing something and interpreting it and then changing it. That’s a whole nother ballgame. So yeah, I think there’s a lot I mean, there’s facets to it. There’s technical skill, observation, interpretation, stylization color, line contour, it’s like there’s there’s so many different elements that go into it. Yeah. Yeah. And

Iva Mikles  

now when you’re teaching is mostly character design, right?

Ahmed Aldoori  

Um, yeah. The two classes I’m teaching now character design, when I was teaching at Art Center, I’m taking a break right now from that, but it was a design process. So it was kind of everything, then, and then dramatic narrative, which was a higher level class. And that was teaching, like, pretty much how to make frames, movie frames, and like how to show the most dramatic version of the scene.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. So you’re also coming up maybe with stories and how to, you know, influence the whole creation, basically.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Absolutely. And it’s all about the feeling. And that’s why, for the dramatic narrative class, like, each week was a different feeling. I’m like, Okay, we want to show conflicts. Next week, we’ll show happiness or love and comfort, the next week will show the all this last moment, everything just falls apart. So it’s like you can take start with the feeling. And automatically your brain knows how to make it look like that. Because you know how that feels. So,

Iva Mikles  

hey, that makes sense. And so when you’re thinking about, you know, like, your creations or artworks and everything, what do you do is there like, the brand, what you always kind of put in there or something which always comes through through your work?

Ahmed Aldoori  

Ah, there’s something that I want to say through my brand. I think that’s why another reason why it took a long break, and it’s to discover what I want to say. But before what I wanted to say was kind of suffocated. So I couldn’t really express myself, I think building the whole platform on Instagram and YouTube and all this other stuff. It was like, what’s popular, I’ll do that. And it was just the most miserable I mean, it works because it’s like, you show how to draw a face and some light and color and and people are drawn to it, and I understand that but when you’re doing unless that’s like your authentic expression, you’ll be I was not depressed but like, I knew there was a different voice that I wanted to speak and it wasn’t so now my brand I what I want it to be is this is me, no matter what it what it is, that is the core expression, I want that to be in the forefront. Even if people don’t like it, that’s the thing and that’s the the curse of the artist.

Iva Mikles  

So what did you learn them about yourself?

Ahmed Aldoori  

Oh, boy, I learned that I had to well, you know, sort of sort myself out. And like I wrote a lot like most of my my recent sketchbooks is mostly writing and then a couple of drawings, a lot of words. But I had a lot of ego issues like you know, because of my ego. I wasn’t actually moving forward and you know, jealousy and envy, and who was jealous of and why and then everything that was a problem for me in the present was usually because of something way in the past, like when I was a kid, like seven or eight, for example. I was there was a part of me either refused the present version of myself refused to make good art. It’s like, I’ll make art, but I won’t take it all the way. And I’m like why? So I started writing and way, way back when I was like eight years old, maybe nine. And I did this. I thought it was an awesome drawing of something from the Warcraft’s art book or something, right? So I did this drawing I had in the backyard. And I was showing my friends and then my one friend, and I remember the sun was setting blah, blah, I’m like, Dude, do it. Look at my drawing. And he looked at it, he looked up at me. And he crumpled it up, threw it laughed, and then he ran. And I was I was gonna cry, like, oh, and so in that moment, I programmed myself like, Don’t ever show good art, because then you’ll be hurt. And so I didn’t realize I was doing that until like, a year, like a few months ago. So stuff like that. There’s there’s so much more, but that’s like, what one example?

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And do you think some of the stories you will put maybe in the in a book or in some videos or something to share from for other people to learn?

Ahmed Aldoori  

Absolutely. Yeah. And I think because you know, the YouTube thing going so right now, it’s just a couple of tutorials and sketchbook tours, but I do want to go back to the sketchbooks where I wrote these things out and do a podcast on each one. And like, because I know people are struggling with the same stuff. And I might as well do my best to share that. So just maybe it’ll help them, you know, wishing that I had someone that I was watching on YouTube when I was like 12, or 13.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, for sure. Because, I mean, they, they can always find like inspiration in different story, because then you never know who will you touch with that story. So yeah, yeah. So. And so you talked about the inspiration a bit. And so what is maybe the strange inspiration? What do you have? Is there something someone finds strange?

Ahmed Aldoori  

See, I was trying to think about that. I don’t think there’s anything that’s I don’t think there’s anything strange that inspires me. But there are certain scenarios that get me excited to make something. And that’s like, oh, I have this stupid idea. And it’s hilarious. And I know this person will laugh at it. So in a way, I’m inspired to make, like my specific friend laugh because only that person will get it. Like strange to everyone else. So it’s like moments like that, that kind of do it. But other than that. I don’t know. Yeah, music sometimes. Yeah.

Iva Mikles  

But it makes sense. If you do like angry character, and then you have the angry music. Yeah. Yeah. That’s really cool. And so when you’re creating seven, you’re also teaching and how do you combine all of these? How do you design your day? How does it look?

Ahmed Aldoori  

It’s a mess right now. But But how do you plan

Iva Mikles  

you know, maybe a week or month,

Ahmed Aldoori  

there’s the ideal, the ideal would be, you know, I mean, when I was working in the studio, it was pretty set. Like you have to be there at nine or 10. So you know, you kind of have to work with that. But now that I’m just on my own, which I prefer it that the ideal thing would be wake up early around now, which is like 6:24am and then exercise which is absolutely necessary, eat breakfast, possibly read something and then just got started with work. So drawing painting freelance making videos to something than a break and then another three hour chunk, chunk of work, then video games and then more work. So it’s just kind of like with, of course, more social interaction, because as artists, we tend to like stay alone. But it’s unhealthy. So yeah, because

Iva Mikles  

until now, it was also in the studio, right? And then you have people all the time around you and now when you’re at home, it’s like ah,

Ahmed Aldoori  

yeah, like waiting for someone to text you. Like what should I do? Somebody who’s online

Iva Mikles  

and so you also mentioned that the exercise in the morning do they before breakfast?

Ahmed Aldoori  

Sometimes I think I was just trying different things because there’s all this different opinions online I’m like, Oh, don’t eat before workout or eat before workout 30 minutes before I was just trying different things. Actually, right now, I would say I eat first way 30 minutes then workout.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, because that was also I was just interested in that because I was doing also like, Oh, which one I should do for that. Now I Tony Horton exercises and there are only like half hour and then you can do it like every day, which is quite cool.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Okay, cool.

Iva Mikles  

And so when we’re We’re talking about like designing the day do you have something which you use to plan your week, like some maybe online tool or some software you use?

Ahmed Aldoori  

Right in my sketchbook. Okay, I just write exactly what I need like a to do list. I know I shouldn’t be using at least like Google Calendar or something. But I don’t know, I just have so many different apps and all these things. It just gets really jumbled. But when it’s on paper, I can just look at it. Yeah.

Iva Mikles  

So what are your tools you like to use? Maybe, I don’t know Moleskine sketchbook or do you have like, specific,

Ahmed Aldoori  

I don’t use mole skins. I have one moleskin sketchbook but it’s mostly just generic sketchbooks from the art store. I don’t know. Like some of the one that I’m using now is kind of Bristol. I forgot the name of it. But it’s in the description of my recent sketching videos. But, yeah, Chief mechanical pencils, like, you know, like this. I don’t know. It’s a pink one. But I have a bunch of like, that’s

Iva Mikles  

a nice color.

Ahmed Aldoori  

You get a whole bag of them for like $3. And so I used to use like sumo grips, but I keep losing them. And I don’t know where they are. But yeah, I mean, there’s nothing too special. Just the good old, cheap stuff.

Iva Mikles  

And what about the digital stuff? Because then you do sketches and digitally? How do you work? And maybe what is your go to product?

Ahmed Aldoori  

Yeah, definitely way calm. I don’t use a Cintiq. I don’t like drawing on the screen. I know a lot of people do. I just don’t. I think the tablet has far more of an advantage because of the ratio less movement for bigger strokes. But I use the Wacom Intuos Pro medium. Before that it was the Intuos three software, I use Adobe Photoshop CS six, I do plan on upgrading to CC, which is a monthly payment thing. And I work on a PC sometimes a Mac, I have both mostly PC these days. Yeah, that’s pretty much it. There’s nothing special.

Iva Mikles  

No, but it’s really cool to you know, find out because if like you have fans, and they want to try, what do you do now? So they can see where they can go or where they can start with basically?

Ahmed Aldoori  

Absolutely, yeah. Intuos Pro is a great starting point. Because it’s a good price.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. Yeah. Because it’s not as expensive as Cintiq. So it’s a it’s a good balance.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Yeah, I’m lucky that I don’t like the Cintiq. Otherwise, I’d lose a lot of money.

Iva Mikles  

And so we are also doing like freelance projects, right? I guess or maybe maybe not right at this moment? And how do you combine maybe in the income streams? Or basically what do you leave from or so the advice to young artists, how it is possible to live?

Ahmed Aldoori  

I don’t know. I guess I’m pretty lucky. My main income is just through teaching right now. Like the various places. But I do take on some freelance things. And there’s like some ad revenue from YouTube and like some tutorials that I saw on Gumroad. But that’s not significant enough to, let’s say, pay for the bills Viet, I do plan on going to the Patreon route. So that’s like, kind of the next step. But, um, let’s see, I don’t know advice for because it’s like, every, everybody has their own different path. Right. So.

Iva Mikles  

So it’s more like, what do you do now? You know, it’s just an inspiration. So you have a chain, you have a camera, you want to do Patreon? And yeah, so that kind of Yeah, so usually from the combination of this,

Ahmed Aldoori  

yeah, and I’m living comfortably enough to, because I still get like, various offers rather frequently. And by that, I mean, maybe once every two weeks or something new. But I will, I won’t say yes, unless it’s something that I would enjoy doing. I’ve had to say no to a lot. Sometimes I don’t even have time to respond. But if I’m starting out I’ll just take anything I could get, you know, if I was like still 21 and fresh in the industry and there’s a job it looks boring, but hey, it’s it’s a door it’s a foot in the door. I would still take it but now it’s like I don’t want to design your vacuum cleaner. So you know. Yeah.

Iva Mikles  

So what is your thinking process when you have to decide like No, to the project because you know, always there is something when you say yes to something there is always no to something else. Yeah, of course. So what is like the self dog?

Ahmed Aldoori  

At this point? It’s just trying to be honest. It’s Like, if there’s a project, and then whatever the project is, if I can say out loud, I want to do this project and not feel like I’m lying, then I’ll do it. But if I, if I feel like I’m trying to trick myself to do it, I know it’s kind of strange. But it’s like that with everything in life. For me, it’s like, do I’m just trying to find the honest honesty in it. But unless I really need the money at the point at the time, then I’ll just I’ll go on to it. But it’s more that I just asked myself. Do I really want to spend the next two weeks with these people on this project? And if it’s, if it’s no after, let them know, just pure honesty. So

Iva Mikles  

the way you decide to say yes? Is it more the team the to work with? Or is it the fun about the project or, or setting a goal if this takes you closer to the goal? Or what exactly appeal? Is it that the goal,

Ahmed Aldoori  

it’s a couple of factors, if it’s something that helps me get to my goal, like if I want to do fantasy, card illustrations, that kind of stuff, which is sort of what I’m going towards? Then I’m actually doing something with. Actually, I can’t say anything, but. So if I get an offer that’s towards that, then I’ll probably jump onto it. But it’s other factors, like if it’s the group of people that I know, and I love working with them. And it’s still a silly project, if I love working with them, and I’ll do it anyway. And sometimes it’s like, it’s just the right things lining up.

Iva Mikles  

And so while there may be the new exciting projects, people can look forward, which you can share maybe already.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Oh, I’ll be sharing them the pieces soon. But yeah, and then all ties in with my next step of like, the whole Patreon thing. But I’m really excited. Because after all this writing, I’m finally like, figuring out what I want to do. And I thought I wanted to do this, but then I tried it and no, but now I’m doing the stuff. And I’m like, this is this is it. This is me. And it’s the true self expression. I think, like I was saying earlier, taking all the stuff that I loved, that actually wrote it up here. Like, who am I doing this for middle school? Me? 1014 These are the things I love like Mario RPG, Zelda, Final Fantasy, like The Matrix, Lord of the Rings, like what is it about those things that I really loved? Take that and try to make my own kind of like, world. So it’s the what to look forward to, perhaps is the world building aspect of whatever it is that Amadori has in my crazy brain. And I want to draw on a painting, I’m gonna record it and just just share it. And with that, because before it was like, Oh, the only thing I can do right now to get successful is fan art, and then sell it and which is, I’m sweating right now. Just saying that, like, I don’t like doing that. And I wish I did like it because it’s very fruitful. You can make a lot of money with fan art, but I just can’t bring my hand to do it. I’m very envious of people who just enjoy it. I can’t I don’t know. I’m kind of jealous. But yeah,

Iva Mikles  

yeah, but maybe it comes in a time of the live, you know, when you’re like, Okay, this is I cannot do this.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Yeah, I don’t know, maybe I’ll end up doing fan art with something I love. But I just if it’s not an authentic expression of what I want to do, then I then it’s a lie, then I’m just lying to me and beat everyone else.

Iva Mikles  

So and this new project, it will be out in September, maybe? Or not yet, either. No.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Hopefully, sooner than that. Okay, so

Iva Mikles  

the time of recording, you know, when we publish this, then people can go to patreon.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Yeah, so it’s September I, it’ll probably I don’t know what it’ll be called. But you can look it up on it, search my name on Patreon, YouTube, Instagram. It’ll be the same name. I’m an older, and yeah, I’m excited to see what it looks like. And if there will be people watching this in September, then you’re watching the future. And you’re no, you’re watching the old me talking about it. So yeah.

Iva Mikles  

We will put these in the show notes. So people can go right through the link and you know, so they can check it out. So that’s it. Sure. And so, maybe let’s talk about the motivation a bit. You know, how do you keep yourself motivated?

Ahmed Aldoori  

I don’t. The thing is like, that’s another thing I learned. It’s like, sometimes, and if you imagine it, like, like a carrot on a stick where you’re chasing it, so you want you have this idea and you’re like, oh, I want this thing and you’re chasing it. You’re chasing it. Sometimes that works, especially if you see your favorite movie and you watch it and you feel inspired, you do all this cool stuff. But the thing is motivation and inspiration together are certain whatever. They’re not reliable. So I think to be actually effective, and this is something I learned recently, is to just do stuff anyway. And that’s, that’s a big thing that I’m learning now is discipline, and, you know, show up, have a routine. And you’ll notice that when you do that, you’re not waiting for motivation. Instead, you’re like, you just start with anything, anything at all, about 20 to 30 minutes in, motivation comes or creativity starts to come and you start to make decisions. You’re like, Oh, that’s cool. That’s cool. Then you get into the zone. And two hours later, you take a step back, and you look, you’re like, yeah, yeah, you know, and so I, I’ve given up on trying to be motivated and just do it anyway. And then stuff looks cool. So maybe that’s the motivation, just doing it anyway.

Iva Mikles  

Just Just do it. Yeah. Absolutely. So is there something which simplifies your life? Something maybe you bought recently? Or, you know, something which you would recommend to people like this helps?

Ahmed Aldoori  

I don’t I don’t have anything for this. I was trying to know. I mean, no, there’s nothing I can think of. I mean, I have these, these gloves for when I worked out. They really helped my hands. I don’t know. That

Iva Mikles  

makes I mean, like that helps. Because if someone you have some which you would recommend them. Yeah.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Just the cheap ones on Amazon. I don’t know. Sorry. I wish I had this list of like, oh, to become you know, better in art, art and life did use this product. I don’t have anything.

Iva Mikles  

I’m so disappointed now.

Ahmed Aldoori  

I’m sorry. You know, Chief mechanical pencils.

Iva Mikles  

Okay, that’s it. Let’s talk about books, maybe and maybe documentary or movie. Is there something you give as a gift or something like, Oh, this is really cool.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Yeah, so the things that I would recommend to just anyone and my, you know, friends and family. Well, obviously, when it comes to art, my favorite book that I think should be on everyone’s shelf is shadowline by Ian McKagan. It’s pretty much his artwork, his story, and he types it all out. And it’s a really well written thing. And he even has, like, in the middle of it, these little pullout things that have art lessons in it. So I’m like, that’s, that’s awesome. So art wise, there’s that and various other books, but that’s the one that stands out. And then a comic books I’ve been recently looking at low and the artist is Greg porcinis. Believe either talent, so portugee, something, but written by Rick Remender. And the story is pretty good. But I think the art is just gorgeous, very, very flowy. And kind of like Claire Wendling. A little bit. So that’s very lovely. Look at movies, documentaries. I couldn’t, I can’t think of anything regarding film. So I mean, the matrix was my favorite movie of all time. So I’ll buy that over and over again. And yeah, yeah, all the Disney movies are really fun to watch, and Miyazaki, of course. But that would be my my answer.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And by the way, have you met with Ian Mao? Yeah,

Ahmed Aldoori  

of course. Yeah. I went to a workshop that he was doing in San Francisco. And it was funny because I invited him to my graduation show in 2014. And I didn’t think he would respond. He’s like, Oh, of course, I’ll show up. I’ll be there. I’ll be there. I’m like, Oh, my God. So I was I was there. I had my show. I was dressed up, I had my whole all my artwork up. And it was all themed with Arabian Nights. It was it was gonna be really cool. And, and, and he didn’t, and I was waiting for him. And he didn’t show up. And so I was like, Oh, it’s okay. He’s probably busy. And later that night, he emails me. He’s like, hey, so I went to the school and I couldn’t find anything of the show. Are you? And like, I think he went to the wrong campus. Oh, no. So it’s funny. He tried. So when I went to the workshop, and when I met him, I was like, Hey, I’m that guy. Remember the cat. So what happened? I wear and so we had a fun little moment. And he actually drew in my sketchbook for me, so that was he’s one of the most fun energetic, lively, jovial people I’ve ever met. Yeah,

Iva Mikles  

exactly. That’s what I thought. That’s what when I met him, I was like, Oh my God, how are you buddy? Be so positive is amazing.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Yeah. Anyone can draw and if you can dream, you can draw. It’s like, who are you? Like this

Iva Mikles  

is awesome. Yeah. So, maybe like talking about the events or where you can meet artists? Do you plan to go for some events this year or next year where your fans can meet you?

Ahmed Aldoori  

It’s funny, I have other artists, friends who set up like booths at Comic Con and Anime Expo and all these things. And CTN. I don’t do any of that. I just I don’t know, I don’t like big crowds and stuff. So there’s no events that I can say that I plan to go to maybe next year. And if I do, I’ll probably tweet it and promote it. But if anything, it might be CTN or Anime Expo. Other than that, I just, I don’t know. I don’t really want to do it.

Iva Mikles  

Oh, good. Good. But I mean, then you can inform them through Twitter? Sure. Is that your go to platform mostly Twitter? Or is it YouTube? Or where do you spend the most time?

Ahmed Aldoori  

I spend the most time on YouTube and Instagram? I’m only I’m only right now learning how to use Twitter. I don’t. It’s so I never did it when I when it was popular. But I have some students who I became friends with and my friend Jen, she’s like, use Twitter, get on Twitter, why aren’t you on Twitter, there’s so much opportunity. And I said, okay, just helped me and and so I’m just slowly using that a little bit more. But mostly, it’s going to be YouTube and Instagram, and Facebook.

Iva Mikles  

So when you are looking for a new project, or kind of the networking, is it mostly through online or from your school? Or how do you find new contacts? Maybe?

Ahmed Aldoori  

Um, well, for me, definitely. My initial connections were from school. But from there, I got to know this person and that person and this person and that person. But if I wasn’t here, yeah, online is just as good. And I think, for me, if I had no work online, I wouldn’t be getting my my freelance offers right now. But because I have my work online, they, they tend to happen. So the idea is have awesome work, stuff that shows the things you love, put it up there, and show that you can provide for whatever it is the project that they’re doing, or whatever, you know. And, yeah, that’s kind of like the grind. Yeah.

Iva Mikles  

And maybe let’s talk about the future. Where would you see yourself in five to 10 years, something which would be like dream scenario?

Ahmed Aldoori  

dream scenario, dream scenario, okay. Married with some children. I think that’s far more, you know, of a solid goal than anything really. I don’t think I could go through life just doing art that it’s not enough. I think carrying on life to some other little human beings is a profound thing. And I think it’s not everybody wants that. But I think that’s something I definitely want. Creativity wise, I definitely, I think I want to make games like it. Let’s say I had a bajillion dollars, and I could do whatever I want, I would probably start a studio. And I have all these ideas for game experiences that make you feel like the way you feel when you play a Zelda game or HalfLife to or when you watch me Izaki movie, there’s something dreamlike about that, I want that and I want to make art for it and make that a gaming experience. So that that’s what people feel. And I need to play this again. Right. So and also embed some kind of message that that whether it’s something that helped me to help them as people so that’s that’s the dream.

Iva Mikles  

That’s really cool. And then you may also be the the kids, you know, that if they can learn directly from you growing up with all the drawings, so that

Ahmed Aldoori  

I don’t know if I want them to be artists. It’s a it’s a rough life. Well, it’s not rough, but it’s it’s not I don’t know. Yeah.

Iva Mikles  

But maybe you cannot help it, you know, if they see you though, like, if your parent is a pianist, like piano,

Ahmed Aldoori  

I just won’t tell them. But, you know, Bernini, his son was became better than him, so I can’t let that happen.

Iva Mikles  

And if you think about you know, like as a last question, I want to ask you about like, far, far future like what would you like to be remembered for in like, 100 years?

Ahmed Aldoori  

This might be a strange answer, but I I don’t want to be remembered at all. That’s like, I don’t know I just, I want to be and find a way to be at peace with my life and the people around me and then let the next generation do their thing. But I don’t want to be like praised as like some kind of idol or You know, Gandhi or something like that. It’s more important to me that I can affect. I don’t know, maybe I could, if anything, I would want to set up some kind of set up some kind of foundation where people are improving their lives, strengthening themselves individuals kind of thing and carry that on, but the whole, like, praise a metal door, you know?

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. And so what would be maybe the last advice before we say goodbye to young artists, something which you know, the live by?

Ahmed Aldoori  

Let’s see this a lot. Well, I mean, to sum up as much as I can, and like a few words, it’s discipline, you know, definitely keep going and fail a lot. Don’t. Don’t think that failure is bad. You have to fail. You have to do all the bad drawings. Do the bad drawings on purpose football sketchbook with bad drawings, laugh at it, it’s okay. It’s part of the process. I have so many friends that get angry and rip up their sketchbooks because they’re, they’re studying and it just doesn’t look good. I’m like, it doesn’t have to look good. Just just get in there fail. Discipline yourself to keep going and I think you’ll find your results. Oh,

Iva Mikles  

perfect. So thank you so much for being here and taking time from your busy schedule. It’s amazing.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Thank you. Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Iva Mikles  

And thanks, everyone for joining and see you next time. All right. Bye. I hope you guys enjoyed this interview. You can find all the resources mentioned in this episode at artsideoflife.com. Just type a kid’s name in the search bar. There is also a little freebie waiting for you. So go check it out. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a review on iTunes, hopefully five stars so I can read and inspire more people like you. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to Art Side of Life podcast, because I post new interview every single workday. If you want to watch the interviews, head over to artsideoflife.com/youtube. Thank you so much for listening. Don’t forget to inspire each other. And I will talk to you guys in the next episode. Bye.

Announcer  

Thanks for listening to the Art Side of Life podcast at www.artsideoflife.com

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am an artist, illustrator, founder of Art Side of Life®, and Top Teacher on Skillshare. Since 2009 I've worked as an illustrator, character designer, art director, and branding specialist focusing on illustration, storytelling, concepts, and animation. I believe that we are all creative in infinite numbers of ways, so I've made it my mission to teach you everything I know and help either wake up or develop your creative genius. Learn more about me.

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