Ep.194: What’s new with Ahmed Aldoori

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: May 07, 2019 •  Interviews

In this episode we are chatting with Ahmed about what is new in his life since we talked two years ago! Enjoy!!

Get in touch with Ahmed

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

All artworks by Ahmed Aldoori, used with permission

Episode Transcript

Iva Mikles  

Hello, guys, and welcome back again. We have Ahmed here. Hi. Hello again. So yeah, welcome.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Yeah, it’s good to see you again. It’s been about two years since our last conversation about Wow,

Iva Mikles  

yeah, it went so fast. I felt it’s just one year one year. And

Ahmed Aldoori  

I remember like that whole that first podcast was just on the brink of me leaving and going on this new journey of mine. And now we’re kind of at the end of it, but an update for it. So yeah, so

Iva Mikles  

I’m looking forward to hear all of these will happen. Meanwhile, as well, I’m sure everyone who is listening as well. And I also want to address before we started, I took a break as well, for a few months, I wasn’t doing any interviews. So hello, guys, welcome back here. So we will continue with this. And I also wanted to say that I started a Patreon. So probably you guys, you saw that maybe on Instagram, but just wanted to mention if Art Side of Life helped you in any way, it would be super nice if you guys join. And yeah,

Ahmed Aldoori  

I do want to say like, I very much as an artist, part of the community, I appreciate all the stuff you’re doing. Because you know, you’ve done so many interviews and brought like people to the forefront and you’re you’re excited about art. And that’s always fun. And you’re an artist as well. So hats off to you. Well, I keep my head on. But yeah, I appreciate it. And a lot of people do. So thank you.

Iva Mikles  

Thank you so much. Yeah, because I would love to continue. But also the another reason I had to take a break was because I was working on a lot of other client projects, plus a little bit of traveling. So just to keep this going as well, like kind of need a little bit of help. But you also have a Patreon where you help artists, right with the tutorials and like kind of taking it as a art school. Right. Right. Yeah,

Ahmed Aldoori  

I mean, last time we spoke, it was right before I launched Patreon is as my plan of attack. And I had built like a YouTube following big enough to, you know, put it in front of people say, Hey, I’m doing this now. And yeah, it was the idea was that I wanted to provide some kind of structure where people can learn. And basically, I’ve already I’ve already taught at Art Center brainstorm various other places, like online, as well as workshops. So I basically wanted to bring that to be a little bit more accessible. Of course, it’s not going to be the same thing. But I wanted to bring it tutorials and lectures and lessons, but also provide some kind of assignment that people can do on their own. Which was pretty cool to see people doing. Then we also have a Discord server. So that became its own community. And it’s still thriving today. Two years later. So yeah, that’s

Iva Mikles  

super cool. Yeah. So basically, you started all of this, like when we last spoke, so yeah, how did you went about like, planning? And where were you there, then? And where are you kind of now kind of which were the steps you took and changes?

Ahmed Aldoori  

I guess a snapshot image of where I was, was me looking into this uncertain fog of I have no idea what’s going to happen to what I’m doing. I have no answers or a clear path. But and that’s the nature of an artist, it’s like looking at something you don’t know, and taking a stab at it. And I mean, metaphorically speaking, and like kind of exploring and finding answers and answers reveal themselves to you all, you know, Obi Wan Kenobi like, so? Yeah, it was very much uncertain, and very nervous and anxious. So that was a huge part of it. Because you since you don’t know, and you don’t have answers you you’re kind of in the state of Ohio. How am I going to make money? Or where am I going to go? Who’s going to support this? How long will it last? What do I need to provide? How consistent doesn’t have to be, like all these things start to come up and that adds to the anxiety. But now, having started that travelled a bit. And, you know, having been running this for since we last talk, I have learned a lot and I’m in a I’m in a different place. Now far more, I guess, certain but still uncertain about a lot of things. Definitely more confident, and I’m continuing creating content not so much for you too, because I’ve sort of redirected my efforts lately to just you know, Patreon stuff and keeping up with the community, which is part of the package. Not that I’m catering to every single person but you know, when people are on line, sometimes we do critiques sometimes to do group studies and challenges which is

Iva Mikles  

like group coaching.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Yeah, that does happen a lot. And I’ve, I’ve learned a lot from for myself, which is really a good takeaway for anyone listening is like the, the best way to learn if you’re curious about learning is to teach. And so even if you try to find someone who doesn’t know the thing that you know, and convey it to them, and then you’ll kind of reinforce it in your mind and figure out different ways to look at it.

Iva Mikles  

It also helps you to kind of structure to things. Also, when I started to teach, I was like, Okay, how can I present this topic? Like, what are the big chunks? And how you can break it down? And what Simon’s he would give. So yeah, definitely makes you think about like, what is actually the important part and what people ask you, right? What are the questions and the what can you develop more?

Ahmed Aldoori  

Right, right. And since I did start the Patreon, when we last spoke, I realized I didn’t really need to stay in Los Angeles. And so I decided to get rid of everything, and leave and just kind of see the world for the most part. So I drove across the USA for a couple of months, just going to different places and seeing things and taking my time to think and I remember maybe like, it was one week into the trip. And I was just writing in my sketchbook and trying to understand my thoughts and motivations. And I drew, like just a very crude drawing of like me standing in front of this road, like kind of leaning back against my car. And a big question mark, like, by the way, my is my camera blinking? Or is that just me?

Iva Mikles  

I think it’s fine. It seems fine on this. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. And so

Ahmed Aldoori  

that was that was really cool. I saw amazing things I didn’t even know we’re here in the States. And then it was funny around I got got to my destination, which is Ohio, because that was more where my parents lived. I had gotten this opportunity to go back to LA, and I couldn’t escape. And so like I was flown back out for this competition for this digital art battle. And because I had qualified there, they sent me to Japan. And that spurred a whole nother, like, realm of traveling for a couple couple months. And so I spent a lot of time in Asia, in Japan, in different places of Japan, but also Singapore and Thailand. So that was, that was fun.

Iva Mikles  

So it was kind of combination of like business travel plus your own travel.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Yeah.

Ahmed Aldoori  

I definitely wrote it off as a business expense here and there.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, I mean, like, if someone invites you somewhere, you know, you have also like workshops. So it’s helped, I mean, helping you to travel because they show you around the beard, like tell you out here and there. And then you can explore by yourself. So they type in your business travel definitely helps like the beginning at least,

Ahmed Aldoori  

it definitely started as business. But then it was just being somewhere else kind of puts you in this state of like, what starting to rearrange what you think the world is. And that that’s such a cool thing. Traveling really adds to your perspective of the world and your art and your expressions. And so it was definitely an awesome experience.

Iva Mikles  

And you also did like some meetups right. So Instagram, and yeah, so you did like different groups of people? Or how did you organize all of this?

Ahmed Aldoori  

Right? Usually, it happens to be short notice where I’ll be in a place, whether it’s somewhere in the States, or Asia or Thailand or Singapore, and maybe four or five days ahead of time, because I never know where I’m going to be. So I’ll you know, kind of post on Instagram, sometimes on Twitter. I don’t know, I don’t use Twitter very much, because I don’t understand it. I don’t know why people still use it anyway.

Iva Mikles  

I might favorite either. Yeah. It’s

Ahmed Aldoori  

like, I can’t go on there and not walk away feeling upset about something. So why do I do this? Anyway? So yeah, I’ll post about it and see if anyone’s interested to meet up and also recommendations of where to meet up because I’m not familiar. And if there’s a big group, it’s like, I can’t just bring them all to Starbucks. And so they’ll often recommend a park or some kind of place like a mall food court. And we all get together and I what I usually do is go to each person and kind of talk and ask what their story is, what their dreams are and kind of get a gauge of where everyone is and then just have conversations, open it up to questions and sketch session and soul sketch and each other’s sketchbooks. It’s a fun time.

Iva Mikles  

It’s super cool. Yeah. Because actually one of the listeners I want to do a shout out to Manuel mentioned that he met with you in Tokyo. Yes, very cool. And he was very excited about it. So I wanted to say hi. For other story,

Iva Mikles  

yes.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Because I was in I think where was it? Yeah, it was close to Shibuya and Harajuku. But there’s a temple there. And I was just kind of there by myself. I had my Red Hat. So I’m recognizable. And I’m just you know, kind of winding down and I go towards the food court area. I could sort of feel there’s like this person kind of just like looking at me from afar and I’m like, All right. And then like, I go get my food. And then the guy comes up to me. He’s like, Are you a med? I’m like, yeah, what’s your name? I’m like, Dory. Oh, I’m a huge fan. Nice to meet you. And so like we like, Oh, that’s so random. And that happened twice actually in Japan.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, because he didn’t come to your Meetup. It was just like random, right?

Ahmed Aldoori  

Yeah, completely random.

Ahmed Aldoori  

I think he saw on my Instagram that I was somewhere in Japan, but not there. And so I’m like, Oh, why don’t we have lunch together? And he was there with his girlfriend. And I took a look at his artwork and gave him some demos of what he needs to work on and things like that.

Iva Mikles  

So it’s super cool. Yeah. I mean, it’s like you’re helping so many people. And then if you guys get to meet as well, I mean, it’s super fun to meet actually the person in person, apparently. Because it feels more real. Right? So it’s, you’re like, Oh, you’re actually the same person as you are? Like, on the screen?

Ahmed Aldoori  

I try to. Yeah,

Iva Mikles  

I try to do that. Yeah. That’s always good thing. So and how can it help you to, you know, the travel and thinking about what do you want to do next? How are you planning? You know, like, how are you going to make income? Or, you know, what type of art? Are you going to, you know, steal? You know, like, is it for movies? Is it for yourself? Is it like really targeted on what people are asking you? You know, like this type of planning? Well,

Ahmed Aldoori  

it was definitely a big question for myself as in terms of what do I want to do? And I didn’t have an answer, but I knew what I didn’t want to do. And I didn’t want to work for anything anymore. In terms of big companies or not that it’s a bad thing. I just, I’ve done that. And I want to go do my own thing. Now. I certainly have that as a backup if I do need to return. But I’m taking a few small gigs here for like bungee and some video game stuff. Actually had to recently turned down Marvel Studios. But anyway, the thing is, like, I there’s this burning passion that I think a lot of us have. And it’s, I equate it to, like the sort of feeling you have when you have a really deep dream. And it’s just so real to you. And like, for me, when it comes to art, it’s like, I want to figure out what that is, and say that on paper or a book and, or a movie or something. And so I think the way I plan that, and in terms of how do I do it? How do I monetize it? How do I become successful with it? Well, I think when it comes to monetizing, what I want to do is I had to decide to get this apartment, it’s it’s pretty decent place. It’s close to my family. It’s much cheaper than Los Angeles, which is great. And I want to sit down and figure that out. And so I’ve been here for a few months in writing, sketching and coming up with ideas. And the result is I’ll be doing this art book, which is a compilation of different themes, genres, sketches, paintings, and launching it as a Kickstarter. And luckily, I do have a platform that I can announce it on. And hopefully that’ll kind of make it successful. But yeah, it was a lot of reflection. And I had to get there by accepting a few things. And that was the fact that it, figuring things out takes a long time. And at the beginning, for all of us were always very impatient, especially me at the beginning of my trip was like I wanted answers. I’m wondering, now I needed to know, what am I going to do, but then I had to just embrace the fact that it takes time, I had to travel a lot, make that decision to make good decisions, you know, steer this way, in that way. A lot of things started to fall into place, because I decided that you know, it’s okay to not know and it’s okay to get help. And I started going into self help. But that only got me so far. So I eventually sought out a therapist. I started going to that and that was so so helpful. Because for for once it was like it’s somebody’s job to like try and figure you out and help you and I’ve been on my own for in that regard for so long that finally just putting that on someone else was a relief. And like, the cool thing about that is someone else can point out things that you don’t see because it’s in your blind spot. And so a different perspective of a therapist, in my case who wasn’t an artist. It was really interesting to hear what he had to say. And so I went back A handful of times and it was such a good impact. Couple that with medication and so I had a lot of anxiety in the past. Especially when it comes to doing art for for Patreon, or YouTube or Instagram, there was this very, like, imagine all these restraints and things that I think I was supposed to do and like, that builds up. And that causes anxiety and pressure. But the medication helps not really get rid of it, but but turn it way down. And so I could feel it there. But it was more like, okay, whatever, I would kind of just carry on and do art. But I also want to get to a place where I don’t rely on the medication. And I find that by writing in those moments, and tackling those issues, as it happens, sort of gets rid of them. And I’m in a place now where I realized that there, you know, we all have the inner critic, we’re all very hard on ourselves, I think especially as creatives, whether it’s music or painting or drawing. And for me, it’s like, the inner critic was so I guess, loud and hurtful, right in such a way that I ended up like just literally sweating. And just, I end up not doing art anyway, right? As a result,

Ahmed Aldoori  

that I started writing about it and saying, Where did this come from? Who was so rude and mean to me in my childhood, this unit, because usually, all our problems today is because of our childhood. And then I was trying to like, find the source of how it happened and, and address that so that it goes away. Then I realized an epiphany in that the whole time. It was just it’s so weird to say it was just me, right? It’s like, okay, the answer was in front of you the whole time. But I remember

Iva Mikles  

usually the thing that is the critiques of ourselves, but it sounds cheesy, but it’s usually the case.

Ahmed Aldoori  

It’s like, it was sort of like an algebraic equation where there were x and y variables. And I was just trying to figure out what those variables were. And in this case, I remember growing up, I was very negative, not just to myself, but whenever I see other people’s art, I would internally say That’s horrible. They’ll never make it they’re not good. This is bad. The designs not good enough, this isn’t that. And so it was like I had, like, it’s like I was broadcasting this negative energy. And as an adult, it’s like, there was just a big mirror. And it just came right back at me. And it’s like those things that I would say about other people. It’s as if I was saying it to myself in such a way that it just locked me up. And I was in an analysis paralysis, and I did nothing. And so that was a nice epiphany. I was like, Oh, now when I draw and feel the anxiety was like, it was just me the whole time. And I could let myself off the hook. And so yeah,

Iva Mikles  

yeah. So how do you do it? Now? Do you still like right in the morning? Or like kind of what are you may be grateful for? Or what are your goals are, you know, this kind of the Miracle Morning thing, you know, when you just spend like at least 510 minutes a day in the morning for yourself? And then you start, you know, creating or basically your normal workday?

Ahmed Aldoori  

Yeah, I, I can’t say I have a specific routine. There’s something about schedules and structures that I don’t like about and so like, it’s more, I just go with the flow. I know there’s definitely a benefit to routine. And I do want to develop especially for health and fitness like no yoga in the morning or something physical to breathe and actually move your body and stretch and lift or run or something I hate running. But yeah, I don’t, I think I just do it as it happens. And knowing that I can choose to address it. And for the longest time when those things would happen, I would just in a sense, run away or, or play games or distract myself. But now that I understand that all it takes is just looking at the problem through writing, as it happens is the way to go.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, because I also found that with the with the writing, like if I’m worried about something like I’m usually stressing out, like, oh my gosh, this is so difficult or something like it will not work. And then when I started writing, like what, what can be the worst thing which will happen? And then you just write down everything and you’re like, okay, yeah, I can avoid that. Actually, yeah, I can do something for it. So it will not happen. And then you’re like, Okay, it’s manageable, probably.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Right, right. And it’s like, what is the worst thing that could happen? Death you know, rejection from the world and they spit you out into space and you’re all alone. Like, is that really going to happen? I don’t think so. Right? Yeah. At least not yet.

Iva Mikles  

Well, hopefully, you But I mean, the probability is not so high, right? If you are like applying for a project they really want and if it doesn’t work out, I mean, just doesn’t crumble everything else. You just do something else.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Yeah. And if it does crumble, then you can look at the crumbs and figure out okay, well, what went wrong? Let’s reverse engineer and try to make it not happen again.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, yeah, exactly. So people. Yeah, go. Yes, sir.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Oh, so people just don’t want to experience the initial failure. So they just don’t even engage. But that’s the kind of bravery I think it requires for creatives to be willing to fail and to feel that hurt. Because you could also use that hurt for your heart. And

Iva Mikles  

yeah, because that’s like, also for people listening. Now, there’s not that we want to fail, obviously. Right? Yeah, are you are just like, upset about the failure. You know, of course, when you fail, you’re very upset. But it’s just like afterwards how you react to it, then you learn. So that’s a thing, very good approach.

Ahmed Aldoori  

In a way you could become excited about looking forward to fail,

Ahmed Aldoori  

like, for example, forward. Yeah. And

Ahmed Aldoori  

so like, if I have students, I’ll say, Look, you had this project that you’re about to do, it’s a big project. And in order to do it, it’s really daunting. There’s a lot of factors and variables and different designs and research. And your first drawing is not going to be the best one. So give yourself a stack of paper or a bunch of layers in Photoshop, and say, This is the bad pile. Let me get this out of the way now. And then draw and do the things write out the things and so that you can have something to look at and be like, Okay, I knew this was going to happen. Let’s keep going and see what we can explore. But usually what happens is, in that pile, they start to see the goal that they want it to be, it’s like, oh, this is good. Alright, we’ll keep this one. I like this one. These not so much. But embracing that process, as opposed to No, my first drawing has to be it has to be the best. It has to be ready for Instagram and Twitter, blah, blah, blah. And like that just creates pressure and like, Oh, yeah.

Iva Mikles  

So what do you do now? Like daily, or as you said, you don’t have really like routines, but how does your maybe week look like? What do you focus on or these kinds of things, like you throw all the time or you just go with me people to talk about the future or a

Ahmed Aldoori  

lot of coffee? I think, well, a snapshot of what my week looks like, I’m sure any of my people on Discord watching this are just laughing because they know I waste a lot of time on there. But not wasting because it’s still good to keep up the community. But we Yeah, I do spend a lot of time socializing on there. But I’m, I’m, I tend to be more introverted. So I like a lot of time alone. And then a bit of socializing to like remind myself that I’m like, Oh, God, like, you know, I need people. But I like to work alone. But I guess I mostly hear putting together projects drawing. Lately I’ve been, I took on a student, I rarely rarely do this. But I do have a student. Because I saw opportunity where they had a lot of potential. I’m like, Well, I can see what you need. And I feel like if I was to coach you for a little bit, you’ll be in the right direction. And I want to see you succeed, that kind of thing. So that’s really rewarding, because like we said, I learned from that a lot. And that also gives me a structure where well I can’t just be like, Okay, go do this. And then, like, let them run off. It’s like, okay, do this at by this time. And let’s figure out we’ll do a critique session. And it’s been it’s been pretty good.

Iva Mikles  

And this is on a weekly basis, or like, how did you agree on the mentoring kind of thing,

Ahmed Aldoori  

or just come close? This is totally unusual. And I don’t do this, but it because it’s, it was a friend on Discord. And, um, and he’s, he’s not too far away from where I live only a few states away. I was like, Look, if you want to come spend a couple of weeks here, I can really help you. And so every day has been like a bootcamp and it’s much like I wish I had this when I was learning and so I’m like, Alright, you’re gonna come here when I teach you this stuff, you better get good. You know, we’re going to do this sleep early and we’re going to work out although he’s the one working out I’m just lazy

Iva Mikles  

is good for your brain. So wait for oxygen.

Ahmed Aldoori  

I got a pull up bar. I got some weights. He’s shown me is like workout routines. But like it’s been really good because like I said, it gives it gives a bit more structure to, to me as someone who hates structure and I know I need it, but I hate it. But it’s good.

Iva Mikles  

Have you tried the 16 personalities.com? Like which type of personality are you?

Ahmed Aldoori  

inf? P? Yeah, so

Iva Mikles  

my Yeah, more them as well like, what are good for you like the future? Or what can you do as an intrapreneur? Or, you know, socializing. So they have like, interesting themes. So for people who haven’t tried it, it’s actually fun to do.

Ahmed Aldoori  

NFP, we tend to be dreamers, I guess, as its as it’s like, yeah, that makes sense. Do you know what you are?

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, I am the extroverted.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Oh, clearly, doing interviews and stuff.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, because then it’s like, I also work a lot alone. And then I was so tired, and I couldn’t figure out like what it is. And they found out like, I actually need to be around people. So I kind of like recharge the batteries when I talk with others. When when you are introverted, right, you need to read the book and you’re by yourself to recharge, so it’s very funny.

Ahmed Aldoori  

I’m around extroverted people. I get drained very fast. Yeah. So fast. And so I have to go recharge the opposite way from you.

Iva Mikles  

Exactly. But I mean, everyone should know what is their thing, right. So you know how to recharge. Because so you can continue.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Right? I got like four days of solitude, maybe one day of people. Four days a solid one day. Yeah, exactly.

Iva Mikles  

That’s a good enter. You have like some book you’re reading now, as you mentioned, like, also, like spending time with yourself or you know, what I always more the games or TV?

Ahmed Aldoori  

Ah, so I’m, I’ve been listening to a lot of audiobooks in the past few months. I use Audible, I’m not sponsored, but I’m just saying.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, as well.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Yeah. A lot of sci fi, a lot of fantasy, a lot of hard sci fi, which I’m really getting into lately. And it’s, it’s been great. I do want to go back into more business books, not business, but like, you know, self help and understanding psychology. Yeah, maybe just psychology. Cuz I do want to incorporate more of that into my future. Because I imagined for my future where I want it to go, is sure I want to make art and cool things. And, you know, do the whole Miyazaki thing and make stories. But at the same time, I imagine myself having some kind of system where I become sort of not a therapist, but a psychologist, ish for artists, like kind of paving the path, maybe not specific people one on one, but rather, turning my youtube channel into that, because I haven’t touched my youtube channel in a while. And so every once in a while, I’ll put something up. But I’m still asking the question of what do I want to do on YouTube. And I think a lot of it is not like, Hey, here’s how to draw nose, like, rather, alright, here’s how I got through this, here’s how you could get through this based on your personality and what you need to figure out. Because most of the art stuff online, is the tutorial stuff, which is great. But there’s there’s a different, I guess, niche, not really for money. I’m not really motivated by money anymore. It’s more like, you know, what’s actually meaningful and fulfilling. And there’s other really good people like Adam Duff on lucid pixel. I love listening to his podcasts. They’re really helpful while I’m drawing. And so I realized when I was drawing and listening to that, I’m like, well, that’s really helpful. Maybe I could also go back to being that for people.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Yeah, yeah.

Iva Mikles  

I think that people will definitely appreciate it. Because that’s, yeah, as you said, like a good niche. Because it’s like, when you reflect on yourself, how can I help others, right, because you have some experience in that area, you want to share what was you know, your journey, and you also do art? So it’s kind of like a perfect mix.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Yeah. In the end, it’s, it’s, I’m more, it’s for selfish reasons. I say I want to help people, but it just makes me feel good. So it’s really for me in the end.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. But that’s for everyone. I mean, some studies also in the psychology books, like if you buy a coffee for yourself, yeah, like, Yeah, fine. But if you buy a coffee for someone, and they’re super happy about it, and you just feel just so much better.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Right, right. It’s win win. Yeah. I’d say well, you’re gaining from it, and it doesn’t count. Who are you like, go home?

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, go. Yeah. Yeah. Have you read the book? What does it call? predictable? irrational? No, I shall write that down later on is also like psychology not really influenced, but how do we react to things and why and what is like kind of hardcoded so that’s one of the books I was audible reading.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Very interesting.

Iva Mikles  

So yeah, so that’s one you might like. Yeah, so is there some other ones you are now looking into? What do you want you just research from psychology or not yet?

Ahmed Aldoori  

No, not really. I do want to do dive into like the old, older classic psychology things like Carl Jung, and Freud and all that stuff. But I’m right now just distracted by sci fi. And I gotta recommend this trilogy that was mind blowing. Like normally when I do listen to sci fi, science fiction or whatever, it’s like the, you know, guns and spaceships and like warp speed drive and shoot aliens. And that’s fun, especially for imagery for paintings and drawings. But then I got into this book called the three body problem. And it’s, I think, I think the trilogy is called remembrance of earth passed. And it was, it’s a Chinese author, like says seat switching. I don’t know how to say it, but it’s like CI Xin. And that took my mind places, I’ll tell you, Oh, my God, the concepts in science being applied in a fictional way. Obviously, science fiction really gets you thinking. So? Yeah, that’s yeah, so

Iva Mikles  

things might be already like happening, and we just don’t know it, because it’s somewhere hidden. And then they put it in some story, then you’re like, Whoa, yeah. So that’s totally true. And then when you’re reading these books, does it reflect on your art more? Or? Or how do you you know, like, how does it come out? The artworks,

Ahmed Aldoori  

I usually listen to these books when I go to bed. And so sometimes influences my dreams, but I don’t see it coming out into my art too much. I think when it comes to art and creation, for like, my art book and stuff, there’s, there’s different ways to go about it. Like, there’s the artists route, which is like, yeah, I feel this and it looks like that, right. But then there’s the designer route, which is, well, I can imagine this world and I know what the colors could look like, let’s get some research. And let me draw on there was a sci fi thing that did this. Maybe I could put a spin on it. And so sometimes it goes either way. Right now what I’m thinking for my art book in terms of how that actually affects my art. It Have you seen love death and robots by any chance? Okay, it’s it’s on the list. Yeah, it’s like adult level animated, really cool stuff. I really liked it. Because it’s, it’s on Netflix. And it’s a series and it’s more of an anthology. And each episode is a different story, different artists, different director, I think. And the styles are different from each one. And it’s so fun to watch. Because it’s a bit of science fiction, it’s a bit of like, drama and love and like, death and like, you know, some Game of Thrones level of violence. But each one is like a snapshot of a cool world that I want to like, dive into and play. And so from my book, what I want to do is have these different, I guess, chapters like an anthology, where here’s the cyberpunk chapter. Here’s the Sci Fi chapter, the fantasy chapter, the fantasy chapter, that’s more like Zelda and owls and cute things like, and so because I feel like, as artists, we have all these cool ideas that we’re drawn to. And there’s this for some reason, idea that we can only pick one. It’s like, Wait, why? What if I want to do them all, you know, and so I think I’m excited by like, oh, yeah, I want to draw this stuff for a week, and then draw that stuff for a week and then see where it goes. And, you know, see, see if that results in good things like getting? You know, I guess it would be cool if I did that, and then sold the stories to Netflix or something, you know, as you know,

Iva Mikles  

it’d be cool. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Because, I mean, they’re always looking for something new. So it’s just yeah, how different ways or, or special. So how are you going about this creations? You know, like, do you do like sketches now for planning of the book, or the the mood board or just writing the ideas down?

Ahmed Aldoori  

That’s exactly it. Mood boards is usually what I start with, like, I’ll have like columns, like for different ideas, like this idea is that and it looks like this, the characters could look like that. And I want to carry the story through here and there. So then there’s like a sort of, yeah, splash page of what it could feel like and so when I do the art, I wanted to also put my art there and look, make it feel like it’s part of the whole thing. But also, it’s like, there’s the research element. I haven’t really done too much art. I have like maybe 30 or 40 pieces kind of going but another aspect is well I do want to feel something and what I mean is this like whenever you listen to a really good song that’s that speaks to you. It’s got the rhythm, the feel of being taken to a different state of mind and emotion. That’s really powerful to me. And it’s like, can I somehow do that and be willing to be vulnerable with that and make it my art, and then turn that into the story. So part of it is like visual. Oh, that looks cool. Part of it is like sketching. That’s really fun. And the other part is, but how do I make it feel a certain way, and then drag other people to also feel that and that’s what music does. It’s like, how do I do that with my art?

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. Now I actually you mentioned like this book. Also, for kids, like the version where you will implement music, you know, they will know certain parts, and then some music would be cool. You should do that. You should do that. Well, I don’t have that your art style. Right. So. Yeah. But yeah, so that sounds very good. Like this type of project. So something else you are working on on the side, or mainly, it’s the book and the community building.

Ahmed Aldoori  

I think right now what’s taking most of my time is still researching for the book. And then teaching not just with the student that I have who’s has two days left, but also on on Discord. So I do like to keep up with what they’re doing. And in helping out. Not everyone, because I obviously don’t have enough time for for 500 people. But, uh, other projects, I think, no, just some freelance here. And there.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. So that kind of keeps you running now for Yeah, like the rent bills and these kinds of things, right. So you have the Patreon and the freelance projects? Or do you have something else now for like to keep you alive? Financially,

Ahmed Aldoori  

it’s mostly Patreon. And I took, I’ve taken a handful of breaks here and there. But since it’s much cheaper to live here in this state, I don’t, I can take more breaks. But yeah, and I think Patreon I’m not. I know if I really wanted to, I can make that a bigger source of income. But it’s like it’s making just enough so that it gives me time to do my own thing. And eventually, I want my own thing to actually be the Patreon stuff. And so I think I did Patreon in the mindset of what do people want? And I think that’s kind of a mistake, but also it works. So at the same time, was it really a mistake? I think the best result is if you’re already doing a thing you love, and then people want to be a part of it and see how you’re doing it. That’s the best way to go. And I want to figure that out.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah. So maybe you can start sprinkling the ideas with the psychology and you know, sharing them, then you get some feedback, right? And then see, like, if that’s something people want to see also there on Patreon, or is it something more on YouTube? Or, like private coaching? Or where would that be in that 360? Or,

Ahmed Aldoori  

right? It’s, it’s all uncertain, but it’s what we’re gonna figure it out. We’re, but like you said, you mentioned something earlier about writing down the things that you’re grateful for. And I’ve heard about that as a as a method of, I guess, going about life, because you know, we could be depressed and stuff. But if you just take the moment to be to appreciate at least one thing, and then more than one thing, it’s like you get you get to feel chemically better, right. And so I realized that there’s stages when you’re when you’re going through a journey like this, where you’re in a state where like, I gotta figure something out for me, I need to survive and eat brands need money. And then once you get to a certain stage where you’re stable there, then at least in the case of people like us, now it’s community, okay, well, I want to make it I want to make great for make life great for us for this, this group. And then the next step would be well, I want to make it great for everybody. And it goes from, there’s actually a tear list where it’s like, life is great for me, life is great for people around me, and then it’s just wow, life is great, you know, and so that’s all stemming from the idea of being grateful but if you’re below a certain threshold, it’s hard to be grateful for things but I realized it is one of the most fulfilling emotions after all the money and stuff because the money once you have enough to just survive. I think as artists we don’t really want to become billionaires like it’d be cool, I guess, but I’d rather have enough to have food and draw.

Iva Mikles  

Exactly yeah, because you can always find ways how to you know, like do certain things like maybe some people travel a lot but either you work with someone they invite you for a workshop or I also found out you can travel with petsitting and I like to do that because I like anywhere else so you can actually go somewhere in someone’s house and stay there for free and you know, go for a walk with the dog on the beach. So cool. I

Ahmed Aldoori  

don’t know. What What are your favorite pets? Dogs Cats.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, like all the animals. But yeah, I’m more like a dog person, but I don’t because, you know, it’s like, that’s the worst. Yeah,

Ahmed Aldoori  

I thought I was a cat person for a long time because my brother has Katzman, my sister had a cat. And I really liked cats. And I still do that I visited my friend in New York, and I got to know his dog. Her name was Fanny. And she is the cutest little thing. And she looks like a mix between a corgi or something. And, and another thing, and like, she at first was, like, angry that I was a new person in the house, and she would park and like, yeah, and she would like hide in the corner and like bark at me and, but after an hour, like she like kind of slowly, you know, get to know you. And then I started petting her, and then then we became best friends. And then like, to a point where she wouldn’t go on a walk unless he made sure I was going with them. And like she would kind of like, you know, cuz he’s a herder dog. And so she. I love that dog. Yeah, I

Ahmed Aldoori  

think I’m a dog person.

Iva Mikles  

Yeah, I mean, like, all the animals are super cute. We were petsitting when I mean two kids, and the kid was actually blind. But he was so active. He didn’t mind at all. He was running around the house. And yeah, I mean, like, he’s sister like, the cat sister was like healthy. But he had like, the the blindness, right? And he also has epilepsy. And I was like, Yeah, Jim, combination grade, but he was like, super happy. And then when you see that at home, you’re like, Yeah, I mean, he’s like, super happy. So like, I can be. So there was like, interesting experience. But yeah, so animals, it’s good to have an art creation. And I think like we discussed like, a lot of topics. And maybe if you want to mention something else, like what is your like, next step, what you are doing now before we finish?

Ahmed Aldoori  

Yeah, I think we did cover pretty much all of that. Yeah, and next steps is just Oh, yeah. There is one thing. Are you going to lightbox by any chance?

Iva Mikles  

Nope. But it is yes. Yeah. So are you going for the expo? Yes. Is it in October? October? September? Yeah, it was like,

Ahmed Aldoori  

around, right. And so it’s a convention, established by Bobby Chu, who else are on school ism. And he’s getting together a huge list of artists like Craig Mullins, Ian McCaig and, and getting them all together for talks and panels. And, you know, like a comic con. So there’s like booths and areas for artist alley and what not. And so I was invited out to do a talk there. So I’ll be going but but also procreate is sponsoring a table for me. So I’ll have a booth that’s sponsored by procreate, and I’ll be there. I don’t know if I want to sell art or something. But I do want to, you know, figure that out. Whether it’s giving pins away or sketching things for people, but we’ll see. But yeah, I’ll be there. Oh, cool.

Iva Mikles  

Cool. So are there any other festivals you are planning to go or this year only this one,

Ahmed Aldoori  

just that one, for now, I think I need to dedicate the next few months, specifically for my project. Next month, or this month is going to be hard because it’s Ramadan. And so I’m fasting during the day. And it’s like, I’m so I’m so useless during that, and I can’t do much. But yeah,

Iva Mikles  

yeah. So there will be Yeah, oversee will be more productive.

Ahmed Aldoori  

But at least I’m close to family. So yeah,

Iva Mikles  

that’s very good. Any important that because before you were like super far, and even though it’s the same country, right, but yeah, very far. Yeah. I have just one hour flight, you know, to other family members so far.

Ahmed Aldoori  

Yeah. It was a six hour flight sometimes from California and Ohio.

Iva Mikles  

That’s true. Yeah. But yeah, but thank you so much, again, for being here and sharing the whole journey. So yeah, that was super Yeah, informative. And I’m sure people like to see as well where you are now especially when you mentioned that there you don’t upload many videos, not one. But they can go check out the everything to your patron and learn something and I’m looking forward to see your book, hopefully

Ahmed Aldoori  

right back at you, I appreciate all that you’re doing again, you know, and I’m glad to hear you have a Patreon now and I hope that that works out. I’ll definitely talk about that stress. So

Iva Mikles  

yeah, I want to like create like I was thinking as well as you said, like, how can I help people and I think inside of these interviews that I like, I had lots of experience with like helping to get like clients, you know how to do networking and these kinds of things. So I was like, okay, maybe I can implement these. They’re like the business side for art because that’s like more of my background, the BS Nice rather than being like 20 years in concept art experience. Sure. So yeah, so let’s see how that will all work out. So

Ahmed Aldoori  

yep, best of luck to you.

Iva Mikles  

Thank you to you as well and thanks everyone for watching or listening. So see you guys bye

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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