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Last LJ entry

Since I'm not using LJ anymore and I'm moving on from my Cedarseed identity, this journal will be closed and deleted once I've saved my journal entries. If anyone's still watching this account, I invite you to drop by my new website, You can follow me on the site's blog, on Facebook or Twitter.

It hurts to leave my well-branded name behind, but time for a new era!


I haven't been posting here, but the calligraphy's been going strong. Here's what you missed since my last...


I Don't Believe It, volume 34527

In "my" Beirut coffeeshop, Younes, I have a fellow regular who's been there at least as long as I have, and shows up with the same morning schedule as me most of the time. The past year, as I discovered a great food place and a superb pastry shop nearby, I started moving between the 3, depending on whether I wanted a meal, hot drinks & a sofa, or cake. It wasn't long before we started bumping into each other in those places as well and it became our joke that there was a "golden triangle" in Hamra where people of good taste were bound to meet.


For my last day in London (I've been here 3 weeks) I went to have breakfast at the Jazz Cafe at Foyles (the most exciting bookshop in the world, for those who don't know it) which is my substitute for Younes when I'm here. Please imagine the double-take and look on my face as she walked in. I felt like the bottom had fallen out of my brains for a moment.

Calligraphy: She

Cross-posting from my blog:

Sometime last year I felt inspired to make a composition around the word Hiya هي, She or Her. I had a general idea of what it should look like, but found it very difficult to translate on paper, and as I was getting nowhere I left it aside and the motivation passed. Yesterday, an art gallery contacted me, saying they were having an exhibit on Woman in Art and did I have a painting or photo on that theme to contribute? I said that I had a calligraphic piece in mind, actually, and they were interested. But I had to hand it in framed and all by the end of the week, so I had to create it right now! Which miraculously I did as the design "unblocked" and I spent all afternoon yesterday and all morning today drawing and coloring it.

This piece is packed with symbolism, which I explain in detail at the bottom of this post after my work process.
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Symbolism in Hiya:

My measurements are never arbitrary on these pieces, because I learned with experience that geometry is just numbers made visible on a flat plane, so it's by using numbers that form harmonious relationships that you end up with a harmonious design. Aside from measurements, the base number I choose (how many times the motif is repeated)  is often symbolic. Here 5 was a must as it's the number of the Feminine. Not only is it the base number, and the paper size is 55cm, but the whole composition is built on 3 circles of 40 cm (5x8, the number of completion), 25cm (5x5) and 15cm (5x3, which is also strongly associated with women). Other than circles, which need no comment, shapes used are the vesica piscis and the lunar crescent (though I only noticed that one in retrospect). That the whole thing looks like a flower is no accident either. There's one additional touch already evoked in Shawq, but I'll leave that one to be guessed ;)

New publication: Guide to Cats


I'm excited to release yet another book in my tutorial series. Guide to Cats collects all my cat charts, an exhaustive visual guide to big and small cat species, housecat breeds and the colors and patterns chart. In total, 78 pages, and it's available both as a handy coil-bound workbook, and an ebook.


I was unwilling to make my tutorials available as PDFs for years because it's so easy for someone to resell or redistribute them. I even found some of my books uploaded to download sites, God knows how since they only existed as hard copies. So I'm testing this one a bit, if you buy it do me a favor and don't share it beyond your household... Don't send it to friends who may feel it's ok to share it further, etc. If I don't get screwed over with this one, you may see my other tuts available digitally as well, possibly including a megacompilation. Why this is desirable, other than the practical aspect of it, is that if I make later corrections or small additions, the revised edition can be made available for free to all those who had bought it previously. So help me out with this! And thanks :)

Calligraphy & tuts

I haven't been keeping up with LJ to post my work, which goes on my art blog, so you guys have been missing out, in particular on my recent calligraphy work. Here are my latest, click on each image to read about it.

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I can't believe this happened today. I'm in London again (yes, third time this year, and not the last), got here yesterday night, and my boss from Jordan happens to be here, so I went to meet him for coffee. He was waiting for me at Sloane Square, where I'd never set foot before. As I stepped off the train there, I heard "Joumana?" and looked up to see a friend from my dance class a few years ago, getting on the same train with a suitcase. We had just enough time to kiss our greetings before the train doors closed and she was off. She doesn't actually live in London, she lives in Geneva!! She just came here for the weekend and the margin for our meeting was only a matter of seconds.

Sheesh another one

Sitting at my coffeeshop right now... A year ago there was a guy here who was shooting 1001 Lebanese portraits and he was always around with a big Nikon asking people if he could take their picture. When he took mine, he asked if I could sketch his portrait. I said sure, when I had my stuff with me, but he was leaving Lebanon 2 days later and so it didn't happen.
Today I came here with a stack of art paper and my sketching paraphernalia to start work on the pile of original drawings I need to do for my Kickstarter backers. Shortly after I got here, I got a facebook message: "would you still do my sketch if I were in Beirut. this is s... the photographer :)"
I said sure, if he can catch me before I travel again. A movement to my right made me look up, and I was staring into a camera lens. "I did catch you!"
"Yes and just when I have everything I need with me!"

One of those really odd things

A few days ago I was at the post office to pick up a package. It had been ages because I avoid mailing stuff form here as much as I can now. My attention was caught by the woman next to me as she was carrying a package to mail, and the white slip we fill to be notified when our mail arrives. The reason this caught my eye is that my name was on the white slip. Our neighbors exactly across the street have the same family name and so I thought "Aha! It's her." And that was it.
Just now I got an SMS notification that my package had arrived... which would have puzzled me endlessly if I hadn't been there at the right time. Post office still sending me my neighbor's mail, I see!

Armenia redux

I forgot to mention I was in Armenia again last week. It was for a comic festival, but I had a day of exploring with my new friends.

From the Hellenistic site of Garni in Armenia, one can look down into the valley and see the following interesting columnar basalt formations:

What I didn't know was that there was a way down into it, and our friends surprised us with it, taking us down worryingly winding paths (10 of us crammed into a 4x4) until we were treated to these amazing sights. The sign said "Symphony of Stones"...

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By the way, my photography section has finally been revamped and is easier to navigate now I think. I'm uploading prints for all the photos there, and then I can move on to posting entire photo diaries in the travel section.

Latest Month

April 2012


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