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I’m an artist, self-taught designer, and educator who is hell-bent on teaching everyone how to get started with Islamic geometry.

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Beside writing super useful blog posts I also teach how to create Islamic geometric patterns

Let’s talk about my top 3 failures as an Islamic geometry artist, shall we?

Throughout my whole life, I have learnt how to laugh at myself. I think it’s a coping mechanism, and every time I feel uncomfortable I make funny faces or voices and make fun of myself. Straight away, the elephant in the room is being put out of the room, and I have control over things. 

You know the scene in “8 Mile” where Eminem raps about himself being the worst loser in the world so that his rival has nothing else to rap about? If you don’t know what I am talking about, here is the video – go at minute 7.40 Eminem 8 Mile Battles with Lyrics English Subtitles – YouTube

In this analogy, I am Eminem HA! I say the silliest things and do funny faces so that the other person knows how bad I can go straight from the beginning. And being that honest usually sets people in a good mood because they can relax and don’t have to pretend to be cool. 

This is why I love talking about topics like my top 3 failures as an Islamic geometry artist. They are huge and shameful. But hey, I bet I am not the only one, and I hope they can help you feel less alone (and ashamed) on this path.

* Related content:

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Islamic geometric patterns: My biggest mistake as a designer

Failure #1 

Seven months after I started drawing Islamic geometric patterns I got contacted by an architect who wanted me to create a pattern for a brass screen for a penthouse in Dubai. 

It was my first request ever, and I was very excited. But I had no clue about how to do those stuff, so after some days of research I sent him this:

I would never EVER send something like this to a possible collaborator now. And I don’t know what was in my head back then.

I mean, this was just a draft. I wanted us to agree on a pattern before doing the final rendering, but sincerely speaking, even if we had agreed on something I wouldn’t have known how to move on.

These pictures are held in my folder of shame on my laptop, and I am revealing them to the world now.

If there is one thing I learnt from this experience is that clients don’t read my mind. Even if something looks good and clear in my head, it doesn’t mean they see my vision, especially if they are not creatives. If I want clients to agree on something, I will have to submit a very clear draft of what the final product will look like.

Also, If you ever feel like you are not able to do something or are ashamed of something you created, please give yourself some grace. This is a learning experience. We all have to start from somewhere. 

Failure #2

The second of my top 3 failures as an Islamic geometry artist happened in 2018 when I was contacted by a company to make a design for a wooden wallet.

I was so excited that I chose to do the job for free. I only requested a sample of the wallet for myself. 

Really, guys. While I am writing this, I am like


I thought it was a nice way to start doing this as a side hustle, and it was a free advertisement for me.

Anyway, the wallet didn’t make it to the market, and I don’t even know the reason. 

Your work is not always going to be appreciated, and you might never see the product of your work, but I am 100% sure that you have learned something along the way. For example, in my case, I learned how to use Illustrator which was a great win for other collaborations that came after that one. And I also started to learn how brand collaborations work.

Whatever “negative” you are dealing with in life, have a good cry if you need to but then try to find the positive thing in it.

Failure #3

Speaking about working for free, here is the last of my top 3 failures as an Islamic geometry artist.

In July 2020, I spent 2 months working on a project that only brought me 50€ so far. I don’t want to search for another Micheal Scott GIF, you can imagine how I feel about it, right?

That was my first time working with a licence contract which means that I earn a % on the sales. If the company goes great, I can potentially earn a lot of money. But if the sales don’t go great, it means that…. Yeah, you know the math.

I didn’t know anything about market research back then, and I learned it the hard way, but now I know when it’s good to licence my art and when not.

If you ever feel that you haven’t been paid enough for your work make sure to learn about market research, and contracts and to know your client very well. As I said, it’s always a learning experience, and you have to treasure every teaching life gives you. You will do better next time.

I know, sometimes it can be hard to see the positive side, especially at the beginning. Always keep in my mind that all artists, even famous ones, have their own failure stories.

PS. If you want to fast-track your knowledge and learn all the nitty-gritty of being an Islamic art artist, you can work with me anytime (pssst… if you want to know more about my coaching book a discovery call here).

Enjoy your failures and be proud of yourself.


My top 3 failures as an Islamic geometry artist I never talk about

August 28, 2023

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I’m an artist, self-taught designer, and educator who is hell-bent on teaching everyone how to get started with Islamic geometry.
I've been in the game since 2016 and trust me when I say that one year from now you will wish you had started today.

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Hey! I'm Sandy Kurt