Do you want to know about the time I faked being an Islamic art professional? Yes, you read it right.
You know when they say “Fake it till you make it”? I guess that’s what I did. I know it doesn’t sound professional, but you have to start from somewhere, and I believed (and still believe) in my potential.
So here is what happened.
ONCE UPON A TIME
It was 2018, and I got contacted by a company that wanted me to create an Islamic geometric design for one of their products.
Just to give you a little bit of context, I started learning about Islamic geometry in late 2016, and in 2017 only drew patterns with a compass and ruler.
When they contacted me, I:
- Didn’t know anything about brand collaborations
- Didn’t know how to use Illustrator
- Didn’t know how to use Geogebra
- Had no clue about basic design rules
Yet they contacted ME and wanted to collaborate with ME.
One part of me was totally freaked out of failing. The other part really wanted to start with this somehow because I knew I would have loved it.
I mean, who wouldn’t love to see one of their creations on a product?
YES, I DO
I accepted their offer.
Consider that I didn’t tell them I had no clue about that stuff. I faked being an Islamic art professional.
What I did, though, can blow your mind. I requested the layout (measurements) of the product in .ai format (Illustrator format, in case you don’t know what that means) and an example of previous designs they had, again, in .ai format “just to understand the thickness of the lines that would work with the printing process”.
In the meantime, I started researching which patterns I could possibly use, installed Illustrator and learned how to use its basic tools.
After a couple of weeks, I sent them 3 options. None of them worked HA! Depending on the type of printing method, there are certain things to consider (i.e. line thickness, gap between the lines etc.). So, I tweaked them a bit.
The second time went better, and we completed the collaboration.
Even though they accepted the files I sent them and seemed happy about them, the product never got to the market.
On the one hand, it makes me a bit sad because, after all the hard work, I really wanted to see the final result. On the other hand, I would have never learned how to use Illustrator and started collaborating with companies if it wasn’t for that experience. And I will forever treasure those moments of anxiety and courage, pushing myself beyond my comfort zone.
Did they understand I was not a professional? I will never know. And I could sit here feeling ashamed for probably being “busted”, or just accept it and move on. At the end of the day, what I got out of it far outweighs the loss.
I also want to say that I did what I did because I knew I could make it somehow. I knew I could learn how to use Illustrator and Geogebra and fill the gap in my knowledge. I knew how to draw Islamic geometric patterns. It was just a matter of translating those into digital form.
But I would never suggest tricking someone, being that a person or a company, about something you can’t do. For example, I would never accept a job in calligraphy or biomorphic patterns because it takes another type of knowledge that can’t be learned in one month. So, if you are considering following my example, please be honest with yourself and mindful of your own capabilities.
I hope you have enjoyed this story time with me, and if you want to learn how to use Geogebra, you can find my mini-course here – mini but mighty!
The time I faked being an Islamic art professional
October 24, 2023