Tell us a bit about your business.
heidiGFX offers freelance digital illustration and coloring services to studios, publishers and license buyers. I come from an oil painting background—this is why my style resembles traditional art but in a digital medium. Visual storytelling is a big part of why I draw. I’ve worked locally with studios like Coincide on Basant and Diasti, a very popular animated series in Egypt. I’ve worked regionally on projects such as my coffee illustrations as well as internationally on illustrations and coloring projects. My goal for 2018 is to work with bigger international studios.
I used to draw a lot as a kid, but it was my middle school teacher who encouraged me to push art further. I then followed my passion to the Faculty of Fine Arts in Egypt and graduated five years later among the top in my class. The government acknowledged my accomplishment by hiring me in 2012. But, I took unpaid leave a few years later because I prefer to work freelance.
I was born and raised in Saudi Arabia, yet I’m not Saudi. My parents are Egyptian, so we visited Egypt every summer until we finally moved to Egypt when I was 14. In Saudi Arabia, I was exposed to a mosaic of cultures: my parents’ co-workers, friends and their children; neighbors, teachers and classmates; expats from the States, U.K., France, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and India; and, different Arab nationalities. I spoke Arabic and English and watched American movies and Mexican telenovelas. Art was another way to express myself—one that is understood by everyone.
What are your favorite tools or resources that help you do business smarter, and how have they made a difference?
One tool that helped me is Wix, which I used to create my own website. This way, I don’t need to rely on someone else for every minor detail I want to add to my website. I still had some professional help with SEO.
Google Analytics and Google Search Console are tools you can’t do without. And, your daily activities can be a goldmine for idea generation. Type those ideas on your smartphone in a note so you don’t forget anything.
What advice would you offer to businesses like yours just starting up?
My advice to new startups:
- Start with a clear goal in mind.
- Be persistent.
- Work on both the art and business side. It can get overwhelming at times.
- Create and share new art regularly. I got my first digital commission only three months after I bought my drawing tablet. All I did was simply create a digital painting and upload it to Behance. An animation studio found it and I was hired to create unwrapped portraits for their 3D characters.
- A social media presence is a must. As a creative in a visual field it’s important to be active on websites like Instagram, Behance, YouTube, Dribbble and Art Station. These help you create a portfolio. Choose your favorite ones and post consistently. Posting in Facebook groups gets more eyeballs on your work, too. This is how I got in touch with several studios and artists. We formed a community and collaborate.
- Get a website and start writing blog posts.
- Make videos and share your process.
Where can customers find and connect with your business?
Submitted January 2018