June 12, 2010

Where I’m from; a little flashback..

Hello, and wel­come to Poki­dots! My name is Louma El-Khoury. I am an inde­pen­dent illus­tra­tor who offers cus­tom illus­tra­tions and art for licens­ing.
Draw­ing is my favorite thing to do, and I have been lucky enough to make it my career.
My spe­cialty is fash­ion illus­tra­tion and fem­i­nine art, how­ever, my design expe­ri­ence includes var­i­ous types of clients, from the baby and kid indus­try to auto­mo­tive tech­nolo­gies. Besides draw­ing, I like to design prod­ucts such as paper goods and jour­nals, and my favorite are paper prod­ucts with fab­ric accents and mixed media.

> My cities
I was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon and I try to visit every sum­mer to see my fam­ily and friends. Lebanon is a charm­ing, small, chaotic coun­try that has beau­ti­ful chains of moun­tains, and a long coast by the Mediter­ranean Sea. Peo­ple are fun and friendly, and the Lebanese cui­sine is to die for.

View from Beirut show­ing the Mediter­ranean Sea and the moun­tain snowcaps

View in Mount Lebanon show­ing a typ­i­cal Lebanese vil­lage with red brick rooftops

I moved to Mon­treal in 1999 to study fash­ion design and I lived there for more than 10 happy years. One of the rea­sons why I chose Mon­treal is that Eng­lish and French are equally spo­ken, and I pre­ferred to study in French. The cul­ture diver­sity is the most inter­est­ing thing about Mon­treal; it’s been so enrich­ing for me to have friends from so many dif­fer­ent places, cul­tures and back­grounds. It was espe­cially fas­ci­nat­ing to study fash­ion with them, and see how each student’s back­ground and cul­ture influ­enced their cre­ations.
I made a lot of good friends in Mon­treal, and beau­ti­ful mem­o­ries. I love the ‘Québé­cois’ (Cana­di­ans from Que­bec), their hon­esty and sim­plic­ity, and their accent in both Eng­lish and French. I love the yearly events and fes­ti­vals (Jazz Fes­ti­val, For­mula 1, Just for Laughs etc.), the artsy Mon­treal atmos­phere and I am def­i­nitely a fan of the Que­bec music.

Snow in Montreal Downtown

Mon­treal down­town, in a freez­ing night of Jan­u­ary (Minus 40ish C)

I moved to Van­cou­ver (BC) in 2010 for what turned out to be a brief stay of about a year. I did not know any­one when I moved, so I was able to focus on my busi­ness with no dis­trac­tions. I can say that 2010 was the year of growth for Poki­dots! Liv­ing in Van­cou­ver was nice. I loved the fact that the city is located by the ocean and sur­rounded with beau­ti­ful moun­tains; it reminded me of Lebanon.

Now I live in Seat­tle, WA since mid-2011, with the man I love. It took me a while to get used to liv­ing here, but now I call it home. I love the excen­tric side of the city, the great (espe­cially seafood) restau­rants, and the small charm­ing cof­fee shops and book­stores. Also, being out­doorsy, the range of activ­i­ties that I can do in all sea­sons makes me very happy, and the scenery here is an amaz­ing bonus for that.

> Work­ing
I worked as a fash­ion designer for about 4 years, at In-Work Mon­treal, a pri­vate label fash­ion com­pany. There, I launched the company’s mar­ket­ing depart­ment, became a pro in sweaters and knits, trav­eled all over Europe and spent way too many night hours on the phone with the offices in Hong Kong and Tai­wan, solv­ing pro­duc­tion problems…

At Fore­cast Brands Inc., as a prod­uct devel­oper, I designed at least 12 lines of bath and beauty prod­ucts, cos­met­ics and acces­sories, as well as occa­sional sta­tionery lines. Almost every­thing had to be mocked up at some point, and now I think I can mock up pretty much any­thing from beauty gift bas­kets to a com­plete sta­tionery col­lec­tion. I was also involved in mar­ket­ing, and learned every­thing about prod­uct devel­op­ment, from the sketch on the paper to the actual prod­uct on the shelf. I like work­ing for small-sized com­pa­nies because I get to be involved in many aspects of how they func­tion, not only what my title suggests.

After that, I was hired by a Montreal-based com­pany as a prod­uct man­ager, to design Paris Hilton’s first line of scrap­book­ing albums, launched last year in Ana­heim (CA). This project was very chal­leng­ing, very glam­orous, and a lot of fun! It’s so reward­ing to see a design that is com­pletely and entirely invented by you, become real exactly as you drew it. I also cre­ated fash­ion DIY craft kits for girls.

One of the 12 albums designed for PH — the most clas­sic album (this is entirely drawn on Illus­tra­tor btw :)

Paris Hilton holding an album created by Louma El-Khoury

Paris Hilton hold­ing that album at the Craft Expo in Ana­heim, CA

I launched Poki­dots! in Feb­ru­ary 2009. I started by offer­ing graphic design and print­ing ser­vices to local (Mon­treal) com­pa­nies, while prepar­ing my illus­tra­tion port­fo­lio. My design and illus­tra­tion busi­ness has grown sig­nif­i­cantly since I’ve started. I man­aged to stay con­stantly busy, and I had the oppor­tu­nity to work for a lot of dif­fer­ent indus­tries, with valu­able cus­tomers. Read more about my art licens­ing jour­ney, and my first Sur­tex expe­ri­ence.

Now I also have a full-time job at a won­der­ful pro­duc­tion com­pany called Sil­ver Fox Pro­duc­tions. I’m very happy there. It’s great to be part of a team of design­ers and man­agers who are so cre­ative, smart and friendly, and my job keeps me challenged.

Poki­dots! now focuses on fash­ion illus­tra­tion: what I love doing most. It’s been going great, and my illus­tra­tions haven’t stopped gath­er­ing fans. So exciting!

I love what I do and I am very proud of the evo­lu­tion of my career and my busi­ness. Every day is a great learn­ing expe­ri­ence for me, in so many fields: design, illus­tra­tion, research, busi­ness, mar­ket­ing, soft­ware, sales, even blog­ging and net­work­ing. I am lov­ing every minute of it.

> Besides work
I love sum­mer out­door activ­i­ties: Cycling, hik­ing, camp­ing, swim­ming, canoe­ing, horse­back rid­ing, sit­ting at the park :)… Dri­ving and cook­ing are also on my list of favorite things to do.

Cof­fee makes life bet­ter, and the things that are impor­tant to me are fam­ily, and just going for­ward and being happy.☮

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