Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season! This week we’re featuring a very special interview with Najla and Nada Qamber. As our team looks forward to 2019, we wanted to share some industry insight & advice for both illustrators and authors. Enjoy discovering the history and inspiration behind our sister company, Qamber Kids. Happy reading!
JS: The Qamber sisters are the founders and masterminds behind Qamber Kids, an umbrella for the fantastic illustrators you have already met. Najla and Nada, thank you both for taking the time to share with us today. Could you tell us a little about the inspiration behind Qamber Kids and what led you to realize your dream?
NAJ: Funny story, QK came to be when a client of mine asked me when was I going to open up a children section on my Najla Qamber Designs website. As some of you know, my current website has a lot of non-kid-friendly book covers and that particular client would prefer not to take her readers there. So after that, the idea sort-of stuck and here we are today!
The company name came up as something me and my siblings used to be called when we were younger. Adults used to call us the ‘Qamber Kids’. So, we thought it would be fun to call this section of the company that too.
JS: In the past, you have been known to work with digital mediums like photo manipulation and digital paintings. How is children’s illustration different from your previous experiences with cover design?
NADA: They’re very different since we’re working mostly with 2D and 3D artwork instead of actual models. It is also a bit easier and fun since we mostly work with solid colors that pop when we work on a QK cover. And it always gives out such an innocent and carefree vibe no matter what the book is about.
NAJ: Aside from the above, kid illustrations can sometimes be easier to edit as all we need to do is draw in a new detail rather than find another stock image to fit it in. Either way, they’re definitely different in soooo many ways for us to list.
JS: Illustration can be as tough a market to break into as the books we help bring to life. As you developed your business, what helped you most?
NAJ: I’d like to say my patience, perseverance and hard work helped the most.
JS: Qamber Kids doesn’t only focus on cover design and illustration. You also provide typography services. Could you explain a little about this process and what led you into interior design work?
NADA: Well, our typography services usually starts off with a full cover spread that we have one of our illustrators create based on your vision. From there we play around with fonts and placement to add in your text to the cover as well as the interior. As for what led us there was mostly the fact that we wanted to give our clients as much as we can, and interior and type design is one of them.
NAJ: Yea! What Nada said!
JS: Is there a medium either of you love but don’t get a chance to use often in your work?
NADA: This one is a tough one for me, but I think mine would be painting maybe? I don’t get the time sit and paint something but I’d like to exercise a bit of that into my work. I think it’ll be fun.
NAJ: I paint logos for my clients over at NQD. I also do some sketching, and such for them too. So, I think the medium I’d love to tackle one day, would be photography maybe. But most of the time, I seem to end up doing every medium I love to use.
JS: Depending on your medium, how long does it take you to complete a project, typically and how do you decide when it is done?
NADA: I’m pretty quick when deciding things are done. I can easily be content with what I make and see that it’s done within an hour or so.
NAJ: I’m a bit nit-picky with my work than Nada is with hers. I’m super critical with myself (I know! I’m weird). When I finish a piece of work, I always end up making a few more versions because the first one I’m never content with. So it probably takes me 2 – 3 hours to finish illustrations and such.
JS: Any projects from your portfolio you are especially proud of and would like to share?
NAJ & NADA: Right now, we’re proud of the book we put together for Michelle Diana Lowe using stock photos. Me on the cover and Nada on the interior.
JS: Are there any new projects you’re working on that either of you would like to share with us?
NAJ & NADA: Hmmm… Well we’re currently working on some fun premades that we’re excited to share with you all soon.
JS: Are there any professional goals that you have not yet reached? What do you see for the future of Qamber Kids?
NAJ & NADA: Our current goal for QK is to give our illustrators a chance to get their work on a book cover. They’re all so talented and deserve their own stage to shine on! Our future goal is to have a big premade collection for authors to purchase from.
JS: Do you have any advice or insight for illustrators who are trying to break in?
NAJ & NADA: Let your imagination roam free when you’re brainstorming, and to always, always, always create something new. Never put that pen/pencil/mouse down.
JS: Naj and Nada, thank you for sharing!
NAJ & NADA: Wohooo! We had loads of fun with this!