Posted on July 24, 2015

SPOTLIGHT: Sarah – imaginairyart Illustration Tutorial


A few months ago I came across a gorgeous whimsical illustration of a vibrant and colorful mosque – I was so in love with it that I pretty much just stared at it for about 15 minutes straight.

Unfortunately I completely forgot to take a screenshot so I went on, and for months I couldn’t remember where I had seen that particular illustration and I just couldn’t find it again on Instagram despite many attempts to re-find it.

So thank Allah I’m lucky to be a part of a group called Creative Muslim Women, where I’ve met so many amazing, lovely, generous and beautiful artists whose work inspires and motivates me every day, and on a random off topic thread takeover I was sharing probably tmi experiences of nose piercings when I saw Sarah’s name pop up and clicked through to her website imaginairyart.

I found the beautiful image I had so obsessively stared at lol and I was over the moon that I’d found it again!

This was the illustration by the way – I just loveeee the vibrancy and colors and the whole playful mood, and pretty much everything about it:
1597770_353671004827716_1772346070_nWe were so excited that Sarah agreed to do a very special mosque illustration tutorial for us, that we also decided to work on a collaboration image for Life Of My Heart with the illustration + brush lettering, which we can’t wait to post on Instagram!

Also make sure to check out the videos of Sarah working on this illustration below.

Welcome, Sarah!
-Marryam x

Epson iPrint

Salaam! I am Sarah from imaginairyart. At imaginairyart, I do a lot of graphic design as well as illustration work. It is such an honor to do this post for Life of My Heart!

Today I’m going to share a step-by-step of how I create my watercolor mini-masjid illustrations.

My materials include decent quality watercolor paper, waterproof black drawing pens, a pencil, ruler, eraser, and watercolor paints and paintbrushes:


I recently started using these gorgeous concentrated liquid watercolors from Dr. Ph. Martin’s that produce the most amazing and vibrant paintings. They are my new favorite but regular watercolor paints are also perfect for this project.


I start out by drawing out light guidelines across the paper so I have an idea of where to place my illustration without it being crooked. I tend to draw freehand so having the guidelines or a border helps me visualize how the illustration will be composed.


If you’re not comfortable drawing freehand, feel free to sketch out your drawing in light pencil strokes that can be erased later on.

Next, I start drawing the outlines of the mosque or minaret. Your illustration doesn’t have to be of a mosque – my illustrations are loosely based on the architectural structure of a mosque but it can be interpreted as any building. I love the playful and whimsical style of these structures.


After drawing out the outlines, I start filling in the different parts of the structure with patterns. I block out shapes and fill them in with repetitive patterns, some floral, some geometric. Again, you can sketch out your patterns lightly in pencil before you commit to them in black pen.


Once my drawing is complete, I use my eraser to get rid of any pencil marks, including the guidelines. I then start to paint small sections within the shapes.

I like to break the rules and paint outside the lines or not paint in whole sections completely, for a fun and playful look. I start with one color at a time, and I try to blend colors in one or two sections for more variation in the painting.


I do work in one color at a time but I always tend to go back and use more of those colors to balance the painting out visually if need be.


I am a huge fan of white space, as you can see in my work, so I don’t fill my entire illustration with color. It is always a good idea to step back a few times during the process and figure out if you want to continue adding color or stop.


I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, the pictures and videos. If you try this technique, please share photos on instagram with the hashtag #imaginairyminimasjid

Where to find Sarah / imaginairyart:

Google+: +SarahS-ImaginairyArt
Instagram: @imaginairyart

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  • Reply Nancy July 24, 2015 at 2:49 pm


    Ma sha Allah. I am a big fan of Sarah’s art! I love her whimsical style along with the bright and cheerful colors!

    I thought I was already following Sarah on Instagram, but found I wasn’t. Shukran for helping me correct that!


    • Reply lifeofmyheart July 26, 2015 at 12:03 pm

      Same here, Sarah is so talented! 🙂

  • Reply Sara July 25, 2015 at 7:42 am

    The designs are so eye catching and somehow leave me with a happy feeling inside! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Reply lifeofmyheart July 26, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      Thanks Sara, yeah definitely, they are so happy and fun 😀

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