Hand-Lettering Illustration: Real Beauty, Makeup, and the Soul

Hand-Lettering Illustration: Real Beauty, Makeup, and the Soul | By Yaansoon IllustrationI grew up in a family where one person only had tonnes of foundation on, and she did not represent the family’s norm. I personally was deeply influenced by my late grandmother’s kind of thinking – and that is: Real Beauty is Beauty of the Soul. So, I created these hand-lettering illustrations to put this kind of logic out in the world – especially that we seem to be going through a “heavy foundation era” (that acts more like a “mask” to our inner insecurities than anything else).

The other day I was on YouTube watching video after video about ways to apply foundation, contouring, highlights, and the latest fad, strobing. These videos all seemed like elaborate tutorials to help you look like someone you’re not (and to entice you to buy more and more beauty products).

I hated those videos and started to look for something that looked more natural, toned down and earthy, and I found it. It’s called “French Girl Makeup,” which is the complete opposite of what some like to term as “American Girl Makeup” (which probably excludes New York, San Fran, and Portland).

Hand-Lettering Illustration: Real Beauty, Makeup, and the Soul | By Yaansoon IllustrationI also came across this article on Brit + Co., which sheds some light on how our attitude towards makeup is pretty much a representation of our attitude towards life in general, and towards ourselves. I like this particular intro:

“No one lives the ‘less is more’ lifestyle better than French girls, especially when it comes to beauty. Appearing in what seems like constant #wokeuplikethis state, they basically wrote the book on lazy girl hair and makeup — fingers through bedhead, a wash of foundation (if any) and maybe mascara + lip gloss to get out-the-door ready. So it comes as no surprise that the one makeup trend they swear off is one of the most heavy-handed techniques around, and one for which *we* American girls have become globally notorious: contouring.”

The article goes on to quote a known French makeup artist in saying: “The main beauty philosophy in France is to accept who you are.”

Hand-Lettering Illustration: Real Beauty, Makeup, and the Soul | By Yaansoon IllustrationHow we use makeup is in deed a sign of a certain “mentality” that we need to be aware of, to be able to address the issues beneath.

The “French Girl” school of thought (and makeup) does teach us a lot about how to approach our skin: If we have bad skin, why make it worse by suffocating it under loads of makeup? Maybe we need to try and see if there is something internal going on that is causing all the inflammation or the uncontrollable zits. Maybe we need a drastic change in our diet or lifestyle, or maybe we need to be more mindful of our stress levels and mental health.

That’s one layer of the argument. The deeper layer is our soul.

As young teenagers it is pretty normal to live on the “surface” of things, to be shallow, and maybe easily taken by the glitz and glitter around us. But as we grow older, we might need to try and figure out the deeper meaning of life, who we are, and things as they truthfully are.

Our definition of beauty is probably one of the surest signs of our ability to mature and grow, both spiritually and mentally. It’s not easy, especially if we live in a culture that is heavily invested in outer beauty. But we can always make the choice to break out of these molds, and chart a more truthful and healthier path!

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Hand-Lettering Illustration: A New Way of Seeing Beauty

Hand-Lettering Illustration: Beauty is not in the face... | By Yaansoon Illustration

I grew up in between two worlds. At school, at home, and everywhere else, standards of beauty were pretty much external – placing much emphasis on certain body types, certain nose shapes, and a certain type of hair. But when I spent time with my grandmother, her standards of beauty were always about inner beauty, the heart, and character.

Although my grandma’s voice was the only voice emphasizing such qualities, time and time again life has taught me that the kind of beauty that really matters is that of the heart.

I created this hand-lettering illustration as a reminder to keep my focus on what really matters.

No More Fashion Magazines

Everywhere you turn, you find companies, brands, YouTubers, and people trying to cage us within certain definitions for what is beautiful. And most of these definitions are about looks, style, and image – and not about character, heart, or real inner beauty.

That’s why I stopped buying fashion and beauty magazines. They mostly fill our heads with such false notions about beauty, and they mostly make young women feel inadequate. And when they want to jump on the inner beauty bandwagon, they end up sending mixed messages, because a few pages later you are still faced with the same airbrushed beauty that the magazine is really all about.

A few days ago, I started a huge YouTube purge and unfollowed most of the beauty brands I have ever subscribed to. I felt a sense of true liberation, because now I will stop being bombarded with how-to’s and tutorials that require me to break the bank just to get my hands on the latest lip liner or luminous foundation.

I did keep a few YouTubers who shared their Natural Beauty secrets, but made sure to let go of all the brands that advertised heavy contouring, layers of foundation, and a specific standard of beauty.

Inner Beauty & Self-Esteem

From personal experience, my self-esteem and the way I feel about myself have improved in leaps and bounds when I took every fashion magazine (online and offline) out of my life.

Over the years, I have met many women who truly believed they were unattractive, when I knew for a fact they were very pretty both outwardly and inwardly. The problem they’ve faced all of their lives was that their kind of beauty was rarely represented in fashion magazines, therefore making them believe they were far from being on a par with the Photoshop-doctored images they see on magazine covers and advertisement billboards.

Flaws, What Flaws?

There is something seriously wrong with the world, and that is the fashion and beauty industries. They leech off people’s insecurities and make it their business to amplify them in a way that makes you want to “cover up your flaws” by using their products. The word “flaw” is closely associated with feelings of shame and inadequacy, and that is exactly what the fashion and beauty industries have been fueling the past few decades.

I say, don’t listen to them. Focus on what is within and your whole life will change to the better!

I hope you liked today’s hand-lettering artwork and post. Looking forward to seeing you in my next one!

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Mixed-Media Illustration: Moroccan Home with Arabic Lettering

Mixed-Media Illustration: Moroccan Home with Arabic Lettering | By Yaansoon Illustration

Traditional Moroccan homes have an air of peace about them. Their high walls and beautiful doors lead to a courtyard that often comes with a water feature in its center. As you enter, the hustle and bustle of the busy streets is left behind… and you are soon greeted with silence and a siesta-inviting romantic breeze. Many homes have these spiritual words near or above the door, which is the inspiration behind my illustration.

In this hand-lettered illustration, I wanted to bring back the soothing sensations I experienced when I visited Morocco a few years ago.

Doors in Morocco are a work of art. The arched ones sometimes come with two toned stones (in black and white), which is coincidentally a traditional architectural feature that is also popular in Syria.

There are some beautiful spiritual traditions associated with doorways, and people often recite special spiritual verses before setting foot inside a doorway, as a sign of respect and peace.

Entering a home as a visitor is a very humbling experience that starts with the right foot, known in the Moroccan and Arab cultures as the “bringer of good.” The reason for these traditions is the strong belief that one’s home is his/her special abode and an extension of their earthly existence, and that their place of residence should be treated with the same level of respect and sensitivity as one would treat the person living in it.

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Hand-Lettering & Illustration + Video: Have Faith

Hand-Lettering and Illustration + Video: Have Faith | By Yaansoon

I’m fascinated by typography and hand-lettering, and I love botanical motifs and shapes – herbs particularly. I put the two together to create this illustration, which I then turned into a minimally animated video.

“Have Faith” are two words that can help us anchor ourselves when we are a bit lost. Turning them into an illustration is my way of reminding myself of staying positive regardless of the hurdles, and to keep an open, positive mind.

I wanted to create a minimally animated video to showcase the illustration, but to also express the mood behind it. I think this video turned out to reflect a hint of hopeful sadness, inspired by a moment in time where one needed to be reminded of faith.

And here is the original illustration:

Hand-Lettering and Illustration + Video: Have Faith | By YaansoonSo, for today, just “Have Faith,” and everything else will take care of itself!

I hope you have enjoyed today’s post; I look forward to seeing you in the next one!

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What Valentine’s Day Means to Me: Illustration & YouTube Making-of Video

Valentine’s Day Illustration & YouTube Making-of VideoWhen I created this illustration, I had one thought in mind: Valentine’s Day isn’t just about flowers and chocolate. It’s a universal language that has been perfected since the dawn of time, by all sorts of civilizations and cultures. It’s also a healing power that can bring us all together, through the unspoken language of kindness and love!

The inspiration behind this watercolor and pigmented-ink pen illustration is about the broader significance of Valentine’s Day. The story of this hand-lettering illustration is about how love knows no boundaries and is truly universal.

On top of the lettering, I’ve added several mini tribal and folksy houses – including an old Chinese lodge, a Teepee, and an African hut made of hay – to signify the universality of love, and the timelessness of this strong healing force. You can watch the YouTube making-of video in this link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnU47OJzQGM

In addition to ink pen, and as I have mentioned in my post about my a previous illustrstion video, I’m using a vintage watercolor pan set by Pelikan, called “Deckfarbkasten Super 24.” To watch my previous illustration video, go to: https://youtu.be/CskQ72VMeTM

I wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day filled with beauty, sunshine, and love!

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