I’ve moved to a new food and travel illustration blog on Yaansoon.com

I’ve moved to a new food and travel illustration blog on Yaansoon.comNew beginnings are always very exciting. Ushering in a new era, I have decided to move my blog to a new self-hosted website over at Yaansoon.com. This is where I will be sharing my illustrated food and travel adventures, so please join me as I start a new chapter in my blogging journey!

I’m so happy to announce that my website and blog Yaansson.com is up and running and that it has one post in its feed already.

Check out my 1st post on Yaansoon.com titled:

Welcome to My Food and Travel Illustration Blog

You can also visit my new About page.

I’m planning to keep my current yaansoon.wordpress.com blog online as my “beta” blogging experiment, and to remind me of my artistic history. It’s good to come back every once in a while to check on my progress as an artist and also see things in hindsight.

I’ve moved to a new food and travel illustration blog on Yaansoon.com | Yaansoon new logoMy new blog features a new logo that better reflects my illustration style. I have evolved so much over the past few months and I feel my old logo is no longer representative of who I am as an illustrator.

To be honest, I feel like I have a small family on WordPress.com in so many countries across the world, and I do hope we’ll be able to stay in touch on my new platform. So let me extend a special invitation to you to stay in touch via my newsletter.

I’ve moved to a new food and travel illustration blog on Yaansoon.comTo subscribe you can add your email address to the following form over here: http://eepurl.com/b5RyjH.

Take care for now, and see you on the other side!

Yaansoon

 

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Exciting News: The Countdown to the Launch of My New Website Has Started

Exciting News: The Countdown to the Launch of My New Website Has Started | By Yaansoon IllustrationI am so excited to share with you all the long-awaited ‘soft launch’ of my new website, Yaansoon.com. This self-hosted blog and website is still in the making, but I do hope to make the official launch in the coming few weeks!

If you would like to stay in touch and receive future blog posts from my new blog, please don’t hesitate to subscribe to my newsletter. You can do so over here: http://eepurl.com/b5RyjH.

Although I’m planning to keep my current yaansoon.wordpress.com blog online as my “beta” blogging experiment, I’m feeling a little bit emotional about leaving it. I have met such nice people over at WordPress.com and I feel like I have a small family in so many countries across the world.

WordPress.com is such an excellent blogging platform. It has so many customization features, a community, and some really cool blogging perks. But staying on a free blog platform also means that you are limited in your options.

I will be posting one more time on this blog and it will be about launching my new website. I don’t want it to be a final goodbye but more like a “see you again” kind of post.

I miss you already and look forward to seeing you all in the next chapter of my blogging journey! Meanwhile, here are the online addresses that you can find me at, so don’t be a stranger!

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How I Display Art: Oil Paintings and Food Illustrations Gallery Wall

How I Display Art: Oil Paintings and Food Illustrations Gallery Wall | By Yaansoon IllustrationI usually arrange my gallery walls a bit haphazardly, but this time my husband and I went for more of a symmetrical arrangement to display my new oil paintings, along with these other food illustrations that I created in 2014 way before I started calling myself an illustrator!

So, this is a “themed” gallery wall, and the theme as you can see is Middle Eastern food, with a hint of gardening.

How I Display Art: Oil Paintings and Food Illustrations Gallery Wall | By Yaansoon IllustrationI might post each artwork individually in the future, but I just wanted to share the idea of creating a gallery wall that carried one theme as well as a cohesive colour scheme.

What I like about this wall is that it looks like a magazine. You have your full-spread paintings, as well as other smaller ones zooming in on the ingredients. Moreover, the arrangement falls into a grid, which my husband created using thin stripes of twine and tape just so we could see where everything was before we committed to nailing them to the wall.

There is also a bit of a space in the middle, which helps draw the eye to two separate areas… as if the wall is two magazine pages, and the spaces between the frames are filled with text. We do intend to fill the spaces with little trinkets and paintings, but we’re not sure yet as to what exactly.

How I Display Art: Oil Paintings and Food Illustrations Gallery Wall | By Yaansoon IllustrationWe had other art as candidates for the gallery, but these did not quite fit into our story. We wanted to create something that looked both aesthetically cohesive, as well as belonged to the same story line. We even had to change one frame and its background to make it fit into our scheme. At one point I wanted to include a couple of pattern-y watercolour paintings that had no food in them. They totally looked out of place and we had to remove them.

To be honest, I love creating gallery walls because they shed a new light on my work and create sort of an expanded context for them. It’s like being part of an editorial project or a wall “book” of sorts!

Well, I do hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post, and I do look forward to seeing you in my next one!

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New Blog Series – ‘Illustrated Middle Eastern Recipes: Food Stories by a Multi-Cultural Couple’

New Blog Series: 'Illustrated Middle Eastern Recipes - Food Stories by a Multi-Cultural Couple' | By Yaansoon Illustration

I’m very excited to share with you all my new blog series, ‘Illustrated Middle Eastern Recipes: Food Stories by a Multi-Cultural Couple,’ which will bring you mouth-watering dishes from the different cultures and culinary roots that my husband and I hail from.

I’ve already posted a recipe back in April for Turkish Pizza with a Lebanese Twist, where I shared with you all my husband’s yummy and homemade signature recipe. I also wrote that this savoury pastry dish is popular in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Armenia, and Turkey, and that there are so many versions for this boat-shaped pizza.

Which got me thinking – most Middle Eastern dishes come with localized versions, and essentially, recipes do vary from household to household!

My husband, being an excellent Italian home chef with Middle Eastern roots, has his own way of cooking dishes that I have slightly different recipes for. We’re always mixing and matching his version of a certain dish with the version I have, based on recipes and notes I have collected from my late grandmother. The results are always exciting and unexpected.

So I thought why not write about homemade Middle Eastern dishes that have more than one version, with focus on the most delicious varieties that we like to cook at home?

I also thought that this would be a nice idea for an illustrated blog series, which will also give me plenty of opportunities to expand my food illustrations portfolio, with focus on the kind of food my husband and I love to cook!

New Blog Series: 'Illustrated Middle Eastern Recipes - Food Stories by a Multi-Cultural Couple' | By Yaansoon IllustrationMulti-Cultural Middle Eastern Food

Although generally speaking people don’t usually deem North Africa as part of the Middle East, but I do have Moroccan roots that I have been reconnecting with for the past few months through my illustrations. This deep-rooted connection has been basically the inspiration behind the Tajine pot that I have included in my illustration (above) as I went on to create a logo-style badge for this new blog series.

As some of you may know, Moroccan food is completely different from Jordanian, Syrian, or Lebanese food. It follows a completely different rationale, and a different way of mixing the ingredients. Whereas the concept of sweet-and-sour is a staple flavour in the Moroccan cuisine, flavours that originate in the Levant are more polarized, often leaning towards saltiness or sweetness, and seldom the two together.

But what East and West of the Mediterranean have in common is the dominating language, which is Arabic. And again, Moroccan Arabic is completely different than Lebanese Arabic. It’s not only the dialect, but also the choice of words, and the structure of sentences, which I found to be quite interesting when I had the chance to visit Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.

I want to reflect this multi-culturalism in this new blog series’ recipes, which I am really very excited about. I hope that in the coming weeks I will have the chance to put together a post or two from the Middle Eastern cuisine!

Until then, take care and I look forward to seeing you in my next post!

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New Blog Series: ‘My Travel Illustrations Journal’

New Blog Series: 'My Travel Illustrations Journal' | By Yaansoon IllustrationI’ve always wanted to keep a travel journal where I could glue train ticket stubs onto the pages, or draw tiny drawings to remind me of my experiences in the 20+ countries I have been to. I guess that’s the main drive behind my illustrated travel posts series, dubbed ‘My Travel Illustrations Journal,‘ Naturally, as a former PR gal, I want to take this blog series to the next level by introducing a special badge that sort of ‘brands’ it all and makes it a fixed section in my blog.

I come from a PR and media background, so there is nothing more exciting for me than to engage in a mini branding exercise. I like to create badges (or logos) for each and every blog series I introduce into this blog. The illustration above is my new travel series badge. What do you think? Do you like it?

'My Travel Illustrations Journal': Tunisian Ceramics | By Yaansoon IllustrationHaving a travel journal has always been a dream of mine, but I never got around to it. Over the years I sort of opted to keep my travel pictures, plane tickets, and post cards in a small cardboard box that sat on one of my shelves (mostly collecting dust). I also have another box where I keep my souvenirs and the trinkets I have collected from the different handcraft markets and tiny indie shops I’ve been to around the globe.

This series basically started back in June when I was marveling at the contents of my souvenirs box. That’s when I felt a strong urge to illustrate these knickknacks and baubles and sort of tell their story. As a result, my first official travel post was born and it was about my collection of Tunisian ceramics.

New Blog Series: 'My Travel Illustrations Journal' | By Yaansoon IllustrationWhy I Love Travel

Travel for me is a reminder that life is about endless possibilities. It makes us realize that there is so much more to life than our own narrow experiences. It helps us expand our horizons and keeps us from getting fixated on our own set ways.

Not all people who travel end up expanding their understanding of the human condition. Some take their prejudices and narrow-mindedness with them everywhere they go. They get all judgmental about the customs and traditions of the countries they visit, and constantly keep comparing them to their own. That’s definitely not the kind of traveller I ever wanted to be!

Travel Illustration: 10 Things to Pack When You're Traveling to Morocco | By Yaansoon IllustrationTravel and Cultural Respect

When I was lucky enough to visit Morocco a few years ago, I remember going off on my own to visit the local Souk (market). I wanted an authentic experience that wasn’t affected by some of my colleagues’ moods, or maybe the lack of respect they seemed to have for other cultures. The age range varied so much and some of the people in my group were too self-involved for my taste, so I decided I didn’t have to ruin my trip on their account.

In my post, Travel Illustration: 10 Things to Pack When You’re Traveling to Morocco, I talk about suitable attire for visiting public and spiritual areas in Morocco. I had to learn that the hard way, as I went completely unprepared with my sleeveless shirts and torn pair of jeans. I remember buying traditional humble clothing from the market because I wanted to enter a small spiritual mosque, traditionally called ‘Zawya’ in Muslim countries that have a strong Sufi and spiritual heritage, like Morocco.

Respecting other people’s traditions is really the backbone of travel. It helps tame our own judgmental nature and be open to a different way of life, even for just a little while. Otherwise, what’s the point from travel if we are going to come out of these experiences exactly the same people as we first started?

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