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The Illustration Process of “Sabir’s Paradise”

The Illustration Process of “Sabir’s Paradise”

by: Dr. Amal Alaboud

Illustrations perform a vital role in children’s literature, especially with bilingual stories like Sabir’s Paradise. They must have a magnetic energy that draws the reader into the story. Each page should be a thrill as well as an education. With children’s hands reaching up to turn the pages.


I wanted the illustration of “Sabir’s Paradise” to be as authentic as possible. I’m very detailed-oriented so I wanted the illustration to match the story’s theme. The publisher sent the manuscript to the illustrator Nour Altouba who sent us a sketch of the story afterwards and then the fun begins.


Sabir’s Paradise teaches about the Arabian Peninsula, and the journey of Sabir the little camel, who goes on an adventure to find his family. It was important to me to show the setting of the Arabian desert in its true likeness. From the plants to the animals. Some alterations and tweaks had to be made to Sabir’s Paradise before it was ready for publication.


Originally, Nour added an image of a cacti on the story’s first page. However, it was later changed to an aloe vera plant. Aloe vera are popular in the Arabian Peninsula. There are many botanists who believe its origins lie within the Arabian desert sands.







Similarly, we removed an image of a lizard from the story as it was not a species local to the area. When children learn about a place for the first time, it often stays with them. I realised that these images would aid their understanding of the place as well as the language to build a holistic learning tool as well as an honest representation of the story.

Nour chose a primary colour scheme to match the environment. Blue for the sky and the imaginary desert friends, yellow for the sand and camels and green for the foliage. This clever use of colour separates aspects of the illustrations to simplify bilingual learning.


The story is an adventure and evokes the feeling that children are safe when they trust within themselves. Facial expressions in the book were designed to show this. I asked Nour to change any frowning characters to smiling, which lifted the feel of the book. Expressions were important as they prompted the tone of Sabir’s adventure. When action is happening, or if Sabir is having trouble there will always be a smiling character nearby to show their support and bolster his courage.


The book cover was designed to show the happy end to the story. Sabir relaxes in the oasis with a floatie, sunglasses and a friendly frog. Happy to have come to the end of his wonderful adventure.


The illustration process of Sabir’s Paradise brought the story to life. Nour Altouba’s talent shone through the images that he created. The book is a true work of love and one I feel privileged to share with my readers, both adult and child.


Where to buy Sabir’s Paradise


Nour Publishing

Jarir Bookstore


Neel wa Furat

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