Last November, Netflix premiered its first original Egyptian production Paranormal, also known as Ma Wara’ al-Tabi’a, a six-episode series directed by Amr Salama and based on Ahmed Khaled Tawfik’s best-selling Arabic book of the same title. The series was well-received, and became quite popular, receiving a 96 percent average audience score on Rotten Tomaoes and an 82 percent IMDb score.
Of the tens of thousands of fans of the series was Nourane Owais, an Egyptian photographer and illustrator based in Cairo, who was deeply inspired by the visuals of the series.
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“When I first heard that Paranormal was coming soon on Netflix, I was excited because it is the first Egyptian series on the platform. I already love Amr Salama’s previous work, the cast was interesting, and the Paranormal books themselves are legendary,” Owais told Egyptian Streets.
Owais shared her illustration process on Instagram through stories, reels, timelapses and posts, like she regularly does with her followers.
“I focus on bringing my work to life and conveying emotions through color and light, and I work on making the final artwork look like a screenshot from a movie,” Owais added.
Little did she know that her work would go viral on social media and that the Netflix team would contact her shortly after asking for more of her work exclusively for Paranormal, starting a larger illustrated series inspired by the show.
“In a nutshell, it started because I fell in love with a scene,” she said
To create the animations, Owais watched and re-watched the show for days, and it took her and the Netflix team some time to settle on the scenes she would be illustrating.
“At first we chose which characters I’m illustrating: Refaat, Reda, Shiraz, Howaida and Ibrahim. Then we chose a scene for each character. We wanted key moments in the show; cliffhangers revealing a bit more about the characters and events. I also wanted to pick unique scenes that haven’t been illustrated before by fans,” Owais told Egyptian Streets.
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Owais’ general interest, she said, is in creating beautiful artwork, whether it’s a digital illustration, traditional watercolor, or photography.
“Since I was a little girl I dreamed of working in animation, because I loved watching cartoons, and even though I studied computer sciences, I drifted back to art and illustration just like my heart always wanted. I am very interested in the visual development field and being part of creating an animated universe. I am mostly influenced by Disney, Dreamworks, Illumination and the SPA studios,” she shared with Egyptian Streets.
“I’m growing as a self-taught artist, and hope it inspires creative individuals to work on developing their hidden skills.”