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Egyptian Artist Nourane Owais Turns Netflix’s Paranormal Into Cartoon

January 13, 2021
Paranormal Illustrated Series by Nourane Owais.

Paranormal Illustrated Series by Nourane Owais.

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.


“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.

“While I was watching the show, I was in awe of the production quality. This made me pickup my pencil and I started drafting my first cinematic illustration from this show “When Refaat re-met Maggie” in episode 1. The scene only took a few seconds but the script was moving, the lighting was magical, and Maggie’s smile… I just had to paint her,” Owais said.

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.

“For Reda, I couldn’t ignore the infernal scene in episode 5, and the sacrifice he made for his brother. I had to highlight that even though visually it was a challenge to bring it to life on my canvas,” she said.
“Howaida is a loyal friend and a strong woman, yet she may seem shy and weak most of the time. I wanted to show her in a moment of transformation and strength and determination, taking action to help Refaat, and probably save his life,” she added.
“Ibrahim has the kindest heart, he loved Shiraz deeply and he never wanted to let her down. It was very obvious when he told her he’s willing to do anything to help her and never let her go despite all odds,” Owais said.
“Shiraz was a mystery, you never know when she’s helping Refaat, and when she’s manipulating him. The scene on the rooftop of the Khadrawy’s house was one of those mysteries in my opinion,” she said.
“Refaat…well, Refaat had so many key moments. In fact, this was not my first illustration of him, and I changed my mind and painted a second one because there were so many key moments and I had the most difficult time choosing which. I loved the ending of episode 5, my favorite cliffhanger in the show before the finale, if you ask me, and this is the one I went with in the end. I also wanted to paint Al Khadrawy’s house, even if it was only the entryway!” Owais said.


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.

Owais teaches watercolor workshops, and enjoys sharing her art journey on Instagram and YouTube .

“I’m growing as a self-taught artist, and hope it inspires creative individuals to work on developing their hidden skills.”

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