Bird's Wisdom is an illustrated retelling of Rumi's The Bird's Wise Counsels. In this tale, a bird is captured for a meal and offers to exchange wisdom for its release. The bird shares his pearls of wisdom but his captor is unable to appreciate the teachings.
The book is 30 panels (60 pages) written in English and Arabic.
Rabbit's Wit is a creative retelling of Rumi's The Lion and the Beast, a story that inspires kids to think differently and overcome challenges. This is the story of a beast that invades a village and steals the harvest. A young rabbit devises a clever plan to save his village. The beast is scary, just as life can be scary at times. To see a youngster overcome his fears and succeed makes us all feel stronger and more confident.
The book is 42 panels (84 pages) written in English and Arabic.
My name is Mustafa Alami. I live in Sausalito, California with my energetic son, lovely wife, and wise father. During the day, I design software experiences. In my free time, I like to sketch, paint, and ride my bicycle. More about my professional work can be found at malami.com.
I aim to find folk tales from the Middle East and bring them to life with colorful illustrations and simple narration. My first two stories are based on writings by Rumi.
These stories reflect my values. As a designer of software experiences, I spend my day trying to find simple and delightful ways to solve problems. Hence, stories about clever solutions to complicated problems are a treasure for me to share.
The name numyum was inspired by "birdie num num," a line in an old Peter Sellers' movie. It represents one of my simple pleasures - tossing crumbs to birds. I am frequently reprimanded for doing so at outdoor restaurants, parks, and in Europe in general. Along the way, numnum somehow became numyum.
I genuinely hope you enjoy these stories. If you do, please share with your friends and leave a positive review.
I don't yet know if numyum will generate income. If it does, proceeds will go to support children's causes in the Middle East.
To begin, I am focused on digital distribution, which provides an opportunity to iterate on the content and publish new versions without the overhead of a print run. That being said, if a publisher comes along and would like to print the books, I would be more than happy to discuss.
The creation of these stories has been one long multimedia experiment. Initially, I painted each frame on a wood panel and was very happy with the result. However, that took way too long to finish a panel and then I couldn't make any changes. I had to start over if the character, scene or colors needed to be updated to match the rest of the story. So I switched to painting on paper, thinking that might be faster. It wasn't. I experimented with an all-digital approach and started drawing vector lines on the computer. It was quicker, but I wasn't happy with the results. In the end, I found that what worked best was using a pencil to draw a small 3"x3" sketch, taking a photo and transferring the pencil sketch to my iPad, and then digitally painting on top of it using procreate. The combination of a pencil drawing and digital coloring was the best approach for me. I like the outcome and it is relatively quick process.
To set the English and Arabic type, I used a program called Graphic, which is a pleasure to use and works on the iPad and my Mac.