Emila at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2013

I received the formal invitation to join the Illustrators Corner in January and I was happy to accept the offer because it includes a free panel in the illustrators corner, 10 hotel nights and a flight to Abu Dhabi and back.

And now here I am in Abu Dhabi, writing this posting in my room. I am here since 22nd April and will leave Abu Dhabi on 1st May. Two more days to go.

Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) has considerably grown throughout the past 5 years and has positioned itself as the gateway to the Arab book market with 300 million potential readers. It continues to offer a professional platform to conduct business with regional partners in the publishing industry. Three years ago, ADIBF successfully introduces the Illustrators Corner where visual content is presented to publishers and the general public. It is now a vibrant area with international attendance and sparkling creativity.

Last year, Illustrators Corner hosted 25 artists from the Arab world as well as Korea, France and Switzerland. This year it includes illustrators from Malaysia, Catalonia, Switzerland, Germany, Dubai, Syria, Egypt, Peru as well as local illustrators.


I am having a great time here entertaining questions from budding illustrators who dropped by to seek more information on how to become an illustrator. Apart from that I got visited by publishers and writers from Bahrain, France, India, Pakistan and many more who are interested in my works. It is a great experience as this is my first time being involved in something that I can relate to.

Here are some pictures from my booth.

This is Saied. He likes to draw anime. He bought each of my women series postcards because he, too, likes to draw women. We have something in common there. He said, “I love sketching women, it’s quite easy unlike sketching men.”

This is Aisha. She’s eleven. She likes my postcards and asked whether she can have a piece of everything on display. I said yes and she happily picked her postcards.

This is Mahra Salem. She is an art student at Zayed University. She bought my stuff 🙂 I am so happy that my merchandise items are sell-able there.

They come to see me draw. From left Sara, Fatma and Fatma. Fatma is a popular name here. I met another Fatma after that, who is the cousin of the very right Fatma.

 Will post more soon. Take care.

Much love,
Emila, Abu Dhabi 29/4/2013, 7am

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Fun in Hong Kong Disneyland II

Continuation from last post about HongKong Disneyland.

I told my son that he will meet and greet Disney Characters at Enchanted Garden, Disneyland Hotel during breakfast and before I could say ‘go to shower’, he had already disappeared into the shower. Good boy.

We took the shuttle bus to Disneyland Hotel and headed to Enchanted Garden. But since our reservation was at 9.30pm, we had to wait for our turn. While waiting, we went to the promenade area and Yassin got to play inside Mickey Maze.


Later, we walked along promenade area by the sea. The weather was cool, breezy and fresh.

Sea-front promenade overlooking South China Sea.

When it’s already 9.30am, we went inside and our table was ready for us. We were ushered through the conservatory-like setting of the lamp-lit Enchanted Garden Restaurant to our table. This restaurant offers huge exquisite international buffet-style meals.


We’re not a big-eater so our choice was quite typical; bread, eggs, vegetables and baked bean.

While having our breakfast, Daisy came into sight! And then Goofy and then Pluto and then Mickey!



It was a fantastic opportunity for Yassin to see some Disney characters up-close and personal and got some photos taken with them. It was a very happy experience and Yassin was so proud.

Later, we went to the theme parks again to discover a part that we missed the other day; Tomorrowland. Tomorrowland features an emphasis on metallic trim, dominated by blue and purple hues. Since the opening of the park, unique attractions have been added into the Hong Kong’s Tomorrowland, such as a new Autopia and Stitch Encounter.



The park was full and most of the rides were having long queues, so we opt for Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. We validated our tickets to get Disney’s FASTPASS® and skipped the long queue. We teamed up with Buzz Lightyear and spin the Star Cruisers 360 degrees. Equipped with fire hand-held laser cannons, we blasted enemy targets and got points. Yassin points was 5000+ while mine was 2000+. Hehe not bad eh for a mother?



Yassin was hungry and we later bought fries and fish burger at Comet Café and took a break at the Town Square at Main Street USA.


It was around 3pm and Yassin was already tired from the day’s walking as well as from previous day. He had blisters on his feet, so we decided to return to the hotel and rest. On the way back, we took the chance to snap more photos around Main Street USA.

Yassin playing ‘knock, knock, who’s there’.



Last but not least, we did some shopping, yay!


I asked Yassin whether he would want to explore some more but he was already tired and just wanted to rest. So we headed back to the hotel and took our rest and later had our dinner at Walt’s Café. We had pumpkin soup, salad, fish and great dessert.


And that wrapped our night.

Next post: last day at Disney’s Hollywood Hotel before checking out at 11am.


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Hello from Abu Dhabi!

I am today at Abu Dhabi, UAE to attend the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF). Reached here last night at 11.45pm. Waited for the driver but after about 45 minutes of waiting, I decided to take a cab. Got a woman taxi driver, Mekessem, to drive me to the hotel. Very friendly. Cost me AED46. ;P

Anyway, am going to ADNEC to set up my booth. Will update more soon. Here’s some pictures I captured.

My room
My room for 10 days.

The toilet
The toilet!

View from my window.

Breakfast this morning.

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Travel illustrations: Lombok

Cover illustrations I did recently for next issue of Gaya Travel Magazine. Will be out soon and will let you know if I will be getting some free copies. I did a line work concept and colored only the traveller part in watercolor. Took me accumulatively one day to complete.

I have never been to Lombok but got the reference photos from the team. So yeah, hope to go someday. Lombok looks gorgeous!

gaya82Pen and watercolor on acrylic paper.

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Fun in Hong Kong Disneyland

Disneyland. Disneyland in Hong Kong. Hong Kong Disneyland.

Finally, my son and I can say that we were here!


OK, maybe Hong Kong Disneyland needs no introduction at all but I still want to write about the general information.

Hong Kong Disneyland is located on reclaimed land in Penny’s Bay, Lantau Island. Hong Kong Disneyland offers a world-class, unique family entertainment experience inspired by the original Disneyland in California. The park opened to visitors on 12 September 2005 and consists of six themed areas: Main Street U.S.A., Fantasyland, Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Grizzly Gulch and Toy Story Land. Since its opening, Hong Kong Disneyland has hosted over 25 million guests and according to AECOM and TEA, Hong Kong Disneyland is the 15th most visited theme park in the world in 2011, with 5.9 million visitors. The park opens from 10.30am to 8.00pm daily.

Now, let’s take a walk with us to the theme parks; chronologically from the hotel where we had our lunch earlier (link to first post). You might want to make a hot chocolate and have some biscuits to dip in coz honey, this gonna be a lengthy post and you ain’t gonna leave anywhere until the end of this post; except for the loo of course.

So…, we took the shuttle bus back to the train station area where the entrance to Disneyland Theme Parks is situated. We were super excited as we approached the green arch with a big Welcome and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort sign.

After entering the arch, we were welcomed by a lush landscape of garden-like promenade where a musical fountain is located. The fountain features Mickey Mouse surfing on a whale spout, surrounded by dancing fountains, all accompanied by a medley of Disney music.

While looking at the fountain, I couldn’t help but ponder about the mechanism and how does Mickey Mouse land safely without falling and breaking to pieces when the fountain stop. After looking closely, I think the flat-headed whale makes a good landing base for Mickey Mouse when the water stops gradually and slowly.

After taking more pictures here for our album, we went inside through a gate to the Main Street Station. At the gate, we had our bags checked before we could enter another gate where our tickets were validated. Some visitors were too excited to enter and overtook others without consideration. But the guard would nicely tell them to queue. Thank you, Mister, we love you!

First area we visited was Main Street U.S.A.

Yassin at the Main Street Station.

According to Disney Imagineer Tom Morris, Main Street U.S.A. at Hong Kong Disneyland is a close reproduction of the Disneyland original as a tribute to Walt Disney’s original park and his approval of the design. Main Street USA features a small American downtown at the turn of the century 1900, just before gas lamps were being replaced by electric lights and the “horseless carriage” was a new invention. Walt Disney’s childhood hometown of Marceline, Missouri served as an inspiration.


We were here just about the right time as Flights of Fantasy Parade started. We were amazed by its grandeur. Mickey’s Magical Airship leads the way later followed by Winnie the Pooh and friends, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, and many more. It was so colourful!

Mickey Mouse.

Dumbo the Flying Elephant.


Jessie and female version of Buzz Lightyear.

Yassin was pulled-in to participate and he joined in the fun without hesitation!

After the parade was over, we walked to Toy Story Land. Toy Story Land has larger-than-life toys where we automatically shrunk to the size of a toy! Interesting!

Honey, they shrunk our kid!

Attractions here include Slinky Dog Spin, RC Racer, Toy Soldier Boot Camp, Barrel of Fun, Toy Soldier Parachute Drop and Cubot. Yassin wanted to try out the parachute drop and I had to overcome my fear of height to accompany him. So off we went to join Andy’s troops for a high-flying adventure. Weeeeee!


We also tried Slinky Dog Spin. This was not as scary as parachute drop. Hehe!


Next, we walked to Fantasyland and watched Golden Mickeys show. This spectacular musical extravaganza is honouring favourite Disney films featuring its main characters such as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto, Belle, Beast, handsome Tarzan, Woody, Jessie, Quasimodo, Stitch, Mulan and Captain Shang.



 Later we went to Adventureland and took that Jungle River Cruise. Here we experience dangerous waters of a mysterious river filled with thrilling surprises as the captain tells the tales.



Tarzan’s Treehouse.

Oops, sorry. These are the only good photos from my camera. Other pictures were very blurry and most of the time I didn’t really take photos because I was cautiously preparing myself to back away if anything rises from under the water. Haha, scaredy cat. Where’s my Tarzan when I needed him most?

Later after that we went to Grizzly Gulch.


Grizzly Gulch is a new addition to Hong Kong Disneyland last July 2012. This land reminisces an abandoned mining town called “Grizzly Gulch”, set amidst mountains and woods. The centrepiece structure is Big Grizzly Mountain, inspired by Grizzly Peak in Disney California Adventure Park. The town was set to be founded 8 August 1888 — the luckiest day of the luckiest month of the luckiest year — by prospectors looking to discover gold.

Fierce enough?


We had a tiring day and it was time to have dinner at Plaza Inn. Inspired by the movie “Mulan”, this restaurant serves Cantonese-style dim sum, signature shrimps, spring rolls, BBQ and other delicious meals. As for us we ordered fish, tofu, vegetables and vegetable fried rice.



And to wrap the night, we watched the firework show at Sleeping Beauty Castle! It was splendid and we could never imagine that one day we will be able to see it for real. We went back to the hotel with a big smile.


 Next; Exciting greet-and-meet with Disney characters and a little bit more on Hong Kong Disneyland.

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Hong Kong Disneyland: A Dream Comes True

“Mother, do you think Disneyland would look like this?” asked my son, Yassin, one day while taking a view of Kuala Lumpur city one night back in 2009. “Disneyland has Sleeping Beauty castle with fireworks, dear,” I replied.


He was dreaming of visiting the magical kingdom of Disneyland and the only thing I could say was that I’ll bring him to Disneyland one fine day when I have saved enough money to take him.

Only after 4 years the dream came true; we visited Hong Kong Disneyland last month (14 – 16 March 2013). He was overwhelmed and excited. A week prior to our departure to Hong Kong, he would make a little ‘Yay’ scream few times a day. I can understand his feeling of excitement; it was too hard to hide.

The initial plan was to go together with his dad as family but as my husband could not take leave from work, so it was just the two of us.

The day came and as my husband was not around, I asked my BFF, Helmy, if he could help drive me to the airport at 3am. The flight was at 6.30am. I always like to be early for international departure. I can either have coffee or read books or sketch while waiting at the gate.

After a flight of about 4 hours, we touched down in Hong Kong International Airport. We took Airport Express train to Tsing Yi (turquoise line), later changed train at Sunny Bay (orange line) and then took another train to Disneyland (pink line). Alternatively, there’s other transportation like taxi and bus but we prefer the train. The train here is called MTR and it is regarded as one of the world’s leading railways.

After about half an hour, we reached Disneyland Station. We were very excited!!

 Disney Station

 Later we took a shuttle bus provided near the train station and checked in Disney’s Hollywood Hotel.




We love the room!! I talk about this hotel later in other post but here is a picture of the room for you to look at.


Yassin was already screaming hungry, so we went for lunch at Crystal Lotus, situated at Disneyland Hotel (not far from this one) as the reservation has been made earlier. We went there on the shuttle bus provided by the hotel.

Crystal Lotus is grand! And we bumped into a Malaysian family there! In fact we bumped into few others at the hotel earlier; one from Penang and the other from KL.


The restaurant has won the Best of the Best Culinary Awards 2009 – Gold with Distinction Medal from Dim-Sum Category, so we don’t want to miss to experience the chef’s award winning culinary skills. We requested for fish and vegetables and here is all the great-tasting food for you to drool upon. Hehe.

Steamed Vegetables Dumpling, Vegetable Spring Roll and Swan Vegetarian Taro Puff.

Yassin eating vegetable spring roll.

Clockwise from top: Pumpkin Soup, Sautéed Grouper Fillet with Asparagus, Braised Mock Abalone with Bean Curd and Fried Rice with Preserved Vegetables.

We had a great Mickey Mango Pudding and Duffy Steamed Red Bean Bun as dessert.

Last but not least, Jasmine tea to wrap our lunch.

The lunch was great! We were all fuelled up and ready to rumble. Next, Disneyland Theme Parks.

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Work, work, work…

And that means money, money, money! 😀


I have been busy illustrating for well established clients in the travel industry and could not find time to blog. I have had sleepless night for few days already (well, I did fell asleep in front of my laptop) to meet deadlines. I still have some artowrk revision to do before they proceed with the FA work for printing.

I have so many things to tell; the Sarawak Fam Trip organised by Malindo Air and Sarawak Tourism Board, the Hong Kong Disneyland stories and my trip to promote my illustrations in Abu Dhabi this coming Monday but I have to put them all on hold first to make way for works to be done. I am hoping to have some ME time in Abu Dhabi but that will not be possible as I have to take my illustration work along with me. Hehe, that is what illustrator does, right? Illustrate, illustrate and illustrate some more. At the same time I am lucky this year to have travelled to some place I’ve never been.

Life is great; I get to do things I love and that includes illustrate and travel.


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Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace (LIMA) 2013

Being enthusiasts of aircrafts, my husband and son wouldn’t want to miss it for the world to see the LIMA 2013 static aircrafts and air show held at the Mahsuri International Exhibition Centre (MIEC) and therefore they forced themselves (while dragging me along) through the MASSIVE traffic jam. We had to park far away outside the airport area and walked about 15 minutes to MIEC under the scorching hot weather.


But it was all worth it; we were very happy to be surrounded by aircrafts! Let’s take a look at the pictures (please wait while they load and please use the left and right arrow to navigate):

 The air show summed up all the happiness!

SU-27P & SU-27UB (Russian Air Force)
Russian Knights SU-27P /SU-27UB (Russian Air Force)

Spectators taking pictures.

About LIMA 2013

Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) 2013 is the 12th edition of LIMA exhibition series held at  the Mahsuri International Exhibition Centre (MIEC), one of the largest and most prestigious exhibition and convention venues in northern Malaysia. It is strategically located at the centre of Langkawi Island and 30 minutes away from all major hotels, resorts and Kuah town. MIEC has been home to the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition since opening her doors in mid 1995. It boasts a built up space of 22,050 square meters and a further 49,400 square meters of outdoor display area.

The exhibition hall caters to large and heavy exhibits through its triple volume ceiling and convenient purpose designed access. It’s location adjacent to the Langkawi International Airport makes it suitable for aircraft display and eases logistics planning. MIEC also provides international standard ancillary facilities such as banquet and seminar rooms, offices and business centre. Langkawi Island is an hour’s flight from Kuala Lumpur and is also connected to the main land via regular ferry service. [Source: http://www.lima.com.my]

It was held last 26 – 30 March 2013 and opened to public the last two days.

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