“When the pen married the brush, MAGIC was born!”
This is the story of Halla bint Khalid - Saudi Arabia’s very own artist, illustrator, children’s book author, publisher, businesswoman and entrepreneur. Needless to say, she is a VERY busy lady!
Befitting of many stories, and story-tellers, Halla was born in a Kingdom far away – Saudi Arabia to be precise, and, to be even more exact, its desert capital city of Riyadh.
When Halla was ten, her father playfully pointed out that cows are great creatures because of what they contribute to the world. This brought her to a crucial question; what could she contribute to the world?
Most of her classmates wanted to work in the medical profession. Was that it? No, too gory.
Could she become a scientist or inventor? Maybe,
but that would require remembering names and numbers!
A teacher perhaps? No, too gruelling!
At this point, Halla began to resign herself to the fact that she was a “good for nothing”.
Then, one day, the school art teacher snuck up on her while she was drawing an oil pastel of sunflowers. After a few minutes of scrutiny, Abla Quamar looked up and said: “This is exceptional, you should strive to improve your talent.” Halla needed no further encouragement. Pen and paintbrush became her closest companions.
Mrs. Liz Thompson, her first art teacher remarked that: “art and writing go hand in hand”. Remembering her school teacher’s glowering countenance Halla said: “But, Mrs.Thompson, I can’t write.” One week later, with Mrs.Thompson’s guidance, Halla wrote her first poem.
The age of seventeen marked her first participation in an art exhibition, thus, her career as an Artist was launched, and year after year she painted and drew.
When an art consultant suggested Halla illustrate children’s books, her firm reply was “NEVER!”
That being said, in 1996, Halla began writing and illustrating stories for her own five children. Her father’s gentle encouragement, and strong support convinced her to start her own publishing house.
Author of over seventeen different titles, in both Arabic and English, Halla hopes to give each child a book they would ask their parents to read at bed time, a book that would make them smile, think, learn
a new word, or find a new colour. A book they would want to carry everywhere.
Halla loves spending time visiting schools to read her stories to their students, educating them on the publishing, literary and creative worlds. Get in touch to find out more:
“Sometimes people say to me never stop painting. This is like asking me to never stop breathing.”