Introducing Viola and How We Decided to Make a Web Comic

I first met Viola when Nadine wrote to me about another project and sent me some links to her work. Nadine has been drawing Viola for years now, along with some characters from her universe, and it occurred to me that this wonderful art needed only a storyline to become an epic for our times.

Well, perhaps I’m getting a little ahead of myself.

viola arabic art

‘Each tree, each fish, each sunset has a story to tell’

Still, I loved Nadine’s art so much and saw so much potential in Viola that I reasoned if I could find stories to match the character we’d be able to put together an interest web comic.

You may have guessed from the Arabic in the image that Nadine comes from an Arabic country: Lebanon, in fact. And yet I saw an Oriental quality in her art, not least evidenced by the short, enigmatic phrases that accompanied her pictures. That, too, got me wondering.

Art, artists tell me, takes quite a long time to actually do and Nadine assures me that each comic takes at least a week of hard work to complete. So the stories that I would write would have to be rather short. That was fine with me as after writing 5 or 6 books I’ve come to dread pages of words – at least when they’re coming out of the end of my pen. So here was an opportunity to write some haiku-like stories for an enigmatic girl with red hair (Viola, not Nadine, though she does have red hair, too, and they’ve never been seen in the same place at the same time).

We’re launching the website now and it’s all very exciting. We’ve been working together for over 3 months already and the working-in-progress has been as illuminating as the work itself.  So we’ve decided to make this blog to accompany the comic and share some of the process of inspiration and perspiration behind the scenes of putting Wandering Viola together.

May she wander in your hearts.

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  • When Tom told me he is inspired to write stories for Viola, I got a very good feeling about it, even though I didn’t really know what shape they will take. When we decided to make it a web comic and he started sending me the scripts I was so happy to discover that my intuition was right.
    Now that we are launching I’m amazed to see we actually did it.

    Things were falling into place amazingly as we started working together.
    My energy and creativity grew stronger in the past 5 or 6 months with every story Tom wrote. I feel I have a world that lives inside of me now, not just Viola.

    Viola came to life around 2007-2008, inspired by all the personal, political, environmental and social things that were happening around me in Lebanon.
    I started to express my emotions, fears, questions and thoughts through her. She has her eyes closed most of the time and her hair colour changes according to her moods.
    I dreamt of colourful worlds full of love, poetry and innocence so I created them.

    This collaboration with Tom is a dream coming true and I’m glad to share it with you.
    I hope you enjoy exploring it as much as we did.

    • Jim

      Magical Touch 🙂

    • Hey! I’m a passer-by from Beirut! Loved the initiative you’ve come to dwell here. Wish you all the luck & light and will surely be awaiting you every month! Much love <3

      • Hello @facebook-722615092:disqus, thank you for your beautiful message!
        Much love to you and Beirut <3

  • Best of luck to you Nadine!

    • Lilo thank you for the support men zamen w jeyé 🙂 echta2telik!

  • Good luck. Viola is amazing

    • nadinefeghaly

      Thank you Hisham!