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Visual Artist Yusuf Mubaraq Runs Us Through His Typical Day as a Creative

The Creative Diary is a weekly newsletter exploring the juicy lives of people in various creative fields. Featuring an expressive account of a typical day in the life of the featured creative and a Rapid Cruise section where a series of random personal questions are attempted. It’s a fun and exciting ride you don’t want to miss.

Yusuf Mubaraq is a self-taught visual artist from Nigeria. His works have been exhibited virtually with “Tribes African Art Gallery” in a show titled “Black joy” during black history month in the US.

To ignite our “A day in the life” series, we spent a day with Mubaraq and captured what a typical day is like for him. We had fun and picked a few art lessons from his creative process. 

8 am-10 am:

I woke up, tidied up my room, brushed my teeth, and took my bath.

I also cleaned my studio. I clean my studio first thing in the morning because I love to work in a clean environment. It helps me stay focused. I don’t particularly appreciate seeing my materials lying around, so I first get that done before anything.

After that, I had yam and egg for breakfast. I would have preferred to order food, but you know the drill when living with your parents.

Mubaraq’s workspace

10 am-2 pm:

I visited an artist friend to take reference pictures for a project I was planning and borrowed a projector to make sketches for a big painting.

The projector

A reference picture is taken to get an idea of what to paint and get a particular posture, colour, or shadow to be included in the painting. It’s essential to have a reference picture before painting because painting from imagination might not materialize perfectly without a physical guide.

2 pm-5 pm: 

I arrived at my studio and prepared the sketches. I  did that in less than an hour and resumed back to one of my unfinished projects so I could have enough space for the new canvases.

Completed sketch

5 pm- 8 pm

I had a visitor ( A student learning art from me). She was supposed to come earlier, around 12, but because I wasn’t in the studio, we had to shift the appointment to 3 pm.

To think of it, my relationship with my students is weak. There are two (a boy and a girl), and our relationship is not solid because they hardly come around. I feel like they don’t prioritize the craft because they’ll always find time to come if they do. The boy lives close to my studio and still wouldn’t show up for weeks. I can’t complain because art is not something one can be forced to do. You have to want it genuinely.

Anyway, the girl came late, so I had to put the painting on hold to put her through some basic knowledge on foreshortening. Foreshortening is an illusion of depth by representing a big object with a small drawing, making the eyes perceive it as big. Foreshortening distorts objects to make them look shorter as objects angle towards the viewer.

9 pm- 10 pm

I went online later at night to check other artists’ works and see if I had any messages. I draw inspiration from these artists and endeavour to do far better, but keep in mind that it’s not a form of competition. It’s only a force to push myself to do more.

Afterwards, I checked Amazon for a tablet holder. I need that to hold my tablet, so I can conveniently hold my pallet while working.

Once I was done with the order, I ate rice and stew for dinner and went to bed.

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