AOI Mentorship 2022: Introducing Myriam Achour Soumati

The 2022 AOI Mentorship scheme is now fully underway! First introduced in 2020 and expanded in 2021, this free program is designed by the AOI to further support and guide under-represented illustrators in an intimate and supporting setting.

Walton on Thames-based illustrator Myriam Achour Soumati (aka Soumati Studio) is one of 17 new mentees selected for this year’s edition, paired with mentor and Illustrator Claudine O’Sullivan. We learn how her mentorship is going so far and what she’s hoping to achieve in the months ahead.

What does being part of the AOI Mentorship mean to you?

When I received the email from the AOI saying I’d been selected, I couldn’t believe it. I felt so happy, proud and seen. As a late bloomer self-taught illustrator, this is huge for me. Huge in terms of recognition of my potential, in terms of belonging to a community of fellow talented illustrators and professionals, and in terms of support, inspiration and guidance. Being part of the AOI Mentorship is a sign that I am on the right path and that I can keep trusting in the Universe and in myself. It also means a massive opportunity for progression and expansion.

(Illustrating the date 26th of October for Fedrigoni 365 – 2022 edition)

What has the mentorship been like so far?

I’ve only had two sessions with my mentor, artist and illustrator Claudine O’Sullivan and it’s already been such an inspiring and uplifting journey. I feel very supported by Claudine as she truly understands my work, my values, my challenges and goals as an illustrator and painter selling my art on different platforms.

I’ve been learning a lot from her experience and also from the tips and resources (books, articles, methods) she’s been feeding me during and in between sessions. I’m actually currently in the process of auditing the way I work and introducing power hours and batch working on a weekly basis. If I planned things right, I should be able to have two entire days dedicated to drawing and painting every week. Sounds crazy to say that, but many creatives will agree that we often get lost and overwhelmed by wearing all the other hats: admin, business, logistics, PR, content creator, marketing, social media…

Also, I’ve just finished Find Your Artistic Voice by Lisa Congdo –  so if you haven’t read it, I truly recommend. Demystifying, freeing motivating.

As a self-taught artist navigating the world of illustration and painting, I’m so grateful to have a professional I can trust and ask for feedbacks and advice, as much on the business and admin as on the artistic sides of things. Plus, she’s super nice!

(Personal work – animated illustration of electronic composer and producer Peggy Gou)

What do you hope to accomplish by the end of the mentorship?

I hope to find an exciting but steady flow between client work, painting, exhibiting and selling my work – art prints and paintings. I’ve actually just started stocking with Wolf & Badger, which is a huge win I’m proud to share!

I hope to make contact and exchange with a number of chosen Art Directors, agencies and businesses who align with my values and work and to have some exciting perspectives of collaboration.

Finally I want to be able to handle client work with ease and confidence: pitch, quote, negotiate, project manage and deliver outstanding work. I also know this will come with experience and I’m currently working on more illustration and design projects than I’ve had.

(I AM – Acrylic on canvas, part of the Atlas Mountains Sisterhood painting series 
Myriam exhibited in London in November 2021)

We’d like to thank Myriam for her time in giving this interview. See more of her work on her website and Instagram.

Keep checking our Mentorship section to meet more 2022 mentees!

Learn more about the AOI Mentorship and our 2022 Mentors.

The AOI Mentorship scheme is one of many benefits offered by us. Find out more about membership today.

25th March 2022

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