Meet our Artists in Residence – Moira Zahra

Hello! I’m one of the Illustration Artists in Residence for this year at ECA. I’m a full-time freelance illustrator and graphic designer working mostly in children’s books and editorial illustration. Prior to being a freelancer I was a lecturer and programme coordinator in Malta, teaching graphic design, interactive media and game art for seven years.
During my residency here I will be working on client projects as well as working on my own projects. During the first semester I will be working on a children’s book with Merlin publishers (a Maltese publisher). The book is called ‘A Walk in Valletta’ and it’s about two characters touring the Maltese capital. I will be more than happy to discuss my process with any students wishing to know more about children’s book illustration (you can find me in the Illustration studio on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays).
Another project I will be working on is a collaboration with a jewellery designer, who is also based in Malta. For this project, I am doing various character and background illustrations that will eventually become jewellery pieces. This is quite a challenging project for me because I’ve never designer products or jewellery pieces, so it should be interesting to observe and learn from the process. I’m also discussing another project with a book maker, where I will be doing illustrated covers for hand-bound books, but this project is still in its initial stages.
My personal project is about the theme of identity, specifically the multilayered/multidimensional layers formed by creative Maltese locals who live abroad. I’ve been working on this theme since moving to Edinburgh a year ago, and would now like to take it a step further. I have several drawings, sketches and ideas for this project, but I’m looking to expand these ideas by  doing thorough research, interview subjects and experts. I’m in the process of pitching my idea to get funding for my research so this will hopefully help support my project and my research.
Eventually I would like to take some of these drawings and illustrations from this project and experiment with 3D printing. Rather than doing sketches specifically designed for 3D printing, I would like to expore ways of how to turn ‘flat’ illustrations to 3D objects, therefore preserving the illustrative qualities of the pieces.
If you’d like to view more of my work, visit www.moirazahra.com or www.instagram.com/moirazahra
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