Maya Zankoul: the doodle-fever

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Maya Zankoul: the doodle-fever

By Admin NK: If you’re part of the Lebanese design community, you have probably been exposed to Maya Zankoul’s work, and even if you’re not, you probably know by now who Maya Zankoul is, because people like to over share famous work, despite its bad quality or content. (Oops, was that a too soon spoiler of what this post is going to be about?)

Let’s start by being “nice” before we get you all angry (if you’re a Zankoul lover) and state a few good things: we’ve seen her at conferences, she’s fun, she shares her life experiences and we kind of like how she started the blogging scene back in high school which got her here because of her audience.

But we can’t base it all on audience, right? So here’s what we think:

You cannot call yourself an illustrator if what you actually do is doodling. Those are not illustrations, those are DOODLES; whether it’s out of laziness or “oh that’s my style!” or I guess how it’s mentioned in her website they’re “fast illustrations”, there is no excuse for why those works got published (you could’ve kept them to show the neighbors, or developed them into actual visuals).

Sometimes we wonder how such work can get so much exposure (because hey I have an idea! Let’s talk about Lebanese issues in a funny way like millions of other people did and throw them in books to sell!) while other talented REAL illustrators are rarely being featured (which brings another shout out for F/I/M²/P magazine for exposing awesome illustrators). Not to mention the overpriced posters and t-shirts also offered for people to buy.

This whole trend went a bit over the top, someone got really, really stuck in the high school phase.
By Admin HY: So I stumbled upon Wezank, a new concept/idea by Maya Zankoul, Toni Yammin, and Paola Kiwan. What these guys do is basically animation based explainer videos. So if you have a new app, product or any idea, the Wezank team can translate it into an infographic or a video, that would help you express your idea in a better visual way, and advertise it.

Yes, I do agree with Wezank that we are visual creatures, and yes, if you have a good idea/app/product, and you don’t have the means to express it in the right way, you might not get anywhere. Wezank seems like a good initiavtive to offer “better” design for business and communication use, since our design scene lacks that.
Wezank published some recent videos on their website, and they’re all animation based, and share a very deja-vu style. A Steve Jobs quote video (it’s been 2 freakin’ years can we PLEASE get over Stevie?) in an Kinetic typography animation, a style we’ve all seen hundreds and hundreds of times before…
Another video about how to cook Moghrabieh (don’t ask!) and an ad for Toni Yammin’s new “iPhone photography” workshop (COME ON!!!) in a scribble animation style, something we’ve seen a lot too (it’s actually all over youtube).
Pricing is a huge issue as well, STARTING $5,000 for homemade stop motion or line drawings is just too much…No?
By Admin I: I agree with the guys above, Maya’s style stopped evolving, and yes she did enjoy a bit too much her ‘self-promotion’ phase, and made it to become a tv host, a known design figure and an award show judge, out of doodles like you said. That’s true.
But let me be friendly and stuff:
Girl, we’re very happy you managed to establish a name. Now it’s the right time to grow, to prove your potential, your ‘design/illustration’ potential, since what we’ve seen so far, was mere blunt marketing.
Wezank is great, disregard the two admins above. Wezank is the right way to channel your abilities into a worthy job that you can enjoy and help other people/businesses as well. So Good luck with it.
Maya, Work on your content and quality, instead of releasing an application after the other, especially with the huge similarity between your last application “Wally” and a Desmeem project, launched last year during Beirut Design Week, and is currently under development (basically someone got inspired*).
There is no personal hate here, consider the post an advice to take or leave!
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91 comments
  1. I wonder why you guys wrote this post.
    – Is it “la jalousie”?
    – Is it the fact that you didn’t win at the social media award, and Maya was a judge? (sorry for that, I hope you are not upset anymore. and sorry that Gino, Najib, Mustapha, the “regular pals”, as you call them, are more popular than you. Btw the badge asking people to vote is still up on your site.)
    – Is it the fact that you are bunch of sad losers and the only way you feel alive is by criticising others?
    – Or maybe all the above reasons combined?

    >> Dear Admin NK (I’ll suppose you are a male… random choice.):
    Let’s straighten up some “facts” you wrote in your silly post.

    1- You wrote : “you probably know by now who Maya Zankoul is, because people like to over share famous work, despite its bad quality or content.”

    kit ya3neh despite its bad quality or content? 3a shou stanadet ta t2oul bad quality w bad content? Inta 3ala your taste? meen 2arrar inno bad quality?

    Corrected quote “you probably know by now who Maya Zankoul is, because people like to share inspiring and amusing work, and maya’s work is extremely creative and fun”

    2- You wrote “we kind of like how she started the blogging scene back in high school which got her here because of her audience.”

    At high school? Maya started blogging from her office, after graduation bi mni7.

    corrected quote #2 “we love the blog she started when she was working at her old job, which grabbed the attention of both the traditional media and the young internet scene because of its unconventional and fun fresh content.”

    3- you wrote “But we can’t base it all on audience, right?”

    Wrong! audience is so important ya man. Inta you like to believe so because you have anja2 700 like on your Facebook page, but sorry dude, that’s how things work.

    4- You wrote “You cannot call yourself an illustrator if what you actually do is doodling”

    Said who? Regardless if what Maya does is doodling or not , an illustrator is a person who draws or creates pictures for magazines, books, advertising, etc. even a photographer is an illustrator (yup, you learned something new and you’ll sleep less stupid today). Check your dictionary or wikipedia.

    Maya creates amazing and beautiful illustrations. point.

    5- You wrote “there is no excuse for why those works got published (you could’ve kept them to show the neighbors, or developed them into actual visuals).”

    ma32oul you wrote that? Hal 2ad ghiyran? And what are “actual visuals”, bi sharafak? 3indak definition la “actual visuals”? w let me give you few reasons why “those works” SHOULD be published:

    – Both Maya’s books are best sellers
    – Maya’s books and articles got translated and are published by none lebanese publishers abroad and in Europe.
    – People actually enjoy “those works”. That’s why each time something new is published, it goes viral.
    – Most probably, Maya’s unupdated blog get more visits in one day than what your blog gets in a year.

    6- You wrote: “Sometimes we wonder how such work can get so much exposure.”
    Well I will tell you the secret, my friend. You will need someone who is actually talented (i.e.: not you guys) to create remarkable material (i.e.: not your blog). Really. That simple.

    7- You wrote: “hey I have an idea! Let’s talk about Lebanese issues in a funny way like millions of other people did and throw them in books to sell!)”

    I have a better idea. let’s ask few people that never create or ship anything to open a blog and write bad posts about other actually talented people.

    8- You wrote “Not to mention the overpriced posters and t-shirts also offered for people to buy.”

    overpriced? shou sirit khabir iktisadeh hala2? If you cannot afford it, don’t buy it. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. w $30 for a branded shirt… sorry man, mish ghalyeh.

    >> Dear Admin HY. Thanks for explaining that the styles we used in our explainer videos are all over youtube and “deja-vu”. I guess we should create something more creative, like the movie you did for the blog’s one year birthday. Ma into mlouk l creativity! You made a really brofessional movie using an innovative technique called “stop motion”. A peace of art. Allow me to provide the link:

    Amazing video. Amazing lighting (not really, a photography workshop could help you btw, just a tip). No wonder it has only 300 views. Our “how to cook moghrabiyyeh” tutorial yaleh 7adertak ma fhimto has the double amount of views in only one week. Finally, ya aristo, wezank is not about re-inventing the wheel. It’s simple. We create beautiful videos that help businesses generate more money. Ba3dena, if you didn’t like our movies, sorry man… inta bala zo2.

    >> FInally, dear admin I: Are you seriously giving some tips? who are you again? what have you accomplished so far in your life and career? Yaleh byisma3 l 7adis bi fakkir hayda Paul Rand 2em min l mot w 3am ya3teh speech. W next time do some research before publishing.

    w bi ma inno ajwe2 tips w ma tips, let me give you a tip; rou7o 3milo shi yinfa3koun.

    • alexandre parri said:

      How cute, her husband is here to defend her.

      Get over yourself, her work is average at best. most probably shitty. still better than yours though. XXL, really?

      • Akid I will defend my wife. That’s the natural thing to do. And yes it is cute. I am sorry alexandre (or whatever is your real name) if your love life is not that successful.

    • Dear Toni,
      “Wrong! audience is so important ya man. Inta you like to believe so because you have anja2 700 like on your Facebook page, but sorry dude, that’s how things work.”
      Audience is never important my dear, Justin Bieber and Haifa are super famous, does it mean they do good work?!

      “4- You wrote “You cannot call yourself an illustrator if what you actually do is doodling”

      Said who? Regardless if what Maya does is doodling or not , an illustrator is a person who draws or creates pictures for magazines, books, advertising, etc. even a photographer is an illustrator (yup, you learned something new and you’ll sleep less stupid today). Check your dictionary or wikipedia.
      We have the right to disagree with those conventional definitions, sorry. A good illustrator is a SKILLFUL person that can visualise and tell stories, ideas. Not every drawing is an illustration.

      “Both Maya’s books are best sellers” Again, Haifa is a best seller, Tania Saleh is not. Who’s more talented?

      >> “Dear Admin HY. Thanks for explaining that the styles we used in our explainer videos are all over youtube and “deja-vu”. I guess we should create something more creative, like the movie you did for the blog’s one year birthday. Ma into mlouk l creativity! You made a really brofessional movie using an innovative technique called “stop motion”. A peace of art. Allow me to provide the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUyK5YzsQjw
      We’re super proud of this attempt, it was nothing serious, and we didn’t make ‘a business’ out of it.

      “w bi ma inno ajwe2 tips w ma tips, let me give you a tip; rou7o 3milo shi yinfa3koun.”
      Thank you for the comment and precious suggestions. You proved that we (Lebanese) have no tolerance for criticism whatsoever. Good luck for Mrs.Yammin.

      • You cannot compare Haifa to Tania. Haifa is an arabic pop singer. I personally don’t like arabic pop music, and I don’t think you like it either. But if you are into arabic pop music, then akeed haifa would probably be your thing. I happen to like other kinds of music, and I love Tania’s work. She is btw very popular in her niche which I call “alternative Lebanese”. she has hard-core fans all over the world!

        You didn’t make a business out of your movie because you wouldn’t get any clients. Fact. It’s ok, some people do not have the talent.

        You said, “A good illustrator is a SKILLFUL person that can visualise and tell stories, ideas.” That is exactly what Maya does BTW, and finally we are starting to agree on things.

    • Mark said:

      I disagree with the post since I like Maya’s doodles/illustrations/doesntreallymatterwhattheyrecalled. But, it’s their opinion and it doesn’t matter whether they’ve accomplished something in their life or career. You don’t need to win a Grand Prix at Cannes or have Kanye’s baby to be allowed to state an opinion.

    • Dovakhin said:

      Can’t tell if your being sarcastic or are just a natural-born brown noser.

      • Dovakhin said:

        *You’re.

    • RS said:

      Mate, you’re saying all the wrong things in all the wrong places. Not to mention that you’re embarrassing yourself.

      Go to you wifey, I’m sure she’s got a very nice soup doodled… oh, excuse me, “illustrated” for you with a sentence or two that she might refer to as a dialogue, complaining about how she had to use one of those overly priced Lebanese gas tanks.

      Oh! and guess what? you two can also watch one of those videos you wanna make a living out of (‘cos that’s a job)… It could even be one of how to open a book and actually read it to have some sense of logic in you. Why the hell not? Knock yourselves out! and when you get bored of that, you can teach her how to use an iPhone’s camera with AND without a grid!! *gasps*

      Ridiculous.

    • GK said:

      Haha. I love how you showed the crappy movie they produced when they are making fun of your wonderfully produced clips! I Love you Tony and Maya

  2. If you were real critics, then you would actually be professional/brofessional (whatever it is you like to call it) enough to keep this comment rather than deleting it like you have so cleverly done with other comments that have disagreed with you:

    1. For people insulting a craft, you seem to be quite lacking in your own craft. Maybe an English lesson or two wouldn’t hurt.

    2. What is up with Lebanese blogs that do nothing but hate on the rest of the world? Get over yourselves, get a job and do something positive with your life. This comment applies to most of your ridiculous posts and those of the other so called bloggers of Lebanon. Criticizing a style you don’t like is one thing, no one asked you to like Maya Zankoul or her work, but this is just rude. With what credibility do you decide what a real illustration is? The most famous cartoons and comics the world has even seen have never ‘evolved’ and are immediately recognized by their unique style. Same with Maya.

    3. You feel bad for other struggling illustrators? Are you kidding me? They can feel bad for themselves, work hard and get their work out there. The girl can’t be held responsible for turning her passion into a career. Is this why you have resorted to trashing others? You couldn’t sketch and daddy/mommy told you it would be best if you pursued another avenue of success?

    4. Please don’t insult Steve Jobs. The guy is dead for god’s sake, his life lessons are eternal and he is a legend. You wouldn’t even know what Helvetica was if it wasn’t for him. Reading his book might help change your perception of him in addition to aiding you with point one above.

    5. If you think Wezank videos are too expensive, don’t pay for them. That one was easy.

    6. There is nothing worse than being a sore loser. It sucks that you lost, really, but then again are we surprised? Please refer to Exhibit A above.

    • As mentioned on twitter, we never delete comments, we just take time to publish, because we work.

      Thanks for the feedback dear. Much appreciated, So Steve Jobs rocks, Maya Zankoul is awesome. Okay.
      We happen to like ‘WORKED’ illustrations, we don’t like effortless work.. It’s a preference, a subjective point of view, just like all our posts.

    • GK said:

      Don’t bother much Feel Good Mirror. I know that the guys behind this blog are just a bunch of (university name deleted) students with no real life experience.

      • GK said:

        Why are you deleting the name of the university? Mr. Alpha and Ms. Uniform and the two sisters Sierra & Tango

  3. Patrick said:

    I might disagree with this post but the above comments are really disheartening. No matter how someone critiques your work, you should accept it and try to understand why they might dislike your work and not resort to immature comments like “Who do you think you are?” or “What have you done in life?”, what are we still in high school?

    As designers we create work that is usually published for everyone to see, and not everyone will like your work and people who aren’t even designers will have critique about your work. Just grow up and accept that. Some critiques will be constructive while others wont be, but you should never resort to insulting your audience.

    Another reason why the design scene in Lebanon is crap, no one is willing to accept criticism.

  4. ASM said:

    first i totally i agree with Patrick. No matter what kind of criticism you get, either take it or leave it… no need to get defensive about it! Once you do, you prove that you’ve got something weak that needs to be defended!!
    Now for the actual post. Not every doodle or what now some people are calling an illustration, is worth calling an illustration. After seeing amazing work by some of our local artists that are NOT looking for publicity or fame but for just recognition, you stand back and look at this “style” of drawing and can’t help but wonder if it’s actually worth the publicity it is getting. When you see BEAUTIFUL work by people like Jorj Abou Mhaya and a few others, Maya Zankoul’s work (with all my respect and it’s a personal opinion) is not worth the publicity or the time to go through them more than a few seconds on the book stands in a store. Illustration is not JUST a pencil scribble!! Illustration is a tool, a concept, a field of work and a life style. Not anyone who decides to doodle his favorite “quotes” or funny “moments” in his everyday-life has the PRIVILEGE of being called an illustrator! This title has to be well-earned. And i will refer back to admin I’s example, popularity and fame do NOT set the standards. IF Justin Beiber and Haifa Wehbe are our standard of what’s good, then human kind is a lost cause.
    On one final notice, this attitude and opinion of the brofessional bloggers about Maya Zankoul and her work precedes all the SMA crap, I do remember some of their old posts where they made that clear.

    • Real ya3neh tangible? define real please ya antoun.

  5. N. said:

    remember back in elementary school when the teacher used to tell us that her kid can color better than we do? yea…hi kids!
    y’all need to take a chill pill. No like seriously, tla3o 3al chames, el ta2ess helo

  6. Let’s take a step back from the personal attacks and ad-hominem arguments. I will try to write a professional comment about what I really find disturbing with this post, regardless of who wrote what and who has what at the back of their minds.

    As a fellow designer (AUB GD) and someone who used to teach GD at AUB and LAU, I think I know a thing or two about criticizing artwork and how to be professional about it.

    There are two ways of criticizing art. There’s the “I don’t like it” way, a personal, visceral and subjective approach that judges a work from the viewpoint of a critic. This is what is known as an opinion. People have diverging opinions and people have the right to express all sorts of opinions. Usually, the more authority a person carries (experience, respect in industry, reputation), the more his/her opinion matters/counts.

    The other way of criticizing art, especially commercial art, is to say “This doesn’t work”. This is when we use arguments like: “The color scheme is too dark for such a happy place”, or “the font is too stiff for a playground”, or “there are too many details in this logo, it will look terrible when shrunk”… These are never precise arguments, but we try as much as possible to strip away the personal and look at the functionality of the work.

    The biggest problem with this post is that it is an opinion post that is desguised as design criticism. Saying Maya Zankoul’s work is “doodling” is not a valid argument. The right question to ask is: Does Maya Zankoul’s art work? Does it communicate information and ideas in a fun, approachable and consistent way? Does it explain complicated ideas better than thousands of words? Does it have a personality? Does it entertain? does it make people smile? I have no doubt in my mind that the answer to all these questions is an unqualified yes! Bloggers write hundreds of lines trying to express an idea, but then post an illustration by Maya saying that it expresses what they wanted to say more eloquently.

    This post should be expressed as “We don’t like her style (opinion) and we think she is overrated (opinion)”. It is left to the reader to decide how much weight your opinion carries.

    • Jaques Abyad said:

      Dear Mustapha,
      I couldn’t have said it better.

    • Admin I said:

      A much appreciated comment Mustapha, Thank you,
      What we expressed here is an opinion, a very very subjective one,
      We never labeled this post as design criticism, it’s indeed your last lines of the comment:
      We think her style is overrated and does not deserve the privilege of being called illustration, an opinion than people can agree or disagree with..

      Simple.
      Thanks again.

    • ASM said:

      i was trying to refrain from replying to this comment, but here is a short version of what i think: this blog has stated millions of times that this is an opinion and not a professional design critique. HOWEVER the design dept of one of those universities you mentioned trashes their students and decide what’s good enough on mere personal subjective opinions (which is not wrong UNLESS) this “judgement” is bluntly called professional criticism! Now that is a shameful disguise especially for an institution that claims to “educate” and “prepare” students to be REAL designers

  7. Hi NK, HY, I,
    I’m Saeid, a co-founder of Wally and a proud colleague of Maya’s.
    I’d ask if you guys are well, but clearly from your post you all seem very frustrated.

    I was curious to ask why you run a blog anonymously, but as typical keyboard warriors you probably find it difficult to stand behind your opinions proudly or honourably.

    I came across this post through a Google alert because ‘Admin I’ mentioned Wally. Thanks for that, by the way.
    I checked with Maya and she’s aware of your post, but unsurprisingly she was unmoved.

    As someone who has worked in tech (web / mobile) for several years, I really appreciate and love the Internet for its ability to give each one of us (with access) a voice and an opportunity to make ourselves heard. So I guess I’m also entitled to use to it to share my two cents as you try to unconstructively criticise her and her success.

    Maya has received praise from an audience – her audience; the ones her work communicates too. The sales of her books reflect that she’s done very well at that. Which justifies her being an opinion leader as a judge and why we’re proud of working with her.

    Yes, her illustrations / doodles are satire of her experiences living in Lebanon. It’s a light way of creating awareness towards the problems Lebanon faces on a daily basis – maybe it’ll bring some change? You guys do know what they say lies behind laughter. And yes, many others have done the same thing. For her to rise above the rest only reflects her talent.

    In a world that only cares about results, she’s delivered – every time.

    $30 for a t-shirt? $5,000 for a Wezank video? Yes, that’s right.
    In a progressive economic world, the value of a product or service is based on basic supply and demand. She’s able to sell her work at that price because, well, people are willing to pay for it. And if people are willing to pay for it then it’s worth that much. The Wealth of Nations was written a few hundred years ago, but if you have new theories on economic principals, I suggest you write a new book. You’ll get paid very well. As long as it’s based on facts – unlike your blog posts.

    Her self-promotion got her a TV show? I hope you’re applauding her, because obviously she got what she wanted. She won.

    My arguments are meant to shed some light on the basic fact that Maya has accomplished her goals. We each have our own perception on art, skill, talent – we praise and idolise certain people, while others will passionately try to discredit them.

    I’ve been working with Maya for several months now on Wally. Her work is nothing less than brilliant. The countless 5-star reviews we’ve gotten from around the world on the application’s UI/UX only justifies my opinion.
    I speak on behalf of the team when I say we are incredibly proud to be working with her.

    @Admin I, I’m not sure what exactly you’re referring to regarding a Dasmeen project. I’ve checked the Facebook link and still have no idea what you’re referring to. Wally was designed and built from the ground up after months of innovative work. If you’re interested, there’s a blog post on our website that explains iterations on just a button. Maya will be posting more as time goes by because we enjoy sharing with people – so come back and enjoy her posts!

    NK, HY, I,
    As I’ve previously mentioned, you’re entitled to your opinions. I don’t know who you are and will probably never find out. One of you could be the curator of a Lebanese art museum or unemployed – I don’t know.
    But, I think you guys should take a step-back and appreciate the work Maya and others have done. It shines a spotlight on Lebanon’s art scene – whether or not it’s the same art you focus on. Light that Lebanon so dearly needs.

    Instead of bashing each other, (your post hardly justifies critical criticism) you should find common ground to support each other. Each of you can shine in your own disciplines – praise the diversity. It’ll be then that you realize you are greater as a whole than the sum of your parts.

    And lastly, just lighten up guys.

    All the best,
    Saeid

    • Admin I said:

      Thank you Saeid.

    • N. said:

      well this is kinda awkward since i tend to agree with the post and i was talking the people who suffer from hate indigestion.
      oh well, laban activia ba3ed kel post byemshe el hal

  8. Its really upsetting to see Lebanese artists dissing others from their own community. If anything we should respect what others create and if we don’t like their art then go and do something better instead of just sitting there complaining and giving advice. For whoever wrote this blog, I understand your trying to just say whats on your mind or how you feel about something, but there’s a certain way to communicate what your trying to say. Keep blogging but do it with style! I personally am not familiar with Maya’s work, but after reading this I went online and checked her out! I don’t care what you guys think whether its talent, marketing,business driven, or just luck, anyone who is anyone and can make it specially in a small country like ours should be supported and admired! We each have our niche. My vote is for Maya and her team, because they’re trying to make a difference.

    • a said:

      It’s funny how you consider these measly (university name deleted) students with no experience whatsoever in design or advertising. They are merely kids who bash the big boys for attention.

  9. Its really upsetting to see Lebanese artists dissing others from their own community. If anything we should respect what others create and if we don’t like their art then go and do something better instead of just sitting there complaining and giving advice. For whoever wrote this blog, I understand your trying to just say whats on your mind or how you feel about something, but there’s a certain way to communicate what your trying to say. Keep blogging but do it with style! I personally am not familiar with Maya’s work, but after reading this I went online and checked her out! I don’t care what you guys think whether its talent, marketing,business driven, or just luck, anyone who is anyone and can make it specially in a small country like ours should be supported and admired! We each have our niche. My vote is for Maya and her team, because they’re trying to make a difference.

  10. EsteemedAdCritic said:

    Piet Mondrian drew squares, yet he made a name for himself as an “abstract painter”. Go figure.

    I think this post was truly uncalled for. Had Maya crowned herself the goddess of illustration, I would have raised an eyebrow. But the fact she calls herself an illustrator doesn’t offend me, nor does it strike me as arrogant.

    If Sami Saab can get away with “regional creative director”, I don’t see why Maya can’t bear the humble title of “illustrator”. She is a lesson in modesty compared to the owner of Joe Fish. The latter calls himself a CEO, while his company only counts 3 employees.

    • Admin I said:

      Makes sense. Doesn’t mean Mondrian deserved the fame he got, though his squares were more of a study of visual balance (somehow worthy, unlike the case here).

  11. I think this is a new low for BR. Never have I seen so much hate in your posts. Its not a brofessionally written review, its a lynching, its not a critique its just dissing. You guys have hit a new low, I have always read your blog with respect towards your opinions even when they were controversial, not this time!

  12. Jaques Abyad said:

    Maya is one of the most genuine people I know, this blog isn’t.

    • Admin I said:

      We agree. The post was about her work though.

  13. Who are you to judge what Art is?
    I dont think her work is lazy or effortless at all.

    And audience is very important, her books are best sellers for a reason.

    • EsteemedAdCritic said:

      He’s someone with an eye, I guess. Same reason why someone with a mouth can judge the taste of food.

      • ASM said:

        Well said!!
        Thank you EsteemedAdCritic!!!

  14. Yorgui said:

    There is a HUGE difference between giving Criticism to someone and attacking someone!

    If you LEARN to give some constructive criticism and if you LEARN to formulate them in a nicer tone, the person concerned will take that criticism very positively and will work on it. And most importantly, people reading that blog will respect you much more and would want to read more of your criticism.

    But again, it’s more people trying to attack a successful brand/ a successful public figure to get more traffic on their blogs.

    Unfortunately.

  15. yorguiteyrouz said:

    There is a HUGE difference between giving Criticism to someone and attacking someone!

    If you LEARN to give some constructive criticism and if you LEARN to formulate them in a nicer tone, the person concerned will take that criticism very positively and would work accordingly.
    Most importantly, people reading that blog will respect you much more and would want to read more your criticisms.

    But again, it’s more people trying to attack a successful brand/ a successful public figure to get more traffic on their blogs.

    Unfortunately.

  16. Admin I said:

    Dear all,
    We felt the need to remind you of some points:
    – We are a subjective blog that reviews different creative practices subjectively without pretending to be critiques, or professionals (hence our name starts with a fake P, a B).
    – We have the right to express our opinions freely, the way most of you do behind closed doors, things you think about but never have the guts to say out loud. Yes some people are overrated, yes they might have potentials, but no, they are not working on their skills and talents to grow.
    – We’ve met Maya, and yes she is adorable as a person. The post is not attacking her personally, it clearly deals with her work. We have a problem with her work and we felt like sharing it with her and others. It’s a take it or leave it, or learn to have a higher tolerance for opinions that don’t necessarily praise the work that sells well, or the figure that everyone likes.

    Thank you very very much.
    The Brofessionals.

    • josef said:

      Stop saying you are a subjective blog and hide behind this stupid argument.
      you are influencers now, and you should accept the fact that what you write in this blog affects positively and negatively the entire online community.
      this Blog don’t belong to you anymore, it belongs to your followers and they are growing with time, so you better shape up and walk the right path because they expect you to take their blog to the next level, which means more scientific and objective approach (while maintaining the intelligent well placed sarcasm of course!).
      subjectivity is for immature kids.

      • We reached this phase because of our blunt subjectivity and honesty, we don’t fit into the ‘next level’ mold dear.

  17. Rony said:

    The reviewers have stated multiple times that they are dealing with her work. And they had the guts to say out loud what most of the design and illustration community has been thinking for a while: from a purely visual point, her work sucks.

    You dont need to be an acclaimed art critique to say it, any person with a good eye for design will cringe when they see the quality of her vector technique, the sloppy lines, awkward shapes, tangents everywhere, random choice of colors, all contributing to an amateurish, rushed and cheap look.

    Yes it is frustrating for graphic artists to hear maya referred as a “talented” designer and illustrator. She has many talents including pr, self promotion, nice personality, humor, social media etc but that is not the point of this review. From a design and only design perspective, her work is bad.

    Bad art is not a style, it’s just bad.

    • ASM said:

      thumbs up!!

    • RS said:

      Marry me.

    • Ramy said:

      I’m a graphic designer myself and have been working in the field for several years now. I think Maya has done a wonderful job.

      According to your short-sighted approach (yes, jealousy blinds and it’s no wonder all the haters are also graphic designers and therefore competitors), the work of timeless artists such as Juan Miró should be dismissed for being childish scribbles. (ref: http://joanmiro.com/wp-content/gallery/miro-gallery/miro-1.jpg)

      Also according to your logic, Southpark should also be dismissed as beautiful work because of its faux illustration approach.

      Take a step back, and reconsider your lack of judgement. Try to appreciate and encourage hard work, try to learn from other’s successes. That would definitely do you some good.

    • E said:

      ” And they had the guts to say out loud what most of the design and illustration community has been thinking for a while: from a purely visual point, her work sucks.”

      I find it amusing that you wrote “THEY HAVE THE GUTS TO SAY OUT LOUD…” when they are actually anonymous 😛

    • GK said:

      Dear Rony, how do you know what the design community thinks? you work in statistics?

      and let me share with you these illustrations:



      You hate those sloppy lines and awkward lines? I personally love them. So does Billions of Picasso’s fans.

  18. I guess it’s very likely you probably have never seen the work of James Thurber, a lot of people liked his “doodles”. One thing you may not know about Maya Zankoul is that she shared the spotlight generously with many bloggers when many of us were just getting started. She also is a very friendly, humble person and she treats people with respect which is why she has so many friends in the Lebanese Blogosphere which she helped to create through her work and helping to promote others. You could always count on Maya for encouragement. In addition, the Lebanese are masters of self-promotion and that this blog would attempt to dismantle a true success story of one of our own shows another truly Lebanese tendency to hate each other for no real reason except a feeling of overwhelming impotence.
    Just as there are ethics in journalism, there are ethics in social media. Posting whatever rant pops in your head and hiding behind “it’s my opinion” is not an excuse for rudeness. A retraction and an apology to Ms.Zankoul seems to be in order. ….and that’s my opinion.

    • GK said:

      100%

  19. Lilo Georges Faris said:

    Very simply, Maya Zankoul’s talent is a gift from God ( if you don’t mind BR ). Through her simple and smooth drawings (that you call ” doodle”) , she entered the hearts and minds of a lot of people who love her work, her sens of humour, and her short messages so deep and useful…
    Anyway, I hope that, after criticizing and attacking her the way you did, you are feeling better and happier now.
    And to end, why are you jealous? This doesn’t help you to succeed, believe me! Is anyone stopping you from being successful ??? Too bad, cause there is a place for everyone on this earth … Go on! Don’t despair… There is a chance for everyone… W Allah ywaffe2 l kell .

  20. E said:

    “Let’s start by being “nice” before we get you all angry (if you’re a Zankoul lover)”

    This statement was disappointing…

    I am a Zankoul lover and expected to get all angry by the end of the article :/ Instead, after reading it, I was actually amused :P… Amused why?

    1- It is funny to see self-proclaimed “brofessional reviewers” lacking so much professionalism

    2- Too many false facts which destroy the article’s credibility

    3- If you’re so proud and convinced of what you do, say and think, then why the hell are you anonymous?

    4- JEALOUSY is so obvious and can easily be depicted through your style of writing. An advice is learn not to let your emotions affect your articles, it can lower their quality. Jealousy is obvious because most of what you are trying to prove is that Maya doesn’t deserve to be famous. Well she is, get over it 😛 So many people like her, buy her books, follow her, etc.

    5- What is funny is the fact that it seems to bother you SO MUCH that she became famous through her very SIMPLE style. Whether you like it or not, with her style, she managed to reach so many people and help them identify with her works. They say WORK SMART, NOT HARD. Genius is to make the most out of the least. If you and your friends are trying so hard and failing, try something else, get creative. You’re obviously doing it wrong…

    6- It is obvious that you are young (not necessarily your age) and lack attention. You desperately need attention at any price, so you targeted someone way more important than you, someone very important and successful, so you could get a share of their fame and success. Well guess what, you managed to get some audience… But this is exactly what you were talking about, audience doesn’t prove it all, look at Kardashian… 😛 she managed to become famous in not the perfect techniques, just like your case. Therefore, I suggest you get more creative and find something people would find more interesting, something a bit more constructive, maybe then you’ll feel better about yourselves (honest advice).

    Anyway, GOOD LUCK with getting more creative and with finding more constructive and smarter ways to reach a wider audience as supposed to (not the Kardashian type of audience, no, the Zankoul type of audience 😉 )

    My suggestion for your next post is try creating something interesting yourself that will give you your own value instead of devaluing the successful and important people.

    Finally, as a Zankoul lover I can only feel proud of Maya that she has been picked -and no one else- for you to get some attention as you believed she’d get you the most replies 😉 Smart move… but I’m sure you can do better

    PEACE

  21. taza said:

    It’s amazing how the previous campaign reviews got 2 and 6 comments and bashing a colleague got 43 so far.

    I guess gossip does sell.

  22. taza said:

    and now 44

  23. taza said:

    45 yay

  24. taza said:

    46!!!
    When will this stop!

  25. taza said:

    47

  26. taza said:

    48

  27. J said:

    I agree with Rony that they have simply stated out loud what the professional body of design and illustration has been thinking for a long time. That work as mediocre, undeveloped, and borderline plagiarized (look up Penelope Bagieux) as Maya’s has attracted so much attention is more a testament to her PR skills and to the lack of taste, visual education or wits on the part of the Lebanese audience, than to any real quality, talent or relevance. Her circle of well-meaning but dishonest friends are quite as responsible for her inability to grow up and find something she’s actually good at. Truth is Maya’s work is a joke among people whose work speaks for itself and who don’t have to worry about being a passing and forgettable fad. But I have to say she’s not the first nor the last Lebanese wannabe who lives in a bubble of self-delusion nurtured by a circle of people who find validation for their own mediocrity by praising others’, while others with actual insight and criticism that could be helpful fell they have to stay quiet or become unpopular. Receiving harsh criticism and being propelled by it to become better than you would have imagined, is an OBLIGATORY part of design or illustration training. All of you people who are so defensive about her, and clearly have no relationship to the field — if you had ever been honest with her instead of buying her books “out of pity” (I’m not making this up, I have received quite a few confessions), you may just have helped her develop her drawing skills or if she has none, give up and find something she’s good at. Instead, you have maintained the illusion that she’s good and “talented”. I actually pity Maya. All the people who have participated in this farce by not telling her “Ew, you need to improve, go back and practice” have helped create a passing fad that depends entirely on those same people. God help her if she ever steps out of her protective nest of fans to work with the real art world, she’ll be in for a shock. But that’s the Lebanese wannabe artsy-fartsy scene for you. Nobody is allowed to grow and improve, because it would just make it too obvious that everyone else is wallowing in mediocrity and trying to look smart.

    • Admin HY said:

      Well said J, Thank you…

    • Alex Salloum said:

      57 comments. WOW. I only wish the brofessionals would share a screen shot of their site stats. J, the only people living in self-delusion are yourself respectfully, the rest of the self-loathing haters who took the liberty of expressing their worthless attacks and the children hiding behind this blog.

      1. Professional body of design and illustration? Who the HELL are you talking about? Have a little self-respect and at least identify yourself as a member of this professional body or list some individuals that comprise this professional body. I know somebody who is a member of the professional body of design and illustration and that is Maya Zankoul.

      2. When you speak of these well-meaning but dishonest friends, are you talking about yourself? You seem to be aware of a few personal details such as people buying her books out of pity. Go tell her this yourself then. Maya actually has a group of amazing friends who love and encourage her work. Having met her actually, I recall her telling me the story of how these animations rose to fame. Her FRIENDS printed out her blog, collected them in the form of a book and encouraged her to follow through with it. And to the people insulting her craft and method of discussing social issues in Lebanon through her illustrations, what seems to be the problem? Did you attempt to do the same and fail? Do Maya’s 7000 fans on FB like her posts out of pity and share them out of pity? Yaaaaa, I somehow doubt that. Not to mention, it’s been rumored that all you insulters are actually designers and illustrators yourselves. Go work! Go try and do what she does. Let’ see what happens. Growing up, I would sometimes insult lunch or dinner when the food was not to my liking. My father would like me straight in the eye and say, if you can do better do. So seriously, if you can do better do and let us see what you are made of.

      3. The thing is, Maya is quite grown up. Quite grown up enough that in her mid 20s has managed to establish and grow a business from nothing into something. Have you managed to do the same? Have the people behind this blog (these shameless humans who provided a platform and portal for wannabe designers to hate on a life they wish they had)? What’s funny is, the funniest part of this all, is how you all think that Maya has ‘made it’ because of her illustrations. It’s hilarious. I live in France and commissioned Maya Zankoul to develop a website for me that you wouldn’t even recognize as hers. Your tunnel vision and lack of intellectual breadth has propelled you to criticize the one facet of Maya’s work that you dislike when it comprises the smallest part of her business. The girl designs websites, applications, visuals and the sorts for companies all over the world. If you ever hired her and witnessed the quality of her skill and the variety within her portfolio none of you would have the audacity to speak here. Insult her illustrations all you want, and pity her all you want, at the end of the day, she will grow and be nothing close to a passing fad and you will all wallow in self misery at the time you spent hating a successful Lebanese artist and entrepreneur instead of working on yourselves. She lives in the real art world, has been doing so for years. I’m not sure what you have been doing.

      4. I cannot believe that 57 comments later, J and the rest you are still talking about the RIGHT to criticize design work: ‘Receiving harsh criticism and being propelled by it to become better than you would have imagined, is an OBLIGATORY part of design or illustration training.’ We get it, we get it, we get it except that the article written above and your comments are not ‘subjective’ criticism. Every time someone has brought this point to light, the brofessionals retaliate with their ‘subjective’ right. You are not subjective! This is not professional criticism! Being a critic is a professional career path that people pursue and you have insulted them and their profession by claiming that your less than par English rant warrants the title of a critique. Frankly, I had never heard of you until you published this article so you should be sending Maya Zankoul flowers, in addition to a massive apology, for bringing you out from under the sand.

      5. Forget Maya Zankoul for a second, don’t you people have any self-respect? Insulting somebody (not professionally criticizing the work) from your own country, someone who has risen to the top on her own without the held of anyone? I swear you should be ashamed of yourselves. I guess there is a point behind your anonymity because anyone with a morsel of a brain cell would look down upon you. You should be supporting one another, encouraging each other’s growth. No wonder Lebanon is the way it is. Just look at this, look up and read through the hate, envy and jealousy.

      So many other points to bring to light but many bright minds above have done so already. I hope the brofessionals post this comment, I really do. And I hope they the take time on reflect on the collateral damage of this article. This is simply uncool. I wish you all best and I hope for you use this platform in the future as a means to share actual critiques. I guarantee you, without a shadow of the doubt, that continuing to delve down this shameful path will get you nowhere. Maybe some short-lived fame, may you will be one hit wonders. Oh wait, you already became one hit wonders because the traffic you brought to your site as a result of attacking a successful public figure is as good as it will get for you.

    • GK said:

      I think I know who wrote this article. So sorry for you J for having to leave the country. And you are still not doing good abroad either right? This makes me think… Maybe you are not talented after all. Basita.
      Back to what you wrote about Maya. She sold thousands and thousands copies of her books because people wanted to buy them “out of pity”? really?

  28. taza said:

    49, the 50th comment wins.

    • Roy said:

      If you guys think that Maya’s work should not get that much visibility, then why do you waste your precious time by writing about her and make more people get exposed to her work? I guess that explains why you call yourselves “B”rofessionals.

  29. Rachel said:

    I don’t care about the drawings or the illustration, the most important is that Maya is actually delivering her message in a clear and funny way!
    this post is a waste of time seriously, if you wanna criticize someone, do it in a professional way, without being rude and disrespectful
    oh yes and make sure to tell us who you are, your work experience and the wonderful job you did so far!

  30. P said:

    Wow what a bitter conversation!
    I don’t work in graphic design nor am I an illustrator.
    However, I appreciate good illustrations!
    I always thought that Maya’s work is in fact doodling.
    Maybe it works in calendars she has done but my first encounter with her work was at Tawlet. I was so disappointed that an authentic Lebanese cuisine place used her work as display of food. Domage especially that tourists see those illustrations.
    Then I saw wezank, such a practical idea (yea overpriced though). But I was disappointed that Paola was just an animator while her illustrations are better than Maya’s doodles. I wanted to use their services then changed my mind. If they hire other illustrators = other styles = more advanced in color and style, then I would have used it.
    If Maya doesn’t want to improve, that’s up to her, no need to be bitter. Many people like child-like styles or simple ones. And it’s obvious since she has so many fans. Ok these fans are not professionals but this style seems to work for the public.
    But for those who appreciate more effort, styles, coloring, styles…, we can refer to your other post (which I loved thank you!) Please compile more!! There are many more of really good illustrators!

  31. G. said:

    P, you seem to be even more bitter than the whole conversation. I have no idea how you guys are calling “wezank” overpriced and they have not even mentioned the price anywhere (I searched on their site). And if people are willing to pay this price, why do you even care? Just don’t work with them 🙂 After all, you get what you pay for.

    As for Maya’s Tawlet illustrations: they are the most authentic and beautiful work ever done about Lebanese food. Even CNN agrees 🙂

    http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/08/13/lebanese.culture/index.html

    So it’s probably about time you found other ways to channel your frustrations with her success. Maybe all you’re trying to do is reassure yourself for not making anything worthwhile yourself. It’s OK – work hard and you’ll get somewhere.

    • P said:

      G, I am not trying to be bitter. It’s just that her style is not my favorite. Bel 3akes, I get that she has lots of fans so people like her style. I am saying barke wezank would like to include more styles, this way they’ll cover different types of fans. Mech daroure yba3do ktir, Paola has a different style. Bas kif se2abet 7atouwa bas illustator while they could have benefited from her extra style.
      As for Tawlet, yea CNN thinks otherwise. I never said I was right nor are they. Remember, art is very subjective. I would have liked a different style in an authentic Lebanese restaurant. Bas obviously the owner is also a fan of Maya’s. Mech ghalat. Just not my style. Please grasp the idea that many have different opinions than yours. No need to link me CNN’s take on it. I know many people who liked those doodles. I am just saying I did not appreciate them.

      For the love of God, accept criticism and move on! No frustration with her success here. Alla ywafe2a bas the review simply stated what many think. Very bitterly, unfortunately, but true! This doesn’t mean her fan base is gonna change. Her fans will stick by her side and those who don’t like her work will still, not like her work.

      • GK said:

        I was so happy to see Maya’s work featured at tawlet. My friends from the UK bought two posters too, because they also loved the style. so refreshing, they said. one of them is the owner of one of the biggest advertising agencies in Europe.
        It’s fine to not like Maya’s work. Even pink floyd, brel, and artur schnabel have people that do not appreciate their work. What is not acceptable is writing a blog post stating wrong facts (like saying that the app wally was “inspired”) and stating that all lebanese designers and illustrators hate Maya’s work, among other wrong statements. At least all the designers I know (and I know lots of designers) adore maya’s work and look up to her.

  32. A lebanese illustrator said:

    and let the truth send you free, halleluliah!

    someone finally said what I’ve always been saying for years….and honestly we wish Maya all the best,and she was able to get all this publicity….use it in something more elaborated and clever!

    • pam said:

      It doesn’t seem she will make benefit of where she is. Maybe she is afraid to lose the fans who liked the doodling or maybe she just liked her doodles and her comfort zone. Her reply was just another drawing of her doodling whenever she wants to.

    • GK said:

      Dear “Lebanese Illustrator” – Why don’t you show us your elaborated and clever illustrations?

      • pam said:

        Ridiculous to say so to the lebanese illustrator. Ma khas his illustrations be his subjective point of view on art + can you please link me to your post on the SMA, not very familiar with them. thanks

  33. OJ said:

    It’s unbelievable what jealousy can do.

    Why do you have to write about Maya and say such bad things about her? If you don’t like her, just ignore her. No need to destroy her or bash her. Or maybe you just wanted to go viral and you don’t know how…

    But by writing this post, instead of going *positively* viral, you just made us all notice that you are a bunch of unprofessional reviewers.

    There is a difference between criticizing and practically insulting, and you are doing the latter.

    If I were you, I would rewrite this blog post, and criticize Maya’s work as much as you want, but politely, without stupid judgments. If you don’t know what ‘stupid judgments’ mean, check the parts that Tony Yammine quoted from your post.

    I am pretty confident that Maya, Tony and most of her friends/fans, would not mind reading a really professional review of her work (whether negative or positive), but don’t call yourselves ‘brofessional’ reviewers if what you did is obviously not professional…

    • pam said:

      I dont think jealousy has anything to do with it to be honest. You can be jealous from David Habchy’s work and how famous he may be, but you cannot bash his work. Good work cannot be bashed.

      • GK said:

        Pam, It is jealousy. I love both David and Maya’s work. The main reason these guys are insulting Maya’s work is because they lost the SMA. They were so upset!! (I am not making this up, they wrote a huge post about how upset they are). And even the most talented artists of all times like Picasso and Leonardo Da Vinci get bashed everyday. Fact is, the more talented and popular you are, the more bashing you will get.

      • OJ said:

        +1, I agree with GK. It is definitely jealousy, and there is no such thing as good work in arts, at least objectively. It is all about taste. What is good for you and me might not be good for someone else. I like David’s work, but many people won’t, and they can bash his work as much as they want.

  34. taza said:

    71

  35. ze.doude said:

    only read the post. not the comments.
    if maya zankoul’s designs are all over the place it’s because she knew (and probably still knows) how to market herself and her designs. lots of talented people never make it simply because of bad marketing/promotion. i expected you guys to have figured it out by now.
    another thing i would say is that the tone used seems destructive criticism, despite all the admins’ attempts of conveying messages along the line of “it’s not personal” and “we don’t hate you”. if you want to criticize someone/something, do it constructively by suggesting solutions.
    and if she can charge $5000 for simple videos/designs and customers are paying, good for her. the perceived value of her work is worth $5000 for them, and they know it’ll help them generate much more revenue from that. why don’t you go write about big expensive brands like channel, roelx & co and how expensive they sell their stuff knowing the manufacturing costs are only a fraction of the selling price? you can even go all out on nike which sells shoes that cost less than 10$ to manufacture for over 100$. just trying to give you ideas…

    • OJ said:

      +1

  36. N. said:

    you guys are fun! keep ’em coming 😀
    oh and don’t forget kids, read slowly to avoid hate indigestion!
    much love
    N.

  37. GK said:

    Dear N.
    I visited your blog and I think it sucks! You are not a real writer, and your style is at best crappy. You should practice girl! How dare you publish this? whether it’s out of laziness or “oh that’s my style!” there is no excuse for why those articles got published (you should have kept them to your imaginary friend, Pitu). But don’t worry, I am sure you are a good person. This was just a subjective review.

    I hope you read this comment slowly, you know, to avoid any kind of indigestion!

    • pam said:

      GK it’s weird it’s almost like you are going to have a heart attack because of this post :p

      • GK said:

        Not at all. I actually liked N’s blog. And I like the selection of music she is sharing.

    • N. said:

      Oh wow
      you mean someone actually voluntarily visited my blog?!

      pitu and I like you 🙂

      • GK said:

        😉

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