Text: Franziska Knierim & Mina Aghalouie.

Illustrations: Mina Aghalouie

“I think if you check our YouTube channel, there is an “about” page. I wrote there that everybody can draw. This is our motto. So we invite everyone to draw something. With our channel we want to make people feel more happy.” (Mina)

During the last more or less secluded months, Mina and Farshid started a YouTube channel where they publish drawing tutorials called “Draw Happy Things”. Franzi was curious to learn more about their concept and got in touch with them. The conversation they had is summarized in the following. 

Mina and Farshid both started drawing at early age and studied animation in Tehran, Iran. When they graduated and came to Berlin, they could not find a job connected to their profession. Now, during the Corona lockdown, they took the time they had on their hands to create and share something they love doing. 

“Most of the times I used to draw with colouring pencils. I think it is what everyone has at hand. That’s why we chose these for the YouTube channel as well.” (Mina)

The YouTube channel combines short drawing tutorials with small animations. Mina makes simple drawings with colouring pencils on paper with the sole purpose of making you want to draw as well. And it is possible!

During the conversation, Franzi realised that the style of the motives is very different to her usual drawing style. It has very clear lines with cute, animated faces that are easy to copy and are … “magical”, as Mina rightly put it. The motives are usually inspired by the environment Mina and Farshid live in, or by pop culture. For example, the spinning wheel in one of the flowerpot drawings is a reference to the “Windrad” (small wind wheel) on the balcony of Mina and Farshid’s neighbours. While animators usually work in a whole team when creating an animation, Mina and Farshid manage to add little sparkles of joy to their videos on their own, by including animations of the drawings at the end of the videos. 

“I think the idea of something you draw and just bringing it to life, is very interesting and exciting for all, also ourselves. We got feedback from many people saying, that it is so nice to see how the character moves in the end. Because you draw something and then it moves.” (Mina)

Most of the times, Mina designs the characters and little stories behind them, and Farshid does the post-production and animation. Franzi hopes that at one point they will make a “making of” video, explaining how the drawings turn into an animation. 

Because the videos do not have a narrator, they are very accessible to speakers of all languages. When Franzi tried out the tutorials, she really liked the music: it reminded her of children’s cartoons and their lack of narration. This feature enabled her to skip forward or pause the tutorial, or simply use it as a relaxing task while listening to something else. This also provides the option of easily posting or sharing the tutorials on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/drawhappythings/ and so increasing their range.  

Whether through Instagram or the YouTube comments, Mina and Farshid try to stay in contact with their viewers. They are always very excited when people send them their own versions of their drawings. 

While thinking about the target group and what sort of people she would recommend the project to, Franzi finally realised that it is very accessible for many different levels of drawing ability: from absolute beginners, to parents searching for a quick solution to satisfy their ever-inquiring children, to more experienced drawers who want to explore a different style or a new source of inspiration. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDpGnycPFNt7GeidDTO_Y7A