Mombasa Raha, My Foot by Haroun Risa

Happy October! 

This is my birth month, so I always feel as though I’m full of excitement in October.  The post today is about Haroun Risa’s Mombasa Raha.  He sent me his book for a read and review.  The content in this book is a lot on the heavy side.  My soul felt sad reading the harrowing experiences his characters go through.  I would call this an Awareness Book.  The topic tackled is on human trafficking, sex tourism, and murder in a world hidden in plain sight.  I give Haroun respect for daring to delve into this topic and making a book out of it. 

Mombasa Raha, My Foot is available to purchase at The Nuria Store, Moi Avenue ( Next to Assanand’s Music Shop).

Mombasa Raha, My Foot

by Haroun Risa

Book Review

Mombasa Raha has an insightful collection of characters.  Together they form a tapestry of life at its very worst and at its very best.  The characters in Mombasa Raha experience great betrayals, suffer pain and unimaginable tragedies.  The one thing they have in common is the knowledge that there is a hidden underworld found at the Coast of Kenya.  This underworld is not kind, or safe, instead it is brutal and takes everything to survive an encounter.

At the center of Mombasa Raha is Ruth.  Ruth consumes herself with an investigation of her estranged sister’s murder.  Ruth tackles the realities of human trafficking and rape.  She discovers what living through such experiences did to her sister. She delves into the hidden parts of her sister’s life to discover the devastating truth of her sister’s death.

This story is not easy, nor is it a story to read fast.  It is a revelation into the harrowing experiences Kenyans fall into and how they fight to survive the cards dealt in search of Mombasa Raha.

This book was given to me by the author for a review. The book’s content is R18+ and above.  There is mention of rape and human trafficking.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Lane – Book Review

Once Upon A Lane


There once was a lane, filled with well-tended lawns and well-fostered friendships, of well-appointed houses all neat and tidy and those that live within, of stories and mysteries that manifest for only fleeting moments for the few who pay attention. This is one such tale. – By Duncan Wilson


Book Review

Once Upon a Lane is a tale about an ensemble of souls living as neighbors on the same street, each one with strengths and weaknesses, others hiding deep secrets behind closed doors.  These parts of themselves work to create a unique and pleasant community.

Duncan Wilson describes life along this lane with vivid imagery.  His characters constructed with careful detail that brings each one to life, making it easy to imagine them in the mind’s eye.  The hidden world that emerges in this lane is unique, full of childhood adventures, colorful garden spaces and fantastic characters.

Young Tommy is once asked, ‘How is the Lane today?’ and he answers, ‘It’s the same as it always is, idyllic.’  It is a perfect description of life in this community.

Wilson explores the human condition with his characers, carving out relationship bonds between friends, family, lovers, pets, strangers, and other…creatures.  The most charming of all these bonds are the children and their effortless bonds of friendship, easy love, whims of magical adventure and the imaginary worlds they create.

I enjoyed the adventures of the Youngest Murphy Boy the most.  His heart is full of loyal love and he manages to charm everyone he meets.  One would never guess he harbors any struggles born of emotional scars.  His friendliness is only second to lovers/partners, Ida and Ella, this epic couple that dishes out cookies and baked goods to the neighborhood.

The lane has a blight titled the House with the Dead Lawn.  Much of the story is centered on the mystery of this house that no one dares approach.  There is also Mrs. Habernathy, who is the least-liked character.  She is nosy, unpleasant, gruff and unfriendly.  She remains the one character whose story I would have loved a much deeper exploration.  I’m left infinitely curious of her inner world.

Once Upon a Lane follows an eclectic cast of characters.

They live their ordinary lives in a more than extraordinary stretch of road.  Their lives woven into a tight web of familiarity that is only possible in a community of neighbors.  Unseen among them is an extraordinary secret.

This secret rolls and pulses under the surface of their idyllic lives.  Epitomized in the form of a house with a dead lawn, and Mrs. Habernathy, whose behavior is at one point described as, ‘…disquieting and unnerving…’  This hidden mysterious secret drives the reader through the pages to a very startling discovery about Mrs. Habernathy and her connection to the house with the dead lawn.

I would recommend this book to anyone fond of slice of life stories filled with mystery, secrets behind closed doors, and love between family, friends and lovers.  Most of all, if you have imagined your community is hiding a secret, you definitely must read this book to discover what kind of secret it could be.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Unaffected Resolve – Review

The Unaffected Resolve

by Humphrey Osoro

The Unaffected Resolve Volume 1 is an introduction to Lisa Sagini.  She starts out unconscious and injured, but soon wakes up on the back of a cat-like creature.  She then discovers the world, as she knows it, has gone through an apocalyptic event.  The cat-like creature carrying her has chosen to save Lisa and her junior, a man named Orville.  His reasoning is that he can guarantee their survival and they in turn shall provide him vital information.

What Lisa Sagini wants to know most is why the world they knew had to change.  Why did they have to lose their friends and family?  How will they survive after this apocalypse?

However, the questions above are not tackled in this volume.

  Volume 1’s sole purpose is to introduce Lisa Sagini: who she is now and where she has come from.  Lisa is a soldier in the Kenyan Army, has a strong personality and it is clear that she is comfortable in her own skin.  Each scene is drawn to depict Lisa’s reality in vibrant colors and clear visuals and her memories serve to unfold the story.  Her narrative adds to the story as it transitions deeper into the past.

This introduction reads very fast, and leaves you with the familiar feeling of wanting to know more at the end of the volume.  I enjoyed reading this start into a post-apocalyptic Kenya and I find myself curious as to what would have led to the apocalypse.  Most importantly, how will Lisa survive in this new world?

I would recommend this volume to anyone +16 and beyond.  The volume does have some serious and violent content.  This is also a perfect start for someone who wants to read but doesn’t feel like they have time for an intensive novel.  The plot is strong and complex, with promise of more engaging story in the later volumes.

The writer and illustrator shared a copy of this comic with me. You can read it at this link: The Unaffected Resolve

Bingeing on Books – August Adventures

This month has been incredible, in that I found myself reading more books. I celebrate this kind of stuff. Because it’s easy to get lost in important activities during the day, or in conversations that leave you no time to take time and read a book. I’m grateful for the time to be in a quiet moment getting lost in different worlds, meeting characters and exploring alternate universes.

Here’s a list of books that I couldn’t put down for the month of August:

Children of Blood and Bone
by Tomi Adeyemi

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

I genuinely enjoyed reading this book. In it’s most purest form, this is a story about a young girl, Zelie, who wants to break out of the chains she finds herself living in. I love the adventure, and her courage, her anger and the serious ambition to change the status quo.

Don’t Read The Comments
By Eric Smith

Divya Sharma is a queen. Or she is when she’s playing Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. Divya—better known as popular streaming gamer D1V—regularly leads her #AngstArmada on quests through the game’s vast and gorgeous virtual universe. But for Divya, this is more than just a game. Out in the real world, she’s trading her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay the rent.

Gaming is basically Aaron Jericho’s entire life. Much to his mother’s frustration, Aaron has zero interest in becoming a doctor like her, and spends his free time writing games for a local developer. At least he can escape into Reclaim the Sun—and with a trillion worlds to explore, disappearing should be easy. But to his surprise, he somehow ends up on the same remote planet as celebrity gamer D1V.

At home, Divya and Aaron grapple with their problems alone, but in the game, they have each other to face infinite new worlds…and the growing legion of trolls populating them. Soon the virtual harassment seeps into reality when a group called the Vox Populi begin launching real-world doxxing campaigns, threatening Aaron’s dreams and Divya’s actual life. The online trolls think they can drive her out of the game, but everything and everyone Divya cares about is on the line…

And she isn’t going down without a fight.

Son of the Morning
by Linda Howard

Grace St. John, a scholar, unwittingly discovers the Knights of Templar’s secret treasure. Suddenly, her life is upturned when she spies her boss murdering her husband and brother. With no reason to live, except to extract vengeance, Grace becomes a fugitive of the law as she attempts to find an explanation for this horrible act.
Grace simultaneously translates 14th century medieval documents written by Black Niall. This embittered knight reaches into Grace’s subconscious and the two begin to share dreams 700 years apart. A scholar specializing in ancient manuscripts, Grace St. John never imagined that a cache of fragile, old documents she discovered was the missing link to a lost Celtic treasure. But as soon as she deciphers the intriguing legend of the Knights of the Templar — long fabled to hold the key to unlimited power — Grace becomes the target of a ruthless killer bent on abusing the coveted force.
Determined to stop him, Grace needs the help of a celebrated warrior bound by duty to uphold the Templar’s secret for all eternity. But to find him — and to save herself — she must go back in time.

Summoning the magic of an arcane ritual, Grace steps back to the barren hills of 14th-century Scotland, enduring the perils of an untamed land to confront Black Niall, a fierce man of dark fury and raw, unbridled desire. Driven by a mix of fear and passion, Grace enlists this brazen knight to join her in a modern-day search for a killer.
In their quest to protect a timeless secret, they uncover a love for all time — and a deadly duel of honor that risks everything they have.

This one is a reread. I always find new things to enjoy in this book, and I love it. Plus I love the payphone vibes. Can’t believe payphones are now old world!

I hope you get a chance to check these books out and enjoy them as much as I did. Have a lovely August month!

Olympus Art by Mike Omondi

Feature

Profile: Mike Omondi

Mike Omondi Mulinya is an artist focused on painting on Canvas and Mix Media. He is the owner of Olympus Art and is based in Ngara, Nairobi. He often documents his progress on canvas on Instagram. You’ll find a work-in-progress post and project-complete post on his feed..


What I love most about his work is the color that explodes on canvas: so vivid and authentic. Read on to discover more about Mike and his art, in the following interview.



Don’t give up on your dreams. As an artist, stand up bold and be what and who you want to be in life because we live once.


Q. Tell us about yourself and what you do.

My name is Mike Omondi Mulinya. I do Art and Design to satisfy my spirit of creativity and adventure.

You’re an artist, what is your experience in your industry in Kenya?

The art industry in Kenya though not so tough, is also not an easy walk through. Though the industry has prominent artists, not many of them are willing to sit and have a chit-chat of encouragement and prosperity (with new artists). I think there is a fear of overtake in their monopoly market of art. To add to that, I started up with four paintings in 2017 and went to ask for a chance at Alliance Française. They told  me that they don’t exhibit the paintings that I was doing. They (the paintings) were kinda small I guess. So, lucky for me, they were bold to my aunt who bought them all.

What Inspires you? What inspired your most favorite artwork?

My dream and passion of having the Olympus Art Gallery is my wheel that I push daily. This dream inspires me every dawn and dusk. What inspired my most favourite work is nature. God was creative with the world, so God is an Artist and so nature inspires my paintings.

How or why did you start making art?

I started making art in high school to preserve the art culture that I see is almost coming to an end. I also started making art since I’m art coherent. It’s in me and I really wanted to bring the art culture to bold light and say Art is what I dream and I paint my dreams. In this world, one can’t survive without cash. I had to look for a source of income. I chose making art as my source of income.

What is your most important artist tool?

My important artist tools are my paint brushes, since they help me create vivid artistic images for the future and for utilization purpose.

Do you only paint on canvas, or can you make art in other forms?  For example, painting murals, making greeting cards, or even on clothes?

I paint on canvas and any hardware material that paint is compatible. I can paint and make things to order.

What are your thoughts to aspiring artists in Kenya?

My thoughts are don’t give up on your dreams. As an artist, stand up bold and be what and who you want to be in life because we live once.


There is special magic in a painting on canvas hanging on a wall. If you’re looking for an artist to get art for your walls, your place of work, your …insert preference…do check out Mike’s Art. His contacts below:

  • Email: omondimike88@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @olympus_arts_mike
  • Phone: 0708825023 (based in Ngara, Nairobi)

David Maloba – Illustrator in Kenya

I’ve been lucky to be introduced to awesome illustrators this month. This post today features another artistic talent based in Kenya, David Maloba. His art is fresh, and certainly, up and coming. I sent him a few questions for this interview, which he was glad to answer. Read on to discover what he has to say about his work.


Who is David Maloba?  Tell us a bit about yourself, and what you do

I am a graphic designer who deals mostly with digital illustration portraits famously known as vector/vexel portrait artworks. They are cartoon style artworks that have artistic elements in them. It’s my daily drive and my passion, something I really love doing.

artwork by D. Maloba

I started out when I was in third year in the university. I bumped into a tutorial video on Youtube that had the whole process of making vector artwork using Adobe Photoshop. That tutorial helped me big time and due to my prior knowledge and skill in the software, it was easy for me to create this type of artwork. It took me a couple months of constant practice to be able to not only master the way to draw the artwork but also develop my own style. I am just simplistic for the simple reason, life.

You’re an Illustrator, what is your challenge in this industry in Kenya?

Well, being a digital illustrator in Kenya is kind of difficult because not many people know about it yet, and others haven’t accepted it as one of the forms of art. Let’s say for example, in my case, some people say I use filters while that isn’t the case. So cases like these tend to pull us behind and slow down the growth and recognition of this type of artwork. There is also the issue of low pay to no pay, where some clients might underpay you or even not pay you at all just because the artwork is drawn using a computer. They want it to be free. To do these artworks one needs certain tools, which are quite expensive to acquire, making it a challenge too. It’s also time consuming to do.

artwork by D. Maloba

EllyinNairobi Thoughts– Time consuming, but beautiful work!


..Keep creating. Someone will soon take notice of you. Keep your focus on and take each and every advice/comment positively. Some people might give you good reviews and some bad reviews, so don’t let them kill your morale with a few negative statements.

D. Maloba

What is your most favorite work and why? (Artwork you’ve done)

artwork by D. Maloba

My favorite artwork, I can say, is one I did of our esteemed president H.E Uhuru Kenyatta. It’s a special piece to me because it’s the one that I first got to print on canvas and second it exposed me to a wider range in terms of ideology and market. It’s something I am proud of doing each and every time I look at it hanging on the wall.

What type of skills or techniques do you need to develop for your work?

One needs to be creative, to know how to draw different elements and the knowhow of drawing using computer software like Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop/Inkscape/CorelDraw, just to mention a few.

Who is your inspiration?

My inspiration is Zac Dynes. His style of work is just simple and amazing. He is the one who motivates me to work hard to develop my artwork.

What is your dream/Goal? Where do you see yourself as an illustrator in a year or two?

artwork by D. Maloba

My dream/goal is to see my work inspire more Kenyans like me to develop and grow this kind of digital illustration portraits. Though it hasn’t gotten recognition like other forms of traditional art, it’s steadily picking form by the day.

In one/two years’ time I see myself being successful and having my own digital illustration company/business where young illustrators will have a chance to showcase their works and get the knowhow of how to develop their art and also make a career out of it.

Who is your favorite artist/illustrator?

My favourite digital illustrator is Zac Dynes. He is one of the few artists who have a unique style of drawing illustrations. He calls them “drip art” going by how he expresses them with the drip effect.

What’s the last book/comic you read and why?

 Wow!!! It’s been long. Ok, the last comic I read is Unaffected by my best friend Humphrey Osoro. First of all, it’s obviously done by a Kenyan, has a good story line plus nice illustrations and a work many people have not yet gotten the chance to read because of lack of belief in Kenyan comics due to other foreign comics being given a number one spot/platform. It’s work that inspires me to work harder to grow my art. So, I can say I enjoyed reading it because it has humor in it, plus the illustrations are just amazing. I urge people to go and check it out because they will not be disappointed.

What are your thoughts to aspiring Illustrators in Kenya?

First and foremost is to always put GOD first in all that you do.

Second, is to keep creating. Someone will soon take notice of you. Keep your focus on and take each and every advice/comment positively. Some people might give you good reviews and some bad reviews so don’t let them kill your morale with a few negative statements.

artwork by D. Maloba

Third, do more research on illustration because it’s growing at a fast rate with different kinds of styles coming up. Also, interact with fellow illustrators not just in Kenya but other parts of the world and get to know how they do their artwork to have a better understanding of the art. I, myself, have interacted online with a few and also seen works they have done. For example, Paul Kawira, theartofvosty and Joe impressions just to mention a few. They have amazing artwork, go check them out too.

Connect with David Maloba

Are you interested in creating a project with David’s help? Connect with him on Instagram – @maloba_david

Elly’s Thoughts

And, there you have it! Passion, Commitment, Research (get your knowledge pool going) and Consistent Dedication! All the goodies you need to cultivate to be a creative! It’s always inspiring to discover the creative journey from a different perspective. Whatever it is you want to do, know that you can achieve it. Keep creating folks!

How to Invest in Real Estate in Kenya by Kariuki Waweru

On this post, we celebrate and feature one of Kenya’s Registered Valuers, Kariuki Waweru. He has written an invaluable book on How To Invest in Real Estate in Kenya. This book has a wealth of information on how to invest, tips on home ownership in Kenya and how to navigate the confusing world of loans and mortgages in Kenya. Mr. Kariuki was kind to answer my questions on his book and his publishing journey. Let’s take a look!

1. What is the most favorite question you’ve ever gotten from a reader?

I have had people who are at the verge of making a decision on real estate investing and when they ask questions, I direct them to the book. (How To Invest in Real Estate In Kenya). It feels good to have all the answers to their questions in one book. Feels like the motto for Nakumatt, “ You need it, we’ve got it”.

2.  Did you always want to be a published author?

I didn’t always want to. My first article was on whether to buy a car or a plot? I was dating my then fiancée, now my wife, and I needed to convince her that land is a good investment but I also knew that a car can earn one some extra cash… so I thought I should write down my arguments and see. I did that and she was very impressed. She encouraged me to keep writing and I wrote so many articles which I could send to her. She then encouraged me to start a blog, which I did. It’s now called www.kariukiwaweru.com … I then extracted some articles from the blog to publish my first book and extracted some more to publish my second book.

3.  What prompted you to write, ‘How to Invest in Real Estate in Kenya’?

After publishing my first book in 2012 and revising it in 2014, I realized that there was a gap in the market for a more practical book. Between 2016 and 2018, I went through a practical hands on experience of taking a commercial bank loan, a mortgage, buying a plot, building my family a house and investing in a commercial property for rental purposes. I blogged about this journey, the lessons learned and these came to refine my consultancy journey  and made me a more practical consultant. I compiled all the experience and lessons learned and came up with this book. This book has everything you need to know about home ownership, commercial investments, loans and mortgages set in a Kenyan context by a Kenyan Registered Valuer and consultant.

4.  What is your most memorable experience as a Registered and Practicing Valuer in Kenya? 

It took me 13 years from the time in joined the University of Nairobi as a first year BA Land Economics student to becoming a Registered  Valuer. Getting that title was my highest professional achievement and a culmination of dreams… it was a dream come true.  Later on, seeing my name published in the Kenya Gazettee alongside the less than 600 valuers in Kenya since Kenya got its independence was also one of my greatest achievements.

5. You have published two books, that is, ‘The ABC of Real Estate Investments in Kenya’ and now ‘How to Invest in Real Estate in Kenya.’

a. What has your publishing journey been like?

I have learned a lot. There is need to keep reviewing your work, get good editors and designers and most importantly a good person to print the book. My first book was poorly printed in downtown Nairobi and I had to redo the printing and change the layout and design in 2014. This current book, I have used very well established printers and designers (which is quite costly) and I have not regretted the outcome. 

b. Which book was easier to publish?  The first or the second?

The second was easier as I knew exactly what I wanted and how to go about the publishing, editing and marketing.

c. What challenges, if any, did you face the first time, and were they present the second time around?

The challenges from the first time were using inexperienced designers and printers to do my work. This cost me a lot in terms of money and time.

6.  What is your view on publishing books in Kenya?

I think we should immortalize ourselves through publishing books.

7.  What advice would you give to someone hoping to publish his or her first book?

The longest journey starts with a single step. Start writing. Start a blog… your readers will critic your work and you will be a better writer. Once you are ready, talk to someone who has published before and learn from them on how to proceed.

8.  Lastly, will you write another book?  What do you think the title will be?

God willing I will write many other books. Ng’ugi wa Thiong’o has more than 15 titles under his name…I have 3…I’m just getting started.

The titles normally come after the content is done…so I don’t have any ready titles as yet.

Elly in Nariobi’s Thoughts:

It is always so inspiring to see an author’s journey in to publishing. If you’re wondering if the journey is possible, I hope Mr. Kariuki’s answers are enough to let you know that yes, it is. Whatever your idea, fiction or non-fiction, you can get it published in Kenya.

How to Invest in Real Estate in Kenya is a great addition to your bookshelf.

1. Because it simplifies the process of purchasing land, navigating mortgages and helping plan for the future in terms of real estate investments.

2. All the content is based on Kenyan experiences. I always feel we need more professionals sharing, and demystifying their industries for Kenyans, as Mr. Kariuki has done.

To purchase this book:
The book goes for Kshs. 500.

Email – info@kariukiwaweru.com or Visit our shop at Shililia stores, El Roi plaza, Ground floor. Tom Mboya street next to Odeon or call 0793772490.

Humphrey Osoro – Comic Artist & Graphic Designer in Kenya

Are you curious about what it’s like to be a Comic Artist and Graphic designer in Kenya?

I’m excited to feature Humphrey Osoro who fits both of these titles. There was a time I thought I’d try to be a comic artist ( manga-ka – CLAMP had inspired me at the time) but the drawing talent was missing and I definitely prefer to read them.

So, I’m beyond excited to present this interview from Humphrey who has worked to realize the dream for himself. I hope his answers inspire even more comic artists in Kenya.

Q. Who is Humphrey Osoro?

A; I’m a comic artist and graphic designer based in Kenya. I make comics on the side and do my graphic design work as my day job. I’m a simple guy really, I love anything comics. Anything that tells stories just gets my attention: whether it’s movies, a good book or even a good work of art.

Q. So, why comics?

A. Growing up, I dabbled a lot in traditional art forms and in creative writing/storytelling. Once I got good at both, I wanted something that could combine the two and comics did that for me. Comics allowed me to combine my artistic side with my writer side. I was now able to use my art to tell an actual written story and since then I’ve been hooked on it.

Q. What’s your inspiration?

A; My main inspirations are guys like Jason Brubacker (author and artist of RE-mind webcomic), Tim Bradstreet (Punisher comic covers) and writers like Elaine Kamari in Kenya (Her blog is “Elly in Nairobi”). (EK dances like a fan girl at the mention). All these people push me to keep improving and work that much harder at my craft

Q. You’re a Comic Artist.  What is it like establishing yourself in Kenya?

A; Being a Comic Artist here in Kenya is very different from another Country like let’s say Japan. Over there, they have Otaku Culture, which is this strong following around their manga (Japanese comics) and anime artwork. It’s a little easier to kick off a career as a comic artist and all this is possible because people are aware of what manga art is and they appreciate the value of it. Those guys are basically rock stars in the art world in Japan. Japanese – owned companies like Viz Media who run “Shonen jump” and many others have capitalized on this and they sponsor these artists. They also give new upcoming artists opportunities in their magazines by running their work in black & white, only giving them coloured runs when they prove successful with the masses. This system works very well there, the artist gets paid his due, people get to read good content, everyone’s happy.

In Kenya, the picture is a little different. It’s harder to establish yourself here. Comics just started getting popular recently, so not many people even knew what they were. Some can’t tell the difference between a comic book and a cartoon strip in the editorial newspaper, so it’s a bit of an uphill task trying to explain what it is you’re making. Most really just think that comics are meant for kids, which isn’t the case. Comics these days are more targeted at adult themes like crime, passion etc. They address such a wide variety of topics as opposed to a few years ago when they were exclusively limited to children’s themes. It’s the younger generation that grew up watching these cartoons on TV, like myself, who make up the bulk of the current comic readers and artists. These people are the ones who appreciate the true value of comics. They recognize that comics are like movies, just in picture form. These are the readers that give me hope that the industry is heading in the right direction.


Giving up gets you nowhere. People will eventually start taking notice of you if you stick around long enough. You’ll start getting calls and gigs you never thought you’d get. The beauty of it is, not everyone has the patience to make a comic, so count yourself lucky, they’ll look for you specifically. So hold on, keep cranking out some art!

H. OSoro

Establishing oneself as a comic artist here in Kenya is a bit of an uphill task, though once you do, it’s really rewarding. You really have to be patient as it doesn’t happen in a day. Anyone willing to take on this behemoth of a task should be willing to take the untraveled path. If you’re an introvert like me, then be prepared to polish up those people skills. You’ll have to hit the ground running, reach out to other comic artists in the industry, learn from them but don’t expect too much from them (They’re also struggling as much as you are, just at a different level). In short, its a labour of love, you do it because you love the craft, money will follow in spades.

Speaking of money, don’t quit your day job just yet. Because no one knows who you are, chances are no one will be willing to give you any commission. Most of the Kenyan mindset is of the opinion that western stuff is better than the locals, which is true, but only because those guys got a chance to shine. They were all beginners like us, it’s just that someone listened. If you don’t aggressively market yourself, you’ll never get anywhere here. Prepare to be ignored online, receive cold stares when you make proposals and many more of the stuff I can rattle off the top of my head.

But, its not all gloom, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Get inspired by other people when you’re down. I recommend reading Elaine Kamari’s post on Self Publishing here in Kenya in her blog “Elly In Nairobi”. Everything was so much clearer and easier after reading that, so give it a chance. Giving up gets you nowhere. People will eventually start taking notice of you if you stick around long enough. You’ll start getting calls and gigs you never thought you’d get. The beauty of it is, not everyone has the patience to make a comic, so count yourself lucky, they’ll look for you specifically. So hold on, keep cranking out some art!

Q – The first 30 pages of your comic, The Unaffected Resolve- Chapter 1 are released at 254Comics.com.  Will you release Volume 2 at 254comics too?

A; Yes, definitely! The book is actually more than just those 30 pages, I released those because they were the ones already done in colour. It’s actually 114 pages long. Yeah, I know. That’s a LOT of pages. Well, when I began making the book, I decided I would create the thing until I finished the whole of Chapter 1. I’ve written dozens of scripts for “The Unaffected Resolve”, they’re a total of 11 Chapters for the first story arch. Each script has more than 24 pages of words in it, which in a comic made up of pictures and those words translates to almost 100 pages. 100 is the magic number because I’m targeting at creating a true graphic novel of “Resolve”. Each Chapter will have at least 100 pages so that at long last they can be compiled together into a 500-page graphic novel. My inspiration is the likes of Graphic novels like “Akira” in Japan. Now that one has 600 plus pages!

Right now, this comic book is finished, though in black and white. I’ll release the rest slowly as I keep colouring but you can head over to 254comics and read the first 30 pages in all its full colour glory. Stand by for a review of the book here by Ellie, It’ll be a detailed review of all 114 pages so for those who want to get an idea about it, stay posted right here. Though here’s some bonus art for Chapter 2 that’s currently in the kitchen! Completely reworked art-style for chapter 2!

H. Osoro Art – Unaffected Resolve – Chapter 2

Q. You’re also an illustrator, what type of commissions have you taken on since your start?

A; I’ve done so many of them so far. I used to dabble in the traditional pen and paper collisions whereby someone wanted a hand-drawn piece. I still do them but only exclusively because of how taxing they are.

I also did a lot of painting on canvas for clients and friends. These were really enjoyable, seeing a mess of colours come together into a nice final piece of art is just so satisfying.


I also do book illustrations. I’ve worked with publishing companies mainly on children’s illustrations. These are done digitally and require a completely different kind of art style. My style is usually highly detailed and complex, so having to make them simple was a nice fresh change for me.

H. Osoro

I also do book illustrations. I’ve worked with publishing companies mainly on children’s illustrations. These are done digitally and require a completely different kind of art style. My style is usually highly detailed and complex, so having to make them simple was a nice fresh change for me. I do these in a cartoony kind of style that will appeal to the kids. The biggest book illustration project had me handling 65 coloured pages. I was able to crank out 10 pages a day at the time so within a week I was done. It was challenging but it taught me a lot about sticking to deadlines.

I’ve also handled logo design, business cards, banners, strips, posters and other stuff relating to Graphic Design. I’m a Graphic Designer by profession at the Nation Media Group at the moment, so I do the normal graphic stuff like making advertisements, proposals, posters etc. It’s been an eye opener on what it really takes to be a good Graphic designer. So anyone looking to be an effective Graphic designer, try applying there and see if you’ll get lucky. The deadlines and pressures at work really prepare you for when you have to deal with clients in your illustration hustle. Overall, it’s the illustration type of logos and designs that really pique my interest. I find these make full use of my talents as a human being. I get to combine both Graphic Design and my love for illustration.

H. Osoro art

I can say that as long as I can remember, I’ve been doing comics since the beginning. I did them for my high school magazine back at “Friend’s School Kamusinga“. It was a piece called “Demolishon” that addresses many of the negative vices in society. I still do it today, so make sure to check out my Facebook page & other media platforms. I finally undertook a personal project to create my own comic book back in 2017. It’s called “The Unaffected Resolve”, go check it out at 254comics.com. There’s nothing more I enjoy like making comics, it’s like seeing a movie in your mind and your hands are there to translate that to paper.

In comics, I’ve done comic pages for a couple of clients that I really can’t name due to non-disclosure agreements. I also offer some of those comic book services to fellow artists whereby I do inking of your basic sketches and colour them for you at an agreed fee. A good example of this, is a good friend of mine, he’s called “Kimzy Flimzy” on Facebook, go check out his art. We collaborate on a couple of gigs when he’s really busy and I step in to help out so we can beat the deadlines, so big thanks to you bro if you’re reading this!

Q. What is your creative process like?  Do you have a favorite spot where you must work?  Or a favorite pen?

A; My creative process is simple. It usually starts out with me just closing my eyes and playing out a movie in my mind. I see the characters, I see them alive, breathing , talking and moving about. From here when I grab my pen to sketch them out it’s easier from there.

When I’m down on creative gas, I just put everything down and let loose. Play a computer game on my PlayStation, ride my bike on a mountain run in my area because there’s so many cycling trails over here or just get down and do some exercise.

My favourite pen is the good old blue “Bic” pen. The ones we all used in high school and campus. I was that kid that looked like he was paying attention but if you looked closely, you’d always find me sketching. I sketch everyday. I found that by doing this, I was able to master movement of my characters by not being too rigid in my drawing approach. So yeah, get a trusty pen, doesn’t need to be blue like mine!

Q. What would you say to aspiring comic artists and illustrators in Kenya?

A; First, nothing comes easy. You want to be a comic artist? Then be prepared to be a jack of all trades because if you only know one thing, then chances are you won’t succeed. Take the time to learn other forms of traditional art, learn the basics of proportion, colouring and more. All these will apply at some point when you’re working on your book.

Second, consider learning some basic Graphic Design. You ask, “Why?” Well, because comics are essentially picture books at the end of the day. This will equip you with knowledge on layout, formatting of your book since chances are no one around you knows how to format a comic book. (The dimensions of a comic are different from your average book on the shelf.)


First, just have your comic ready. Finish it. At least in Black & White because you need to have something to put in front of your potential readers. From here, market the hell out of your book through various channels available such as blogs, social media platforms etc.

H. Osoro
H. Osoro art

Third, be assured it’ll take some time before you get your name out there. First, just have your comic ready. Finish it. At least in Black & White because you need to have something to put in front of your potential readers. From here, market the hell out of your book through various channels available such as blogs, social media platforms etc.

I could go on and on but at the end of the day it depends on you. How badly do you want to tell your story? Because I know you didn’t get into comics to just make money, you had this story in your head you wanted to share with the world. You do it because you love the craft, even when you’re paid peanuts. Now that’s true passion right there. I know I did, so what about you?

Connect with Humphrey

Instagram @ humphreyosoro

Facebook: @Humphrey Osoro

Read The Unaffected Resolve – Chapter 1

Nakisanze Segawa’s The Triangle

#New African Reads

The Triangle 

b29edce1ad816c9c735d6147eeaea2cf783d1b62A gripping tale of intrigue and war in precolonial Africa. Two young people — Kalinda, a page in the court of the King of Buganda; and Nagawa, one of the king’s beautiful young wives — are swept up in conflict as missionaries, rival tribes and soldiers of fortune vie for power in what is now Uganda.

It is a time of upheaval in Buganda, an African kingdom on the verge of losing its independence. Anglican and Catholic missionaries are rapidly converting people to Christianity, in the process stirring conflict with their kinsmen who have embraced Islam. Three main characters – Nagawa, a young but unhappy bride to the king; Kalinda, a servant in the royal courts; and Reverend Clement, a Scottish missionary, are swept up in forces that will change their lives and reshape the future of their nation.

Thoughts:

Just got a message in my inbox about this book.  Unhappy Bride to a king, A servant in the Royal Courts, and Conflict in  the village….yeah, sign me up.  Looking forward to jumping into this gem in the coming days. Meanwhile, get your own copy here:

Amazon

Smashwords

The Virgin Journey – Book Review

The Virgin Journey

Book Review

51i7-ZqqunL._SX313_BO1,204,203,200_Gary Stokes is a struggling young American, who then lands a job with a press bureau based in East Africa and an expatriate is born.  Gary moves to Kenya, meets a fellow reporter, Guy, who helps him adjust to his new life.  Cue in intimidating government officials, unmovable landlords, and incidents unfolding in snooty exclusive membership clubs left behind by settlers—, Gary and Guy become lifelong friends.  In this new life, Gary soon discovers that life in East Africa requires an abundance of open-mindedness, patience and caution.

The Virgin Journey is an interesting perspective on life for an expatriate living in East Africa in the eighties.  Through Gary, Wampamba takes us through heavy issues present in the eighties and even now, like the first HIV epidemic, unrest in Uganda, bribes in government offices and racism in South Africa.  The change of perspective is refreshing, because she manages to make Gary’s immersion into these issues effortless, without seeming contrived, through experiences in Gary’s life.

At the core of Gary’s new life, is love: for his old home, his new home, his old girlfriend, and a new one.  The struggle to reconcile all these parts of him is real, and Gary’s character emerges as just a man, doing what he can to earn a living, and find happiness…albeit in the real jungle that is Africa.

 

What did I love about this book?

The change Gary goes through from the negative mess he starts out as at the beginning.  His quite uninformed view on our beloved East Africa made me remember a question I was once asked by an acquaintance…,

Do I live next to Lions in Africa?  Are they right next door?’  No, they’re not right next door, thank you.  They’d have me for dinner otherwise

Gary’s character had this annoying factor at the beginning for me.  However, that changes through the story, as he travels from one city to the next, experiencing the joys and beauties…as well as the bittersweet parts of East Africa, you find yourself sympathizing, rooting for him.

In all, this story is a great start to an unforgettable adventure in East Africa.  Two reporters work to tell the East African story, the best they can.  Wampamba stays true to the culture while adding her own zest into a growing love between two expatriates and their strong African princesses.

4.0 Stars

Get Your Copy: The Virgin Journey