Artist of the month: Eema Karim

When you walk into room 200, you find a hidden gem of the high school. This Chinese classroom looks more like an art gallery, with colorful drawings and paintings hanging from the walls and sculptures resting on the countertops. Among the exhibited works are several of junior Eema Karim’s.

After starting to draw community service projects for her Chinese teacher, Karim’s anime-inspired drawings have become a success.

According to Karim, who grew up watching anime with her older sister, drawing was just something that she knew and decided to try.

“A lot of people think that it is not a real style of art and disregard it,” said Karim. “But it’s actually really hard so you should give credit.”

For Karim, whose pencil drawings hang all around the classroom, mandatory art classes in elementary school were her only formal art education before coming to the high school. Currently a Drawing III student, she has taken Drawing I and II, Animation I and II and Painting I. However, her anime-inspired drawings were mastered mostly after imitating the styles of anime movies, including the Studio Ghibli film “Spirited Away.”

"Eem's anime-inspired drawings were mastered mostly after imitating the styles of anime movies, including the Studio Ghibli film 'Spirited Away.'"
“Eem’s anime-inspired drawings were mastered mostly after imitating the styles of anime movies, including the Studio Ghibli film ‘Spirited Away.'”

Karim said that her older sister Nishi’s artistic talents were what attracted her to drawing.

To Chinese teacher Lihua Shorter, who has taught Karim since her freshman year, her talents were a shock but not a surprise since she had also taught Nishi, Shorter said.

“When Eema came, I didn’t have expectations because in my eyes, Nishi’s paintings were breathtaking. I couldn’t envision anybody better than her at this age,” Shorter said, “When Eema came along, the first drawing she did for me, I actually didn’t believe it was a drawing. I thought it was a printout.”

Karim’s first drawing for Shorter was a project on Chinese costumes. Instead of using printouts like many other students, she drew each outfit carefully by hand, Shorter said.

“Every time Eema shows me her work, I feel guilty because I know how much time she had to spend working on it and she’s just like, ‘It’s okay. It’s fine,’” Shorter said. “The classroom is her art gallery that we call the Karim family art gallery.”

Karim’s friend junior Radha Patel said that her drawings are a reflection of her personality.

“She’s very fun and giggly and it shows in her art, too, because a lot of the things she draws are really pretty and anime-style,” Patel said.

Shorter said that Karim is always in the background.

“Eema is amazing, extremely talented, and she doesn’t take it for granted,” Shorter said. “You almost see her personality in her work. It is very meticulous but very calm.”

Karim said that last year was the first time she submitted a piece of her work into a competition: the high school’s After the Prom Party T-shirt Contest.

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Eema’s design was selected for the After the Prom Party t-shirts.

“I did the After the Prom Party T-shirt design contest and I won and I was like ‘Oh, cool,’” she said. “I saw the other ones in the competition and I thought those were really good.”

According to Karim, her love of drawing continues because it is relaxing and creative. However, she also said that it is something that takes time and practice.

“Just don’t give up if someone is better than you or you think you aren’t good enough,” Karim said. “Just know you have to keep practicing and you’ll be just as good or better.”

Maya Piken can be contacted at [email protected]