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Illustration by moonlight

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We’ve many talented people here at DLG Digital, and I recently discovered one tucked away in the Pet, Life & Travel team. Over there, sits Masum Khan, a junior digital analyst who also happens to be a gifted illustrator.

By day Masum pursues a career in analytics, but by night he has created an adult colouring book.

Moonlit Shore is described as a “colouring book voyage of the wonders onshore, below and above”.

I chatted to Masum about how he got started in illustration, the book itself, and what the future holds.

“My analyst role involves looking at the data from our brands, and using Adobe Analytics to gain insights from site metrics,” explained Masum. It’s a far cry from the beautiful and creative illustrations found in Moonlit Shore.

Masum has been drawing most of his life, even studying graphic design at university, and it was at an early age when he realised it was something he was actually pretty good at.

“I had a drawing contest with my older brother when we were 10 or 11. We had to draw the video game character Ryu from Street Fighter,” he explained, grinning. “My older brother’s friend was judging and said mine was the best. That’s what gave me the little spark.”

A page from Moonlit Shore.

Masum’s decision to work in analytics hasn’t affected his passion for illustration.

“I’ve always liked colouring books,” he explained when talking about why he chose to create Moonlit Shore. “The format and medium is a nice way to relax and there’s so much creativity you can put into it.”

The book has been a labour of love, taking two years of weekends and evenings to complete.

“I never anticipated it would take that long,” he admitted, but this wasn’t some project-managed exercise, full of deadlines and budgets.

While he’d love Moonlit Shore to sell well, his main drive to create the book wasn’t for material gain.

“The main ambition was to make something that other people could look through. My colouring book has a narrative, it has chapters, and I wanted people to be transported somewhere else,” Masum explained, obviously hugely satisfied at achieving this goal.

Now printed and with several copies of Moonlit Shore in the hands of friends, Masum is eagerly awaiting his first look at a fully-coloured edition - a payoff of sorts for all his hard work.

He’s not stopping there, either. In the pipeline is a sequel, Moonlit Farm, and his sights are also firmly set on achieving another goal of publishing a children’s book.

Masum’s advice for us all is to simply “keep doing what you want to do”.

Simple stuff, but I’m sure many people reading this will be thinking of all the things they love doing, which for one reason or another no longer do.

You can find more information about Moonlit Shore and check out other illustrations by Masum over on his blog.

You can also order Moonlit Shore from many online booksellers, including Amazon.

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