Ahmed Khairy: Your Favorite Egyptian Animator

Writer: Nada Elnady

Editor: Khaled Mohamed

Life is never as easy as it seems. You lose something just to gain another, you’re tested on how you’ll cope and rise after each inevitable fall, and this is what makes life so bittersweet.

Meet Ahmed Khairy: a 19-year-old digital animator, artist, and above all, a fighter. He spent his life going from hardship to hardship, and in the midst of all of the havoc that perpetrated throughout his life, Ahmed’s one and only hobby and passion still shines through as the light at the end of the tunnel. He grew up as a lover of art and so built on his own art passionately, and many years later, his efforts started paying off. 

As a child, watching cartoons was what triggered Ahmed’s love for art. The intricacy and detail of how his favorite characters were drawn fascinated him, their beauty and simplicity bemused him. Being the determined child he is, he was set to transfer what he saw on TV onto paper, making the drawings his own. His father was his biggest supporter, always urging him on and buying him magazines that he could get inspired by and copy from, until his passing when Ahmed was 6 years old. 

“بعد وفاة والدي، الحياة بقت اصعب. انا اه كنت طفل صغير وقتها ومش فاهم حاجة، بس الحقيقة كنت حاسس طول الوقت ان فيه شئ ناقص، انا مش فاهم ايه هو بس حاسس بيه

Ahmed Khairy

From that moment on, his mother led the way, showering him and his siblings with the support and the affection they needed, trying her best to fill the hole in her children’s hearts, often forgetting her own self in the process. She, along with the rest of his family and friends, was his biggest believer. The one who always encouraged him to follow his dreams and make something out of what he loves. However, and as Ahmed had put it, 

“الحياة لا تأتي على طبق من ذهب”.

His mom, too, passed away when he was 17, and that was the moment when everything went downhill. Darkness replaced the light and hope that used to accompany him at all times. He found his passion dying out, his ambitions dissipating, and sadness continuously marred his features until he was officially diagnosed with depression, followed by a diabetes diagnosis later the same year.

“أنا مش عايز بس اني اكون سوداوي او بائس بالنسبة للناس اللي بتقرأ دلوقتي، بس الحقيقة اني فعلاً مازلت بعاني من الاكتئاب لحد وقتنا هذا، ولسة مقدرتش اني اتغلب عليه. وعلشان اكون واقعي برضه مش عارف هل هقدر اتغلب عليه ولا هو اللي هيكسبني في النهاية، بس انا متعود اني دايماً بحارب وبواجه ومش بهرب، فا انا متفائل بالخير يعني عموما.ً”

Despite all what he’s endured though, he still finds happiness in pursuing his passions. He considers the fact that he can translate his emotions into digital drawings and later into videos that please his fans his unique means of escape, and he lives with only one goal: to forever be able to do what he deeply cherishes and loves, the only thing that leaves a permanent smile on his face.

Even though the actual process of creating a video is extremely time-consuming and takes a huge amount of effort (from writing to animating to voice recording, etc.), Ahmed still finds so much joy in producing the videos. He can willingly spend a month working on a single video and still find himself overcome by a sense of pride when he observes the final result. As long as you love what you’re doing, time and effort will not be overlooked. 

Unlike many other creators, Ahmed finds that coming up with the idea of the video ranks as the easiest out of all the steps that come along producing it.  

“افكار الفيديوهات انا يعتبر مش بفكر فيها، ببساطة شديدة لو عندي حاجة عايز اتكلم عنها بعمل فيديو، و لو معنديش مش بعمل! يعني مش بقعد امسك ورقة وقلم واقعد افكر اني لازم اعمل فيديو فا لازم اجيب فكرة، لأ.”

Ahmed Khairy

What he finds to be the most challenging aspect though is writing the script. He believes that he could do better at writing the full scenario for the video, and therefore, decided to take courses that could possibly aid him in improving this (whispers: we personally think you’re great at this. Don’t believe whomever tells you otherwise).

One of our favorite videos of his revolved around public-speaking and how nerve-wracking it can actually be, a video that he actually considers to be one of the closest to his heart. He believes in the saying:

“لما تخرج المشكلة اللي جواك وتتكلم عنها ده هيخفف منها كتير”,

and so that’s why he created this particular video, and was surprised at the amount of engagement he received from the audience!

“اتفاجأت بكمية الناس المتفقة معايا واللي بتعاني من نفس المشكلة بالظبط، فا حسيت اني مش لوحدي اللي كدة وان ده شئ طبيعي، وكمان بدأنا كلنا ندورعلى حلول مع بعض ونشاركها سوا، فا حقيقي المشكلة قلت جداً نسبياً”

Ahmed Khairy

Khairy was inspired by modern day cartoons such as “Gumball” and “Teen Titans Go” to improve his work and invest even more energy into what he is doing. He loved how the drawings were both simple yet complex, how they looked both profound yet superficial all at the same time. However, his biggest inspiration was Robert James Rallison, an American animator, artist, author, and most importantly, YouTuber, who operates the famous channel “TheOdd1sOut”. His videos mostly revolve around real life stories and events that he finds to be humorous enough to be shared with the audience. These videos inspired Ahmed so much that he actually started his own channel two years ago, and just last month the channel broke 100,000 subscribers!! 

TheOdd1sOut is not the only inspiring YouTube animator out there though. Khairy believes that this whole generation of digital artists/animators has so much potential in store and would undoubtedly leave their mark on the digital art & animation industry. 

من فترة كبيرة كدة كان معروف انك علشان يكون اسمك رسام لازم تكون كبير ف السن وواعي وشغال بقالك كتير، بس حالياً الفكرة دي اتلغت خالص وبقى فيه شباب سنها صغير شغلهم عالي جدا وجامدين، فا حاجز السن ده اتلغى ومبقاش موجود، وده شئ عظيم! لان معنى كدة ان المنافسة بقت اشد واصعب، وهي دي حلاوة اللعبة.

Ahmed Khairy

And it’s true! The age barrier that used to mark the “professional” from the “amateur” no longer exists, a result of the continuous technological advancements that our world keeps on hastening towards, and it didn’t stop there. Concepts like “you’re not a true artist if you didn’t start by learning on paper” were too put to an end, and digital artists were given a chance to thrive in their fields without the constant criticisms of the older generations poking at their backs.

دلوقتي المعايير اختلفت جداً. بقى عادي انك تبدأ ديجيتال على طول ومش مهم الورق. ومع التقدم والتطور ده والاجهزة والامكانيات الكل بقى شغال ديجيتال. وده مش عيب اطلاقاً بالعكس، الديجيتال بيوفر امكانيات اكتر وتكلفة اقل وسرعة في التنفيذ والوقت. انا شخصياً بفضل الديجيتال طبعاً، علشان بقدر امسح براحتي بسهولة كمان.”

Ahmed Khairy

Khairy doesn’t recommend certain tools for starters. He believes that your hands are the only magical tools you need, really, and asks beginner artists to focus on themselves and their work and progress rather than anybody else’s.

“اقول لأي حد حابب يدخل اي مجال بشكل عام مش الانميشن بس … اتأكد إن اي مجهود هتعمله مهما كان حلو او وحش هيجيب نتايج،مهما كان هتلاقي نتيجة تعبك في وقت ما قدام عينك. اشتغل على نفسك كتير وركز على هدفك وطور من نفسك طول الوقت واوعى توقف ابداً. ومتقارنش شغلك بحد، قارن نفسك امبارح بنفسك النهاردة.”

And since we believe that there is no better way to paraphrase these set of pure and beautiful words, we decided to present them to you as they are.

“اخيراً كدة حابب اقول ان الحياة دايماً هتكون صعبة، مستحيل تكون زي ما بنحب او زي ما بنتمناها تكون، وهو ده الغرض منها ف الاساس. التحديات والمشاكل والازمات اللي بتحصلنا دايماً دي هي اللي بتكون سبب في نجاحنا مستقبلاً وتطورنا وتجديد شغفنا، مش شرط نلاقي التعويض في الدنيا، بس المهم اننا هنلاقيه حتى لو في الآخرة :’) فا افضلوا دايماً جامدين وثابتين، وطوروا نفسكوا طول الوقت، و اعملوا اللي بتحبوه وماتوقفوش ابداً مهما حصل!!”