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Student tells story through art: Habiba Moawad explains the process

by NHI THAI - February 12, 2021 - Ticking off the clock as the pen strokes across the tablet, freshman Habiba Moawad, works hard to finish the latest chapter of her comic series.

Habiba Moawad, what seems to be another student, is a hidden creator of a comic series.

As they’ve been brought over to the digital world, comics have gained much popularity over the years. Making them more accessible, more have joined the community even the students here at Westfield.

“I’ve read a webtoon called ‘Lore Olympus,’” Zoe Milewski (9) said. “It's kind of like a Greek mythology thing.”

Moawad is one of the creators on Webtoon, an app and website that allows users to read comics, manga, and short stories from thousands of creators. Moawad started a historical crime and mystery comic series named “Midnight in Memphis” in November 2020. Moawad didn’t start randomly, she had motivations that led to starting this new journey.

“I was really obsessed with reading Webtoon, so I just really wanted to make my own,” Moawad said. “I love drawing and I always made books when I was little, so I decided I should do something like that.”

So far, “Midnight in Memphis” has reached 1,200 monthly views, 75 subscribers, and a rating of 9.39. The series goes over the announcement of a princess’s death being suicide which leads to the investigation of her murder. Moawad shared the meaning behind the name and how it correlates to the story.

“So it’s an Egyptian historical thing and Memphis is a city that was in Egypt back in ancient times,” Moawad said. “A lot of the stuff that goes on in my story is at midnight.”

After describing some of the processes of her starting the series, Moawad explained her simple purpose and what she wants to achieve in starting this series.

“I just want to get people hyped about ancient and historical things,” Moawad said.

The series is uploaded every week on Saturdays and Moawad has to juggle time from the workload and comics. She shares the struggle in her schedule and trying to upload every week.

“So, my parents, they don’t let me do it during the weekdays because they don’t want it to get in the way of my school work,” Moawad said. “So instead, I have Friday night and then Saturday morning and like the whole day on Saturday because I update on Saturday night, so I have to sacrifice sleep to get it done.”

Upon being a student and creator, she’s also a friend. But with all the tasks at hand, social time is sometimes not even in question when trying to manage time.

“I don’t really do any of that sometimes it's just like the full two days I’m seriously working so hard on it,” Moawad said. “It’s very little social time in between.”

Not only is it a struggle for her to physically sacrifice time to upload, but confidence also plays a crucial role in motivating her to continue. Though she has shared that dealing with low confidence when comparing herself has been a hindrance to her motivation.

“Yea, sometimes, like I would look at others’ stories and I’m like wow they’re so good,” Moawad said. “Some people do chicken scratches, and they have 600,000 subscribers, and I’m like how?”

Through all of the endeavors, her growth of a few months and the support she receives has helped her in uploading.

“Well, I’m noticing that I’m growing pretty fast like I just started and I’m actually pretty proud of what I’ve done,” Moawad said. “I think I have like a thousand monthly views and a lot of people are nice.”

Comics are also profitable, and although Moawad has not made any profits from comics yet she looks forward to reaching that goal.

“Yea, you have to get a certain amount of subscribers and monthly views for that and so I’m hoping I’ll get to that soon,” Moawad said.

One of her friends, Naomi Violante (9), has shared her thoughts and support for Moawad through this journey.

“I’ve seen some of her art, and I think she’s really good artistically,” Violante said.

Overall, receiving attention in such a short time alongside the work she’s put in, Moawad shows surprise and gratitude for her hard work and others’ support.

“I just feel really surprised that people actually like it and a lot of people send me DMs [direct messages] on Instagram saying it’s so good and keep going,” Moawad said. “It’s just unbelievable.”

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