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Art has always been about creativity and novelty, and Sarah Abulaynain is no exception.

The mother of three recently turned heads by attaching plastic beads to different background drawings, resulting in figures that look like they are pixelated.

“I’ve always been into art, but I wanted to add my own touch by making my own backgrounds to enhance the work itself,” she said. “Every background has a theme or character.”

Abulaynain, who now goes on exhibition at cultural events in Jeddah, said she was inspired by the work of other international artists from different countries.

“The process of creating these colorful pieces can, however, be quite tricky,” she said. “First, we either create or purchase our patterns, then match the beads to the color of the figures on paper. Once the beads are all attached, I tape and press down on the piece for the beads to hold, then briefly iron them out. I then create backgrounds, and get a frame for the piece if needed.”

Her hard work has paid off. The presence of her work at these exhibitions has helped Abulaynain create a following on social media. She has sold several of her works both at the events and online.

Although it has been a success so far, she has also faced challenges on her journey to recognition, most notably the shortage in resources required for this intricate line of work.

“I’ve faced some obstacles, including not being able to find beads in all the colors and shades that I needed, so I had to ship many over internationally,” said Abulaynain. 

Many of the portraits are of renowned superheroes, video games and animations in pop culture, not only of objects such as journals, key chains, coasters and bowls, she added. 

“The most challenging project for me was creating a frame that reads ‘Allah’ in Arabic, which took an entire month to make,” she said.

“Megapixel,” as the project is called, comes at a time when the Saudi art scene is flourishing. 

“What makes my work unique is that I add elements from other artists to mine,” she said. “Some of the patterns are even inspired by actual art pieces, not just well-known figures. I even use paintings made by my daughter, who is currently studying art.”

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