Jean Charle is a pseudonym for Sharif Tarabay, the Egyptian-born illustrator now based in Montreal. He works as Jean Charle when creating work in a smoother, more digital and less painterly-looking style, mainly for advertising clients.
The names Jean and Charle are actually his middle names, and with a French ring to it he even considered using Jean Charle as his real name. However, his wife prefers the more exotic-sounding Sharif Tarabay. Aside from 18th century paintings and antiques, he enjoys playing football and listening to classical music.
Sharif has a degree in Fine Arts from Concordia University in Montreal.
Preparation is very important to Sharif. He always begins with good reference material, a solid drawing and a good composition no matter which style he’ll be working in. He begins with the aim of being as realistic as possible, yet still allows for some artistic license to give the image some character.
When working in his Jean Charle style, his work is devoid of the brushstrokes. Prior to going digital with an Apple Mac and Photoshop, he produced work in this style using an airbrush. Today, it’s almost entirely digital. One of the main subjects he’s commissioned to depict is food, but he also loves creating images of people and animals.