Why Turkish Tezhip (Islamic Illumination)?

Turkish tezhip

Turkish Tezhip which is also Ottoman Tezhip/Art.

I dedicate this blog post to every single person who wants to understand why I’m working on Turkish tezhip (Ottoman Islamic Illumination Art), and what to expect when you learn it.

While I was working in a graphic design, I fell in love with designing patterns. At that time, my designs were pure digital designs. Even the patterns I design were digital. Many of those digital patterns were sketched first, scanned and I went over the details using either Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator. And some of them were designed digitally without sketching them first. Pattern designed, lead me to Ottoman Illumination Art. And that’s how my journey started since beginning of 2015.

Now, to the reasons.


There aren’t many English resources and that’s why I’m trying to teach why I learned to everyone who’e interested in learning this beautiful illumination art. When I first started learning, I noticed that most books and teachers were Turkish and Turkish speakers. It was difficult working alone. Yet, it was easy to learn with an English speaking teacher. She made the learning process so easy for me and that’s what I’m doing right now.

Classic Art

It’s good to have knowledge in a classic art. Even if you’re a hobbyist it’s an amazing idea to have a skill in classic art. With time, you can participate in galleries and exhibitions to display your work. Also, you can join groups to exchange knowledge and tips regarding your skills.


Ever thought of decorating your space? Whether office or room? When you have the ability to design a full Ottoman pattern, you can use it to decorate not only your space but any other space.

Turkish tezhip

Above are some of the reasons why I’m focusing right now on this kind of art. When you learn the details of holding the brush, outlining small flowers, and using a 000 sized brush, you will be precise in your drawings and paintings of other art. Even though in Ottoman Islamic Art, the colors used are limited yet you can open up to using other colors as non-traditional option and start exploring colors more.

I’m a graphic designer originally, yet only when I got into Ottoman Art that I learned more about colors. Why? Because I used the colors immediately as they are. I learned how to mix colors, and the outcome of each mixture. I started noticing the difference between Alizarin crimson and scarlet red when I paint. In digital art, colors are chosen without names in any software. Therefore, in digital art you know your colors from values and tones, light and shadow … etc. But with this art, I am able to learn what color I will use before using it and how the colors will look together whether mixed or not.

The whole process is beautiful. Even if it’s a bit difficult at the beginning, yet the result is always beautiful. Each pattern has its story and process. Change a small detail and you’ll end up with a complete different pattern. Only when you paint the background color will the details of your pattern show up (Any mistake will be visible mostly in this part too!)

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2 responses to “Why Turkish Tezhip (Islamic Illumination)?”

  1. How beautiful!

    1. Thank you 🙂

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