Wide Angle

Grégory Chekib, drawing super heroes with a Moroccan twist

French by citizenship, Lebanese by origin and Moroccan by choice, Grégory Chekib imagines characters from the world of pop culture within a Moroccan context. Used to drawing strange and crazy characters (doodles) in an improvised way, the artist tells this time about his daily life in Casablanca through the series «Super heroes in Morocco».

An illustration by Grégory Chekib. / Ph. GregZ
Estimated read time: 3'

Hulk running administrative errands, Deadpool riding a motobecane and Spiderman climbing Casablanca’s Twin Center, this Morocco-based illustrator’s works have succeeded in cheering internet users' days. These illustrations are inspired by the daily life of Moroccans, especially those living in Casablanca.

Grégory Chekib, aka GregZ, has lived in Morocco since 2007 after spending part of his life in the Kingdom between the end of the 90s and the beginning of the 2000s. Passionate about drawing from an early age, he studied graphic art in Belgium to learn the painting and sketching techniques and advertising and trades in the same field, with a focus on drawing. «We did everything by hand at the time because there wasn't much in terms of computers», he told Yabiladi.

Aware that artists «rarely» made a living from their art, GregZ took his first steps in communication once he arrived in Morocco to join his father who was already living in the Kingdom. His love for drawing, however, kept within him. 

Influenced by comics and manga, three years ago he launched a series dedicated to the super heroes of pop culture. «The work of Montpellier artist Mr Garcin and French artist Greg Leon Guillemin inspired me», he said. «I said to myself that there was a way to do something with Morocco and why not integrate these characters into everyday Moroccan situations, in an original way», he recalled.

Illustrations inspired by the daily life of Moroccans

He then started with Batman who was pulled over by a Moroccan police officer then Superman waiting for a Casablanca taxi. At that time, the release of several Marvel films and series pushed him to continue along this momentum, with other super heroes.

«I got out of clichés, such as couscous, tarbouche and babouches, by trying to tell a story, the experiences of many people and thus provoke emotion through the illustrations.For this, I use the character and physical characteristics of super heroes, before adding the Moroccan character in a subtle way».


In total, the artist has made 17 paintings including a triptych, which will probably evolve over time, notably with the new Marvel series, such as «WandaVision» and especially the country's current events. Indeed, during the month of Ramadan, he published the illustration of Thor with a swollen stomach, holding a Harira tureen and Ramadan-inspired dishes. During confinement, he unveiled the drawing of Captain America intervening on the second channel 2M to call Moroccans to home during the lockdown.

«I like sarcasm and derision. I grew up with French-Belgian comics. The goal also is not to make postcards of Morocco, but to make people smile, by showing daily life, a reality, in an original and sympathetic way, in short, to tell a story», he explained. «The policeman who stops Batman, we all lived it», he quipped.

A colossal work of reflection, research and execution before the final work

And behind these very detailed drawings, the work is not easy. Indeed, a hunt for ideas begins to allow the artist to «integrate as well as possible» these super heroes, in a «subtle» and offbeat way.

«First of all, there is a work of reflection that I can explain through my 'advertising' side, with the aim of integrating as well as possible an experience, a scene or a situation typical of Morocco, with the chosen character.Sometimes it's the other way around: first, I have a scene or an experience in mind and then I look for which super hero could match».


Grégory Chekib is also conducting research on the super hero and his costume to find out the details, keeping the «comic book and original version» side. As for the decor, he even takes photos to get as close as possible to reality in his illustrations. A set-up work thus precedes the work drawn first by hand on a graphics tablet, then with a point-by-point vector plot and finally adding frames.

«My goal is to have a perfect line, curve and colors and to be the most precise and meticulous in details. This is the style and rendering that I am looking for. It also makes it easy to adapt the work to the different formats or media used, whether it is printed on a wall, a poster or a t-shirt, without losing quality», adds GregZ.

In addition, although a single painting takes him «a lot of time», the artist-designer does not intend to stop at this series and already plans to launch another featuring manga characters, especially the most famous in Morocco.

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