When starting a new painting, Sawaf tries to gather ideas from the images she has collected and set aside. These images include those she had an emotional connection with, liked for their impact or their beauty. They remind her of elements of her past, people she knows and places she has visited.
The artist first sketches the face proportions, followed by the values and colors. Drawing, values, colors and edges are always an important part of my painting. She tries to introduce patterns of colors or elements of the sitter’s life that are familiar to him or her. For example, Sawaf's granddaughter Madeline always says she wants to be a princess, so the artist painted her surrounded by her imaginary fantasy world.