Alicia Souza is a banker turned full-time illustrator born and brought up in the Middle East, whose interest in design took her to RMIT University in Melbourne from where she did her Bachelor’s in Communication Design. After working on her very first freelancing project right after college, she decided that illustration is where her heart lied.
Three years back she moved to Bangalore and worked with Chumbak for one and half year, which sells funky themed products online, before she switched to taking independent illustration projects. She also works on The Fact Page of Tinkle which is a very popular 23-year old children’s magazine issued monthly. She recently launched her very own online store to sell prints, greeting cards, fridge magnets,coffee mugs and other customizable items.
We caught up with her in a happy little chat about her everyday life as a full-time illustrator and how she ended up doing what she loves doing.
A) No. I don’t remember ever wanting to get in a creative field till my final year of school! I did, however, never stop drawing, which was, when I look back, a good reason to keep at it.
Q) How challenging is it being a full-time illustrator for a living? What will you say is the best and the not-so-good part of your profession?
A) It is definitely challenging in every way I couldn’t even have imagined!
The best part, well, I get to work in my pyjamas. I can avoid traffic by scheduling my day as such. I get to meet fantastic people, learn and grow if I need to sustain myself.
The not-so-great bits are that I’m always working or thinking about work (if I can call it work), it becomes a lifestyle, I have to do EVERYTHING from accounts to marketing, have to keep thinking of plans, have to be motivated ALL the time, and explain to people how it’s possible to draw for a living
Q) How does drawing for fun and drawing for earning your bread and butter different from each other? How do you know where to draw a line?
A) There’s a thin line because when I draw for a living, I still have fun! The difference is only that one has a brief I have to follow and I don’t have the final word and specific opinions about the same.
A) It’s been a plan of mine for a while now! I never thought I would but when I did my first Sante (exhibition) I had such a great response and a lot of post requests. It was then I realized it was the best thing to do! I didn’t realise how much work it would be but it’s been insane! I have a lovely partner who takes care of the merchandise and production while I try and keep the pictures pretty and showcased. Because I still freelance and move about a lot more, it’s been a bit overwhelming but I think in a few months, I should be used to it. Cross fingers!
Q) You’ve spent considerable amount of time outside the country as well. How do you find India different in terms of lifestyle, careers and everything else in general from all the other places you’ve been?
A) Very different, but that’s why it’s the place it is! But it’s a melting pot of everyone doing everything. I don’t know if it’s because of the work I do, but I’ve never met such passionate people from diverse professions in my entire life. The enthusiasm is high and I see ideas being taken forward everywhere I look and so many people who want to make a difference or make a change! I love it!
Q) Had you not been an illustrator, what would you have been doing?
A) In reality, I think I would have a 9-5 corporate job probably at a bank but personally, I would have loved to do something with animals.
Q) Describe Alicia in five words! 🙂
A) Pencil. With. Chocolate. Flavored. Eraser.
Alicia Souza is a 2013 INK Fellow. Every year, INK identifies a fresh batch of multidisciplinary young trailblazers who they believe will be the change-makers of tomorrow. You can see more of her work on her Facebook Page.