“Alicia Souza can’t keep her hands still which is why she ended up illustrating for a living. She may have taken up knitting if she weren’t so bad at undoing knots.” quotes her Facebook bio. As adorable as her illustrations are, her wit isn’t any lesser.
It may be a bit clichéd, but it’s true nonetheless! The best job in the world is when you get paid for something you absolutely love doing. Add talent, confidence, and conviction into the mix and success is almost guaranteed. Meet Alicia Souza, a banker turned freelance illustrator. There were few twisty turns before she ended up becoming a freelance illustrator. Born and raised in Abu Dhabi, Alicia moved to Melbourne to do her bachelors in Communication Design. About five years down the line, she moved to India to help co-found a lifestyle brand that creates colorful and fun products. A few years later, she opted to become a freelance artist and since then, there has been no looking back.
An “happiness-illustrator”, Alicia Souza’s doodle’s have a distinctive style. Inspired by a bag of chips, coffee, her pet dogs and “anything and everything” her illustrations are quirky, cute and humorous. We talked to Alicia Souza about herself, her journey so far and more.
Oh, wait! We couldn’t resist adding another fun quote from her bio – “When Alicia’s not drawing, she is chewing the back of pencils. Hence her pencils are never stolen, though her erasers make up with their loss.”
Alright, no more ado… Here is the interview:
As a child did you always have this artistic and creative streak? Tell us more about your childhood days…
Alicia: I never thought I was artistic but I always used my hands. I used to make a lot of stuff and mostly crafty toys that I’d consider ‘inventions’ of sorts. (some truly questionable ‘inventions’ haha). I always drew though as much as any other kid, but I just never stopped drawing. Now when I look back, I realize I’ve always been attracted to this field and to illustrations but never really thought I would be doing it for a living.
When was the first time it occurred to you that you want to become an illustrator artist?
Alicia: I think in my final year of university, where I studied Communication Design, I realized that drawing was for me and if I were in a ‘creative’ field, then it would have to be on an illustrative front. It started out as a part-time job when I left college and then full-time career when I moved to Bangalore.
After working with the lifestyle brand for about an year she plunged into becoming a freelancer. At the beginning, it was quiet difficult, she was nearly broke when she started out…
What prompted you to become a freelancer that eventually culminated into your product-line and an online store?
Alicia: I never really wanted to be a freelancer but when I fell into it, I had to make it work because I had financial responsibilities. It was a struggle at the beginning but when things started working out after a year or so, I realized that it was absolutely for me. I loved the flexibility and discipline of freelancing. Then after getting many inquiries about artist products, I started the online store with my partner Saurabh. It was truly a random meeting that worked out for the best.
Slowly and steadily her art started getting recognized and loved. Sometimes, taking risks pays rich dividends…
How did you leverage social media in your venture?
Alicia: Oh, I started the online store BECAUSE of the inquiries on social media which started converting into sales. Many of my corporate projects have come to me because a client has seen my work on social media It also is my medium to announce new products, happenings and even our launch. Our community has been so supportive and I cannot be more grateful!
Normally, how many times do you tend to draw a character/illustration until it’s right, how do you know that it is right?!
Alicia: I actually have less patience than I need to for editing a character. I think I’m an illustrator more based on story/ musing than the actual drawing itself. I usually draw once or twice at the most before I proceed to ink. This, of course, is a bit different when it comes to client work.
I am sure it’s a difficult choice, but could you share with us your favorite illustration?
Alicia: I wouldn’t call it my favorite but it’s one that started a series of illustrations of Hindu Gods. It starts with a process of research, then involving my community if I’ve made any errors, and then inking and coloring in more detail than I usually do. I hardly have time to add more to the collection but I truly enjoyed the process of creating the few that I’ve done in the series.
A message for young aspiring artists/illustrators…
Alicia: Be humble. Be hard working. Be nice.
Alicia has achieved remarkable success at a young age and created a brand of her own. Alicia Souza belongs to the growing tribe of youngsters who are converting their passion into a full-time profession. They are not only creating their own path to success but also inspiring others to follow their passion and chase their dreams
Follow @the.aliciasouza on facebook and @aliciasouza on Instagram and make your feed a lot more fun!