Alicia Souza began a lonesome journey with the strength of only one thing – her genuine love for drawing. She forayed into the world of illustrations with the now-famous brand Chumbak. After a short stint, she got irreversibly bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and decided to go solo.If her social following is anything to go by, she has been doing a fantastic job.
Her illustrations are simply adorable and lend a special spark to everyday common scenes and conversations. Her personal brand, Alicia Souza picked up steam at a phenomenal pace and she is enjoying every bit of the challenge.
I had a little chat with Alicia and her vitality is clearly infectious. Read on to know how she divides her time between managing a business, ideating for illustrations all day and being such an inspiration to those around her!
Hello, Alicia! We are thrilled to have you on Kidskintha. I have to tell you that your illustrations have that rare ring of funny and honest. I am a huge fan of your work!
Thank you so much:)
Tell us a little about your background and how you decided this would be your niche?
Well, I never really wanted to be an illustrator, of all the things! I was born and brought up in Abu Dhabi and always thought I would become anything and everything from a veterinarian to a math teacher to an accountant to even a nun! I realized illustrating was for me when i got my first illustration job right out of university and loved it. I promised myself that if I were going to be in any ‘design’ field, it would be illustrating.
Not many people step bravely into this field. How would you describe your journey into becoming an artist and what was your springboard?
Well, it had it’s ups and downs, like most people starting out on their own. I started out as a freelancer, not knowing a single freelancer or illustrator. I was new to the country and literally knew a handful of people. It was tough and to top it off, I needed to make ends meet because I had financial responsibilities. But over time everything smoothened out and I’m so absolutely grateful for it.
Your work has for appeared in children’s books like Tinkle and Teach for India, Tinkle, Google, Full O Toys, Wonderboxx, PodSquad. How was your experience working on so many exciting platforms?
It’s always fantastic seeing work go live! I think I’ve also been lucky to have the loveliest clients ever. Even hiccups turn into fun challenges and it just makes everything I work on, that much more enjoyable.
On Bringing ‘Alicia Souza’ Alive
You are also an entrepreneur working on your own brand that runs by your own name. You run a business and you draw such eye-opening, relatable illustrations every day. You run an online store and make time to be active on social media and give TED talks! Plus, you ideate for new merchandise and come up with one brilliant series after another. Your “Old Wives Tales” series is so adorable.
Wait a minute, you also have a furball to take care of! You also do YOGA! Please tell us how you do it all? How are you so productive?
Haha! I have ants in my pants! Well, there are two reasons mainly: One is that I am really fidgety and always have to be doing something (which also means doing things like ‘watching a movie at a cinema’ is almost torturous) so my only lazing is reading.
The second is that I’m an obedient scheduler. Everything I have to do, I put in my diary (I have my Moleskine diary by me at ALL times) and then it’s just a matter of ticking off by time. I also think I learned this from my mom who raised the three of us (and my dad..haha) and had a full-time job, without an ounce of help. When I think of (selfless) hard work, I think of her.
On Being Productive
That’s really awesome! What are your best time saving /productivity hacks?
-Put things that you have to do but don’t enjoy sandwiched between things you enjoy doing. There’s a way bigger chance of you doing it then.
-Build one good habit at a time and work on it for two months. Nothing less. (Mine at the moment is making dinner every single night to stop eating out. It’s been two months, so yay!)
-Keep a diary and have small things noted that you can do while doing bigger things. Like mending clothes when you’re watching tv, or listening to an audiobook while cooking.
-Know limits. It’s great to have that one day where you do a hundred things, but it’s more realistic to keep a handful of big things to do a day. That way you are happy when you do them and actually do them instead of getting tired when just looking at the winding list!
-Clean and clear as you move. Cook and clean at the same time. Dress and fold your clothes. Being neat at source avoids clean up times later.
That’s my top five 🙂
That one really helps! What does your typical workday look like? What is your drawing schedule?
I start my day at five minutes to 7, take Charlie for a walk and when I’m back, I’m immediately at my desk to check mails. I then work (which could comprise researching/ accounts/ mailing/ drawing/ finishing/ ideating/ meetings) till about 5 when it’s time for Charlie’s walk again. Then I exercise a wee bit – if I’m good, which I try so hard to be (laughs!) and then make dinner. I’m back at my desk again just to draw personal projects or write letters or chat with my significant other till it’s bedtime at around 11.30. I then sleep like a log.
What are your favorite drawing apps/tools? How do you approach a new idea for an illustration?
Pencil and paper are my favorite! The minute I get an idea for a drawing, I actually make a written note, instead of a doodle. I then come back to draw it later on when I schedule time for drawing or just feel like drawing. I usually have an idea of what something is going to look like when I have the idea itself, but there are times when I have to research things like when I’m drawing something I’ve not drawn before. Like if I have to draw an albatross, I’ll definitely need to research a few images.
On Personal Habits
What personal habit do you have that you recommend for other artists/illustrators?
Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. In life or in work.
What is the one thing you never miss in your day?
Brushing my teeth.
Whoa! Yeah, that one’s really helpful! What’s the best advice you have received?
Do what makes you happy – my dad.
As somebody who has walked the path, what’s your advice to other artists about getting on to big projects?
-Be open. I hear a few artists complain about clients but a nicer way to look at it is that when a client is suggesting a lot, it means that he seriously cares about the outcome. That’s nice in a way because it means that what you’re doing is going to mean a lot to him/her.
-Be nice. Never hurts.
If you had the power to change one thing in the world today, what would it be?
If the world means that I could change people, I would change everyone to be more considerate towards others. How much lovelier the world would be!
A few words on what you like most about Kidskintha?
Your characters are absolutely adorable! I love the comic liners you’ll put out!
About the author:
Devishobha Chandramouli is the founder of Kidskintha- a site dedicated to helping millennial parents raise happy kids. She believes that growing up well and happy is a function of growing up with well-informed adults. This site aims to deliver research-grounded and bite-sized pieces of information on two important facets of a child’s life- parenting and education. You can find her voice on the Huffington Post, Addicted2Success, TinyBuddha, Citizen Matters , Nectar and Lies About Parenting.