HYDERABAD: Not even five years ago, people could never look beyond engineering, medicine and law as respectable professions. Thankfully, that has changed for the better — not only are people more open to taking up such professions, there is a hoard of opportunities and courses that are enabling them all. One such course is ‘eCommerce for Creatives: Sell Your Artwork with an Online Store’ created by popular artist, illustrator and entrepreneur Alicia Souza. The course is designed to help artists level up their creative pursuit and learn to successfully build, launch and bring traffic to their online store.
While the illustration is yet to become mainstream, Alicia is glad it has come a long way. “It’s still a little niche, but has grown immensely. Today, as an illustrator, I’m able to draw for campaigns online and have an alternate means of income through the products I make. The amount of talent there is and always has been, is amazing, especially with being able to utilise it to support ourselves. The availability of resources to learn from and get into the field — including such courses, YouTube, Zoom workshops, etc., — all these have led to artists being able to realise their dream of making it their profession,” Alicia tells CE.
Asked how one can monetise their hobby, she says the better question would be if one must monetise their hobby at all. She explains, “Hobbies are meant to be fun activities that you enjoy, and when you monetise it, there are a lot of strings attached where it might not become as enjoyable. So one of the questions I always ask students and people who love illustrating and say they want to become an illustrator is whether firstly they’re okay doing it full time, even when they don’t feel like drawing — that’s one thing people don’t think of early on. Once you’re sure you want to monetise it, look for options to sell it. Today, you can directly sell on Instagram, by putting your products on shopify, etc. If your hobby is not a product but a service, you just put yourself out there — make yourself known and available and word of mouth is enough to get you started.”
Many would pay to learn how an artist thinks and Alicia takes us through the process of how an idea strikes her to finally its execution on canvas. “It can be something I spot on when I’m on the road or recall something someone said to me, or while in the shower, or cooking — I usually write it down on paper or my phone. When I get to my desk to schedule a time for drawing, I look for these notes to start work on. Usually, I draw on paper with an ink pen.
I scan it on a normal scanner and then get it on Photoshop, colour it up and then finish the illustration. Finally, it gets to Instagram. Sometimes I start work directly on an iPad and that’s been happening a lot more because it’s quicker, but drawing on paper is always fun,” says she. As India celebrated its 75th Independence Day, we ask her what freedom of creativity looks like, to an artist, and she says, “Just having the freedom to create what you like, feel, want, think of and imagine — without having any bars or gates about what you can and need to. Of course, for a commercial project, you have to create within restraints and the brief given, but there is freedom in those constraints as well. It’s almost like playing in a playground versus playing anywhere else — that’s fun too, and I completely enjoy it.”
While most of us dream of being able to retire sooner, Alicia is different. “I want to have an infinite amount of time to do all the infinite number of things I want to do — that’s truly the gist of what my unattainable dream would be. Ultimately, maybe that one day I can just draw for drawing’s sake, because now when I draw, I do think of uses. The only thing I miss is creating something without the need to put it out somewhere,” she signs off.