Authors

Little moments from married life: Illustrator Alicia Souza on her debut book Dearest George

The book, apart from Alicia, features three main characters: her husband, George; her dog, Charlie Brown, and her guinea pig, Henry Oats

There are some works in literature and art that supply the comfort of a fleece blanket on a wintry night. Many children’s comics fall into this category. Alicia Souza’s artworks do too even as they aren’t necessarily for kids. Even sadness appears sweet in her cartoons about her daily life, which usually involves three characters — her husband, George; her dog, Charlie Brown, and her guinea pig, Henry Oats. The sweet, semi-autobiographical comics have garnered a considerably big fanbase for her — her follower count on Facebook currently stand at 1,41,000-plus. Alicia, who had collaborated with Chumbak, now has her own brand. In her first book, Dearest George (published by Penguin), she talks about marital life through her experiences, using her signature illustrations.

Alicia discusses the book, her craft, her idea of love and more.

Excerpts:

Is Dearest George entirely autobiographical?

Well, it is about daily incidents. But not all of them have happened exactly the way I have illustrated it. It is not purely autobiographical in that sense. But they are inspired from moments in our relationship.

How long did it take for you to finish the book?

It didn’t take long. I already had a lot of drawings (which she had posted on her website, aliciasouza.myportfolio.com, and the now-defunct website, dearestgeorge.com, which she created last year to announce her wedding). I got a massive response to the cartoons. So, I thought I must compile them. Penguin had wanted me to illustrate another book. That is when I pitched the idea for this book.

Is the book a deliberate attempt to talk about how the romance between two people changes after marriage?

No, it is not. I have been drawing about life around me. The book is just an extension of that.

What is your idea of being in love?

I think it should be easy and not an effort. That is the gist of it.

There is an effortlessness about your cartoons. Do you practise every day?

I don’t think [drawing] is a talent; it is a skill. I wasn’t a born artist. No one in the family was one. I didn’t know an illustrator for a long time. It was hard when I started. I didn’t think it would work out. But you have to keep working on it. I start early in the morning. I work till about 3.30 pm on client projects. Then, I do a bit of housework. Then, I get back to my desk to work on personal projects. I am very diligent with work. And, you can be an illustrator by drawing just stick figures. It is about how you communicate a message through drawing.

There are perhaps many artists who don’t know how to market themselves or their products. Do you have suggestions for them?

Everyone starts on the same page. But we are living in a time when there is so much information available on how to market yourself, which can also be a problem. And, the hardest bit is not about knowing how to do it but just to do it. My suggestion is to be super strict with yourself. It has worked for me. You will face a lot of struggle initially — that’s the case with anything. But take it as a part of the process and not as a horrible experience.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 12:11:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-authors/little-moments-from-married-life-illustrator-alicia-souza-on-her-debut-book-dearest-george/article30712876.ece

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