Born and brought up in Abu Dhabi, Alicia Souza did her schooling there and then moved to Melbourne for a Bachelors in Communication Design. Five years later, she moved to Bangalore to start a joint venture with a product-based company. “I’ve always liked drawing, just like any child, but I just never stopped. I realised that I loved it a bit more when I joined university and used illustration as a medium in response to all my design briefs. My first piece of art that I can remember was drawing a scooter with chalk on a piece of wood when I was about three years old. I remember being thrilled at it but it probably looked nothing like a scooter,” she says.
Souza cartoons almost on anything and everything, including mugs, magnets, tees, mouse pads, badges, tins, bobble heads, luggage tags, bottles, and packaging. Souza considers her dogs and India to be her inspiration, though “it took me six months to overcome my shyness of putting up my illustrations on Facebook after I started freelancing. Now I post daily,” she says adding that she is set to start her own company and an online store. Her clients include big names like Google, Yahoo, Tinkle Digest, Score Magazine, Cadbury and Tanishq. “I generally make illustrations or cartoons depending on what the clients want,” she says. As for the trend, Souza says, “people are always looking for means to express themselves and drawing seems to be mine. Facebook is pretty much a tool that helps me showcase that means,” she concludes.
Her mugs are priced at Rs 250, magnets Rs 150 and badges at Rs 50.
Though from Mangalore, Prasad Bhat, 30, calls himself a hard-core Bangalore boy who has thrived on Iyengar Bakery offerings for the majority of his life. After two years of work in a design firm, Bhat, an engineering graduate, realised that he was brimming with ideas for art and design. That is when he started Graphicurry, a three-year-old firm. Currently, he is one of the best vector cartoonist in India, “Cartooning has several dimensions. I cartoon and also make caricatures. My company has two verticals, the design studio which offers a range of branding and designing solutions. The artwork store, which is my passion grown into profession that brings the artwork collection created by me.
My online store has just gone live atwww.graphicurrystore.com,” says Bhat whose fascination for cartoons started with a simple drawing of a house that his father drew for him. Other than illustrations, Bhat is a self-confessed melomaniac. “Music makes me complete. When I watch or listen to something, I love to go to its roots, understand what went into making that piece of work. All this study usually ends up being part of my next piece of art, usually as caricatures,” says Bhat who was into the Bangalore metal scene. Bhat’s illustrations and caricatures are available on mediums like coffee mugs and fridge magnets. He tells us that he loves making tribute artworks of people who are legends in their own right, cult figures and idols to many. In fact a few months ago, he also made a caricature for Vijay Mallaya. “I am a movie fanatic, passionate about music and a total television addict; naturally my work portrays the same. My latest work is a tribute to the Legendary Freddie Mercury which has got me completely soaked into his life, his persona, his attitude,” says Bhat. Most of his art work is retailed in places like the Hysteria store and Under the Mango Tree in Bangalore and Tappu Ki Dukan in Bombay.
The wall art comes in price ranges starting from Rs 525 to Rs 12,000. The coffee mugs are for `350 and the magnets are for Rs 199. Details: firstname.lastname@example.org
Her dad, an army man who believes in healthy food and exercising, mother, a primary school teacher and sister who terrifies little kids by threatening to extract their teeth — that is the source of her creativity, Mounica Tata insists. With her usual self-deprecatory humour she believes in all things yellow, that clothes don’t have to be ironed and hair doesn’t have to be combed (at least not on a daily basis). A cartoonist from Bangalore, Tata also designs on wedding cards and websites. “I never thought of becoming an illustrator or a doodle artist. I had other ‘high’ ambitions of becoming a professional pencil sharpener or nose goo digger etc. It was only during my post graduation that I discovered ‘doodling.’ It’s the best way to vent. Don’t like a teacher? Doodle about it! And the best thing about doodling is people don’t take too much offence,” laughs Tata, whose first art piece was when she was in kindergarten. “I once drew an apple and that was one good looking apple,” she expresses. She gets her inspiration from every-day life scenarios, “I don’t have a particular character or a theme. I usually have this chubby, curly haired, annoyingly happy character in most of my doodles. I like to watch people, observe their reactions and that’s my biggest inspiration. Talking about how unique the art form is, Tata says, “there is a doodle artist in all of us. All of us at some point in life have drawn stick figures, colored O’s and D’s in boring lectures. What is important is the content and what you doodle about. Doodling for me is a stress buster,” she shares. About her name she says, “On my doodles I usually have my signature as DoodleoDrama, but yeah no stealth mode operations or undercover scenes here. I go by my name Tata, Mounica Tata (Bond style),” she laughs.
Her art work starts from Rs 3,000. Details: email@example.com
Malavika P C
Malavika P C was known for destroying walls, refrigerators, phone books and non fiction books as a child. “I was told that when I was small I would draw a circle on everything I could see. All the phone books would have my drawings on them,” says Malavika, from Pondicherry. She is not just interested in drawing but is also an actor, story-teller and her long term plan is to buy land and start a farm. “My style of drawing includes a lot of clouds, sky and nature. I like textures, detailing, humour and patterns. From hair fall, to a pattern in a leaf, all of it inspires me,” she says, adding, “I have done a couple of covers for Blaft publishers, I have also done some illustrations for Karadi Tales.
I have collaborated with NGOs, galleries, Aid India, I draw posters and have also made drawings for theater groups. In fact last year, I had my paintings at One Shanti Road in Bangalore.” Besides drawing there are other activities that keep her busy, “I have been associated with Aadi Shakti in Pondicherry. My mother was a theater artiste and I have been acting too, I guess since the age of five. I performed last year as part of the Short and Sweet Festival,” she says. Talking about the next best things she is good at, story-telling, she says they keep her going. “I either love telling stories or drawing stories or at least listening to them.” On her farm fixation, she says, “I have a tattoo in my right hand that says nilam (land) to remind me, each time I spend a lot of money, that I need to save up for my farm. I can clearly imagine a huge land with a goat, cow, monkey, grass, sky and me. I wither away in places that do not have trees. There is just so much nature in me and that manifests in my work as well,” she laughs. Besides the usual memorabilia, “I collaborated with a French garment designer in Pondicherry and drew on his dresses even his ramp had my drawings,” she says.
Her wedding cards cost Rs 25,000 and if you are friends with her, expect discounts. Details: 9840366335
Sandhya Prabhat started off as an independent artist right after she finished her Master of Fine Arts degree in Animation and Digital Arts from NYU Tisch School of Arts Asia, Singapore. Prabhat is a Chennai-based freelance animator/illustrator. She is not the only one in the family who is creatively inclined — her sister Chaya, who is currently pursuing her Bachelor in Arts is equally interested. “I don’t know if the two of us fought, walked together or even talked together but we held pencils together and loved cartooning a lot,” says Prabhat, 24.
They take inspiration from their walks to the beach nearby, their friends and family, “Everything around me becomes an inspiration, right from a man looking into his mail box to someone talking on the phone,” says Prabhat. On the other hand, Chaya follows the doodle route. “Her characters are very different. There will be a man with a trumpet, or a man with a funny cap and most of them have big eyes and also have wings,” says her proud sister. As far as her clients are concerned, Sandhya has contributed to magazines and newspapers like The Indian Express and Times of India. “Our work also includes corporate brochures for the likes of HCL and I did a cover for Sruti magazine. I also do logos and put my cartoons on T-shirts and mugs,” says Prabhat, who has also covered her walls at home with cartoons. “We are called illustrators these days. Though sometimes we want to have a wacky name, we prefer going with Sandhya and Chaya’s creations,” she says. As far as animation goes, her clients include Discovery Channel, MediaCorp Okto Singapore and Kavithalayaa Productions, a film and television production company.
Ralph Lazar left investment banking in 1998 so he could become a cartoonist. Born in South Africa, Lazar is currently based in California. He began cartooning at the age of 12 (40 years ago) and since then he has over 40 books published, and the artwork appears on all kinds of gift products like mugs, cards, calendars and even cakes. “The internet has allowed creative people worldwide to self-publish. Because cartoons are relatively quick and easy to produce, and can be done digitally, the internet is an ideal platform. The multitude of online publishing tools, like blogger and wordpress, have made this all so much easier,” he says. Inspired by TinTin and Asterix, Lazar bases his doodles on self-expression. “My current project is called Happiness is, where people submit short lines about what makes them happy and then I illustrate them,” says Lazar, adding, “We published a large series of kids’ education books with DK and have a 14 book series with Harper Collins for our cartoon called Vimrod. My Harold’s Planet cartoons were the first animated e-cards for Hotmail.” Lazar also paints and sends out ‘‘a daily cartoon by email that has over 50,000 subscribers.” His mugs are priced at $10. Details: www.lastlemon.com
– Mrinalini Sundar