Alicia’s debut book ‘Dearest George’ is set to release in January.

Bengaluru illustrator Alicia Souza to release first book of drawings
news Book Wednesday, December 11, 2019 - 13:42

You know her through her Instagram and Facebook pages, and through quirky designs on cups, t-shirts and calendars. Alicia Souza, the beloved Bengaluru-based illustrator and artist, has gained a fan following for her fun cartoons, often about her own life. Now, with her debut book Dearest George, a collection of illustrations set to release in January, Alicia is giving readers more of her signature illustrations to enjoy. 

Dearest George began as a website that Alicia created to announce her marriage to her husband, George in 2017. Alicia had always turned parts of her life into drawings, and “when George and I started dating, it was just another aspect of my life that I started drawing about,” she tells TNM (through interruptions from Henry Oats, her pet guinea pig).

Since she knew she didn’t want a wedding, she created the website as a surprise for George. Over the years, it has featured funny drawings of their life as a couple, which came to be adored by thousands of followers on social media. Her pet dog Charlie is also a frequent figure in her illustrations. 

The idea for Dearest George struck her after Penguin approached her with a different project, which she ultimately did not pursue. The book is a compilation of the drawings she’s made since the beginning of the website, as well as a few new additions. “I started drawing a lot about him and I had like, a LOT of drawings!” It is the love and the response she got through the website that gave her the idea of turning her illustrations on life as a couple into a book.  

Growing up, Alicia had considered herself to be a ‘weird’ kid, and even later in life, she saw herself as an introvert who shied away from meeting new people — always been a teetotaller, non-smoker and nowhere near the party scene, she recalls. 

So how did the shy introverted kid come to be a familiar face through her adorable cartoon avatar?

"I have adapted to the kind of life I have to lead,” she says. “I just kind of came out of my shell. I used to be super shy!” Though she doesn’t believe introverts need to change or become extroverts to succeed, she says, “But I do think you have to step out of your shell if you want things to change. In business, you have to meet people a lot. It’s not a sacrifice, but it’s a change you have to make within yourself. It leads to so many new experiences, and you end up doing things you never thought you would do.”

She calls herself a realist who finds it pointless looking at the drab side of things. When the world is filled with harsh realities, she believes that it works out better if you realise that “you are standing on the greener grass”. 

Alicia is very conscious about not drawing about the things that are a downer. “You see the news, it’s really harsh and you walk on the road and you know the potholes are really crap,” she said, “And if I didn't think of it in a nice way, it will just put me in a crappier mood.” 

She emphasises on the necessity to be diligent — and to respect one’s work and oneself. 

A morning person, she has always respected time more than anything. She starts and ends her work quite early, leaving her with enough time to do the other things she loves doing, such as cooking. “Making that actual effort to make sure that you do those small things that you absolutely love doing inevitably makes life and every single day kind of amazing. I think that’s cool! Doing what you like and doing it passionately because you like it is cool!” 

About battling the blues in her life, she says that she  doesn’t like to draw about the things that seem too sad. “I think if I do draw about it, I will try to put a positive spin on it. Because that is how I deal with things that go wrong,” she says. 

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