I am an illustrator and a designer based in New York. I make illustrations for magazines, newspapers, and book publishers. I also work as a book cover designer for Hachette Book publishing.
I live in New York. It’s a wonderful city with always something new to explore when I go out for walks. The creative community is very big here, so it’s really great to go to events and meet new people here. I feel there’s an energy here, that keeps you on your toes, and makes you work hard to stay in such a competitive field.
The Central Park is really beautiful and many things to explore there. I love going to museums such as Metropolitan Museum of Art which always has wonderful inspiring exhibits to fuel my mind. New York also has many restaurants of varied cuisines, so I am always checking out new places to eat!
Honestly, I love living here, so the only thing I can think of that is bad here are the rats at subway stations!
You need to be very hardworking, the competition is tough!
You need to be very hardworking, the competition is tough! You should be good at networking, or at least be able to connect with people at events. This might not be important for everyone, but has helped me in my career. And New York embraces and celebrates diversity, so people from different cultures can create art that is honest to themselves.
As a kid, I was encouraged to focus on studies only, so I didn’t draw much unlike other illustrators. I first started drawing when I was told that I was “too young” to carry around a camera. So because I could not take pictures, I started drawing the places and things that I wanted to remember. This is how I first got introduced to art. Eventually, I got very interested in drawing but never thought it could be considered a career choice. In India, art as a profession is not encouraged. So fast forward few years, I finished my undergraduate degree in Computer Science Engineering and got an IT job at a major company in India. However, after working there for around three years I got very frustrated and realized that I needed to make a change. I was still very much interested in art. So I looked up online different creative fields offered by art schools and found Illustration. And so I came to New York to pursue MFA in Illustration from School of Visual Arts.
I finished my undergraduate degree in Computer Science Engineering and got an IT job at a major company in India. However, after working there for around three years I got very frustrated and realized that I needed to make a change.
In the beginning, everyone thought I’m being impulsive because I was unhappy at my IT job. But once I got accepted at SVA and saw I was serious about becoming an illustrator, my parents were supportive of my decision.
I’m currently working on a couple of picture books for the first time, at the same time working as a book designer. I’m enjoying these both, and I hope to grow more in both of these fields more. I have also started doing animations for both my illustration and design work, and hope that could lead to new opportunities!
I’m currently working on a couple of picture books for the first time, at the same time working as a book designer. I’m enjoying these both, and I hope to grow more in both of these fields more.
Most women in my life, including my mom, are very strong and passionate about the work they do. And I continue to learn and be inspired by them. My mom recently started drawing again, after years, and is loving it. Which reaffirms that creating art brings such joy and to have her as my support means a lot.
Most women in my life, including my mom, are very strong and passionate about the work they do. And I continue to learn and be inspired by them.
I grew up in a family of business people and engineers. So there wasn’t any creative person around me. I am the first in my family. But growing up I looked up to my grandfather, who always inspired me to work hard and told to a very young me “If someone else can do it, so can you”. I always held on to that.
Fortunately, I have not faced a challenge yet because of being a female in the industry. However, I know they exist. And women should be advocating their achievements a lot more, like men do, and not be modest about it. I myself am guilty of doing that, and constantly have to remind myself to share my work and achievements more often.
Don’t waste time in hesitating in sending your work out.
Don’t waste time in hesitating in sending your work out. I have seen so many of my friends create such beautiful work but think it’s not good enough. You should definitely send out your work, and I am sure the art directors will see what you can’t in it. I’m often told that my work is whimsical and poetic by the art director who hires me. I honestly never thought of that while creating my work, but for them to see it and hire me because of it, really gave me more confidence.
Also definitely promote your work monthly, if not every couple of weeks. Art directors most times will not respond, but they see all of their emails. So don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back, and keep sending your work!
How do you promote your work?
Photos courtesy of Shreya Gupta
November 20, 2020