Alicia Souza’s keen observations on everyday life and the ink renditions that they inspire have a happy tribe following her. If you are one of them, like us, you would have seen the adorable doodles featuring her pets – Charlie, the dog and Henry Oats, the guinea pig.
Her musings on – pets, couples, friendships, and Bangalore have not only fueled a business spanning artwork, merchandise – notebooks, fridge magnets, phone covers, home decor, and even books but also inspired people to adopt instead of buying pets. She also holds merchandise sales to help drive proceeds towards animal welfare organizations in Bangalore like Charlie Animal rescue centre.
Many of us were first introduced to her quirky illustrations via Chumbak merchandise, a brand that she co-founded. Post parting ways with it, she started afresh and curated her own namesake brand, Ms Cat calls her ‘the queen of cute’ and she isn’t off-target as cats so often are. The ace illustrator has also collaborated with brands like Google, Yahoo, Dove, Infosys and many more.
Doggo: We are absolutely enthralled to see dogs feature prominently in your works. Could you please take us through a brief history of pets in your life and spill the beans on that one artistic doggo who introduced you to the crayons?
Alicia Souza: So I’ve like drawing as much as any other kid, but I’ve ALWAYS loved animals way more than most kids I knew. I’ve always had a pet but because I was brought up in small spaces, they were small- turtles, birds (sadly), and guinea pigs. Charlie was my first dog and he came into my life a few months after I moved to India, about 10 years ago!
Doggo: Growing up, did books where animals talk, one of your favourites? Do you still revisit them?
Alicia Souza: Yes and no. I loved animal books but I don’t recall me favouring them more than other books. Mind you, now I love illustrating animal books way more than others.
Doggo: Please tell us about ‘Dogs in The bottom’, how it came to be? And are there any plans in the pipeline for it?
Alicia Souza: haha if you’re referring to the ‘dogs wearing pants’ series of watercolour illustrations I’ve started, it’s just something silly I started working on with no real plans in mind.
But I can see it working out to be a series where I possibly can make something out of it. But I’d need to paint a lot more, something I sadly don’t have as much time for as I’d like.
Doggo: Charlie, the adorable pooch who graces your Instagram, what’s his story?
Charlie was picked off the road, as a wandering pup at about 6 months old. He was given to me and honestly, I never had plans of adopting a dog because I just had a lot on my plate. But my life changed swiftly around him after that. He was the sweetest, no-fuss pup and still is a no-fuss dog.
He’s pretty much a part of me!
Doggo: If you were a dog drawing Alicia, what do you think it would be like?
Alicia Souza: A smiling Indie dog.
Doggo: From Henry-oats to Charlie, how pets inspire you in your craft – is it ever like that you seem at their antics, and voila!
Alicia Souza: I get inspiration from things happening around me or people I meet. Because I work primarily from home, my boys are always my companions, which means I tend to draw about them a lot more. They are also ridiculously cute, so that helps 🙂
Doggo: We strive to find homes for abandoned and stray dogs, unfortunately, the inquiries that #desidogs attract are significantly less as compared to the pedigree. Is there a message (story, creative) from you that we may feature to inspire people watching from the fence.
Alicia Souza: I’ve done SO many stories, drawings etc about adopting. Even if it means adopting abandoned pedigree dogs because now sadly, people are disposing of dogs like they are plastic bags. It’s dreadful.
Indies are such a great breed that it’s amazing how people don’t realise it. And they are so hardy, super smart and just great dogs! I have a big soft corner for people who adopt indies. I think they are the smartest and kindest of the lot.
And mustn’t you forget to cuddle the dog (ok, cat too!)