Priya Sebastian completed a Masters in Illustration from Queensland College of Art, Australia and lives in Bangalore. She is a much sought after illustrator and her work adorns the covers and pages of many books, magazines and newspapers.
When she is not drawing, Priya writes, teaches, explores places and blogs about her experiences at her well known blog which is filled with vivid stories, sketches and photographs all of which tie in beautifully with her world view and her drawings.
Why are you an Illustrator?
That’s akin to asking a spider why it is a spider. Or a rhinoceros why it is what it is.
I cannot imagine being anything else. It is an inherent quality. Interpreting an idea or sa story visually gives me a high.
Did you attend school for fine art or design?
Yup. The first one I attended was in Bengaluru. I’m not sure what I did there. Then I went off to Australia to do a Master’s in Illustration from Queensland College of Art. It was a revelation.
You have a distinct style of illustration. How long did it take you to develop your style?
Thank you. I have been illustrating for about 15 years now. My style is still developing and I hope the development never stops.
Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
Most definitely Chandranath Acharya who used to illustrate stories in the Sunday editions of Deccan Herald. I wanted to do that too.
Who was the most influential personality on your career in Illustrations?
A teacher in Australia, Armin Greder
Have you worked for any advertising project? Would you like to?
Not as yet but I am open to it if the work interests me.
Are many advertising agencies getting illustrations made these days? Do you work more with agencies or publishers?
I wouldn’t know about advertising agencies. I mostly work with publishers.
What made you decide to become a freelance illustrator? When did you start freelancing?
I think there was no option but to freelance as an illustrator 15 years ago.
Was there any time when you wanted to quit Illustrating?
Have you considered turning your illustrations into toys?
Why would I want to go there given the kind of style I have?
Any other Indian Illustrators who you admire?
Prabha Mallya and Ajanta Guhathakurta
Do you have any favorite fellow illustrators or resources relating to your fields?
I was brought up on a diet of American Illustrators during the pre-internet era (yes, there was such an era). Now, much to my relief and thanks to blogs I get to see the style of Latin American Illustrators, Scandinavian Illustrators, Spanish and Portugese Illustrators…it is wonderful to see such a marvellous richness and diversity of styles and talent.
You have such a wide experience as a top working professional. What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals? Would you advise them to take on Illustration as a career option? Is it paying well enough?
Regarding payment for illustrating, I think one has to ‘make’ it pay. To be a good illustrator, you have to hone your drawing skills and style to a very high standard through dedicated hard work and then you have to value your work enough to ask your client for a dignified fee. I find newspapers still pay some illustrators Rs.1000 per illustration and there young illustrators new to the field who actually accept that. I’d like to tell them that they are not doing anyone a favour by accepting work at such terms.
Who would you like to take out for dinner?
What’s on your iPod?
Bach’s preludes, Beethoven’s piano sonatas