Pearl D’Souza – Inclusive, Raw and Positive.

This week I interviewed Pearl Dsouza, an illustrator, visual artist and designer from Goa, India. She studied design at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore and has since gone on to do a lot of personal and freelance work that has caught the eyes of many. I …

This week I interviewed Pearl Dsouza, an illustrator, visual artist and designer from Goa, India. She studied design at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore and has since gone on to do a lot of personal and freelance work that has caught the eyes of many. I first saw her work at the Gaysi Zine Bazaar and fell in love with it. Pearl’s work is inspired by nature and her surroundings. She uses plants and elements of nature in her work which give it a delicate and organic feel. Through her series “Big Babes”, Pearl promotes body positivity and urges girls and women to be confident in their own skin and stay true to themselves. Despite her success, Pearl is very humble and always open to learning and improving!

Alfalfa Studio: When did you start illustrating?
Pearl D’Souza: Drawing was always a part of my life so exactly when I started illustrating is a little blurry to me. But my time in college definitely helped me understand the difference between drawing and illustrating. So it was probably around that time that I actively started illustrating.

Alfalfa Studio: How did you develop your style?
Pearl D’Souza: I didn’t intentionally seek out a particular style, but there were mediums and methods I naturally gravitated towards. There were also a bunch of illustrators and artists I follow that helped me solidify an identity for myself through my art.

Alfalfa Studio: In your opinion do illustrators need to have one unique style or can experiment have multiple styles?
Pearl D’Souza: It is important to have a voice and to have a style so that people can recognize your work even when taken out of context. However, I do think that that artist/illustrators should be able to adapt that style to various contexts or bend that style to fit projects and changing times.

Alfalfa Studio: Can you quickly walk us through your illustration process?
Pearl D’Souza: All of my work always starts with research, a little or a lot depending on how much the piece or project demands. Since I am most comfortable with drawing on paper I begin with rough sketches and that goes through a couple of iterations until it reaches some degree of finality. That is then scanned in digitally colored.

Alfalfa Studio: You talk about body positivity and gender stereotyping through your work. Did you face challenges while putting the point across?
Pearl D’Souza: More than challenges, I had to have a lot of hard conversations with people – mostly my male friends and family members who really didn’t see the world the way I did. But I am also grateful for having the chance to talk to them and hopefully broaden the way they see the world that women have had to live in for years and how it is very different from what they believe it is.

Alfalfa Studio: Have you received any backlash/negative comments about your work? If so how do you deal with that?
Pearl D’Souza: Honestly I haven’t had too much backlash or negativity around my work. It just makes me tremendously happy to have such a supportive circle of family and peers and an audience that is encouraging and positive.

Alfalfa Studio: What impact do you aim to create with your work?
Pearl D’Souza: I try not to think about changing the world. I just want to change hearts the way other artists have changed mine over the years. Recognizing that I can ‘create’ and using that act of creation to flood the world with more tender, inclusive, raw, positive imagery is what I am focused on right now.

Alfalfa Studio: What is your message to young aspiring illustrators?
Pearl D’Souza: Honestly I still consider myself to be a young aspiring artist. So this is what I tell myself every day – just keep drawing all the time and everywhere. Work on your practice. Try and be in a constant state of learning and absorbing from your surroundings and from the people around you. Make sure you never settle.