With her trusty marker in hand, today we are talking to Karla Alcazar! Karla lives in Norwich but has had quiet the journey before settling in such a fine little city. We talk cute doodly girls, Japan and her love of psychology!
So it seems you have had quiet the journey in becoming the person you are today! Being born in Mexico and now living in Norwich, you have lived in a few places. What motivated you to leave your hometown originally and pursue illustration?
Becoming an illustrator was a dream of mine since I was very little, but somehow I believed the “you’ll starve and that’s not worth doing” narrative. Also, in order to study anything to do with design I would have had to move to a different city, and back then I wasn't really ready to do that, so I decided to study psychology instead. One day, I applied to be part of a street art festival in my hometown and my application was successful and had one of the most amazing days of my life; I drew all day, surrounded myself with inspiring people and reconnected to a part of me that had been dormant.
I thought that something that made me feel so happy shouldn't really be ignored and that maybe I should give it a proper chance, so I moved to the States and did a short illustration course and a short clinical psychology course, hoping that would help me decide which path was the right one for me… and illustration won.
Would you say that living in different areas has inspired and developed your style?
Absolutely! I think all the moving around really influenced mood and content, especially in the last couple of years.
I’ve been lucky enough to have time to reflect and try different things that have definitely inspired me and informed my work.
We noticed that you often draw cute girls, would you say that this is your go-to doodle and why is that? They are adorable!
Thank you! I guess I find drawing girls quite cathartic; it is definitely my comfort zone as well, maybe because it’s easier for me to project my view of the world that way and it also helps me to understand myself better.
Adding to this, your work features lots of colour and an assortment of different materials (pencils/markers), what is your favourite material to work with and what is a material you would like to experiment with in the future?
I really love to work with markers, mainly because I’m not a patient person! I think that with markers it’s fairly easy to get interesting textures and shadowing without having to wait loads for the ink to dry.
I would really love to experiment with watercolours. And, hopefully, one day I’ll be brave enough to try gouache, and who knows, maybe acrylics!
With a huge variety of work on your lovely Instagram and portfolio, what would you say is your favourite piece to date? We think your World Book Day illustration is the sweetest!
Thank you so much! I think my favourite piece to date would be the Derrida Illustration I did a few months ago when I was trying to learn and read more about him and his philosophy. I like that piece because it’s different from most things I draw and because existential philosophy is a topic I find fascinating, and I thought that drawing him was a good way to remember what I had read!
At Papergang HQ, we love anything to do with Japan and its wonderful art scene. Your work has hints of Japanese culture; do you find that you are inspired by eastern influences?
Oh definitely! When I was a kid, I dreamed about moving to Japan and illustrating books over there, I was so committed to my plan that I started to learn the language and plan my life in Japan; I tried to learn about the culture and I used to watch Japanese kids shows like “Okiku naru Ko” and I used to buy Japanese magazines whenever it was possible. I was also into anime and manga, so I guess all of that stuck around! I really hope I get to visit Japan one day!
We would love to move to Japan too! And as a last note, do you have a motivational message that you would like to tell your younger self?
It might sound really cheesy, but I would like to tell my younger self that only time allows growth. And sometimes things don't go as planned so you might as well just enjoy the ride!
Thank you very much Karla!
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