Digital Artist Series – Interview with Thejal Mathura (@thejalmathura_illustration)
The world has gone Digital so why not art? The evolution of digital art has bought revolutionary changes in the art sector. Art is more accessible now, and thanks to various social media platforms, you can connect to the artists all the more easily and enjoy, learn, pursue or purchase art as you wish too. With a myriad of excellent apps and hundreds of useful tutorials, there is no limit to what you can achieve through digital art. Team Weekendtrivia have had the chance to know some wonderful digital artists creating unique arts in their own niche. And we are doing an interview series with such artists. Hop on and enjoy the ride..!
Today we are talking with Thejal Mathura. Sometimes you find and meet people whose vibes and work instantly fills you with happiness and positivity. Thejal is one such person whose work not only radiates with sunshine and happiness but as a person also she is wonderful. Her animal illustrations for children are sure to put a smile on your face. Read on to know about her.
Follow her on
YouTube: Thejal Mathura Illustration
P.S. All the pictures and videos are owned by ©Thejal Mathura and reproduction in any form, without prior permission, is prohibited
Q. Please introduce yourself.
A. Originally, I was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. Currently I live in the beautiful city of Cape Town. My Family is of Indian Origin and we have been in South Africa for many generations. I am a graphic designer and an illustrator with a passion for story-telling, nature and adventure
Q. What made you start your art page? Please share what is your Instagram profile is all about and how did your journey start?
A. I started my Instagram account back in 2014 when I was in my first year of University. I was studying Fine Art at the University of Pretoria and used the account to track my progress as an artist.
Since then I’ve removed a lot of those old pieces to make room for my current work as I’ve rebranded myself many times since then. When I switched degrees from Fine Art to Information Design, I found my passion for illustration. Now my Instagram account focuses on showcasing my skills as an children’s book illustrator and visual development artist.
Q. Is being an artist your full-time profession or do you work elsewhere? Is it possible to make out a sustainable career out of art in today’s world?
A. Being an artist has become my full-time profession in a way. I work as an animator for an E-Learning company, this requires me to have good visualisation, design, animation and illustration skills. When I’m finished with my 9-5 work hours for my day, I switch to my illustration career which is currently a part-time profession.
I think it is definitely possible to sustain a career in the art world today. It is difficult to break into it initially and it’s a highly competitive environment to be in so you have to make sure your skills are constantly improving.
If someone isn’t able to make it a full-time profession yet, they shouldn’t let it discourage them. If you have to work a different job to support yourself until you can break into a creative profession then you should, especially if a creative profession is your dream.
Q. What would you consider your biggest achievement so far?
A. My biggest achievement so far came in 2019 when I won the Picture This! Illustration Competition. This was an international illustration competition for children’s book illustrators. My winning pieces are in a catalogue that is going to be distributed at the Bologna Children’s Book Festival in 2020.
Winning this gave me the courage to pursue my career as an illustrator.
Q. What is your signature style of art that represents you as an artist? What does your work aim to say? Do you address current world scenarios through your work?
A. I have a stylized yet semi-realistic style to my illustrations. I find my love for animals and the environment making its way into all my stories and illustrations. A friendship and appreciation with wildlife and nature is a fundamental part of my life and is my biggest source of inspiration. Occasionally, I do address current world scenarios but this is usually related how humans treat the environment.
Q. What is your favourite medium to work upon? And your favourite work tools?
A. I have 2 mediums that are my absolute favourite; the first is a combination of watercolours and gouache painting, the second is digital painting.
I adore my iPad Pro 2018 for digital illustration, I use a drawing app called ProCreate. When it comes to my traditional tools, I love my Da Vinci brushes and my Schmincke watercolours and Gouache
Q. When you start a new piece of art, how do you get the inspiration/motivation it? How long does it take approximately to finish one piece of art?
A. I get inspired by listening to the music scores from some of my favourite movies and games. My favourite composers are Hans Zimmer, John Powell and Andrew Prahlow. It can take anywhere between 5-20 hours to finish a piece. It really depends on the level of detail I’m drawing
Q. Who are your biggest influences?
A. I think my biggest influence for a long time had been Disney Animation’s renaissance period from 1989-1999. Movies such as The Lion King and Mulan heavily influenced the stories I wanted to tell.
Recently, however, I find myself going back to Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit and E. H. Shepard who illustrated Winnie The Pooh.
Q. How do you manage your family life along with other commitments and running a page?
A. I live in a different city to my parents so I set time aside to call them every day. Running my website and Instagram page is currently more on a casual level, I post once a week so it is fairly easy to manage. My boyfriend and parents are extremely supportive of my illustration career so when I have to work, they’re very encouraging and understanding. I do prioritize time everyday to spend with them as I think it’s very important to spend time with your loved ones.
Q. What are the biggest challenges that you face as an artist? Is creative block a common problem?
A. One of the biggest challenges I face is myself. I am my biggest critic, when what I create does not correlate with what I envisioned or if I feel my work isn’t looking as good as it should I get extremely frustrated with myself and I get anxious and upset. Overcoming that frustration and fear of failure is definitely a struggle.
For me, I don’t necessarily feel creatively blocked in the sense that I don’t have any creative ideas but rather, there are too many small ideas in my head and I don’t know which one to pick. I get overwhelmed but this. So, when this does happen, I take it as a sign that I need to take a break and rest then come back to my ideas later.
When I do end up wanting to draw but don’t know what, I turn to my Idea Jar. It’s a jar filled with lots of tiny pieces of paper, each with a prompt on it. So I will pick a piece of paper from this and use the prompt to inspire a drawing and get back into the creative flow.
Q. Which current art world trends are you following, if any?
A. I tend to stay away from trends.
Q. Apart from being an artist, what are your hobbies?
A. I play the violin and I like to play video games. Currently my big game obsession is The Outer Wilds and Planet Zoo
Q. Please share your experience with different brands/projects you have worked with?
A. I was presented with the wonderful opportunity to work with Julita Pasikowska-Klica and her publishing house, Wydawnictwo Sto Stron. Her extraordinary, non-profit project The Green Kite Project aims to tell the tale of friendship across six continents.
I was one of the illustrators who was asked to contribute an illustration to the book, the illustration had to represent my Country as well as the concept of friendship. The book is being published in July 2020.
Q. There are a lot of shoddy people on social media who either try to discredit others or stalk them. How do you deal with such people or negativity in general? Does it bog you down or affect your mental peace?
A. Luckily, I have not had to deal with anyone negative yet. I am very grateful to be part of an illustration community that is so supportive, kind and compassionate.
Q. Would you like to give a word of advice to all the budding artists who are trying to make their mark through their art?
A. You’re going to get frustrated. You’re going to think your work sucks. But never let that stop you from working on what makes you happy. A lot of people think you have to be born with the talent to be an artist and that isn’t true. To be good at anything including art, takes practice and the willingness to learn.
And most importantly, never compare yourself to anyone else.
Q. What are your future plans for your page and profile? Are you happy with the way it has shaped up?
A. My plans are to continue growing as an illustrator and I’ll be using my page to document that. My goal is to be a full-time children’s book illustrator in the near future.
I am happy with my page for now. I think there’s definitely room for improvement and I think there always will be.
Q. Lastly, any word for our blog? Thank you for your time!
A. I’d like to say thank you for the interview! You have given me the much-needed opportunity for self-reflection. I appreciate you reaching out to me and I hope more people find your blogs as inspiring as I do!
Thank you, Thejal, for taking out time to talk to us, and having such a wonderful conversation. Team WeekendTrivia loves your work and looks forward to your continuously bringing more happiness and sunshine on our feed. All the best <3