I am so glad that you guys are liking this series. I really feel it is important to know the actually story behind the people we aspire.
Second one on this list is someone I have been following for a really long time. Not only is she a great illustrator and doodle artist, she is also somebody who is immensely comfortable in her own skin and totally owns everything from her success to her short comings.
Neha Sharma or popularly known as ‘Noodles’ is a self taught illustrator and doodle artist from Delhi. Making a choice for an unconventional career over what she was pursuing, ( C.A ) , Neha clearly defines the fact that if you are really passionate about something, you can turn it into your mainstream career !
Here is an inspiring chat I had with her. I am sure it is full of truth and the right amount of wit !
GS– How did you start doodling? Was it something you loved doing ever since?
NS– I have been doodling ever since I can remember and I feel a lot of us just mindless scribble all our life. If I ever had a pen while having a long conversation on the phone, I would just make circles and lines on a waste piece of paper while talking. I would make small flowers and ghosts at the back of my notebooks during a boring class in school. And I would doodle bindis and earrings on SRK’s face in the newspaper.
GS – The fact that you’re educational background is that of a CA, how did you dwell into doodling?
NS– I was pursuing CA but I always knew that it wasn’t something I was meant to do. I had other students beside me who were extremely passionate about the career and watching them I realized I could never feel the same way about CA. Doing a course as taxing as CA I felt like my creative side was dying. And as an outlet for the same I would doodle in my free time (all the time!)
GS – How difficult was it for you to choose doodling and illustrating as your mainstream career specially when the society expects everyone to either be engineers or doctors?
NS -VERY. But I have never been really bothered by this unknown group of people called “Society” or this known group of people called “rishtedaar”. The only people who mattered was my mother and my close relatives. I strongly believed in my career choice and my family believed in my belief.
GS – Being a social media influencer also, you are seen being very comfortable in your skin- your body, any acne marks if you ever have, dark circles and such imperfections. How did you gain the confidence to put yourself on a huge platform without any filter?
NS -It was more about “being tired of putting up a façade” than putting myself out there. I realized that when I was just being me I could focus my energy and time into creating quality content. When you are being pretentious on social media toh aadha time and energy usme chali jaati hai.
GS – Since you have over 50k Instagram followers, you must be receiving negative comments too. Do you get bothered by them? How do you deal with them?
NS– Over 60 😀 (I am very specific that way). I used to at first. But now I love them. Hate keeps me going. I am very stubborn and annoying to be honest. SO when someone says they don’t like something about me I say beta tu ab dekh. I am going to do this certain things 100 more times.
GS – How do you decide which brand to associate yourself with/work for?
NS -Brands I believe in and brands that believe in me. I donot do ads i.e I donot repost an ad or a poster of a brand just because I will be paid for it. I only post content that is created by me. My audience follows me for a reason and I would never go ahead and use my reach for mindless ad targeting.
GS– Three recent project that you have worked on and are really proud of?
NS-Rakshabandhan Campaign for Dunkin Donuts, Valentines Campaign for Nivea and some illustrations for The Body Shop. (Not exactly my most recent but definitely my best)
GS – Evereyone who follows you on Instagram is almost addicted to the comics you post. How do you gain ideas about them? Do you draw inspiration from real life scenarios?
NS -As a teenager I used to write a diary. As a young adult I used to write a blog. And now I love to write comics. So I basically need a venting outlet to write/draw everything that happens in my life. So I don’t really have to go searching for ideas. Things just happen to me and I draw them out in comics.
GS – Apart from putting yourself at the social media front, you also post a lot of comics and stories about your mom and Minty. How do you draw the line of privacy with the viewers when they want to know about each detail of your personal life?
NS -My mom usually cross checks my comics and gives a quality assurance go ahead. So in a way she draws that line when it comes to her comics. There is absolutely no line where Minty is concerned. She wants to be the Kardashian of my social media.
GS – How would you describe the current scenario of doodling and freelancing in India in 5 words?
NS– Things are definitely getting better.
GS– -Talking about freelancing, there are a lot of brands that still associate it as a job that works on either barter or low price. How do you deal with this scenario? How do you make it a point that you are paid well of your worth?
NS -I just respond with “I am sorry this doesn’t work with me” I am beyond that point where I used to explain and discuss. Earlier I used to work because I did not want to sit idle. I used to work with low prices because I just loved working and wanted to build a good portfolio to be honest. Thankfully I get steady work now so I am at that point in my career where I want brands to know that it’s either my way or the highway.
GS – Lastly, since you gave up on your previous career of that of a CA and completely changed path and are nailing it everyday, I couldn’t find a better person for this question.
NS-We see a lot of people struggling with their jobs, clearly not enjoying their 9-5 jobs yet are scared of taking the risk of taking up unconventional career options. What would be your advice to them?
Another person in my position would say “Go live your dream. Do your dream job. Go travel.” But I wouldn’t say that. A lot of people donot have the liberty to take up unconventional jobs. A lot of people have families to support, debts to pay. And following their passion could make them a success but could also make them broke. So this is very subjective. But if someone is stuck to a 9-5 job just because they are afraid of stepping out of their comfort zone then they definitely need to take the plunge. Because as Lilly Singh says “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”
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Stay Tuned for more such inspiring people sharing their stories and aspiring many !