Suchi – Freelance Artist & Illustrator

Suchi is a UAE based freelance Illustrator and has worked as a Web Creative Director and Designer in the UAE before foraying out as a Illustrator with her company The Little Big Things.

You can learn more about her and her work at

Illustrated Graphics for Online Quiz Module

“Tell us about your journey as a web designer and then illustrator. How did it begin and evolve?”

I studied Digital Design at XIC, Mumbai, and have over two decades of experience in the design industry. I started as an e-greetings designer, moved on to UI/UX design at Tata Internet Services in India, and then worked as the Design & Graphics head for a large corporate house in Kuwait. I then became the Creative Director at Cyber Gear, one of the Middle East’s largest web agencies. After freelancing, I discovered my passion for illustration. I am a self-taught illustrator who loves to experiment with Adobe apps like Photoshop, Illustrator, Fresco among other apps. I am drawn to the endless possibilities of the digital medium, especially illustrations, and not a day goes by when I am not learning something new! I create illustrations for everything from logos and packaging, e-learning modules to vending machines, wall murals and even cakes and cookies! My illustrations are also available for licensing on Shutterstock and Skribbl, among others.

Illustrated Social Media Post

Poster Art

“Who do you count as your major inspirations as far as illustration styles go?”

Well, the list for inspiration is long but some of my favourite Illustrators are Lisa Congdon who has a bold and vibrant illustration style. Andy J Pizza has a whimsical feel to his work, yet with focus on creating meaningful art. Salli Swindell is a food and travel illustrator who I follow on socials – her style is casual and with a lot of textures to her digital art. To be honest, I find inspiration in most people who create art and express themselves through their medium. Some styles are immediately eye-catching, while others convey their message subtly but effectively.

Cookie Box Design

“What are your favourite fiction/non-fiction books? Which books do you think that aspiring designers or illustrators should read?”

Blog Art

Book Cover Design & Illustration

Among my favourite non-fiction authors is Khaled Hosseini, whose human stories deeply resonate with me. I’ve also bookmarked Nobuo Suzuki’s Wabi Sabi, as I firmly believe in the beauty of imperfection, which also informs my art style, where colours often stray outside the lines. For illustrators, I recommend the books Find Your Artistic Voice by Lisa Congdon and Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. Find Your Artistic Voice is a great resource for discovering your unique style and voice as an illustrator. Steal Like an Artist is a fun and inspiring read that encourages you to learn from other artists and apply their insights to your own work. In addition to books, I also recommend online learning platforms like Skillshare and Masterclass. These platforms offer a wide range of courses on illustration, taught by experienced professionals.

“Tell us about your freelance experience in the UAE market? How easy or difficult is it to find clients? Any tips you would love to share with our readers?”

Branding & Illustration for Smart Fridge in Dubai
Freelancing in the UAE requires showcasing your work on social media, networking with potential clients, and having a strong portfolio. Finding clients is not difficult if you have a good amount of networking skills, stay up-to-date on market trends and changes. However, in the UAE, most clients prefer to work with ad agencies and established art agencies. Tips:
  • Become a licensed freelancer in the UAE, and open up a world of opportunities to work with clients.
  • Keep your portfolio updated on your website, social media, Dribble, and Behance. These sites are popular with clients looking to hire freelancers.
  • Showcase a wide range of work and products to demonstrate your versatility and adaptability.
  • Add real testimonials from clients and ex-managers to your website and social media. Request client feedback after successfully completing a project.
  • Be prompt in responding to client mails and calls. Having a ‘Can do’ attitude works wonders.

“What is a typical business day in your life as a freelance illustrator like?”

Packaging Design & Illustration for Cake Shop in Dubai
Ocean Art for UN Ocean Decade
My typical business day starts early at 7:30 AM, since I work in different time zones, with a strong cup of coffee and a review of my to-do list. I prioritize client work and strive to deliver on time and on schedule. I often find myself working on feedback in the early evening. In addition to client work, I set aside time to experiment with new styles and techniques, and to catch up with clients on non-work-related matters. This helps me build strong relationships with my clients.

“Do tell us about one of your favourite or interesting projects. How did you craft it – from brief to design to final output?”

Pamela Coleman Smith for #WomenOfTheArtsWeek
Brochure Design & Illustration
I created over 100 illustrations for a challenging and rewarding e-learning module for Teeside University, UK on ‘Senior living in a care home setting, with a focus on the urinary system and its impact on health and well-being’. The illustrations had to be accurate and informative, while also reflecting hope, positivity, and connection. I was mindful of cultural and religious sensitivities, and used colours and fonts that were compatible for users with disabilities. The project was implemented and coordinated entirely online, and I was impressed by the client’s organization and communication. I received positive feedback and remuneration for my work, and I gained a deeper understanding of the importance of meaningful art that appeals to a variety of sensibilities. I won a long-term repeat client with my professionalism, diligence, and commitment to clarity and scheduling.

“What are your other hobbies and interests?”

Illustration for Wonder Women in Stem Conference
Mental Health Wellness Illustration
“I enjoy listening to podcasts and music for inspiration and relaxation. I also love spending time outdoors and people-watching, which is a surprisingly popular subject of study in the US. I like to dabble with watercolours as a break from the digital medium. “

“What would your advice be for aspiring UAE freelancers?”

Illustration for E-Learning Program

Tote Bag Illustration

Advice for aspiring freelancers:
  • Build a strong portfolio of your work and showcase it online. Even if you don’t have client work to show, you can create mockups to demonstrate your skills and talent.
  • Set realistic timelines and schedules, and get client sign-off on emails to ensure clarity on deliverables.
  • Don’t undervalue yourself or undersell your services. Clients who value your work will pay the right price for it.
  • Never stop learning and growing. Stay up-to-date on trends and client requirements.
  • Treat freelancing as a full-time job. Show up on time, take breaks, and enjoy the process!

“How do you think Image Generation AI tools impact the Illustrators market and what strategies can we adopt to cope with these challenges?”

Editorial Illustration

Illustration for E-Learning Program

Image generation tools are a controversial topic in the creative community, but Adobe’s integration of these tools into its apps is a significant development. The impact on the illustrator market is still to be seen, but I believe that clients will always need human interaction to understand their briefs, revise and edit work, and go the extra mile. This is especially true for small projects where the human element is essential. However, fighting AI is futile. Instead, illustrators should learn to adapt and use technology to their advantage. If AI can simplify tasks and lead to faster output, illustrators should adopt it. This will free up time for them to learn and create better products.
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