Anoosha Syed on making a difference as an illustrator and why change is good

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Creative Boom Podcast Episode #68 - Anoosha Syed on making a difference as an illustrator and why change is good

Anoosha Syed is an illustrator and character designer for animation whose clients include Google, Netflix, and Warner Brothers.

Born in Pakistan, Anoosha has spent much of her life moving around the world, growing up in Switzerland, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and settling in Toronto. She studied Illustration in Switzerland and began her career in animation, starting on the preschool series 'Dot' for Sprout and Disney Jr before beginning to work extensively in children's books.

Her debut picture book, Bilal Cooks Daal, won an award and led to further commissions, including the most recent Rise Up and Write It by Nandini Ahuja. And this year, she was excited to have a dream come true, publishing her debut children's book, That's Not My Name, which she wrote and illustrated.

In her spare time, Anoosha co-hosts a podcast called The Art Corner, which aims to educate younger artists on the ins and outs of the art industry. As a woman of colour, Anoosha's priority in her work is always diversity; she never saw herself in the media she consumed as a child and wants to correct that with more diverse stories and characters.

Here, we talk of diversity in animation, how she's thankful for being a freelance illustrator in the 2020s when she's free to create a wealth of different characters and stories, and why audiences have more power to shape the books and the films we all enjoy. She is optimistic about the future and talks of her passion for creating children's books and inspiring the next generation. We also hear of her career shift from animation to publishing and why listening to your heart and knowing when to make a change is so important. We also hear how she moved away from her identity when she was a child, as a teacher mispronounced her name – sadly, a common issue.

We dip into the issue of pricing and why no one is talking about money in the world of freelance illustration. And if you're an illustrator yourself, keen to find out how to get published, Anoosha gives us an insight into that often secretive industry.

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