Indian illustrator and mental health advocate, Pranita Kocharekar talks about her online store, the filters she designed for Instagram and so much more.

Today, artists are using their platform to put forth their opinions and express themselves via illustrations, typography and so many other forms of art. Indian illustrator, Pranita Kocharekar does just the same. She’s using her platform to normalize conversations around mental health, body positivity, among other social issues. She shares her journey of self-exploration by making illustrations and products out of her experiences. She creates content about her love-hate relationship with food and fitness, the struggles she’s had with clients in the past, busting gender stereotypes, and cute childhood memories. And this is precisely what makes her terribly relatable!

We spoke to her about her journey so far and here’s what she had to share!

You create a lot of art around mental health. Does it get taxing?

Quite the contrary, it helps me. Most of my work around mental health is about my experience. When I wish to share a feeling that I have been experiencing, it nudges me to think about it deeper so I can articulate it in the form of visuals. The breaking down of complex emotions into bite-sized information helps me heal in many ways. That said, doing the internal work at all times can get tiring. When I’m exhausted, I try to switch focus to lighter content that’s simpler to consume.

Your filters on Instagram look so interesting! What pushed you to create them? 

The ‘post-therapy selfie’ filter was created to destigmatize seeking help. I hoped for therapy-goers to use the filter after every session so their followers consume the idea of therapy. The more people use it casually, the more it might get simpler for someone to reach out for help. And if everyone sought help, it might get a lot simpler to co-exist!

You’re working on commercial projects, marketing for your online store, creating daily content, and running a business, how do you manage it all?

I don’t, haha! I have mental breakdowns, I burn out a lot and it gets very exhausting. I absolutely don’t endorse the hustle culture and I desperately need to hire people! I’m a work in progress too and I hope to reach a point where I can manage it better. However at the moment, within my capacity, the one thing that truly drives me is my interest and passion for the work I create, especially my online store!

Big advice for other creators: Wearing too many shoes might look cool but it doesn’t let you walk efficiently. 

What inspired you to create ‘Tailor-made Terms & Conditions for creative freelancers’ and what can one expect from it? 

As a creative professional working in the industry for the last 7 years, I’ve experienced terrible incidents with clients that lead to a decline in my mental health. Over the years, I learned to convert all my mistakes into a boundary, meaning a term in my T&C to protect myself. It has been a couple of years now since my experiences with clients have been great! I wanted to share this experience and knowledge with those struggling in the industry. The idea of the session is that there is no one size fits all solution. I share details of what is absolutely necessary to put on your T&C and also share insight into how to make each of these boundaries workable for you depending on your needs. 

The products on your online store, do they have a story behind them?

My online store has products that I wished I could buy but couldn’t find at great price points – so I make them! All my products have an underlying thought – art that you can relate to, that makes you feel comfortable being you.

How do you spread your reach in a competitive market?

By building a community. I have probably spent just 5-10% of my budget on marketing. The more I include people into my process of thinking, creating, and executing – the more value they see in the final product. My customers’ feedback about every idea, product and probable product has helped me build my online store & sales.

You’ve been an illustrator for 7 years, what’s your biggest accomplishment?

My ability to keep upgrading myself! The increase in quality of work from my first project to my latest project is the biggest accomplishment and my strongest USP. Most clients trust my process because they know I would want to grow through the project and give my best!

Do you have any tips for upcoming artists?

Inspiration cannot come from another artist, it always comes from within. While “don’t compare yourself to others” is easier said than done, I truly believe that every creator has something unique and untapped about themselves. Once you find it, nobody can be you!

What inspires you to create content?

It helps me exercise my brain muscles. Just like physical exercising, I believe my brain needs consistent exercising too. It also helps me stay connected with like-minded people which contributes to building a community together!

How did your journey with illustration begin?

I have a BFA degree where I majored in Typography. I truly thought I would land up in a Type Foundry or be a lettering artist. Illustration was something I was always passionate about. As a kid, I enjoyed purchasing books with lots of pictures in them. Eventually, as I grew up, I knew I wanted to express myself through illustrations. My practice of illustrating began after college with a project called #pranitasdrawingaday wherein I drew 1 drawing every day to keep a consistent practice going. My love for illustrations began right there!

How would you summarize your journey so far?

I can try summarising it in a metaphor: I envision myself as something who pulls her socks up & ties her shoelaces tightly every day to walk towards a destination. Along the way, there are road bumps and potholes. Sometimes I observe them and manage to dodge them. But sometimes I fall right in. I try taking breaks to heal and move on. But there are also beautiful sights and clear skies that make me want to move forward to see more. The destination keeps changing as I keep changing and the roads to the destination are tricky to locate. But it’s all a lot of fun because I’m always walking, and I love to walk!

Want to purchase Pranita’s products or attend her workshop? Click here!

Also Read: Harmeet Rahal depicts difficult stories with colorful illustrations