How Passion Brings Naela Ali Into Places (A Quick Interview)



Stroll to local bookstores and you’ll easily spot this lavishly illustrated books on the best seller’s shelves.

It was a rainy day,
with a hot darjeeling tea,
warm striped blanket
and polka dot socks.
One perfect moment
to read stories
for cats.

With such a simple and plain synopsis written in the backside of the book, expect a heart-warming short stories inside (complete with related illustrations), all made with pure love and passion towards drawing and writing itself.

Our team personally love this book – Stories For Rainy Days – and we wanted to know more about the person behind this amazing artworks.

And thankfully we had the chance to talk to the author, Naela Ali, a 24-year-old graphic designer and illustrator.


Here’s the conversation we had about her hobbies, her struggles in career until her project she’s working on.

Read more, and get inspired.

1. We see that you love to draw since at early age and drawing is the thing you’re really passionate about, we want to know, how it feels to have a career based on your passion?

Yes, I drew since I could barely read and write. Not only drawing has became my passion, it has became my life. Beside drawing, I love to read and write too since I was in elementary school. Since then, I had a dream to publish my very own book.

To be able to make a living from my passion is beyond wonderful. It doesn’t feel like a job at all. It feels really fun, it’s more like playing around and getting paid as a result of doing something I really like. And I’m very, very grateful that I’m given the chance to live my dream and it won’t stop right here, I want to keep making books, so I could buy myself another books hahaha.

2. How do you start your career? Can you share some of your struggle to climb up to this point you’re at?

It all started when I was in elementary school, I made comics and sold it to my friends. Luckily, my friends put some interest in my drawings and they bought it. It wasn’t much, but I was proud that I could make my own money. Until in high school, I accepted commissioned orders from my friends, making portrait for their lovers or family.
And thank God, I have a very very supportive father. Because of him, I could continue my study in Visual Communication Design. I learned more about design and basic drawings there. Though I didn’t only learn about drawing (mostly we learned about digital design), but I knew from the beginning that manual drawing was my passion.
I combined what I have learned in college with what I learned myself. I made merchandise, such as t-shirts and books with my own illustrations and sold them.
WhatsApp Image 2018-03-08 at 11.41.26
It wasn’t easy, really. It wasn’t really good at the beginning. I tried to work in some companies but never lasted more than three months. I couldn’t. I just couldn’t work in that company ’cause I didn’t have enough time to draw for myself.
So I decided to quit and focused on making illustrated goods with my own brand, Asobi (_@asobi). It’s a combination of things that i really like, Japanese culture, cats, and drawing. I started making the very familiar thing that I use everyday myself, like tote bag (with Japanese cats illustration) and sold them.
Back then at the time when I should have been able to support myself financially, I still asked for my father’s money. But I kept doing what I believed in. I kept drawing and shared it on Instagram. I published my own book – Stories for Rainy Days – online in November 2014. As time elapsed, one day I got an e-mail from a publisher on early 2016. They said that they were interested in my books and wanted to publish my book. Eventually I got a chance to work with some brands too.

It was amazing, looking back from the beginning when all I did was sharing things I loved until this point that I got my works recognized and appreciated.

3. We’re also curious about the lowest point in your career life, do you mind to share a bit? And how did you manage to gather up the courage to start again?

As I mentioned before, I quit my job, and all I had was only Asobi. I was young and bad in managing a brand. I had no one to help me. From designing to shipping, I did it all myself. I was also bad at managing money, but I knew I couldn’t keep asking my father because I have graduated from college, I should stand for my own life and it wasn’t that easy. But it doesn’t stop me from drawing.

I just let my passion brings me to places and here I am now. I may have problems, but it can’t stop me. Because in drawing, I found myself and I found happiness, and that what matters.

4. If you have to describe yourself in 3 words, what would it be?

Simple, happy, introvert.

5. How do you see yourself in the next five years? Is there any project you’ve been working on?

Just as I am now, but with adorable kids, maybe? Haha. I want to keep making books and drawings. Current project is, another book! Yeay!

6. Last question, is there any new activities that you put interest in or willing to try aside from drawing and making your own business?

I want to learn how to cook. I think it is something interesting. I love drawing food, I like to eat, but too bad I couldn’t eat my drawings. That’s why I need to learn to make the real food so I can eat it haha.

The interview ended but the story stays in our hearts. We brought home some values from her, that all of the struggles and hard work will get paid off eventually, as long as the consistency to keep doing what we believe in follows.
And we’re glad that she also enjoyed the cream bath and mani-pedi experience with our team,
“The cream bath and mani-pedi were great! I really love them. It was simple and easy, and I love simplicity. And the cream bath, the massage was really relaxing, I love it! My nails are also beautiful, Salon by Houzcall team really paid attention to details in making my nails good and pretty.”

Photos from Instagram @naelaali and @storiesforrainydays

SBH // ve



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