Carol Rossetti, a 26-year old Brazillian graphic designer and illustrator with some Kraft paper and an old box of colored pencils started her project- “Women” which went viral and reached out to millions. Here is an interview with the free spirited designer and illustrator (and a frenetic reader and chocolate lover )
Tell us about your quirks.
Well, what can I say about me… I’m the kind of person who always sleeps 8 hours a day, and my friends say I’m some kind of weird Cinderella, because I turn into a pumpkin at midnight (meaning, I get really sleepy). So, I’m not much of a night life person. I enjoy watching movies and series while eating something sweet, I like reading books and graphic novels, I love my husband and I’m really happy with the career I chose (graphic design and illustration). I’m usually in a good mood, except when I’m very hungry or very sleepy – then I’m a very unpleasant person. I get all rude, sarcastic and mean.
Tell us about your journey to becoming an illustrator.
I always loved drawing, since I was a kid. But, then again, I think every kid like to draw. But, as we grow up, some of us stop and start investing their time in other interests, like sports. Me, I never really liked sports, so I put all my energy into drawing. I studied graphic design in university, but it turned out to be the place where I hardly ever drew anything. So I started creating these personal projects, with no clients and absolutely no money, just to keep myself drawing. This women series was one of this cases, actually. Then it grew more than I could ever have expected.
What inspired you to do the series Women?
That would be some daily situations that I lived, and that people close to me told me about. There is a huge problem of representation towards so many people nowadays, but if you look around, you’ll see these people that are invisible inmagazines covers. There is so much control over women’s bodies, identities and personal choices, and that really disturbs me.
When did you realize that your album-Women is going viral? How did it feel?
Probably when I saw so many people sharing the pictures with comments in hebrew. That was when I said, OK. Wow. It felt amazing and frightening. It still feels like that, actually.
What are your weapons?
My colored pencils, my black ink, my kraft paper and all the women that are shouting to be represented
What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said to you with regard to your work?
There were so many nice things… Some people told me my work actually helped them to take important steps in life, like wearing whatever they want or getting over a trauma. I think what I liked most was this woman who sent me a picture of herself with her little daughter, and she said they both had a wonderful time when they spent the whole afternoon talking about each of my illustrations. She said it was both amusing and educational, and she thanked me for sharing my work. That was beautiful!
Tell us about the creative process behind your illustrations.
Well, first of all I choose a situation. Maybe something I lived, maybe something someone suggested. Than, I research. You can’t talk about an oppression you’ve never lived with researching and hearing what people who suffers it have to say. For example, I talk a lot to my trans friend about Larissa and Sarah’s post. I’m cisgender, so I need to hear what trans people have to say about it. Otherwise, I’d probably only reproduce stereotypes and ignorant ideas. So, after a nice research, I start drawing. Mostly, my characters are not based on real people. I invent their faces. I’m always making sure I’m always making a large variety of skin tones. Than I scan my illustration and post it. There’s no digital painting. I only add my signature digitally, and the translated texts.
Tell us about the last dream you had.
I don’t remember it very clearly, but there were some friends of mine singing Cat Steven’s “Wild World” inside a church. Pretty crazy stuff.
What did you want to be when you were a kid? What would you be, if not an illustrator?
I know that hardly ever happens, but I used to say I’d become an illustrator someday. There’s one drawing I made when I was seven (my parents still keep it) in which I signed “our future illustrator Carol Rossetti”. Maybe that’s who I use as my profile picture on my facebook page a drawing I made of myself, based on a picture of mine when I was 3 years old. But, of course, I also dreamt of being a paleontologist. I mean, dinosaurs are cool.
What do you do when you’re really down?
I eat chocolate while watching series, and I hug my husband and make a drama about something random
Do you ever run out of ideas? Where are your inspiration vaults?
Yes, that happens with everybody, I’m not immune. My inspiration comes from so many references of things I love. But there’s one thing I like to do every three months, that really recharge my creative energy: I watch Neil Gaiman’s speech “Make Good Art”. I think that’s the most inspiring thing I’ve ever seen.
What’s the ultimate guide for any rookie in your profession?
I think it would be to watch Neil Gaiman’s speech “Make Good Art”. Really, I can’t say anything better than that.
When you’re working, what helps you zone out?
Listening to good music, I guess.
What life advice from your parents have helped you to this date?
My mom always told me to follow my heart. As cliché as it might sound, it’s very important.
Do you have any mentors?
Yes, sure. There was this special teacher in university, she was amazing. We’re still friends, and I still learn a lot from her.
Which app are you currently addicted to?
I’m not very addicted to apps, but… well, Netflix is something, right?
What are your favorite blogs, websites and youtube channels?
I don’t follow any youtube channel, actually. About blogs, there are two Brazillian one that I absolutely adore, feministacansada.com and blogueirasnegras.org. I’m also a part of a digital magazine called Flower crown Magazine that has some awesome content.
What are you planning to do in future?
I’d like to release a book, start my online shop, watch the next season of Doctor Who… And I don’t know, travel the world with my husband, he’s an excellent travelling companion!