Musings: Interview With Sonika Sil

We acquaint ourselves today with the beautiful art of Sonika Sil, illustrator and graphic artist based in Pune. Every creation of hers holds a moment of ephemeral wonder, so delicately expressed as to preserve it forever.

This interview sees her speak to us about her love for home, her fascination with surrealism and her continuous journey towards becoming an artist.


Hello Sonika, it’s a pleasure to have this conversation with you, tell us more about yourself.
Hello.I spent most of my childhood in Darjeeling, at Mount Hermon – this place has given me some of my most vivid memories, and warm friends from all over the world. In such a multicultural surrounding, it was more than easy to get lost, but somehow you always had that backing up of a friend. Boarding was absolute love, regardless of the negative connotations assossiated with it ; it was home, an unusual kind. After 5 years, I shifted back to Kolkata, a different kind of a love story started here – it was warm, compassionate, vibrant – it took awhile for me to get used to the city, but when I did, its minuscle ways, one at a time, I was left in a strange chaotic trance – it’s a city you could never forget , a city that gets under your skin, left, right and center. Right now, I’m based in Pune. Tons of people often ask me which city I’d prefer. It’s baseless comparing two cities – every city has it’s vibe. Every city is a manifestation of a person.

How would you describe your journey towards becoming an artist?
When I was little, I remember sketching out some extremely disproportionate human stick figures with a exceedingly bright yellow sun with orange sticks popping out. I’m sure all of us have gone through that. Now that I think of it, it was quite disastrous, but at that point of time, it seemed magnificient. Art classes were the one thing I used to enjoy thoroughly, creating a mess with paint, seeing the colours blend into water, it was beautiful. It’s still an ongoing journey.

Is there any particular theme you have in mind when you approach your art?
It depends on the scenario. Normally, I go with the flow of things. I have gazillion thoughts flying past my head every minute. Honestly, I wish there was a way I could capture all of it on paper, but I try retrieving what I can, and every thought is a juxtaposition of more than one thing so I have these absurdly abstract visuals in my mind, which mostly makes sense to a few others and me.
Stuck On The Puzzle by Sonika Sil

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Dylan by Sonika Sil

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Talk us through your creative process. How long does it take you from the moment you form your idea to the moment you complete it?
This depends on how intricate and intertwined the idea might be. One thought could lead to another, and another, and another. At times it takes a few hours, most of the times it stretches into a few days with tiny fine tunings happening every second I work on it, till a point where I think the entire thing looks utterly ridiculous. Happens, when you stare at your own work for hours and hours at a stretch. I’m extremely grateful to have people in my life motivating me and pushing me to do things I never thought I’d be capable of.

Familiarize us with the tools you use to get the desired output; we would also love to have a glimpse at your work station.
Microtip pens are my companions for life. I carry around one all. the. time. and a sketchpad – you never know when a thought might strike your head. Few months back, water colours joined these two, still yet to experiment enough with that medium. Acrylics and oil paints are love, unadulterated love – especially finger painting on a canvas, the feel of the paint seeping through the grooves of your fingers is something absolutely nothing can compare. Besides this, normally I tend to make sketches either with a pen or pencil and later add finesse digitally.(a picture of your creative space/work station and tools would be great)

Do you remember the first thing you ever drew?
Honestly, I’m not entirely sure of the first thing – maybe some strange disproportionate stick figures here and there, and eyes, yes, everywhere. On walls, text books, pillars.

Are there any artists whose works have influenced you significantly?
I remember when I was younger, my father bought these three books on Surrealism. Surrealism was a term alien to me, but somehow I had always associated myself with the core of it. I came across Max Ernst, an absolutely brilliant artist – his techniques, usage of colour and composition was so ethereal I used to spend hours just staring at them. Ernst was one of the first artists who apply Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams to delve into his psyche in order to explore the source of his own creativity, in the process tapping into the universal unconscious with its common dream imagery. My father also had a lot of books on poetry by Rabindranath Tagore, before I even got down to learning the Bengali language, I was fascinated by the multiples scribbles forming unusual forms all over his writings. Rene Grau, Gustav Klimt, Francis Bacon, Edvard Much are the few among the thousand other artists who have inspired me in more ways that one.
Under My Skin by Sonika Sil

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How do you deal with deadlines?
When I had decided to go into the field of design, I was an absolute amateur, and still am learning so much – deadlines weren’t something that struck me initially. I believe you can’t force creativity, and under stress, it could get worse for some and cause massive creative blocks. But yes,when situations call for it, although I’m not exceedingly good at planning things out, I try chalking out a process to go about with it.

Are you working on any projects currently? We’d love to know more about your work.
Currently I’m not working on any specific project.

What does success mean to you?
Success comes in strange forms to me. When I create something, and days, weeks or months later, I meet someone, and they bring it up and they tell me how it made them feel – that is what matters to me. It’s this feeling of content and satisfaction that someone or the other around me is able to relate to a thought I sketched out as a visual.

How important is music in recreating visions off your mind?
Music. Music is the core of mostly everything that drives me. It absolutely astonishing how a song can have an impact on your state of mind. I cannot exaggerate the importance of music, but no, it isn’t a necessity – there are times I like sitting in silence and perceiving the variety of sounds around me and sketch/paint, especially during the rains, it soothes my heart.
Slip by Sonika Sil

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According to you, what is your greatest work so far?
Now this, is something I’m not going to have an answer to. You could ask this to people who’ve seen my work, maybe. I can never decide what is good or bad. Although, I believe no artists’ work can be termed as ‘bad’ – the way people perceive it differs from person to person.

Procrastination, what is your relationship with it? How do you deal with it?
Procrastination is my other half. I’m still in an ongoing process of even making an effort to deal with it, quite honestly. Works calls for it, so the effort of curbing it at this moment is very genuine.

If you could wish for one, and only one superpower, what superpower would you chose? 
None. Although, there are times I wish I could fly and dive sky high.

If you weren’t an artist, what do think you would be doing?
If I weren’t an artist, or a designer, I’d probably take a shot at making films. It is the profession that gives an experience closest to what I do with my art.
Halcyon by Sonika Sil

Tshirts, posters, prints, coasters and more available here.

Arctic Monkeys-Do I Wanna Know by Sonika Sil

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If you could give one piece of advice to budding artists, what would that be?
You should go with the flow of your thoughts. Although my comfort zone lies in exploring in black and white, someone very close had planted a seed of thought in my mind a few days back ; never hesitate to go wild with colours.

Lastly, how has the journey been with Cupick thus far?
Cupick is a brilliant platform for artists wanting to showcase their work, and through Cupick I have come across some outstanding work by such talented people, people I might not have ever come across. I’m very grateful to be a part of it.


Check out more of Sonika’s work at

2 thoughts on “Musings: Interview With Sonika Sil

  1. The published interview by my lovely granddaughter reveals to me a culmination of metamorphosis undergone by her throughout the years. And it’s a matter of great satisfection and pride. This is just the beginning. In the context of her age and experience, one can rest assured that she will go the whole distance if she can maintain the focus.
    maintains her focusthe focus,

    Liked by 1 person

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