When I started this blog three years ago, I never would’ve imagined how many talented individuals I’d meet and get to know throughout the years. There are so many budding entrepreneurs and creatives today that it truly inspires me to share the journeys each one of us makes to achieving the ultimate goal of doing what we love. One such girl is the lovely Belinda Xia who actually was kind enough to sketch me two years ago during Fashion Week Australia. Needless to say I was incredibly flattered when I saw the notification pop up on my phone and we’ve been friends (yes we’ve met in real life and not just “insta-friends”) ever since.
A soon to be mom herself, I was able to get Belinda to sit down with me for ten minutes as I got to know the illustrator behind those pretty murals you see in Chatswood Chase and across the digital realm. We’ve even sat down to debrief on our pregnancy journeys! Of course, I’ve been less than helpful and encouraging with my bleak insights into what the last trimester truly holds for expecting moms.
She is one of the illustrators to watch on the Australian scene in my opinion and I’m excited to see what the future holds for her inspiring journey of doing what she loves and breaking societal norms.
Ten Minutes with Illustrator Belinda Xia
What were you doing before you found your calling in fashion illustration?
I was trained as a Graphic Designer and worked as a Production Co-ordinator at an Events company. When my contract finished up, I said f**k it, let’s give it a go!
If you hadn’t made the leap to pursue what you love – where do you imagine you’d be right now?
I would’ve loved to be a vet! Or a foster parent to 14 rescue dogs – a crazy dog lady.
How did your family react when you decided to make that transition? Do they know what you do now for a living?
Mum was really hesitant – she couldn’t understand why I’d leave a perfectly good 9-5. Dad has been an entrepreneur all his life so he secretly encouraged me behind her back. Once I’d been published a few times and mum saw my work in Chatswood Chase, I could tell she was proud.
How do you get yourself inspired and what kind of set up do you have at home to let the creativity shine?
I am super messy, aka organised chaos. There are ripped magazine pages, notebooks upon notebooks filled with scribbles/ideas and tins of paint and watercolour spilling onto the table depending on what I drew last. Funnily enough, I’m a neat person outside my office (I swear).
I collect bits of inspiration everywhere (digital & physical) so if I’m going through a block, I have an arsenal to draw from – ha, geddit.
What has been some of your favourite projects to work on and tell us about a pinch me moment.
Chatswood Chase has been a wonderfully supportive client – they gave me my first opportunity for a large scale piece which was mind-blowing! I’ve honestly loved every project they’ve given me.
My very, very first pinch me moment was being published in ELLE in my first year of illustrating – the Creative Director had no idea I was tap dancing with joy when she called me.
Tell us about a tough moment you’ve had since starting your business and how you worked to overcome it.
Anytime it’s quiet, you immediately start to question yourself. Keeping busy with the next goal helps – even taking a moment to enjoy what made you start in the first place reminds you why it’s all worth it.
Your most favourite thing to illustrate is:
Shoes – designers just get so creative with them! So many textures, shapes and colours to choose from.
Favourite country that you’ve been to and why? Canada – the Rockies! Everyone was so friendly and everything is ridiculously picturesque.
Describe yourself in three words. Bubbly, Grateful, Antsy.
What is your spirit animal and why? A cow! I just love their docile nature – they never seem like they have a care in the world.
You’re about to become a mom so tell us how the journey has been for you so far!
My first trimester wasn’t fun… I’m sure it could’ve been a lot worse but for someone who thought naps were a waste of time and survived on smoked salmon, the adjustment was harsh. Not to mention the constant nausea. I actually created some Pregnancy Cards to laugh about the whole thing…
If you had one piece of advice to give to your child – what would it be? Be grateful and never stop learning.
If you were stranded on an island (sans pregnancy) – name five things you’d bring and who (aside from your partner) would you want to be stuck on the island with?
A knife, mirror, a good book to escape the reality of being stranded, bug spray (mozzies love me) and a fishing net to catch sashimi, I mean fish. Mmm, non-pregnant life.
I can’t think of anyone besides my partner because he’s the handiest, most logical person I know! He’d probably figure a way for us to get off the island while I just eat coconuts all day.
Tell us something about yourself that other people might find quirky. I portion elements of my meal out so that I’m not left with an excess amount of something. E.g. My pet hate is going to brunch and having an inordinate amount of toppings vs. bread ratio and vice versa. I know, I’m a weirdo.
What can we expect from Belinda Xia Illustration in 2018? I feel so blessed with my family and friends and want to encourage spending time with your loved ones. I’ve recently released a range of Baby Shower Invitations and will be expanding into other milestone events – people matter more than anything!
- Coffee or tea? Tea – I’ve never had a cup of coffee in my life.
- Pizza or pasta? Pasta
- Dogs or cats? DOGS
- Paris or New York? New York
- Summer or winter? Summer
- Chris or Liam Hemsworth? Does it go against girl code that I don’t like either…
- Taylor Swift or Miley Cyrus? Miley
- Dior or Chanel? Dior
- Sneakers or heels? Sneakers
- Favourite colour? Gold
- Favourite fragrance? It changes depending on my mood, but Chanel Chance I always go back to.
- Favourite show? Sex and the City is something I can watch over and over again.
- Best concert you’ve attended? Florence + The Machine at the Opera House.
- Favourite book? Anything written by Malcolm Gladwell – he’s so insightful!
- Favourite city in the world? New York!
- Best Disney film? Beauty & the Beast
- If you could be a Disney princess who would you be? Belle from Beauty and the Beast!
- What super power would you like to have? Telekinesis, although it’d probably make me super lazy after a while.
- Favourite Marvels superhero? Wolverine – what a badass.
- If you could swap bodies with one person (anyone you like) – who would it be? Kylie Jenner, so I can finally make the world stop wondering whether she’s got a baby or not.
Check out more of Belinda’s amazing work here and prints here. Belinda has been kind enough to offer all you amazing readers a 20% discount for your next purchase – just use the code “CHIK20” at the checkout.