Inside the Colorful Mind of a Music-Loving Illustrator

Lia Sued on her plenty of heartfelt, music-inspired projects…

Lia Sued C. is. a Dominican illustrator based in New York City.

Her art – touching in its familiarity – reflects her optimistic, youthful spirit and her sweet longing for the best things in life: music, video games, cartoons, food, and family.

When asked how long she’s been drawing for, she answers “I don’t even know, really.”

“I’ve just always done it,” says Sued.

And it’s proof of how engrossed she is within her work. For Sued, art is more than just a vocation, it’s part of her everyday life.

From designing captivating album sleeves and billboards and other charming illustrations, it’s clear Sued wants to make an impact with her work.

Dulcet Zine had the chance to ask Sued some more questions about her work as an artist and her goals for the future.

Her answers are down below:

So Lia, tell us about what kind of work you’ve been doing lately?

I’ve been super lucky to work with Domino Records and Ribbon Music for a couple of years and I’ve made a lot of great work with them! 

Sued’s designed the cover of John Maus’ 2017 album Screen Memories.

My first project was working the layout and design for John Maus’ Screen Memories, which was insane. They ended up liking what I did for Screen Memories so much that they asked me to work on a John Maus boxset which was released a couple of years ago.

The last big project I did for them was an illustration/design for a billboard about flattening the curve which (I think) is still up in LA. The Domino office in the UK ended up liking that so much that they asked me to turn it into a magazine ad to run on Mojo, Q and Uncut. I’m also working on another billboard for New York (!!!) but that has been on pause for a couple of days so I don’t know when it’ll be up.

Aside from Domino/Ribbon work, I’ve worked with Make Music Day, Lexus Dominican Republic, and not much else professionally (sad) but I always try to come up with projects for myself to build up my portfolio and a bigger following on social media.

How did you get into art?

I guess I’ve always been into art the same way everyone is when they’re a kid. Everyone draws when they’re a kid but at some point, they grow out of it, I guess. I couldn’t tell you exactly at what point in life it is that people decide to stop drawing forever because I never got there.

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watering some friends 💦🌼

A post shared by Lia Sued C. (@liart420) on

I just always said I was going to be an artist for as long as I can remember, and even if I changed my mind a couple of times growing up, it was usually an art-related occupation (photographer, filmmaker, an architect in 3rd grade for some reason). I think my parents also had a lot to do with it, my mom was always into crafts and we’d do things together and my dad exposed me to a lot of music and movies.

What artists and art pieces have been the most influential and touching for you?

“He looked into my soul” says Sued of this piece by Marc Chagall.

The first and only time I’ve cried at a painting was at a Chagall show at the Jewish Museum here in New York. I’m not sure why I cried, he’s my favorite artist and all but it was a painting of his I’d never even seen before. I’ve always been more of a cry-at-music person.

Still, it made me feel calm and fuzzy in the chest like his work usually does, but the fact that this was an actual, live painting of his made it so much more exciting.

I also have this whole other thing with him where I feel like I’ve been aware of his existence all my life because of a Chagall poster that’s been in my home since before I was born, so it could have just been overwhelming nostalgia (even though it’s not the same painting we have at home).

Your art seems heavily influenced by pop culture, cartoons, and nostalgia. What are some of your biggest everyday inspirations?

I guess the other big Influence with a capital I is old Disney shorts. I had a VHS tape called “The Best of Mickey Mouse” (or something like that) that had about an hour’s worth of old (1930’s -1940’s) Mickey Mouse shorts. This was probably my most-watched “movie” of my childhood.

Another one of Sued’s biggest loves: Coca-Cola

Every note of every score and every movement that mouse made in that one hour was engrained into my brain. And then for some reason, I completely forgot about them up until a couple of years ago when a teacher showed “Thru the Mirror” in an animation class.

I went back and rewatched all the shorts that were on the tape along with ones I’d never seen before, and that’s what pretty much made me and my style evolve into what it is now. 

What are some of your biggest goals as an artist?

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tulipane para mami 🌷

A post shared by Lia Sued C. (@liart420) on

Honestly, just to be able to live off of it and for people to enjoy it.

Sometimes I worry my work doesn’t come off as cool (whatever that is) as I’d want it to, but every time I make something and it gets a really good response I forget about that.

Another boring and realistic goal I have is to be less lazy. I feel like I’d be doing better work if I didn’t spend so much time sleeping and eating.

A fun goal of mine is to work for Nintendo or to own a really successful gallery/bar/venue back in Dominican Republic. 

How role does music play in your art?

Well, music plays a huge part in my life so it obviously plays a big part in my art as well. I’m just constantly trying to find a way to wiggle my way into music with what I can do, which is why those billboards for Domino I mentioned before are so cool to me.

By Lia Sued C.

I was working on some illustrations at the beginning of the year that I was planning to print on tote bags to later try to sell at this record flea market they do in Williamsburg in the summer, but I had to put that whole project on whole since this end of the world thing started. I’d love to do gig posters and illustrated album covers but no one has asked me to do either of those yet!

What music most inspires your work?

It varies so much with the seasons, but lately, I’ve mostly been listening to a playlist I made with the help of my friend and Dulcet’s own Pat, and Michael Angelakos.

I started it with the main theme from The 400 Blows, which I’d heard on a playlist Michael had on between sets when I saw Passion Pit in concert last year. I wanted to make a playlist of my own that matched the vibe of Michael’s playlist so I randomly emailed his agent to see if she had it with no hopes of a reply.

Listen to the playlist here. 🙂

Two days later she wrote back with 3 playlists from Michael, from which I got some of the songs on this one. I was just getting really into Scott Walker 3 at that moment, so there’s like 5 songs off that, Les Baxter, a Christmas song by The Beach Boys, and a combination of songs that bring me peace and make me feel like I’m in a dream.

What’s your favorite music to work to?

I’ll listen to anything, sometimes I’ll feel like singing and put on this playlist I have that’s only Two Door Cinema Club, Bombay Bicycle Club-core.

Other times I’ll listen to classical music if I’m really distracted.

Lately, I’ve been listening to George Clanton a lot, the latest King Krule record, Feels by Animal Collective,  and Alex G, which has been a constant for me for almost a year now.

What artistic projects are you currently working on?

I’m working on a comic about these dogs that go on a road trip and get so baked they get lost on the way. I say I’m working on it, but I don’t think I’ve touched it since exactly a year ago.

I guess I’m mentioning it because it’s the project I’d be most excited to see finished and the only one I can see going somewhere right now, but I still have a lot of things to work out in it. I’m also working on some things for my Instagram because my parents think I don’t post enough. 

What would you like to say to our readers?

Hang in there, call your friends and your parents, listen to music and try not to worry! (And wash your hands!)

By Lia Sued C.

Want to write about your favorite artist, song, album, or a playlist you really want others to hear? Email us at to submit your work. 🙂

Author: Pat

Pat is the editor and main writer at Dulcet Zine. She loves discovering new bands, talking about, writing about, and crying over music. Ask her how to score great deals on vintage vinyl on eBay.

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