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My parents (or friends, people I know) say one cannot make living being a freelance artist and discourage me from pursuing. What do you think?

My parents used to tell me the same thing. Maybe because there are too many movies about tragic life of artists like Camille Claudel or Pollock.

As I wrote previously, pursue only if you love illustration and this is absolutely what you want to be doing. This field is filled with people who love what they do, hard-working, motivated and driven. If you are not one of them, this field is not for you.

If your goal is to become rich, look elsewhere. However if you do well you will probably make OK income by illustrating.

Freelance calls for certain type of personality. You may often not know what you will be doing two weeks from now, or when you will get a next job. You need to have a personality to be able to deal with it and feel OK for uncertainty. If not, you should probably get a job with regular salary instead. Freelancing will most probably make you miserable.

Besides that, be ready to juggle day jobs for a while till you start making stable income from illustration.