“I enjoy the initial ideation part the most, when you create a story out of nothing and try to touch people with that simple story”
What made you decide Art was your calling? How did you further move into Animation?
I was into drawing since childhood and loved to draw and loved the attention it got me. So I kept drawing throughout school and after and always hoped to make my living as an artist. When pursuing my engineering , I got hooked into 3D and was blown away by all the possibilities in it. So I spent most of my time in engineering learning Maya from all possible sources online. During this phase, I started learning and loving the magic of animation. Two sources really stood out during this learning process. First was this set of 3D animation tutorials by Jeff Lew and then there was The Animator’s Survival Kit. Both of these really made my fundamentals strong.
How has been your journey since the day you graduated from IDC, IIT Bombay in 2010?
The journey has been adventurous! I joined a corporate right after IDC but quit after 2 months as there wasn’t an artistic satisfaction in the work. Then I freelanced for a long time, working with various clients doing every kind of project and trying to grow a bit more as an artist with every project. Currently I am working with a startup in Bangalore as a Creative Director, developing an app called Qugo. The journey has been extremely exciting and satisfying and I wouldn’t have been half the artist I am today if I would have taken a typical, safe day job and done the same thing everyday.
Apart from your Masters Degree, did you undertake any additional formal training to become an expert Animator? How much important do you feel it is to gain international experience in this field?
No. But I did do my internship under a master artist which taught me a lot. International experience should certainly help, I guess, although I haven’t had any except the freelance projects I have done for clients outside India. But that is not the same as going and working with artists in a place like Japan or France, which should be awesome.
What is the process that you follow while executing any project and the tools that you use?
The process and tools entirely depend on the project! But to give a rough overview, I start off my ideation on paper and make sure never to switch to digital till I am done with the final ideation. I make rough thumbnails on paper and spend the maximum amount of time here, making many different versions , because everything that follows depends on this first stage. Finally I decide on a rough thumbnail I like and take feedback from some trusted people. The feedback usually makes me realize that many things which I thought were awesome in the idea actually aren’t good and I go back with those inputs till I come up with a better idea. So basically this process keeps on happening till I come up, on paper, with something that touches me and my audience instantly, in that simple doodle form, without any fancy details. Once it works in this bare form, i know its an idea worth spending time on and develop it into an illustration, or animation or whatever the project in case would be. I usually use Manga Studio for drawing and inking and Photoshop for colouring, TV paint for animation, Maya for 3D work , Premiere and Aftereffects for video Editing.
Tell us about your most memorable/challenging piece of work that you have created? Can you give us a brief description about it ?
It would be unfair for me to single out a piece of work. I’d say 4 projects stand out in my memory. First would be an animated teaser I did for Schoolcountry. It is, till date, one of my most loved works and instantly connects with everyone who sees it. You can see the film here. Second would be a series of 3D illustrations that I did for a kids’ app called “The magnificient Travelling Palace” . On this project, I got a chance to explore the visual beauty in simple, everyday things around me and create detailed illustrations of the same, some of which I am proud of. You can have a look at the project here. Third is the current project I am working on, a messenger called QUGO. Its the biggest project I have worked on so far and is the culmination of all my understanding of storytelling, design and art so far. And in terms of reach, this is my first project which is being used and experienced by thousands of real people around the world! You can download the app here. Last but the not the least, would be my personal drawings, which would always be my most satisfying work. You can see them on my instagram account here
Which aspect of creating such brilliant pieces do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy the initial ideation part the most, when you create a story out of nothing and try to touch people with that simple story. That is the most fulfilling part for me as i feel most creative at this stage.
How was your experience of working for the top brands like Amaron Batteries, British Council etc? How do you plan and execute a project for such brands?
I treat each project equally and approach them all with the same passion. The only difference with bigger brands is I get paid more 🙂
What is the entry point for a career as a Comic artist? What are some of the technical skills should one possess to excel in this field?
I haven’t really worked in the industry so can’t say much from first hand experience. But from what I’ve seen in people working in the industry, the main things to develop would be drawing skills, understanding of human anatomy, composition and perspective and of course, sense of visual storytelling.
What message would you like to give to the aspiring animators?
Since you ask, I’d say that one needs to draw a lot, from life, as that is what really made me come into my own as an artist. That is how I learnt and discovered my inner voice. And the second thing would be to create personal art and stories regularly, not just what teachers or clients ask to create. Personal projects are what taught me the most and whatever growth I have had as an artist have been while doing personal projects. A good example would be Pascal Campion. He is one of the best and busiest artists today and yet he makes sure he does a personal piece every single day!