“Stay curious, keep asking questions”
Tell us about your journey from being an illustrator to Creative Director at Catalyst SMC.
Illustration is something I’m dabbling in since the last 4 years. My journey though started as a Junior Visualiser in Catalyst India around 9 ½ years back. It was an exciting experience with boatloads of lessons learnt along the way. My professional association with Catalyst ended last year in July since I wished to take a break from a full-time creative role. Recently, I’ve been busy with sharing my knowledge as a visiting faculty for Advertising at Ecole Intuit Lab, Mumbai, while consulting on some interesting projects for a few brands on the side.
Did you undertake any formal training to become an Illustrator?
No, I haven’t had any formal training. Whatever I’ve picked up is from constantly observing and experimenting.
What does your work day typically look like? What challenges do you face while working with top brands?
My typical day starts with tackling some briefs at the start of the day, followed by the usual e-mails, client interactions, meetings, discussions and so on. The biggest challenge while working with any brand (big or small, doesn’t matter) is for everyone—agency included—to be on the same page.
What is the process that you follow while executing any project and the tools that you use?
There is no specific process I follow. Just lots of questions, then reading up on various materials, scratching my head a bit followed by a healthy dose of procrastination, and usually after that, I’m done. Ideas get formed. My favourite tools while doing all the above are pen and paper.
Tell us about your most memorable/challenging piece of work that you have created? Can you give us a brief description about it ?
Most challenging piece of work would be the collaborative project – Vichar (vichar.imkarthik.com) with Archana, my better half. She writes her thoughts on life, and I strive to give it the visual form it deserves. Doing it deliberately in Marathi was a challenge we set for ourselves, and it’s by far the most challenging and fun project I’ve worked on.
Which aspect of your work do you enjoy the most?
No aspect in particular. I enjoy the whole roller-coaster ride I guess.
Who or what keeps you motivated to generate new ideas?
Internet, my better half, Vikram Gaikwad & Vistasp Hodiwala (my current bosses), the students at Ecole and life in general (not necessarily in that order).
What does the industry demand in terms of technical / other skills from an aspiring designer?
Curiosity and sound knowledge of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign is more than enough to begin with. Any other skill you bring to the table is an added bonus.
What message would you like to give to the aspiring designers?
Stay curious, keep asking questions and try hard to be unaffected when your family and friends don’t really get what you do for a living 🙂