“It is important to understand the advantage of an illustrator being a multi-disciplinary collaborator rather than working alone”
Give us an insight into your journey from being a student of art to being a successful Illustrator today.
I had a habit of observing and drawing whatever I see around, and started drawing for children’s magazines while pursuing my graduation in BFA from the College of Fine Arts, Kerala University. Since then, I have been working on various illustrations and communication design projects.
Where did you undertake formal training for the same and how important do you feel is international exposure in the design industry?
After my graduation in BFA Applied Art, I pursued an MA in Illustration from University For The Creative Arts Farnham, UK. I feel the studies gave me higher exposure and a larger platform to expand my skills and learning, which also made me more confident to deal with challenging projects. More than that it helped me in finding my deeper connections.
How would you define your personal style? Where do you draw inspiration from?
For me style is something that compliments the subject or context. It is gradually evolved from my practice considering my obsession towards the elements that are expressive. I try to reflect my individuality in all my works rather than giving importance to craft or technical skills. For me inspiration comes from everywhere. And some of the recurring themes in my works include people, nature, new places, and a dialogue between the living and non living things. In addition to that my hometown, Wayanad – its nature and lustrous greenery continue to inspire me since my childhood.
Which has been your most memorable piece of work that you have created? Can you give us a brief description about it?
I enjoy doing landscapes and some of them remain my personal favorite. I think the inspiration for doing landscapes come from my inherent love for nature and the influence from my childhood as I said earlier.
What are the challenges that you face while working on such projects?
Sometimes I get involved too much in to a project that I end up spending more time than the expected. Juggling between multiple projects with different subjects and contexts can be challenging at times to adapt to different moods.
What is your usual workflow pattern for any assignment?
I begin my work with thorough understanding about the brief. Adequate research and brainstorming help me to start with the work and I usually make many rough drawings before getting into the final one.
I use pencil, ink and brush, hand printing etc to create my designs, later scan them and colour them digitally. Sometimes I use my own repository of textures to create particular atmosphere depending upon the context of the project.
What are the tools/software that you use regularly as a part of your work?
Ink & brush, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.
Which technical skills or otherwise does the industry look for the most in a fresher?
It is important to have basic drawing skills such as anatomy and perspective. Having an understanding of design fundamentals will be an added value. The ability to adapt these skill sets to various mediums and situations are also important. I think, one should be open to explore and learn to extend his/her knowledge and practice.
Any message for the aspiring designers?
If you are willing to follow your heart for the love of image making, then all the hard work will pay off at the end. And it is important to understand the advantage of an illustrator being a multi-disciplinary collaborator rather than working alone. Also always keep practicing drawing, and develop it as a habit with the help of sketchbooks.