“The real test is to work outside your comfort zone and it is always good to push your skills to the edge”
Give us an insight into your journey from being a student of art to being a successful Illustrator today.
The college days were more adventurous as there were no clients to please, the artworks were more inclined towards self expression. I enjoyed the process and it was more of an experiment and exploration without fear stage of my journey. After the college it was a different experience altogether, it was more about syncing your thoughts with the client and creating something collaboratively. I am extremely lucky to work with some of the best designers in India after the graduation, which helped me understand the process of handling commercial projects and deadlines. After a while, I started out as a freelancer, so that I can bring back some of the experiments and exploration back.
Where did you undertake formal training for the same and how important do you feel is international exposure in the design industry?
I graduated from Sir J. J. Institute of Applied Art and learned some things on the job from colleagues and the internet. Working for international clients helps in refining and broadening your thought process. It provides a new set of audience and an opportunity to explore different cultures and art forms.
How would you define your personal style? Where do you draw inspiration from?
I don’t like to define any personal style. The style should be a tool to convey the message properly it shouldn’t be merely a decoration. So I believe in choosing styles which helps to communicate the idea clearly. I mostly get inspired from everyday life, places and people around me.
Which has been your most memorable piece of work that you have created? Can you give us a brief description about it?
The most memorable artwork is always the latest artwork that I do. Although I remember a piece that I did for a client, it was a simple illustration done for a cleaning product, I remember it because I changed my workflow completely while doing this commission. And it was worth it. The real test is to work outside your comfort zone and it is always good to push your skills to the edge.
What are the challenges that you face while working on such projects?
The challenge is to anticipate what the client is thinking, as most clients don’t know how to express what is in their mind, or some get confused midway and change the brief. Being an illustrator it is my job to help them crack the idea and advice them the best route to take as I said earlier it is a collaborative effort.
What is your usual workflow pattern for any assignment?
Usually I do quick rough thumbnails and share it with the client. Some times I meet the client and draw in front of them, I encourage them to draw or share the idea. This takes time but it is better to spend time in brainstorming rather than spending time doing adjustments and changes on a later stage. Once the visual, treatment, style etc are finalised, I illustrate the final piece.
What are the tools/software that you use regularly as a part of your work?
I only use open source tools right from the operating system to painting software. I don’t use proprietary software such as Adobe Suite, Windows Mac OS etc. It is my personal choice, as these tools give me complete freedom to do whatever I want and modify my workflow according to my wish and mood. While I have sound knowledge to use any adobe program, I don’t prefer using them in my workflow. I use Linux operating system, and mainly Krita for painting, Inkscape for vector illustration, GIMP for image manipulation, Blender for 3d Illustrations. Apart from this I have personal backup script to keep an automatic daily snapshot of my work so that I never loose anything in case of hardware failure etc.
Which technical skills or otherwise does the industry look for the most in a fresher?
In my opinion the degrees diploma or any other technical skills don’t really matter as long as you are capable of delivering the expected artwork in time. Clients only require the artwork, they are really not interested in knowing what you did to make that artwork.
The most important skill is time management and understanding what the audience and client wants and delivering that in time.
Any message for the aspiring designers?
• Be proud of your self and your ability to create.
• Involve the client in the process and try to make the process enjoyable for them too.
• Don’t quote a very low price and always be firm on time required to do the job.
• More importantly enjoy what you do
You can view more of Raghavendra’s work here