“Be inspired and keep your senses open to new experiences which makes for a more grounded and a fertile imagination”
Tell us a bit about the beginning of your career as an artist. How did you start? Have you always known this is what you wanted to do?
Drawing and illustrating have been a part of me since my early years, in some form or the other. I remember in my childhood drawing entire Mahabharata battle scenes on walls and papers with stick figures wielding maces and bows and chariots.
Though I must confess that I have never thought about making it a career until about a few years back. I started maintaining sketchbooks to accompany me on my travels, haphazardly though. Tentative attempts at water colors and acrylics followed soon, and once I realized there were people out there who actually liked and were willing to pay for my random musings – realization set in that this could actually be a career option after all.
What kind of formal training did you undergo to become a designer and what role has it played in your growth?
I have always been more comfortable drawing and coloring by hand than with digital tools. I haven’t undergone any training for art or design, in fact my college education was all about computers and networking and stuff that I never made use of or even remember now.
I used to be a copywriter for some time, and it’s there by shadowing my designer colleagues and tinkering on their laptops, that I was able to learn Photoshop and a smattering of Illustrator – the only two digital tools I still claim to know.
Drawing has been with since I was a toddler, and I would say whatever I know today is self-taught. Also, drawing and coloring by hand, personally, keeps me rooted and gives a meditative feel.
What is your workflow pattern right from planning to execution for any assignment?
Once the brief is received, research is conducted on the subject matter, and ideas and strategies are sketched out. A few rough sketches/ideas are created and sent to client for approval, this is then followed by the iterations by which we arrive at what we both (me and the client) really like, or can live with (!). Timelines and costs are set, and thus begins production.
Your work involves being creative. Where does the inspiration come from?
Travel to places that speak of ancient cultures and myths and divine energies. Books that transport me to nature, to ancient myths and tales and philosophies, and of course the people that make up this land.
Typically, what does your day look like?
I have a day job in an IT consulting firm here in Bangalore, so a better part of my day is spent commuting and warming the seat at the office. Evenings till late into the night is when I try to tackle my client assignments and the odd canvas. Then again, being more of a morning person, I find it more productive to be up early and finish up work before the heat of the day sets in.
Which has been your most memorable project and why?
More of a personal project actually – For the past some years, my sporadic travels across south India and its ancient shrines have been inspiring me to create depictions of the various goddesses and female characters from the Hindu epics and mythologies, imagery that reflects my inspirations and experiences from these places of myth and history.
Being passionate about myths and ancient tales, this is an ongoing series that gives me immense joy and a feeling of déjàvu on so many levels.
What is the most challenging task you face in your job?
Apart from making sure clients pay me in time (!!), the more challenging aspect is to get the brief right and develop a creative concept that keep the client happy and one that I can live with.
You don many hats – a designer, a painter, a content writer? How do you manage them all and which do role do you enjoy playing the most?
As of now, it’s the sporadic painter and lazy doodler in me that’s ruling over the other personas. Inspiration is a sly muse. And as time passes by, I find it harder to write for other clients except when I am venting on my blog, which again remains untouched since long.
Any final words of wisdom for the artists to bring their creative best in their work?
Keep Practicing – Keep your skills sharp and in use. Neglecting your talent won’t do it any good – and if you do work on digital media, do find ways to be updated with the latest trends and tools.
Be Open – Remain open to new ideas, viewpoints, ways of doing things, and new learning, while maintaining a strong foundation in your roots and culture.
Remain Inspired – Go travel, read, meet people, imbibe new cultures, or learn something new; whatever it takes for you to remain inspired and your senses open to new experiences – which I believe makes for a more grounded and a fertile imagination.