“Identify your strengths and make them stronger till you’re the strongest in town. Even after that, don’t stop”

Picture Courtesy : Saumya Shukla

Tell us a bit about the beginning of your career as an artist.

One thing that I vividly remember about my childhood is the pleasure that holding crayons used to give me. I’ve been painting ever since. I was born and brought up in a very supportive family and was given the right kind of exposure while growing up. I used to check out a lot of art exhibitions which remained a huge source of inspiration throughout. I started working quite early in life. While still in school, I worked as an illustrator, collaborating with or volunteering at NGOs in my hometown. I also used to work on visual content for my dad’s documentaries.

Picture Courtesy : Saumya Shukla

Picture Courtesy : Saumya Shukla

What kind of formal training did you undergo to become a designer and what role has it played in your growth?

I am currently in my fourth year at National Institute of Fashion Technology (Mumbai) and am studying Fashion Communication. Given the vast expanse of the course, the span of my work has expanded and there’s variety in the styles I work with. College has helped me organize the way I tackle projects, manage timelines, and meet deadlines (which like every other designer, I sometimes still struggle with).

Picture Courtesy : Saumya Shukla

Planes / Picture Courtesy : Saumya Shukla

What is your workflow pattern right from planning to execution for any assignment?

I start with a written brief, where all the requirements have been discussed with the client at least once. Then I check some references out to see what the work previously done on the same subject looks like, to be able to come up with something that’s different yet holds the vibe. I work in such a way that, at several points during the process, I can hand the complete work if the need be. Only I would know what more had to be done, not the viewer.

Penny for a thought / Picture Courtesy : Saumya Shukla

Your work involves being creative. Where does the inspiration come from?

A major part of my work is inspired by music, which may either be a direct link or a deep-rooted connection that only I will ever be aware about.
I’m also a keen observer and like to draw inspiration from the people I meet, the places I visit, or from the thousand tabs that are open on my browser throughout the night.

Picture Courtesy : Saumya Shukla

Picture Courtesy : Saumya Shukla

Typically, what does your day look like?

My day looks just like a day in the life of a final year design student, characterized by endless work hours, sleep deprivation, constant urge to figure out the steps to build the next big thing, and failed attempts to get done with work. I enjoy all of it nonetheless, and end up in bed at around 4 in the morning, only to wake up in time for college.

Picture Courtesy : Saumya Shukla

Picture Courtesy : Saumya Shukla

Which has been your most memorable project and why? 

The most memorable project was “The Book of Chai” which was an illustrated book I designed as part of a college project. Being a tea lover, I had a great time making watercolour illustrations of different types of tea and the moods I relate tea with.

Picture Courtesy : Saumya Shukla

Picture Courtesy : Saumya Shukla

Picture Courtesy : Saumya Shukla

What is the most challenging task you face in your job?

I’ve mostly been freelancing through my college years, and one thing that’s always troubled me is how your clients expect you to meet the deadlines, while they won’t follow their own timelines. And when all your days are packed with personal, college and client work, this is a bug hard to get rid of.

Picture Courtesy : Saumya Shukla

Picture Courtesy : Saumya Shukla

What skills, you feel, should young creatives bring to the table in such a competitive industry?

Originality. I’ve seen a lot of young creatives copying artworks or working in styles that are very similar to the works they refer to for inspiration. When people put plagiarized work out like it’s their own, it only makes me sad.

My heart is a mess / Picture Courtesy : Saumya Shukla

Any final words of wisdom? for the artists to bring their creative best in their work?

Identify your strengths and make them stronger till you’re the strongest in town. Even after that, don’t stop.

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