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In today’s digital world, traditional techniques and practices of illustrating and painting are getting lost. For example, who gets to see oil glazed on canvas in a design that is not antique? Anand Radhakrishnan, an illustrator, explores traditional mediums to express the mysteries and to enlighten the darkness that people and the world carry with them.

Illustrations from A personal project, Chaavi.
Ink drawing for inktober.

Let the subject take control.

Style of a designer is determined by the content and subject that the artwork contains. Most believe that designers have their unique style, which some have, but the idea is to not pick a style and stick to it through out, but to make it a journey of discovery and surprise.

Value study in graphite.

A designer is always attracted by expression.

An expression is what designers are looking for when it comes to feeling inspired and figuring out the soul of their design. Nothing can beat expressions that human faces and body radiate. Every little pose or nuance says something about the state of mind of that very person, and as a designer, it’s fun to play with it. Look anywhere and you will see the outside world connect with your inner-self and it’s when they meet, the best magic happens.

Cover image of my project called ‘III’.

Sometimes, the old is the way to go.

Digital has changed designers and the way people look at artworks these days. But often working with traditional media is favoured in order to break the clutter and stand out to enlighten. Oil, ink and graphite are some favourites that can be combined with techniques like hatching, alla prima painting using oil, glazing, collages etc.

Value study in graphite.

Messy is what they call neat.

Upon first glance, any subject one observes has a sense of mystery and unknown about them. Those dark hollow spaces that our minds can’t fill, translate into an uncomfortable feeling that can be pronounced in design using patchy and messy textures. So even if the subject in your artwork is communicating the same thought that designer wishes to portray, the way it is expressed also counts. This makes the artwork more tactile and organic, which enlighten the viewer.

Illustration for A college project. Chaavi.

Published in Issue 28

This Illustration Special is best to know why and how illustration as a popular medium is taking the design world by storm! From evolution of illustrations to its place in the world today, renowned designers and illustrators like Abhishek Singh, Mukesh Singh, Archan Nair, Alicia Souza, Raj Khatri with some international talent such as Fil Dunsky from Russia, Iain Macarthur and Richard Field from UK, who live and breathe illustration, would be the right people to gain some insight from. With many more talents to explore with great insights and excellent techniques, again a fully packed issue is waiting to amaze you!

 

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Tasneem Syed and Gauri Arora share their idea of niche, worthy packaging for traditional Punjabi Juttis, a traditional hand-crafted footwear that is very much an intrinsic part of North Indian culture.

Punjabi Jutti

Brief

A Punjabi Jutti is traditional hand-crafted North Indian footwear. Like any other footwear, they are generally presented to customers in simple shoe boxes, or sometimes even in the newspaper. The idea, thus, was to retain their elegance into traditionally authentic packaging, representing the roots they stem from.

Punjabi Jutti

Concept

The packaging of Punjabi Jutti – The sole of Punjab, should be compact and unique, just like the Punjabi Juttis. The hexagonal shape makes it convenient for storage, as it consumes little space, while it is also easily stackable when displaying in stores and transporting in bulk. The box can be used for display, which doubles-up as the packaging. It also comes along with a jute string attached, to make carrying the shoes more convenient.

Punjabi Jutti

Outcome

This is taking a step away from the conventional shoe boxes, and towards enhancing the whole experience of selecting, buying, packing and taking home a pair of Punjabi juttis, making it a memorable one. The transparent lid enables a person to have a look at the design of the jutti inside the box, without having to open it, and even allows the shopkeeper to pull out the desired Punjabi jutti while it is stacked on the shelf.

Punjabi Jutti
client

Published in Issue 37

Recent demonisation and changing Taxes has pushed most of us in planning our finances more seriously. So to answer some of the basic questions for designers, freelancers and creative studios, we interviewed some of the creative legends to guide and share their wisdom. The issue includes interactions with Preeti Vyas from VGC on ‘How to pitch for clients or retain the existing one’ and Ashish Deshpande from Elephant on ‘Challenges of working with a startup’, along with some best freelancers like Archan Nair, Shreya Shetty and Paul Sandip, sharing their knowledge of working with various clients. Also, Sachin Puthran from Thatzit.com gave a 10-point no-nonsense guide for studios to handle their finances. A must read, if you are planning for the financial year ahead or worried about your handling your money matter, this issue can give you much-needed insight and guide you to a better financial health of your business or freelancing.

 

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The Mahabharata has been told and depicted in various forms and formats. However, Freelance Illustrator and Concept Artist, Mukesh Singh, never felt satisfied and believed there was more to the story. In Graphic India’s project 18 Days, he illustrates the characters and their stories in a whole new light.

Jayadrath and Duryodhan

CG: Your artwork is a tribute to India’s rich mythology and culture. What gravitated you towards the subject of Mahabharata? As an illustrator, how do you relate to the story and the characters? How is it different from other projects that you’ve worked on?

MS: “Whatever is here is found elsewhere. But what is not here, is nowhere else”. This is the Mahabharata. It is the epic of epics, one that can be told again and again, generation after generation and still ring true. For all of their vain glorious powers, all the warriors, kings and queens are human, susceptible to the species’ frailties. Each character is a story in itself and the epic beautifully traces their lives from birth to eventual death. Read it with an expansive view of the affairs of men and Gods or choose your favourite character and walk with them as they make their way through life. Whoever you are, you will find something in the book to relate to and make of it what you will. At a personal level, compared to other projects, it was different in the sense that while I was already familiar with every major character it was also an opportunity to revisit them. But this time I was not part of the audience. I found myself set loose in a familiar world where I could not just wonder the what ifs, but also act upon my convictions.

The Mahabharata
Enter Man God

CG: Before you could manifest the story in your own style, how did you study the script and understand the storyline? Was it as simple as reading a book, or like a writer? Did you spend some time living in India and soaking in the environment?

MS: I was born in India and have stayed here my entire life. When it comes to Mahabharata, every Indian is familiar with it. I grew up, like most kids do, reading illustrated storybooks based on the epic as well following comic book version published by Amar Chitra Katha. Not just that, my father played a major role by narrating anecdotes from the scripture. This was then followed by television series, that gave 2D character form a 3D appeal. They had become real and have remained so ever since.

The Mahabharata
Markandeya Oracle Entrance

CG: You have given the Mahabharata a twist of your own. How do you describe your style? What was it that you experimented with and changed around? What remained the same?

MS: The modern audience has a keen and sophisticated understanding of the narrative design. They are beneficiaries of an accelerated volution of the storytelling process that started with the invention of the printing press and refined further with each succeeding generation of newer forms of communication mediums. Combine this with their familiarity with modern technology and it isn’t difficult to sell the idea of a hyper advanced civilization of a bygone era that could communicate across vast distances or wield destructive weapons embedded in something as small as an arrow head. I also trust their evolved sense of understanding to familiarize themselves quickly with an unfamiliar cast of characters.

If we shift our gaze from the core USP of Mahabharata, which is of course its multi-layered characters, to its fascinating world of highly evolved technology, it isn’t difficult to envision its larger than life aura. While other interpretations of this timeless epic have done enormous justice to its characters, few, if any, have looked beyond them to its setting, its environment, its grandeur, its scale, its theatre stage where the lives of its players played themselves out. I had remained dissatisfied with earlier visual interpretations of the Mahabharata world. Armed with these inferences, I immersed myself with world building of 18 Days. Some images I had carried for a long time in my head, some suggested themselves based on Grant Morrison’s scripts, the writer of 18 Days. It also helped that I had spent a lot of time with its characters, through the works of others and my own interpretation of their psyche. In 18 Days the characters have remained the same, at least as I see them. Their outwards appearances though have changed. I wanted the audience of today to identify and accept not just the character’s inner selves but their outer ones too, which are external manifestations of their inner selves.

Arjun Invokes War godes

CG: If you look through India’s depiction of the Mahabharata, it appears more colourful and vibrant. Any specific reason why you chose to work with dark shades and hues? What is the overall feeling you wish to create through your designs? 

MS: Impending doom perhaps? For all of their boasts and chest thumping, the characters meet their maker in the end. Some believed that they will survive the war. So they go all out heroic, in their quest to leave their mark on what they know will be an immortal event, this 18-day war. At the end, it was a pyrrhic victory for the Pandavs. Arjun questions the war in the beginning and Yudhistir in the end. What has changed?

Bhem Beserk

CG: This one’s fairly straightforward; how you do manage to make violence look so beautiful? What features and characteristics do you need to balance with to make your artwork come across that way?

MS: Ah! I don’t know how to respond to that. Violence can never be beautiful. If it appears beautiful, it is only during its build-up phase, when primal anticipation overwhelms the senses. The aftermath is always ugly. A mundane analysis suggests few things. Maybe the ornate designs in the drawings coupled with composition choices give it that sense of beauty. It also helps that the art itself isn’t hyper realistic. The line art based style may also have something to do with the pleasing appearance of the images. Or perhaps it is because I knew the inevitable fate of each character. I gave them their moments of glory.

Andhaka -Pimple

CG: No doubt people are smitten by India’s roots in history and culture. So after the Mahabharata, what’s next? In what other ways do you wish to explore Indian culture and mythology?

MS: As of now I am taking a break from stories based on Indian mythology and working on other things. But the intervening hiatus may be good. If I come back, I will hopefully have some new perspective. That is for the future though. We will cross the bridge when we come to it.

Bhem acepts Duryodhan’s challenge

Published in Issue 28

This Illustration Special is best to know why and how illustration as a popular medium is taking the design world by storm! From evolution of illustrations to its place in the world today, renowned designers and illustrators like Abhishek Singh, Mukesh Singh, Archan Nair, Alicia Souza, Raj Khatri with some international talent such as Fil Dunsky from Russia, Iain Macarthur and Richard Field from UK, who live and breathe illustration, would be the right people to gain some insight from. With many more talents to explore with great insights and excellent techniques, again a fully packed issue is waiting to amaze you!

 

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Heartbreak and sorrow are emotions that everyone would have felt at some point in their life. That’s what makes Katherine Dawson’s illustration relatable; ones that people can look at and go “Yeah, I know that feeling.”

But a closer look at her designs reveal that in the negative imagery lies a positive spark. The use of bright colours communicates a spark of optimism that motivates to carry on. Her designs exemplify how designers can use personal stories and inspirations to project unique outcomes to the world.

How Can An Organ Hurt This Much? The feelings of pain and heart break are represented though this touching illustration.
Heart Felt emotions
Life Is Unfair. The illustration is made using watercolours, coloured pencils and ballpoint pen.
Heart Felt emotions
Wraped Heart. Inspired by the low point in life, the colours in illustration are the indication to still remain positive.

Published in Issue 28

This Illustration Special is best to know why and how illustration as a popular medium is taking the design world by storm! From evolution of illustrations to its place in the world today, renowned designers and illustrators like Abhishek Singh, Mukesh Singh, Archan Nair, Alicia Souza, Raj Khatri with some international talent such as Fil Dunsky from Russia, Iain Macarthur and Richard Field from UK, who live and breathe illustration, would be the right people to gain some insight from. With many more talents to explore with great insights and excellent techniques, again a fully packed issue is waiting to amaze you!

 

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Priya Amrut Shinde has followed a simple guiding principle through her art; love is supposed to complement. Through her unconventional interpretations of age old love stories, she has created minimal illustrations of Indian love stories of deities.

love
Infinite Love (Radha Krishna)

Contemporary traditions

Starting with traditional forms of Gods and Goddesses, Priya transformed them using contemporary design elements. Subtly doing so, she has retained parts of the originality while minimising unnecessary details thus resulting in a vibrant and youthful canvas.

 

In an attempt to accessorise the artwork while maintaining a focus on the key characters, she has used motifs that are generally associated with the characters. Hence, you find minimalistic elements like flowers, mountains, and waves serving as backdrops in each artwork.

love
Eternal Love (Lakshmi Narayan)

Seamlessly integrating the male and female deity was a challenge, solved by the colour blue which is evidently a common theme across all artworks as the ‘Neelkanth’ is another name for Shiva, Vishnu rests underwater and Krishna has often been represented in the colour blue. So while the blue symbolises the men in all three couples, it is the other half that brings more colours and variety to the artwork.

Affectionate Love (Shiv Shakti)
client

Published in Issue 37

To answer some of the basic questions for designers, freelancers and creative studios, we interviewed some of the creative legends to guide and share their wisdom. The issue includes interactions with Preeti Vyas from VGC on ‘How to pitch for clients or retain the existing one’ and Ashish Deshpande from Elephant on ‘Challenges of working with a startup’, along with some best freelancers like Archan Nair, Shreya Shetty and Paul Sandip, sharing their knowledge of working with various clients. Also, Sachin Puthran from Thatzit.com gave a 10-point no-nonsense guide for studios to handle their finances. A must read, if you are planning for the financial year ahead or worried about your handling your money matter, this issue can give you much-needed insight and guide you to a better financial health of your business or freelancing. So don’t wait, just order your copy NOW!

 

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Ben Kwok, who got his BFA in Illustration from California State University, Long Beach, takes us through his own experinces and insights gained as a keen illustrator.

ornate
Pearl Jam Front

My journey has been a great learning experience, with lots of bumps and setbacks. I guess it’s part of the journey to make mistakes and learn from them. I knew I wanted to be an artist since I was around 7 years old. I loved drawing so much, that I knew it had to be my career when I got older. At that age, I wasn’t really thinking about a career; I just wanted to draw all the time and make a living doing what I love.

ornate
Rams Head

CG. What do you feel is the distinct quality or characteristic in your style of work, which appeals to viewers?

BK. I think my “ornate” style is what appeals to the viewers. There are lots of artists working in this ornate style, which is great because I think this style should be exposed to more people. Aside from using ornate patterns to decorate animals, I feel like my distinct approach on ornate patterns is different from most artist. I like to use patterns to express the form and shape of the subject. I don’t just put any random patterns because it’s important to me that the shape of the animal is properly shown. I also like lots of tiny details, and I do most of my shading with a ballpoint pen. From what I can gather, there are very few artists out there using the ballpoint pen as their main drawing medium.

ornate

CG. What is the core idea behind the intricate patterns and symmetry you shape your work around?

BK. It’s a practice in meditation, to be in the “flow state”. One of the major benefits of drawing is that I get to get lost in the process. To get lost in all the intricate details. It allows me to get out of my own head, and just focus on creating. Aside from the mental benefits of my artwork, I do enjoy inject sacred geometry and other various patterns to compose the drawing. As for the patterns itself, it’s all pretty random. I just draw whatever I feel like drawing. I try not to overthink the process.

ornate
English Bulldog

CG. What do you feel is the balance between marketing, portfolio and quality of work when it comes to acquiring work? Do you think there’s anything more a designer needs to do?

BK. I was taught that I should be proactive in acquiring work. I’ve had little to no success when I reach out to random possible clients asking for work: I’m not great at it. It feels like begging, and it doesn’t feel good. Clients tend to shoot down artists who are asking for work. Maybe, asking for work shows that you’re not highly sought after? So, my strategy is to continue to grow as an artist and create work I want to work on. It’s no accident that my portfolio is 90% ornate illustrations. It’s what I love doing, and what I want to get hired to do. In short, just do the best work you can do, and hopefully, the right clients find you. As for marketing, every artist/designer needs to be on social media. Regularly post your work so it’s out there for people to appreciate. Please keep in mind that your amount followers are a reflection of the quality of work you produce, so only put out your best work.

ornate
Labrador

CG. What is your approach towards acquiring clients, and how do you fulfil their needs?

BK. I just do my best work, and let the clients contact me. I don’t recommend this method because it takes a long time to be established and to have the internet presence. I’m just one out of millions of talented artists that are out there. The only difference is that my work is very clear and focused on ornate illustrations. If a possible client is interested in ornate artwork, my name should be on top of that list.

ornate
Silverback

I fulfil the client’s needs by asking lots of questions about what they want. I try my best to give them what they want, but, at the same time, I’m the artist, and if I think the concept could be enhanced, I will advise the client. However, at the end of the day, it’s what the client wants, not what I want. Clients should keep in mind that the more freedom and trust they give me, the better the work I will produce. When I’m constricted to certain design parameters, the artwork always suffers. I’m at a point in my career where I have the freedom to say no to projects I’m not excited about. As a younger artist, I would take whatever comes my way.

ornate
Cat Head

CG. What advice do you have for young and new designers regarding how to balance finance and passion?

BK. In regards to finance, always live below your means. If you make $3000 a month, don’t spend all $3000. If you want freedom, you need to have financial independence. Try to have at least 3-6 months of emergency funds. Meaning if you suddenly lose your job, you have 3-6 months worth of savings to keep your afloat while you look for another job or project/s. Ideally, you have zero debt, because the more financial freedom you have, the more you can pursue your true passion.

ornate
ornate
Ornate Elephant

Anand Radhakrishnan

A freelance Illustrator based in Mumbai, Anand Radhakrishnan is a graduate from Sir J.J. Institute of Applied Art, topped up with a couple of years of learning illustration at The Art Department. He is passionate about storytelling in any medium and derives inspiration from masters like Moebius, Alphonse Mucha etc.


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This Illustration Special is best to know why and how illustration as a popular medium is taking the design world by storm! From evolution of illustrations to its place in the world today, renowned designers and illustrators like Abhishek Singh, Mukesh Singh, Archan Nair, Alicia Souza, Raj Khatri with some international talent such as Fil Dunsky from Russia, Iain Macarthur and Richard Field from UK, who live and breathe illustration, would be the right people to gain some insight from. With many more talents to explore with great insights and excellent techniques, again a fully packed issue is waiting to amaze you!

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Mukesh Singh

Mukesh Singh is a freelance Illustrator and Concept Artist. He studied his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the reputed Sir J. J. School of Arts, Mumbai in 1997. He’s worked with great names like Prana Studios and Liquid Comics.


Featured In


This Illustration Special is best to know why and how illustration as a popular medium is taking the design world by storm! From evolution of illustrations to its place in the world today, renowned designers and illustrators like Abhishek Singh, Mukesh Singh, Archan Nair, Alicia Souza, Raj Khatri with some international talent such as Fil Dunsky from Russia, Iain Macarthur and Richard Field from UK, who live and breathe illustration, would be the right people to gain some insight from. With many more talents to explore with great insights and excellent techniques, again a fully packed issue is waiting to amaze you!

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Uttam Hasabnis

The day we evolve from the life’s basic needs and moved to cave paintings, rituals and festivals, the colours have a special space in our life. Uttam Hasabnis, a creative consultant at Cub Design, believes that even right colours for a brand come from a deep understanding of the brand’s target audience and it can makeor break any brand.

The colour of your brand is not only an essential character of your brand’s story but also important in all forms of communications. Colour has the unique ability to make or break the success of a product. The right colour decision for your brand doesn’t cost you much. But the wrong colour can really impact the overall performance of your brand.

At Cub Design, we believe that the positive effects of colours on the consumer decision certainly can help enhance the brand image and due to the different meanings of colours in different cultures, we need to consider the attitudes and preferences of our target audience when choosing a correct colour for a brand. The best way is to do an in-depth research. It creates in us a feeling about colour. Observe, experiment and see how they make sense for you. We give all necessary freedom to our creative team to explore the brand and its environment physically to bring out the perfect colour that supports the brand positioning. And make sure the process must be based on:


Specifying the type of target audience.
Understanding the concepts of colour in the
targeted culture.
• Deciding on what emotion the consumers will experience.

And taking a critical look at which colours are being used
in the market.


 

Sometimes, choosing a colour that stands out can help. Once you’ve determined what it is that your audience is looking for, you can best decide on the colour to help them find it.

At times, rebranding is important to indicate that the brand is still modern and progressive. When freshening up logos and products you have to think about whether or not you want to retain some of the past, or scrap it entirely, ‘However, this isn’t always the best option’. Most brands want to hold on to the equity and goodwill of their image, by maintaining some of the colours. But yes, you can add a secondary colour to refresh the brand image.

When choosing a correct colour, you must think far beyond your personal opinions. Also, it should never be an exercise driven by the personal taste of the superiors involved. Properly chosen colours define your brand’s value, strengthen and support your brand positioning, enable awareness and customer recall, and distinguish your brand among its alternatives. Picking the right colour should never be underestimated.

Published in Issue 34

This is a rebranding special issue focused on finding the answers to some of the basic questions like what is the right time for re-branding? or what all needs changing and how exactly? We interviewed some of the best branding studios like Landor Mumbai, Elephant, VGC, Inchwork, and many more. If you are considering rebranding or want to learn more about the art of doing it then this issue is a must read. So, go ahead

 

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Loris F. Alessandria, an Italian freelance illustrator who loves Lego and dogs, feels that inspiration is not in and for chosen few, but all around for us to recognise, acknowledge and appreciate. He goes on to expound on his own insightful findings owing to being open to them along the way.

CG. Having a strong sense of design and the ability to put yourself out there, where do you see yourself in the next couple of years?

LA. Thank you. I am working hard to improve my skills, and to find some new ways to communicate. In the next couple of years, I’d like to see myself as a trusted freelancer; one who gets the opportunity to work with very cool people around the globe.

Editorial illustration commissioned by RCS for Mediapower Linc Magazine.

CG. How is your approach different from others around you? What is the inspiration for the same?

LA. I do not know if my approach is different or not, but I personally think it is not. The chosen approach depends on the project at hand i.e. what is required and apt for it so that it comes into effect in the best way possible. Usually, though, I like to make use of expressive characters and even play with a lot of colours. My inspiration comes in different forms and mediums; they could be in the form of illustrated books, graphic design projects or animated movies as well. I’m always inspired by the thousands of talented people around me.

CG. How do you narrow down to a specific element and work on making it more important? How does your core thought (the subject of your work, or the way it is executed) make its way from sketches to the final render?

LA. Usually, the final illustrations are really similar to my sketches; more like an extension of the sketches. It’s a little different when I sketch for storyboards; in this case, it’s more important for me to focus on actions instead of the design by itself.

Loris F. Alessandria - Inspiration
Editorial illustration for Sport Magazine, UK.

CG. Your illustrations seem to be woven around a lot of colours; a relatable character and, essentially, human-based themes. How do you manage to tell this story in a stationary frame?

LA. Well, that’s the hardest part of our job. I try to give personality and temperamental qualities to my characters. Likewise, I also make an effort to create a good environment that stays in sync with the characters, so that the two elements gel well with one another and produce an impactful effect, in turn. The focus of attention is laid upon the action or the message that the illustration is intended to convey to or bring about in the audience

Beedrill is the whacky, fun-looking Pokèmon for The Pokèdex Project.

CG. Do you consider technology a big part of art today, and its impact on constantly changing trends? What inspires your work and keeps you updated on modern techniques and styles?

LA. I think technology is a big player in today’s times and era, whether it is in the form of the wide and diverse range of tools one has at disposal, or of the innovative ways you can stay connected with other creatives. I usually use Tumblr and Instagram to find inspirational things, and they also prove to be helpful mediums to keep updated every day.

CG. We live in a multi-media world where people want fast information and fast response rates. How has this turned creative business trends into essentials?

LA. Everything is fast. The world of communication, too, is affected by this rhythm. Most of the times, my commissions have very tight timelines, and that can sadly cause some loss in terms of quality. Sometimes, using simple images is the best way; sometimes it’s not.

Loris F. Alessandria - Inspiration
Jacala. Is a white monkey in a contrastingly colourful and mystical jungle. Made as a personal project in 2016.
client

Published in Issue 37

The issue includes interactions with Preeti Vyas from VGC on ‘How to pitch for clients or retain the existing one’ and Ashish Deshpande from Elephant on ‘Challenges of working with a startup’, along with some best freelancers like Archan Nair, Shreya Shetty and Paul Sandip, sharing their knowledge of working with various clients. Also, Sachin Puthran from Thatzit.com gave a 10-point no-nonsense guide for studios to handle their finances. A must read, if you are planning for the financial year ahead or worried about your handling your money matter, this issue can give you much-needed insight and guide you to a better financial health of your business or freelancing. 

So Order Your Copy Now!

 

Order Your Copy!

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