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Illustrator, Mohan Sonawane, takes us through the process it took him to find and create a portrait with just the right amount of depth and perspective, one that would go on to bring a character to life on the canvas.

Drawing a face, by itself, is not an easy task; let alone a portrait that is synonymous of not just the way a person looks, but, in fact, is a representation of the characteristics and traits of the individual’s personality. Now, that’s no easy mission to engage; yet, Mohan Sonawane did take that it was worth a shot, and came-up with this evocative portrait of actor Nawazuddin Siddique. He takes us through the moves it took him to reach the achieved execution.

Portrait

Step 1: Primary Concept

To start off with, the background was put into effect by the use of the given base colour – one similar to skin colour. Further, basic line anatomy was put into application, also keeping in mind the face structure and proportion, at the same time. This was all done in the Rapid style of sketching, quickly just going step after step, not paying much attention to detail at that stage or phase of the illustration.

Portrait

Step 2: Final Sketch

Following Rapid Drawing, final details were added into the sketch-work. For example, face expressions were introduced, which gave the subject the intense character and effective style. Something it is not only fundamentally essential to distinguish personality, but also necessary when one is trying to create distinct portraits. That is where an accurate face structure comes into shape.

Portrait

Step 3: Choosing Brush

After studying many brushes, one particular brush with a strong stroke, and the apt depth to it, was finalised and chosen. The conclusion was reached only after having tried out a variety of options; they all, however, lacked the primary quality and effect that was desired to create the intended production. Nonetheless, the right one was eventually found to execute the needed depth.

Portrait

Step 4: Primary Base Colour

At first, the basic middle tone colour was selected, followed by applying it to the whole drawing. Post that, the colours that were further used were selected as per natural colours. The whole intention was to be able to create an imagery that represented not just the face, but the very character itself that is synonymous of the person, so as to represent more than simply the face.

Portrait

Step 5: Occlusion Light and Primary Colour

With the help of basic colours, a dark tone was given to the portrait. Thereafter, the initial shades and tones were converted to dark-to-light shades. This was done with the primary goal of providing a realistic texture to the subject, one that would make it synonymous of real life.

Portrait

Step 6: Skin Texture and Details

After observing the skin texture, the Brush tool was brought into play, so as to give the much-needed set of details to the subject and his crucial character. In Photoshop, it is very easy to provide skin texture, as one can create whatever brushes one wants to apply in order to be able to achieve an accurate skin texture. That is what finally materialised or manifested into the evolution of the piece.

Portrait

Step 7: Details

After completing the basic colour sketch, it became very easy to add on a lot more of the face details – one could thus highlight them, as they were very much in the designer’s control, even though it also depends on the subject’s characteristics and expressions. The best way to overcome that challenge is to actually be observant, and take time to grasp them in all their depth.

Portrait

Step 8: Reflection Light

When we see an image that has surrounding lights reflection on it, the drawing looks natural due to the reflecting light. It adds a very natural feel to an image. The same very basic thing was also applied over here, allowing there to be a natural light on the face, which looks very attractive.

Portrait

Step 9: Final Compose

After completing the entire work, colour creation and background were further explored. Both aspects worked to create just the right amount of depth. And, finally, the ultimate picture starts taking solid root and shape. Due to this reflection of light, the desired output could be well achieved at the end.

Published in Issue 39

As the festivity is all around, every brand or business is trying to impress the Indian audience. But what really works for us Indians? What is an Indian design? And how we can make designs for India? To understand it, we interviewed some Indian creatives who are successfully creating designs for the Indian audience. 

This issue of Creative Gaga is a light read for someone looking for inspirations or insights on Indian design and how the Indian audience can be enticed. So go ahead and order your copy or subscribe if you want to keep receiving a regular dose of inspirations!

 

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Symbols and metaphors offer an interesting layer to play around with and discover what lies beneath. Taking a cranky bit on everyday life can lead to fun stories. Designer-illustrator Avinash Jai Singh attempts to evoke emotions through a simplistic approach to metaphors.

The Conversation

Everything Stands for Something

On a design, every line and curve is a storehouse of emotions. It’s amazing how simple forms and shapes, when given the right twist and tweak, can mean episodes of a story. As opposed to imitating reality, a basic shape with enhanced or exaggerated features can keep you engaged and involved.

 

Geometry with the right gestures can bring up emotions. Characters, visual elements and environment are just steps in the process.

Nibmaniac
Chill-Out Puttar

Characters Represent a State of Mind

How you choose characters is how you perceive the world. For instance, the choice of jelly-like characters can be indebted to a childhood fascination. The way it moves and its wobbly motions are actually a rebellion against the proper form. As kids, you are taught to mimic and echo reality.

 

Good grades depend on your ability to sketch exactly like nature or books. This may not be liberating enough for some. Which is why one goes to pick characters that represent the thought that lies beyond the conventional.

Music Factory
Music Factory

What the Character Speaks not, the Environment does.

Once you decide the proportion of the character in the context of the situation, creating the environment becomes easier. It is like setting up a novel, one frame at a time. Emotions and gestures are very important here. The environment needs to support the mood and feel of the character.

 

It needs to subconsciously show if the characters are happy or grumpy. Unlike animation, a still frame doesn’t tell you about the sad scene or the happy one. So, the environment makes up for that bit. It’s like the background score for a silent frame.

Audio City

Humour Induces Change

Art has the potential to create an analogy. It can become so big that communities and audience are forced to think. And humour is the most friendly way to put across an idea that can connect, communicate and catalyse. It’s simply a metaphor for dissecting all the complexities of today’s society.

 

Keeping visuals happy and positive often makes them work in the audience’s mind. It’s not about changing the world or practical things around us. That’s not what art is supposed to do. But if worked out right, visuals can definitely change perceptions.

Sub-Woofer

Enjoy the Beauty in Uncertainty

Many times, the visual elements have nothing to do with the design or the story. It’s their shape and existence that triggers something. It’s often more about objects around at that moment or a book that one has come across. That’s what is beautiful about being an illustrator.

 

You don’t have to prepare for it like a photo shoot. Once the idea of the story is sculpted, the environment around it just evolves. The direction it takes is totally instinctive. This beauty of uncertainty is the most fun part of the entire process.

Heroes

Published in Issue 17

We tried to capture the time of chaos and confusion we all are in. How it inspires and influences creative thoughts. Starting with the cover design by Ankur Singh Patar, who captures the duality in the way we treat women. Followed by a conversation with Italian illustrator Giulio Iurissevich who explores beauty behind this chaos. And many more inspirational articles to explore. So Order Your Copy Now!

 

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For most people, starting alone is daunting; Anjali DSouza explains how she feels about the entire concept of being a freelancer? Read on to know what a young designer should know before jumping down the freelance path…

World of freelance
COLOURED BLISS
GRAPHIC GREETINGS

Dealing With Real Problems

For most people, starting alone is daunting; however, for Anjali, the entire concept of freelance was a welcome challenge. In order to create a lasting impression and stamp her mark on the global level, she has worked hard and tried to put herself in the shoes of her client. Earning the praise of clients and critics alike, this designer knows the emotions of design problems enabling her to arrive at a solution.

THE NEW CASSETTE
THE NEW CASSETTE
World of freelance
THE NEW CASSETTE

Perseverance Pays

Being a designer in India is not easy, competition is tough and her mantra is to work hard and believe in oneself. Creating your own distinctive style that sets you apart will always help you move forward; for Anjali, Indian folk tales combine with bold colours and expressive line work elevating her above the rest. After understanding the problem, adequate research is required to move ahead and execute the solution and this is exactly what makes Anjali DSouza click!

World of freelance
DESIGNING DEWARISTS

“For Anjali, Indian folk tales combine with bold colours and expressive line work elevating her above the rest in freelance”

World of freelance
THE CLASSICS RE-IMAGINED
THE NEW CASSETTE

Young Designer should keep in Mind

Being a team player is integral, working with strong-minded individuals can help shape a fresh career and provide opportunities to learn from other designers. Another important aspect is to connect with the client so as to find a common point and further a healthy process of working together. Lastly, in order to ‘grow’ as a designer, one must be open to working hard and accepting both praise and criticism

PLAYFUL PUPPETS

Published in Issue 32

If you are a recent graduate or about to finish your college then this issue may have answers to many of your questions. Like, how to get the best placement or the internship? How to present best in front of the interviewer? Which studio or agency to choose to start your career? How to work in a team or choose to be a freelancer? This issue has advice from many experts such as Ashwini Deshpande and Gopika Chowfla who gave the secrets of choosing the right intern for their well-known design teams. And on another hand, Rajaram Rajendran and Ranganath Krishnamani advise young designer to gain multiple skills and be the best at them. Also, recent MIT Post Graduate Vinta Jakkal shares her secret with which she grabbed the great opportunity of joining the Elephant Design, Pune team to start her career.

 

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Arun Pattnaik has been designing UX & UI with empathy and compassion for the user; employing classic design principles rather than blindly following trends has been helping him build his own fortress of work that he isn’t afraid to show off.

CG. What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have that help you achieve your desired UX & UI?

Arun. I start with the user persona, which is important to understand the users’ needs, behaviour, expectations, and general psyche, and thus build the product around these factors. Once I have a detailed persona set up, I research ways to best match business goals with the persona.

 

During this process, I create workflows, user journeys, and eventually wireframes, keeping the stakeholders in the loop at all times. Many designers tend to skip the wireframe phase due to the time it takes. However, I find that those extra few hours at the beginning stage can potentially save several days of rework.

 

Next, I usually look up to the clients’ competitors, in order to validate my ideas and approaches. Dribble and Behance are also great resources to look for general design inspiration.

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 initial ideas to the final output?

Arun. There is no magic here. I make sure the user and his experience remain at the core of entire product’s process. As mentioned earlier, starting with user persona helps a lot. A quick hack is to ask yourself questions like, ‘what does the user intend to do?’ ‘What is the user’s expectation here?’ and ‘Is this the best way to do this?’ at every step of the process.

 

While listing down possible features, which could be built-in the product, I usually identify and separate the ‘must-haves’ from the ‘good-to-haves’. One of the must-haves becomes the USP, which becomes an integral part of everything from initial idea to the final output.

CG. How is your approach different from others around you? What inspires your work and develops your style?

Arun. I don’t think my approach is very different from other designers. But I spend a lot of time researching, a.k.a. sharpening the axe, before actually starting the design. And this has worked very well for me so far.

 

Apart from that, I make sure to put a lot of empathy into each project I work on. I believe empathy towards the user is what makes or breaks a product. A lot of research goes into every successful design you see today.

CG. What are the key points you consider along with the client before you start working with a new product/company?

Arun. I ensure to completely understand the client’s goals of a project. If it’s a new product, I usually start with a basic market research, followed by user interviews. As a UX & UI guy, my priority is to build a bridge between the user’s expectations and the business goals.

 

There are times when the client would ask for more features. While the client can see its benefits, it also adds risks of building too many features your users might not even want. For a successful product, you need to draw a line between what you can build and what you should.

CG. We live in a multi-media world where people want quick information and fast response rates. Creative businesses have wide opportunities but also challenges. How has this affected your style of work?

Arun. This is actually a good problem to have. With more challenges, the product designers are getting increasingly innovative in solving problems. We’re seeing an entirely new level of design thinking across product designs, especially digital products. From iPhone to Hyperloop, innovation is constantly being driven by challenges.

 

This hasn’t really affected my style of work directly. Being a one-man consultancy, the biggest challenge I face is to manage all the non-design tasks which I manage with few auto-responders and the quality of my portfolio.

CG. How important is the UX & UI for the success of any project? And how do you make the client understand the same?

Arun. There is no such thing as ‘no UX’. A product either has a good UX or a bad UX hence it is very crucial to focus on creating a good UX from the beginning. If you use something and don’t feel great about it, then either the UX is badly designed or not designed at all.

 

The business value of UX design is so colossal; one can simply not afford to ignore the importance of a good design in driving your product’s success. It is even more important for young businesses and start-ups, as they usually lack a brand reputation to fall back on. In the last few years, the start-ups have been able to give head on competition to the industry behemoths.

 

I get a lot of clients who either do not know about UX design or have a misconception that it’s just a small part of UI. While onboarding the clients, I usually give them a few examples to explain the importance of investing in good UX.

CG. Your advice to budding UI and UX designers?

Arun. Design with empathy and have compassion for the user. If you want to guarantee a great experience, you need to learn how to fulfil the precise expectations of your users, with the minimum of effort. Focus your attention toward the design problem instead of individual design preferences may help.

 

Paint the back of the fences. Pay close attention to details. Sometimes the difference between your product and your competitors’ is a number of details you put in.

Lastly, if you’re a designer and new to freelancing, brace yourself for a lot of struggle in the beginning. Everyone does it, everyone starts there, including the top designers you keep hearing about. If you don’t get work outside, make sure you work on the inside.

 

When you work hard, it shows. You work doesn’t only need to be a client’s project. Build something on your own, and don’t be afraid to show it off. You will get negative feedback; use it wisely to get better.

Published in Issue 36

Every year brings a lot of hope and promises. With a New Year resolutions list (which might be lost by now) and hope of everything will change for good, we all welcomed 2017. This issue explored, how these changes will affect our businesses and how we can be prepared for the growth predicted by the experts. The Wise Advice section includes pieces of advice on the web, mobile apps, user interface and user experience from well-known industry experts. Arun Pattnaik, a self-learned UX & UI expert also highlighted the importance of user experience in the process of building a strong brand. This issue gives you hint about tends to keep an eye on and how to be ready for it! So not just for the business owners but also for upcoming creative entrepreneurs this one is a must read!

 

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