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Consistency is imperative while creating a series. This can be achieved through the use of line style, tone, colour palette, a specific art form, etc. Here is an illustrations series created for The Lily News by Ana Duje, an Argentinean graphic designer and illustrator who currently works between Hong Kong and Barcelona. What makes this unique is the minimalistic art style, the starkness of the white lines and bright pop of colours against the pitch black background.

 

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Illustrations
Illustrations
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Illustrations
Illustrations

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Mimicking nature is no small task, especially when it involves a moody and constantly swinging factor such as the weather. Yet, watercolour artist from Pondicherry, Nadeesh Prabou, attempts to bring to life nature’s aspects in the most realistic representations possible, through his watercolour paintings of different weather situations

weather
Rainy Day. A typical scenario of a small town going about on a rainy day, achieved by using the ‘Spreading’ method
Summer Street. Warm colours used to highlight the hot summer effect, in effort to portray a sunny day in a small town

Inspiration Shapes Gives Flow to One’s Work.

Inspiration is important, and being inspired is what gives direction to not only your chosen style of art but also the way you actually conceive it during execution; unfold it on the canvas, and finally manifest it as a whole.

 

Likewise, the weather has always inspired Nadees Prabou, ever since his childhood. He’s always admired the varying force and power of nature, and the impact it has on the surroundings, including the lives of beings (be it trees, animals or people) that are subject to it. An example of this being evident would be factors such as the strong force of the wind, and the dampness everywhere around, portrayed in his paintings that depict the monsoon time.

Bullock Cart. A bullock cart amidst a city-like scenario – a phenomenon that is exclusive and common to India

Summer Street. Various street scenarios on a summer day in the town or city, as people go about with their daily lives

The Artist’s Fluctuating Mood, Just Like The Weather, Affects The Larger Picture.

To depict weather means to mimic its aliveness, and that is something not easy to do. Yet, it is something that can be seen in his paintings through the blending of contrasting shades, monotones used to depict a typical form of different weather conditions, and techniques he seemingly applies, such as those of spreading or smudging, loose and irregular forms, the characteristic or typical watercolour effects and the likes.

weather
weather
Kasi

weather

This effective use of colours to achieve the depth in portraying the right atmosphere ican’t be explained in words, as he feels that it’s something to be observed practically only and feel it. This is probably because the moods he starts out depicting at the beginning of the painting process, might end up differently towards the end, and could be completely different in the final output, constantly fluctuating, as does his mood like the very weather.

Gandhi statue. A popular runs along a notable beach of Pondicherry, bearing a large statue of the nation’s icon, Gandhi

Rushing cattle. The fury of bulls as they make their way across the ground, splashing and thudding through their path

Following Trends or not is a Personal Choice One has to Make.

Each artist has an individual and respective view or opinion about going by creative trends that might be in vogue at the time, and so also about either accepting or defying them to various personally defined extents. In Nadees’s case, he feels that it is effective to be a “Contemporary Artist” rather than being a realistic artist, which might generally translate to producing whatever catches an audience’s attention at that point in time. As a result, he admits to including creative practices that may be in trend at the time, into his paintings.

Rushing cattle. The fury of bulls as they make their way across the ground, splashing and thudding through their path
weather
weather
business

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. 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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Though we are a country full of festivals all around the year, but this special festivity time of year when not only you change your calendar but also the gifts, family dinners, celebrations and new year resolutions all make it a special time in everyone’s life. Nithin Rao Kumblekar decided to capture this memorable time for the cover of Creative Gaga. Here, he explains his thought process and step by step tutorial.

For any painting, to begin with, sketching is not only the most basic but the most important thing. The whole painting depends on it and can be considered as the backbone of any painting.

 

Here, I have focused on the subject from the top angle with slight fisheye effect. I did some scribbles first and then fine tune the outlines to make the subject clearer for the next stage. For sketching, I use Adobe Photoshop with Wacom Cintiq monitor and several different brushes which give the real feel of sketching with the pencil.

Festivity

I normally use “Hard Round Pressure Size” brush by enabling brush pressure as well as thickness buttons in the top brush control panel. This will serve the purpose of getting the pencil sketch effect. This feature is also useful while colouring.

Festivity

I have kept the main source of light from top hence the play of light and shadows are pretty simple in this illustration. Also, the characters expressions play very well depending on how we choose to place the light source.

Festivity
Festivity

Here, I wanted to get the festivity feel in the entire colour tone. So I chose to get the orange and yellow tone which gives a warm feeling in the environment. The final colour tone can also be achieved even at the last stage by adding just a flat colour layer on top of all layers and then by trying different mode options in the layer pallet. But here, I chose to set the colour tone layer by layer. I did not use any colour filters, as I mostly knew which tone the final illustration should have.

The character colouring steps are shown here:

 

To avoid any spill of colours at this stage, start by creating the characters and the props in different layers. And If you want to colour a specific part without disturbing the nearby object then you need to create each and everything in different layers and then group it under the character or the object name.

 

For example, in this illustration, I’ve created layers for the skin and clothes within the characters. And for the background, there are many layers for all the objects and that is where you may get confused.

When you have multiple layers then the convenient way to work on the desired layer is to hold the control/command key and then click on the part of the illustration that you want to select. The correct layer will be selected and then for colouring, again hold the control/command key and click on the selected layer under the layer panel, this will highlight/select the layer with selection marquee and you can begin the colouring. There won’t be any spill of the colour outside this selection.

After all the characters and objects are coloured it is time for the background light fixes. In these images, you can see the difference as I’ve added slight glow as well as little shadows to make the characters stand out. And finally after completing everything sometimes you might want to change the size of some objects or change few colours. Since we had everything in layers it is easier to do these minor adjustments even at the final stage. I had increased the size of the boy by about 15%. And we have reached the final illustration.

Festivity

I almost forgot to mention one important thing that to always save the file and keep duplicating it. As sometimes, the file might get corrupted due to some system error or something else. But If you have duplicate files then you don’t have to begin the illustration from scratch. So saving is a good habit but duplicating the files is even better. Good Luck!

Published in Issue 35

Festival & Calendar Design! The season of the festival has started and everyone is preparing to have a unique one this time with less cash and more fun. We interview many creatives who create promotional or calendar design each year. As most of the thing around us had shifted to digital, even calendar design and the promotion has shifted. But Yorick Pintos, a strategic consultant at studio Kohl suggests that best option would be to a mix of both, the traditional and digital media. Digital Illustrator Nithin Rao Kumblekar also shared his love for the printed calendars and emphasis on the effectiveness of it. With many unique inspirations, advice and project showcase this issue is a must-have if you are interested in print design & want to understand the future of the same.

 

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Tapping into adversities our society faces on a day-to-day basis, Siju RS art directs a campaign that attempts to call out to the conscience of the onlooker and prompts for an action. The Winter Collection campaign draws public attention and interest to a raging issue.

Winter is the most difficult time for the underprivileged in India. And after the long and hot summers, the homeless and especially the children, are the most affected by the harsh weather conditions.

Winter collection
Newspaper - Winter Collection campaign for New Ark Mission of India by Ogilvy & Mather

Winter collection
Sack - Winter Collection campaign for New Ark Mission of India by Ogilvy & Mather

The campaign innovatively tackles this social issue. With street children posing as models and adorned in clothes made from discarded newspapers, sacking and cardboard, the campaign satires a fashion shoot. This juxtaposition succeeds in making people stand up and notice the plight of the less fortunate and donate clothes to help them. The sophisticated look and feel does not shout to sensationalize but creates enough room for curiosity and learning, while being packed with a punch. Thus, articulating what they call in advertising – success.

Winter collection
Cardboard - Winter Collection campaign for New Ark Mission of India by Ogilvy & Mather

Published in Issue 12

The first interactive issue of Creative Gaga with Augmented Reality features. This issue focuses on the transition of Advertising from real to virtual and blurring the boundaries of both at the same time. Also bundled with lots of interesting articles and interviews.

 

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Before you even think of the character, you need to grasp what is going on in the game, says illustrator Shyam Deshpande. The story gives way to an ecosystem that automatically translates into details for your character. He shares few of his guiding principles.

Character
Hot Date
Character
Moon

Interrogation Before Imagination.

Even before conceiving a character, think why you even need to paint it. There are few questions one needs to answer to get the character right. Like, what are you trying to portray? What is the reason for his/her existence in the game? What is the story he/she dwells in. These form the base of the artwork. Take time to answer these questions. And rest assured, you are going to get a fitting character.



Character
Gaddafe

The Story is The Key.

The first job is to think about the plot of the game. Say, if it’s located on some alien planet, you need to think how the character will exist. Is it a safe happy place or full of unknown creatures? One needs to think about the persona of the character and accessories basis that. For instance, should he/she carry some essential weapons if it’s a scary place? Moreover, how these weapons should complement the character.

 

Like, a cave man shouldn’t be using a gun so you need to give him something which is primitive. Even the costume will have hints of a similar, natural material which is easily available on that planet. In other words, if you have a grab on the story, it will help your imagination to come up with the details.

Character
Lord Vishnu

“Artists always try to find familiar shapes in everyday things like clouds or other elements of nature. The same happens when they try to conceive a character”

In Character, Abstraction And Realism Merge.

Of course, abstraction and realism are two different things. But at times, especially in cases of character design, the thin line between the two dissolve. Artists always try to find familiar shapes in everyday things like clouds or other elements of nature. The same happens when they try to conceive a character. While painting one, they define the silhouette based on a relatable figure. Depending on the demand of the concept, the look of the character tilts towards abstraction or realism. But ultimately, there is a hint of both in every character.

Mastercopy: After Repin


Character Concept

Exaggeration is a Choice.

There are lots of factors in a figure that makes it appealing for the eye and interesting for the mind. Artists generally look for volume, rhythm, body language, expression and interaction between the forms in characters. While creating for a game, one needs to decide which forms or elements one needs to emphasise on.

 

Directed by the concept, it can be either one of the aspects of the character or one of the supporting elements. Then comes the expression and the physical stance. Say, a character supposed to be king exudes lack of confidence in his body language. This can be totally confusing for the artwork. At the end of the day, you need to choose the elements to exaggerate and give the character a completion.

Character Concept
Hyena

Published in Issue 15

Gaming Art Special! In this issue, we invited leading Gaming professionals to share their inspirations along with their suggestions to improve the Gaming Art in India. Featuring some of the big names of Gaming Art like Vinay Vikram Singh, Sandeep Menon and Neeraj Menon along with International renowned Russian studio, ‘Grafit Studio‘ and many more talented creatives.

 

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Why not templates - Visakh Viswambharan

Since Visakh Viswambharan started working on the web and the mobile industry a common question, which he came across, is “Should I go ahead with a template design?” His immediate answer would be “NO, I would be jobless then” 🙂 Since it’s a common question, it’s better to answer in a comprehensively, why he think so. Below are few points, which you need to consider while making a decision on custom verses templates.

Uniqueness and Originality

Obviously the templates are popular, that’s what the providers claim on their websites too. It would be true, but in this case, your website will lose its uniqueness. How would your design stand out, If every second website your customer browses looks similar? How will you cut through the clutter, if you lack originality/uniqueness? A unique website is always judged by its layout. If the layout is common, it doesn’t attract the visitors.

Limited Customisation

The templates are rigid, you can’t do too much of customisation on a template. The options are limited, what best you can do is to change text or image. Not to mention, majority of the templates look more or less the same.

SEO challenges

I have seen many issues in terms of SEO, somehow Google doesn’t like the template sites. For instance, the most popular WordPress sites are hard to optimize for the Search Engines. How many times have you landed in a templated website while you were searching for some information on Google?

Performance

Be ready to take the beating in terms of loading speed. As it is a template, you are bound to have many lines of unwanted codes, which will affect the performance of the site. Many people ignore performance, no user likes waiting. It’s high time you realise, performance is equally important as look and feel.

Adaptability

Would you like to stick to your brand guidelines and build a website which depicts what your company stands for or make adjustments based on some plug and play template, which was built for thousands of lazy customers? Do you really want to compromise?

Scalability

As I mentioned earlier, this medium is ever evolving. You might want to add more features at a later stage or move to a powerful server. Data migration can get quite tough. Many template server providers don’t support this. So choose wisely, better safe than sorry.

Cheap

Here comes the biggest trap. Do you really think you can customise the theme without coding knowledge? Not really, you have to invest time or money to learn how to code a webpage or hire someone to help you. The moment you start adding your own graphics and content, the template is likely to break. Sometimes you will realise that you want to scale or add a new feature and you might have to put the entire template site into the trash and build from the scratch. Is it really cheap? It is really not when you think long term. And yes templates are cheap because they look cheap 🙂

Everybody wants freedom and fights for it. If you are ready to be caged then you can go ahead with a predefined template. You may feel suffocated at times. Today, all the products are evolving; you might like to add a new feature to the site. What if the templates are not providing the option? Would you go ahead and rebuild a new site?

If you have limited budget and are looking for a quick rollout, you might consider templates. But again, would you want a site that is not easily findable on Google?

Simply put; if you have a business that can make money, find a good developer. The cost will be negligible compared to the return. If you don’t have a serious product or your living does not depend on it then go ahead with a template.

Web & App Special - Creative Gaga

Published in Issue 31

This Web and App special issue brings forward some very talented digital and web designers along with experts from top few digital/ UI & UX studios of India. Also, Visakh Viswambharan, founder of AppinessInteractive answered a very common client question, ‘ Why not templates?’ in our Vantage View article.

 

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Satish Gangaiah, a successful independent freelance illustrator and designer, teaches us a few tips and tricks of working in the creative field.

Herbs to Home Poster

CG. What was the inspiration for you to take up illustration as a career (freelance illustrator)?

Satish. During my childhood I occupied most of my time by drawing. My fascination for drawing has evolved through time. My inspirations have mostly been from the urban context or pop culture. Later during my career I was exposed to art from across the globe. This pushed me to further explore and understand international design trends.

Tik Tok lady, personal artwork
Welcome to the world of corporate culture, personal artwork

CG. Your artworks depict caricatures. Is that your style in general or do you use it for specific pieces of art? Are there any other styles also that you like to try out or that you follow?

Satish. My style is not exactly caricatures, instead it reflects a sense of lightness, and is aimed at easy communication. Stylisations often convey the message far better than realistic depictions. As an artist, I believe in being versatile in style and content. It is important to mold your work based on the requirement.

Republic Day Tableau, personal artwork

CG. Your artworks have a lot of Indian touch to them but projected in a very contemporised manner. Could you please tell us a little about this style?

Satish. I take great care to ensure that the style I create connects with the audience. The artworks of this particular style are based on the Indian context and are intended to give a local feel. They carry my lived experience, my influences and my inspirations. The added contemporary feel helps them resonate with the times we live in. They reflect the trends and sensibilities of today’s culture and society.

Chronicles Over Coffee
LDS Smile, personal artwork

CG. Your profile showcases an animated version of reality through your work. Is it a concept, scheme that you follow?

Satish. Most of my work draws from my experiences and attempts at thinking out of the box. They all have a common thread that reflects different fragments of my identity. Most of my personal artworks are inspired by things around me.

Good Morning

CG. What are the messages that you aim at bringing across through your artwork?

Satish. One common message is that of joy. I am neutral as far as identity politics goes. Instead, I create my characters in a utopian realm of happiness. My artworks are also a tribute the things that have shaped and inspired me. My messages are simple, minimal and relevant to us all.

Mahishasura
Auto Santa Claus

CG. Could you give an insight into your design process, from the beginning till the end to get the desired output.

Satish. I always begin with a systematic understanding of the requirement or the subject. The next step is research; it is vital as it helps me explore multiple possibilities in representation as well as making a delivery of content more efficient. It also gives a good foundation to base their concepts and ideas. After that I start compiling mood boards and inspirations for the ideas. I also start making key sketches in tandem. This helps me keep the idea fresh and innovative. I believe by giving this amount of time prior to making an artwork always adds value to it. The next process is all about developing the idea into an artwork

Bakasana, personal artwork

CG. In brief, what has your journey been like being a freelance illustrator?

Satish. My journey has had its ups and downs, in spite of that I have enjoyed it so far. Experience has taught me that the more planned and well managed the process is, the more sustainable and easy the journey becomes.

Swayamvara, personal artwork

CG. Being a freelancer yourself, what would be your words of inspiration and a few tips for the all the people wanting to start out a career in the field of illustration in today’s times?

Satish. The advice I can give to those who are starting their career is – always be passionate. Being passionate towards your art practice also builds empathy to appreciate good art and design. And always try to create your own identity. Success always follows slowly if you are focused and retain the passion to be creative.

Gravity, personal artwork

Published in Issue 48

A Freelancer’s Life in India! Every day, with a dream of ‘Being Your Boss,’ many creative professionals jump into the pool of freelancing. But many are not well prepared for the life of the freelancer, which brings many challenges along with benefits. So to explore further, we interviewed many freelance illustrators and designers to get answers to the question you should ask before taking the final call of becoming your boss! So, if you are planning to or have already become a freelancer then this issue is a must-read for you.

 

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In such complicated times, it’s all about being simple. Simple is effective when it comes to design, believes Lundgren+Lindqvist, a Swedish design studio. It’s all about saying a lot more with a lot less. Engaging in a conversation, they tell us more on how they create effective and memorable design.

Design
Varvet - Visual Identity, Stationary and Sinages
Varvet - Visual Identity, Stationary and Sinages
Design
Varvet - Visual Identity, Stationary and Sinages

CG: Describe your journey as Lundgren+Lindqvist. What have been your accomplishments?

LL: When we started Lundgren+Lindqvist in 2007, our primary goal was to do what we love and stay afloat doing so. Now our ambition has grown along with our team, but we still want to do the best possible work. Over the years, we have had the opportunity to work with a great number of amazing clients, creating work that we can all be very proud of.



O/O-Brewing Baltic Porter-Packaging Design

CG: Your designs appear simple, effortless and smooth; however that is probably not the case behind the scenes. What all do you have to go through to arrive at the final design outcome?

LL: Simple is hard. Every project starts with a coconut. We use fine grain sandpaper to peel off layer by layer until we expose the core. That’s because we believe in honesty. Achieving that means removing the make-up to expose the bare, naked truth.

Design
Akademi valand photography next to the ocean exhibition catalogue covers

CG: What inspirations are included in your design? How does your background reflected in your designs?

LL: Like most in our line of business, we take an active interest in neighbouring creative fields; such as the arts and architecture. It is hard to judge as to what extent our Scandinavian background has influenced us. Of course, the legacy of great designers and thinkers such as Paul Kjaerholm, Olle Eksell and Alvar Aalto continue to inspire.

O/O - Brewing - Carismatico - Packaging and Visual Identity


O/O-Brewing Bangatan

CG: You work across various mediums. How working on paper differ from working for the digital space?

LL: Paper is definite, in that a printed piece is final. On the other hand, the digital space is an indefinite, organic medium. Both mediums offer unique possibilities. While conscious of this, we try to build each project around a concept and an idea rather than on the media of choice.

Maria Sole - Ferragamo, Visual identity and packaging
Design
Maria Sole - Ferragamo, Visual identity and packaging

CG: Designs have to look amazing and at the same time solve a problem and fulfil a greater purpose. How do you balance your and your client’s views?

LL: A good designer-client relationship is, like any relationship, based on trust. When there is a lack of trust from either side, the outcome will suffer.

Design
Critical Mass Studio Document Holder
Design
Critical Mass Studio Document Holder


Critical Mass Studio Pencils
Critical Mass Studio Poster
Critical Mass Studio The Totebags

CG: The world of design is constantly evolving. How do you keep up with the change?

LL: Although times are indeed changing, certain truths will remain. Our inherent curiosity and thirst for knowledge allows us to stay updated in a very natural, organic way. We visit exhibitions, read and travel a lot. Staying updated is nurturing our interests, which is the fuel we use for our daily (and sometimes nightly) design and development work.

A Sense of Place, Refugees welcome poster book