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The human brain is a fantastic library of images. The more you watch the world around you, the more it gets enriched. All one needs to do is to observe every detail around very closely, suggests animation filmmaker-illustrator Vajra Pancharia. He discusses pointers that help him create engaging visuals.

Visuals
Cave birdy
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Dojo Training Centre
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Concept illustration for a game
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28 days later after infection

How you see is what you draw.

You derive your mood and emotions from your surroundings. That’s how each element works for you. For instance, nature, for almost all of us is always beautiful and serene. So while painting landscapes and environments you tend to bring out spatial and ethereal feel in them. Of course, the concept plays a great part in determining the details. Similarly, many a times, the surroundings push your emotions to an extreme. That’s when your characters become dark and edgy.

Tomcruise
Visuals
Environment

The story decides the character.

The heart of the story should be the soul of the character. While the story acts like a container, the character is the content. They both work hand in hand to drive the narrative. Above all, aesthetics and clarity matters a lot. They complement each other if you feel the core of the story and bring the small nuances from it visually to the characters. A small gesture, which is appealing, can tell the entire story effectively.

Interior Sketch
Wolverine

Perspective is your camera on paper.

The world around us is in a 3D space. But we tell our stories through a 2D medium, like paper. That’s why one needs to use few tools to aid the narrative. The most important of them is perspective. It makes viewers’ attention focus towards a certain area in an artwork. Visually, perspective can be used to enhance storytelling, adding more dynamism to some parts. It can also mellow down certain areas to give importance to others. If used wisely, perspective can surely do a good job of conveying an idea.

Naseerudin Shah
Happy holi
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Hangout

Colours make your stories move.

Colours are the most dynamic part of an artwork. In the real world, they change so quickly that capturing the mood becomes quite challenging for an artist. One needs to learn colour behaviour and understand how it affects the viewer. The best way to go about understanding it is to paint from real life with traditional mediums. This increases your visual sense and helps you choose the right colours which can be later applied on the digital medium.

Relate to exaggerate.

You get best ideas for your character from the surroundings. First identify who, your neighbour, maid, postman, bus conductor, or people in a mall, resembles your character best. Then spot the characteristics, both in behaviour and appearance, which make them what they are. These are the qualities that can bring out the emotions. A good way to understand these features is to enact them out in front of the mirror. That way, you are able to absorb these qualities and translate them into your designs.

Visual development for a game level
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Environment Concept

Be open and observant.

There is a storehouse of positive energy that surrounds us. It manifests itself through characters, images, stories and every element of nature. You need to keep your eyes and mind open to grab all of it. Ideas, imagination, aesthetics, colours, forms and everything else that make your visuals are born out of this energy. It is the key factor that gets translated into your visuals. Everything else is incidental.

Visual development for a game level
Visuals
Forest Design

Published in Issue 15

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 likeVinay Vikram Singh, Sandeep Menon and Neeraj Menon along with International renowned Russian studio, ‘Grafit Studio‘ and many more talented creatives.

 

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Environment designer, Ayan Nag, shares insights about the nature of working in this arena and related learnings gained through the work process.

CG. To start with, could you please tell us about Environment Design as a genre and elaborate on the intricate aspects it involves?

Ayan: Environment Design is an umbrella term just like Concept Art. In general, this is a process where we plan and execute the surroundings of a given scene. From designing the colour, mood, shape and language to designing the props, everything falls under this category.

Discovery

A lot of the time, these individual aspects would be undertaken by different artists and teams. Early into a project, just a handful of artists might be handling multiple aspects of the process. For example, a team of 2-3 artists could be undertaking the whole design process. As the visual language gets clearer, work would be split up amongst bigger teams and artists.

Daybreak Valley

CG. What’s your own story as an artist or illustrator? Please run us through its course, as to how it all began and progressed until this point?

Ayan: I started digital painting during my early college days in 2009-10. I got a bit serious about it after I was done with college. I looked for jobs during that phase and was greatly disappointed by the overall quality and work culture. So I went with the freelance route. I am quite happy that I did that. I have been a full-time freelancer till date.

Food Truck

Food Truck Interior

I have been quite lazy throughout most of my career. I was barely getting sufficient gigs to support myself. I think, from 2015 onwards I started taking things really seriously and actively learning more about art from whatever sources I could find. As the quality of my work improved, so did the projects. This has been an exciting journey so far and I am hoping it will stay that way in the future as well.

The gate of Dourbarrah!

CG. As a freelancer, how do you approach client expectations and balance it with your own perspective as an artist?

Ayan: That’s a bit tricky. However, I feel that a good amount of communication is very important to bridge that gap. I am very open about delivering expectations and good clients are generally very understanding of that as well. My approach to this has always been to under-promise and to over-deliver.

Apex Legends | “Legacy of a Thief”

Apex Legends | “Legacy of a Thief”

CG. What is the “Apex Legends” series all about? What was the brief and the execution process to arrive at the final result?

Ayan: I was hired by passion pictures to do the illustrations for “Apex Legends – Legacy of Thief” official trailer. They were looking for a different style for the project and my style matched the requirements. The brief involved animatics (storyboards with basic camera movements) and I had to design and paint all the environments. I worked on the project for close to two months. Since I was the sole artist illustrating all the backgrounds, the pressure I felt was immense. But I am glad to have pulled through the whole thing.

Apex Legends | “Legacy of a Thief”

CG. Also, what got you started with tutorials and what’s your aim behind it?

Ayan: I have been meaning to put out tutorials for a very long time. I always learn something new while trying to teach something and some passive income on the side is a huge relief for freelancers such as myself. During an ArtStation challenge, I finally decided to jump in and get it done. I had a lot of trouble during the whole process but ended up enjoying it at the end of it all. I am planning on releasing a few more tutorials this quarter. Let’s see how that goes.

Hawk's Nest

CG. How do you technically achieve an effective blend of contrast, hues, lighting and shadow effects?

Ayan: Understanding the fundamentals of art like value, lighting, colour theory, perspective, etc. is a must to achieve these qualities. Doing individual studies on these and being observant during my free time has helped me a lot with them. Once you have a basic understanding of the fundamentals, studying real-life starts benefitting you.



CG. Please tell us about your experience working on paintings involving a 3D base. Also, what distinguishes the process applied therein?

Ayan: Having a 3D base to start with is very time-efficient. I already have the perspective, lighting and the basic composition figured out. It’s just a matter of painting/bashing in the textures and working on it till I finish. There are a lot of different ways to go about the process but I mostly just start painting on top of the layer and produce something presentable as soon as I can. I can always separate the layers later on when the painting gets approved or I like where it’s heading.

Plein Air April 21-30

CG. Please throw light on the “Grand Space Opera: Light Age – Keyframe Design” Challenge. How was it different from working on earth landscapes?

Ayan: I always loved working on space-themed paintings and especially rendering spheres, so much so that I always put a sphere on my paintings just for the sake of it. When I saw the ArtStation challenge, I could not resist. I kept building the story and the world around it slowly. It was so much fun.

CG. What kind of assignments are you looking for currently and how do you wish to evolve your works and yourself as an artist hereon?

Ayan: As of now, I am mostly taking on visual development and colour design-related projects since I have the most amount of freedom when working on them. I plan on moving around a lot; experiencing a lot of new things and bettering myself as a human being. Hopefully, my art will evolve with me as well!

Plein Air April 2022

CG. Kindly point out one or two of your tutorials you’re most proud of and wish for growing environment designers to watch?

Ayan: As of now, I only have one tutorial which shows how I correlate the art fundamentals and design principles together to create compositions. It is a bit long and you may find it a bit boring, yet it’s overloaded with information and will definitely help if you are at a beginner to intermediate level.

Plein Air April 2022

CG. Finally, where do you think the future of Environment Design is headed and where would you like to direct it?

Ayan: Environment Design is a huge industry filled with amazing people from all around the world. I am just a passerby trying to paint what I enjoy; share them with the world and hopefully make a living out of it.

Moonlit Shrine

Unfurl the many works, styles and involvements of Environment Designer Ayan Nag through his webpage and Instagram

 

And for more exciting behind-the-scenes coverage of other artists & illustrators from around the world, be sure to follow Creative Gaga on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

Midnight Gleam

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Encouraging us to make the best out the situation, Febin Raj cheers us to turn our obstacles into opportunities as the world fights this deadly pandemic.

Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
What inspired you to take up art as your profession?

Febin. I loved drawing even as a child, and it has only grown stronger over the years. Hence, when it came to choosing a profession, there was no second choice. I consider myself blessed to be living my passion and making a career out of it.

Pandemic - Febin raj
Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
Though your art journey began in watercolours, your current works are extensively digital. What is it about digital painting that draws you to it?

Febin. It is necessary to stay updated in this fast-paced world. Digital art provides us with a wide range of opportunities to challenge ourselves and explore new dimensions of art, while also making our work a lot easier compared to conventional methods. But nothing can replace the satisfaction of painting with watercolours on a piece of paper.

Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
Your current digital artworks possess a specific style and geometric flair. Kindly share the artistic process with us.

Febin. My style has evolved over the years, and it is not done consciously or with any plan. I execute my ideas rather spontaneously and draw inspiration from what I see around me.

Q.
Your art pieces seem to possess a strict colour palette. How do you select the colour scheme for each piece?

Febin. My works are inspired by nature, and hence, the colours are a reflection of what we can observe around us. The colour palette goes in sync with the intricate hues of nature, and I try my best to do justice to this beautiful swirl of colours around us and keep my works natural.

Pandemic - Febin raj
Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
Your artworks reflect your love for travel and nature. How did this pandemic challenge your creativity and artwork, especially since we were required to stay at home?

Febin. This pandemic did not challenge my creativity. I tried to see this as an opportunity to explore my limitations and push my boundaries. It is indeed true that we were all confined within the four walls, but our creativity and ideas were never confined. Even with these limited resources, I tried to bring out the best in me.

Q.
What are the effects of the pandemic on the art industry? Were there any unexpected hurdles?

Febin. The art industry, just as all the other industries, faced certain setbacks due to this pandemic, but it is slowly picking up the pace. If we convert every hurdle we face into an opportunity, I’m sure we’ll thrive. That is what I’m trying to do right now.

Q.
Freelancers are some of the most affected by this pandemic. What is the market like for freelancers now?

Febin. Just as in all the other professions, freelancers have faced some difficulties too. The market is not as commendable at this point in time, but the situation is undoubtedly improving. Personally, the pandemic has only brought new opportunities and fabulous projects for me.

Pandemic - Febin raj
Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
How are the art agencies and studios coping with the pandemic? How are they supporting the freelancers through this crisis?

Febin. Art agencies and studios are indeed going through a difficult situation due to this crisis, but I believe that they are extending every possible support to freelancers. During the pandemic, I got the chance to collaborate with a few international studios.

Q.
When ‘Work From Home’ is the new norm, do you see any long-term changes in the way freelancers work?

Febin. The profession of freelancing, as we see it today, has evolved over the years. Any and every change is gradual. Hence, it is tough to predict how the concept of freelancing would be perceived in the future. But as of now, freelancing is linked to freedom and that would remain the same, regardless of any change.

Pandemic - Febin raj


Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
Has the working style of art agencies and studios changed? Do you think this change will last post-pandemic?

Febin. The working style has definitely changed into a whole new dimension since the resources are limited. This pandemic proved to us that whatever the situation may be, there is always a way out. Perhaps some of the positive aspects of this new working style might stick with us post-pandemic.

Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
Would you like to say a few words to your fellow artists and freelance who are fighting their way through this pandemic?

Febin. Make every obstacle your opportunity. Remember that these struggles, this crisis is not here to stay; this too shall pass. So, make the best out of the time you’ve been given, as creativity knows no bounds.

Pandemic - Febin raj

Published in Issue 51

TBusiness, studios, agencies, freelancer all have different perspectives to handle the pandemic and hurdle it brings. While some find pandemic an obstacle which will soon fade away and on the other hand, few saw opportunities in the same. Many creatives used the past few months to reflect on their styles and horn their art. Many utilized it for collaboration opportunities with national and international creatives. This issue is a must-read if you are looking for insights, inspirations and ways to bounce back in this unlocking phase.

 


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Preeti Vyas
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Acclaimed Chairwoman and Founder at leading design and communication consultancy, VGC, Preeti Vyas deploys her experience and knowledge gained through the years to share with us the nature of competing in the design circuit, and the factors that influence winning and losing a pitch.

There are, essentially, three types of competitive scenarios:

1. Already existing clients, with the potential to give more business.

2. Potential clients who approach us.

3. Approaching and addressing businesses out there.

The task is, hence, multifarious. It ranges from the micro to the macro, and all are symbiotically connected. Having said that, at the core of it is to understand your own DNA and staying true to it. The passion for business must first start with the passion for one’s work. This is important because it will reflect in the body of your work. And, when all the marketing dust settles, that will always remain as the moment of truth and become your brand aura.

With that, it is important to service existing clients excellently with good work; timely deliveries; proactive thinking, and sustaining a mutually respectful and comfortable relationship across all levels.

This golden formula, is to almost always keeps them away from going elsewhere, no matter what the temptations. In case any one element falters, you are risking losing a client to your competition.



Potential clients are influenced by your reputation; your presence in the media (digital or otherwise), and the preliminary research on your work. They might even ask for a multi-agency pitch, and if they have absolutely fallen in love with the combined aura of your work, the threshold to give in or walk away is yours to decide, with room to have the negotiations sway in your favour.

And lastly, the world is filled with potential clients and potential competition. It would serve you well to study both, and to work hard to keep polishing your aura, so as to maintain your brand differentiator and communicate it across available platforms, such as social media, website, direct marketing, events, publications, etc. It is important to be seen as a brand that stands for a vibrant, intelligent and creative solution provider that stays relevant by constantly exploring, innovating and expressing.

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.

 


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Animator and Illustrator, Lavanya Naidu, expresses how one can find more, happiness, room to grow, not only professionally but also personally, by focusing on producing work that is rather challenging and cherishing at the same time.

Morning Stroll

Potato and Pea curry for dinner

Neighbours

CG. All your illustrations are fun, represent happiness. How do you choose your characters and topics of illustration?

Lavanya. I try to be an optimist about most things in life. I guess my work too in many ways, reflects the same. I want to be able to induce in my audience, I want to be able to share that positive energy. A lot of my work, characters and environments are based on simple joys and human emotion. I draw inspiration from my relationships; my friendships; the people (and sometimes animals) I see around; everyday moments worth freezing on canvas; worth appreciating and taking a second look at.

happiness-Lavanya Naidu
Bright Sunny Days

An illustration created for a friend celebrating her relationship.

CG. You use a very lively colour scheme that is, both, vibrant and subtle. Could you please tell us how you arrive at it?

Lavanya. My colour scheme has developed over time, and still has a long way to go! I began asking myself why does the sky have to be blue when it really isn’t always blue? There is a myriad of colours that we can play with. I began experimenting with different palettes and started understanding how the absence and presence of light change colour. It’s an ongoing journey and tremendous fun!

happiness-Lavanya Naidu
Healers

Afternoons with the neighborhood watch

Summer

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

Lavanya. I have been extremely lucky to have had some wonderful clients. Most of my clients have approached me, having had looked at my work on Behance or my blog. I make sure to keep all of my pages updated with new projects, as soon as I can. I respect another person’s time and money as I would expect that in return, so it is of utmost importance that I deliver on or before a reasonable deadline. I usually take on work that I know, I would love to do so that I can be true to that commitment. Professionalism is key, it helps you filter out the unnecessities and focus on the actual task at hand.

Flamingo in My Garden.
A beautiful diversity of birds of the Indian subcontinent come together in this lovely story.

The Dark Glen. Cover art for Tinkle Comics.
What started off as a cover, soon turned into a comic inside as well!

happiness-Lavanya Naidu
Where's the Mummy

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?

Lavanya. We live in an age where there is an endless choice, and it gets harder and harder to make an impact on your audience. Our attention spans are fleeting. However, if you love what you do, and you can put that into your work, people can feel it. If instead of focusing solely on staying relevant, we can focus on producing work that challenges us and that we are passionate about, it gives us more room to grow both personally as well as professionally.

Something fishy. No Smoke Without Fire – a personal short animation film. Background explorations for an upcoming personal
short in progress.



I would say that quality of work is usually the most important aspect when acquiring work, followed by sharing it on different forums, where peers and professionals can see and critique your work, as well as sharing it on more public forums where people can relate and experience your work too. The learning never stops, so ask questions and keep at it.

The Bookworm.
A personal illustration dedicated to my best friend, a voracious reader, even in dim lighting.

happiness-Lavanya Naidu
Art made for TEDx Bangalore’s annual event.

CG. What inspires your style of work?

Lavanya. I am an avid observer and am stimulated by those around me; by everyday interactions, sometimes more complex emotion, or relevant subjects around the world that resonate with me. There is so much we have in common, so much to share, so much that can bring us together, that is what inspires me.

A Flamingo in my Garden.

To the Future. Personal art dedicated to my best friend and our enormous love for dogs.

happiness-Lavanya Naidu
You Came. Personal work
Concept art for an upcoming personal animation film.

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.

So don’t wait, just order your copy NOW!

 


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Fast-food chain Burger King takes an initiative to be more environment friendly. They introduced a new reusable packaging.

Burger King New Packaging

Taking one step further from recyclable packaging, Burger King introduced a reusable one. They have created a reusable cup and burger container in collaboration with the app Loop. It will cost customers a £1 deposit to use the packaging, but with the app and the designated return points, users can get their money back.

The cup and container feature a minimalist design with the Burger King logo and a brown shade of the packaging.



According to Burger King, the cup will fit any medium soft drink, and the burger container can fit anything from the Plant-based Whopper to up to nine chicken nuggets. The reusable packaging is going to help reduce single-use packaging consumption.