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Challenges of Telling Stories in a Single Frame!

Character designer, illustrator and storyboard artist, Ritaban Das, takes s through his own style of telling stories through illustrations in a single frame style of designing. He introduces his perspective that guides his ideas and also shares his process.

Single Frame
Sketching with friends. Personal work showing aliens as company while sketching.
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Team Dank. Personal work depicting a rather artistic team spirit.
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Together. Just a piece of commissioned work for my friend, depicting the funny side of companionship.

CG. What are the particular advantages and challenges of telling stories in a single frame?

Ritaban. Illustration or design is a visual communication medium. It is important to challenge yourself with a different perspective, scale and how your subjects interact with one another. When sketching, I produce numerous roughs or loose drawings which later make into more developed sketches. I then decide on a final composition. The most critical element is really an activity of the subject. The figure is usually doing something and caught before it happens or just after. The other elements are supporting artefacts. Whatever I draw, I think of it as a clue or a breadcrumb that helps understand the complete story and message. It’s up to the reader to put it all together and solve the riddle

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Indian Warrior. For a monthly Facebook character design challenge. The topic was "Warrior".
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Clown. Personal work, inspired by Eli Roth's film of same name.
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Two Detectives cover artwork. For the unfinished graphic novel I was working upon with my brother.

CG. What are the essential designing tools and software you use for such an approach and how do you decide on what kind of a role they play in your work?

Ritaban. I usually make the design part in Photoshop, from scratch to end, and I work in Storyboard pro for storyboard. Tools can make your work easy or even open the avenues to do it faster, but it’s based on how good your design sense, storytelling abilities and drawings are. These are the most basic fundamentals to create anything.

Merry Christmas. Old commissioned work created during the Christmas season.
Two Detectives. A promotional poster for the unfinished graphic novel I was creating with my brother.
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YUWA. For Art Exhibition last year, collaborating with the NGO Yuwa that empowers young girls,.

CG. What aspects do you particularly give attention to in your work to ensure effective communication through your illustrations?

Ritaban. I start by trying to understand the character, his/her background, history as well as his/her place in the story. Research helps at this stage since it’s so important to understand the world you’re creating before jumping into it Next, I’ll do a series of drawings where I figure out the characters shapes and attitude; I try to just draw the first thing that comes to mind, knowing that I’ll be changing it later. All the while, I’m searching for a new or interesting take on the character. After I’ve done a few rough thumbnails, I decide on the one that has the most appealing silhouette, shape proportions and that best describes the character. I then start to flesh out the character and begin to add details, keeping in mind any specific traits described in the script or story.

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A promotional fan poster for the most anticipated boxing match in the history between McGregor and Mayweather.
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Odd Socialites # 1. The first installment of a small comic strip project with my writer friend.
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Red Necks. Personal work showing the not so friendly folk in town.

CG. How do you describe your process and goal of designing?

Ritaban. Being a Character Designer and Illustrator, most of my work is very much character driven, blended with humour and very graphical too. I always try to convey some sort of stories through each and every character or Illustration I make I like to play with various shapes and silhouettes and usually keep things simple. The character design process is, in a way, a combination of different things. I ask myself ‘Who am I drawing?’ What is his/her personality?’ I look at the work of influential artist sometimes to get some ideas or even start from a drawing I like and translate it into my style. Then, trying to forget those influences, I often start from scratch with a basic shape such as the face as it determines the rest of the character for me, then the body (this can be a circle, oval or even a pear shape – it all depends on the personality of the character I want to draw)

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Battle of the Beasts. UFC 223 fan poster for the main fight between Ferguson and Khabib.
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Inked! Personal work depicting a tattoo artist working his craft on the devil.
Issue-42-Cover

Published in Issue 42

Every designer wish to be independent and willing to jump into the word of freelance but most of them unaware of the fundamental challenges of the initial phase. So, we dedicated this issue to freelancers and interviewed some established and talented designers to dig deep for the expert advice. Kevin Roodhorst on the other hand, an experienced freelancer from Amsterdam, has recently shifted to be a full-timer with an Agency says “Freelancing is not all roses!” and shared the best way to survive as a freelancer! So, whether you are a freelancer or planning to be one, this issue is a must-read. Go ahead and order your copy here or subscribe to not miss any future issues!

 

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