Illustrate Emotions with the Magic of Lines

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Freelance illustrator, Pratima Unde, takes us on a journey of depicting human emotions on canvas. She thereby describes and provides insight on how it requires one to dive into the depths of the subject’s personality, so as to be able to aptly and accurately represent it.


CG. What fascinates you most about human expressions that you seem to choose them as your prime subjects?

PU. Even if you don’t know an individual personally, you can decipher a lot about that person just by looking at his or her face. Every day in our lives, we see hundreds of faces; each person wears a mask. But, if we get out of our own little selfish world and look carefully, the mask will disappear, and we’ll see a range of emotions on the person’s face – right from pain to happiness. I like taking off those masks through my illustrations.

The Couple.

CG. What is your main intention that you wish to achieve or convey through your work?

PU. I try to bring out the emotions people go through; ones they subconsciously engage in, and which do not easily or readily show on their faces and in their expressions. The subjects I approach are very shy and prefer to keep everything to themselves, much like a secret or personal indulgence. I speak for them through my illustrations, bringing out what lays unsaid or unexpressed.


CG. What are the most challenging aspects of portraying human emotions?

PU. People go through umpteen numbers of emotions, not only through the course of the whole day but also at single points of time. To select the one emotion that dominates or overshadows the others is a little tricky. I sometimes spend days observing the subjects, before I start to illustrate. It requires one to look beneath the surface and gauge at what lies underneath – just like an iceberg. That is the beauty and challenge of it – or, you can say, the beauty lies in the challenge.

The Couple.

CG. How do you achieve representing your subjects wholly on the canvas?

PU. I usually sit face-to-face with my subjects and spend days with them. There’s always something new that I see in them each and every day – it’s like diving into the depth of the sea, inching deeper and deeper. A wrinkle, tear or smile can say a lot. So, I usually start with a rough sketch, using different mediums. I then keep making changes, until I’m completely confident and satisfied with what I’ve manifested on the canvas, is a true representation of the person.


CG. What is the idea behind the textures you choose in your illustrations?

PU. ‘Giggling’ is the technique I use to highlight the facial expressions. I start with a simple dot that turns into a line which never ends. By going in a circular motion, I never actually realise where the line started, and where it ended. This style helps me provide a great amount of detailing to the illustration. It also helps me go in-depth to bring out their personalities precisely.

The Villager.

CG. What do you enjoy most, in your work process?

PU. The final result is what I enjoy most about my work! I love it when people understand and relate or connect to my work. Conveying a lot about a person just through a glance is what I want to achieve through all my illustrations. When that happens, I feel happiness.


CG. What would be your advice to others who wish to involve in a similar style of work as yours?

PU. Don’t try to emulate someone else, but choose a style that is solely yours, instead. That way, the work you create through it will be your personal best and most satisfying. Only you can create and execute your own trademark style. Trust me!

Joyous Rajasthani.

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. Neha Tulisan, the founder of NH1 design, highlights to understand how we Indians live; how we grew up; and what moves us emotionally. Whereas Mira Malhotra, founder of Studio Khol, emphasises on the difference of Western and Indian Sensibilities. Also, we support keeping ourselves connected with Indian cultures, languages, history, aspirations and more, will help find the Indian context in everything we create. 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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Creative Gaga - Issue 55


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We are a bunch of enthusiastic creatives, designers and writers, who are committed to bringing forth the hidden Indian Design talent with an unbiased and unique approach to design.