Annada Menon
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It is important to be motivated and be inspired as an illustration. Annada N. Menon shares some of the tried and tested way to keep creating and growing.

Illustration is one of the most expressive and experimental modes of design and/or art. As an illustrator myself I find it a medium to not just communicate a story of my own life but of others as well. There are times though that I am not able to do so or worry about how I will stretch my career as an illustrator over the next 30-40 years. If you have symptoms of sweaty palms, procrastination, clients who want you to work for exposure syndrome, competition and a shelf full of empty sketchbooks.

First, let me share a few things I did to motivate myself and hope these simple steps hopefully can help.

The most important thing, take it slow. There tends to be a point due to the influence of social media where most artists want to get famous too quickly. And also want to mint money within a month of making the decision to become an illustrator. Well it definitely doesn’t work that way. Mostly reduce their shelf life and the will to learn or experiment with techniques to execute work.

Motivated - Illustration by Annada Menon

So take sometime, every artist makes their mark if the process consists of patience and positivity. If you feel you can’t find your own way, join a studio, learn the tricks from a professional and discover yourself. You can also collaborate with fellow freelance illustrators.

Next, get inspired but don’t copy. I have observed that people tend to feel the need to follow market trends. Never churn your creative juices on something you don’t sympathise or empathise with.

For client work, stand your ground always on providing only original work. If it’s inspired from somebody’s work credit them if you post it on social media. Don’t obtain professional or personal gains through another person’s idea. The art world is chaotic already and you don’t need to throw in a copied work into the mix. The joy of creating something of your own makes your heart swell with joy and helps you move forward always.

Freelance - Annada Menon

This is one of my favorite points also something I am trying myself to achieve is to be versatile. I feel in the market today the biggest element that creates chaos or confusion is an artist wanting to find his/her own style. Finding your own style has its one pro that is you can turn your work into a unique language and you get recognised for it.

The con is it restricts you. One may become too comfortable with it. So indulge yourself in art books, movies etc to inspire yourself and constantly experiment with mediums to create an inventory of content and styles.

Know your worth. This is a climb of time and patience. Being offered too less for a project or nothing at all brings an artist down the most. As a freelancer, this is the most challenging and stressful part to figure out. Don’t shy away from getting help. Ask fellow artists on how to go about charging a client.

The guidance is a great push towards you ultimately landing a project of your choice and exclusive of bargains. Just keep this in mind, materials to execute your work digitally or traditionally have to be bought or maintained. Let’s keep general bills mind as well. Though it is a push towards making money but it’s a basic mode of motivation for any human.

Also, don’t forget to follow artists. I use to be slightly demotivated or envious of successful illustrators. I found a healthy way around this on how to get motivated by their art. My explanation here is purely based on the brilliance of their work and not on how many followers they garner in a month.

Freelance - Annada Menon

First, I look out for their process. How many hours they spend on their work. The materials they use and most importantly how they use it. Always watch videos of artists who inspire you. You tend to get a glimpse of their workspace. They create an environment that complements their nature of work. That is something even I have put to use and developed a small safe haven of my own to work within.

Finally, I would like to say, just be passionate and bold of what you do for yourself or for others to see. The field of illustration can get intimidating but its not impossible to make a mark. Hopefully these words were encouraging to help someone take a step closer to being original, experiment and practice in those empty dusty sketchbooks stacked away for months 🙂

Motivated - Illustration by Annada Menon

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!


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From the outside, freelancing looks like the dream. It’s only when you walk the path you see that the struggle is real. Annada Menon, a freelance visual artist, opens up about her freelance work and what it takes to keep getting those projects.

Babel Fish. This is the cover art album created for the Shubhangi Joshi Collective.

Unlike most artists, Annada Menon did not have a childhood calling for the field of art. She stumbled upon this realisation much later at the age of 16 through drawing classes. The technique and patience with which her teacher guided her with different mediums helped build Annada’s interest in the field.

Motivated - Illustration by Annada Menon
Blending In, Procreate Art Prize entry.
The Garden Menace. The illustration draws inspiration from the amusing struggle.

Annada’s journey into poster design has been quite unexpected. She tells us that once she approached a café in Pune to keep a pop up stall to sell prints of her work, later she was asked to design posters for events held at the same café. This also gave her chance to explore the possibilities of paid work.

Sofar Bangalore poster design.
Social Media creative for The Finch, Mumbai.

Elaborating on her style, Annada’s explains that 80% of her work is purely imagination. She draws everyday and this helps her create an inventory of forms in her head. Thus, the realism observed in any of her work is a result of this constant study. She takes a lot of inspiration from surrealism, animated movies, comic books and children’s book illustrations. She believes her style is an amalgamation of all this, though she would rather not label her style.

‘B’. 365 Days of Type. This is part of the series that Annada created for the 365 Days of Type.
Freelance - Annada Menon
Ukulele with Luv. Social Media Creative for Manmauji Cafe.

For Annada the most important phase of a project is the draft phase. Here she provides 2-3 options to the client based on the brief and references. Originality is imperative; hence she does her research to ensure her approach is unique. Annada is also very fluid with her design, where she allows herself to scribble continuously for an idea to be born.

Freelance - Annada Menon
Art’tma. An album cover designed for Rachintan Trivedi.
Freelance - Annada Menon
Tail Waggers Meet. Social Media Creative designed for a dog meet at Manmauji Cafe.

While talking about her stint as a freelancer, Annada tells us that she started out as a freelancer in 2017. Then it was simply by word of mouth that projects came her way. Comparatively it’s getting easier for her now. She believes she still has a long way to go, but she doesn’t take a project if the client does not understand her area of expertise. She is also bringing in versatility to her projects, this has made the process of landing a project easier.

Freelance - Annada Menon
A poster designed for a Sofar music event.
Freelance - Annada Menon
Tail Waggers meet 2. A poster designed for a dog meet event at Manmauji Cafe.

Apart from poster design, Annada is also interested in canvas paintings, murals, installations, etc. These are derived from her pure arts background, and she is looking forward to practicing it in the future.

Freelance - Annada Menon
A social media creative for The Finch, Delhi and Mumbai.
Freelance - Annada Menon
Llamas are Floofs. Learning to Draw Animals

Looking into the future, Annada wishes to establish herself as an independent artist. However, she is also looking forward to learning from a senior designer or artist either in a firm or independently.

Freelance - Annada Menon
Annada attempts to convey the message of the importance of natural habitat and thinking of the future generations.
Latest Issue

Published in Issue 49

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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