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Keya Mahata is an Indian artist trained in various forms of applied art. She specialises in character design and goes through her journey in the gaming industry.

Character Design by Keya Mahata

Keya is an Indian artist who creates unique pieces of art through different mediums. She considers painting to be her purpose, passion and all her pieces of art are indicative of that. The colours that she uses for her paintings feel like a reflection of her colourful soul, inspired by rustic, rural backgrounds.

Character Design by Keya Mahata

She began her journey into art at the tender age of 12, and her brother was the first to notice her talent and skill set. He pushed her to explore her creative side, while she enrolled in a fine arts college where she goes on to discover multiple facets of her passion. Having graduated in applied art, she explored drawing, oil colour, and digital painting, while also beginning to work in gaming as a concept artist. She herself is inspired by the paintings of Karla Ortiz, Jason Seilor, and Tianhua Xuz, where she looks up to the fine quality of work that they provide.

Character Design by Keya Mahata

She has worked on interesting projects for Zynga Games, Aristocrat Games, Googi Games, Dragon War Games, and Ubisoft Games. She feels more inclined to character designing where she feels that she can give a lot of texture and style to her work. Being fluent in realistic, semi-realistic, and cartoon styles, her defining factor is her working style. Her process involves the creation of a mood board first, and then she slowly moves on to exploring the basic shapes of drawing and then working out the colours.

Character Design by Keya Mahata

She gives a lot of detail into the character design while looking out for the story, creating new styles, and adding more intricate work. Caricatures focus mostly on a character’s facial expressions, but with the whole design, the thinking of the designer changes. “Relatability is an important factor”, says Keya as she puts a lot of her skill in designing and colouring a character. She aspires for more and more people to relate to it.

On current trends, she feels that art is art first. One should look to explore their creativity with their art, practice, and hone their skills. Using softwares like Photoshop comes next, even though the digital world is changing so rapidly. She urges people to get the “art part” right, and you can achieve the outcome easily by using any of the zillion updating available tools.

Character Design by Keya Mahata
CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 55

 

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Changing jobs and switching fields never let Zigor Samaniego’s love for art die. It instead inspired him and gave him the strength to follow his passion and go ahead with what he really wanted to pursue in his life.

Being successful and achieving what he has today has not been an easy ride for Zigor Samaniego. Experienced much, from having tasted editing of videos in a post-production company and working in the stream of info architecture to designing websites and being employed by a video game company, Zigor was neither inspired to work nor was happy at heart.

Just be Inspired to Work and Happy at Heart
Just be Inspired to Work and Happy at Heart

He then took to freelancing as an artist and an illustrator which got him illustrating for some of the highly reputed brands like American Express, Nestle, Wired and their likes.

Though some of these opportunities gave him the chance to explore the world of 3D design and drawing, he still wanted his artistic freedom to let his creative mind and thoughts pour out of his imaginative brain in the way he wanted them to.

Inspired

Transforming Imagination to Impressions!

Zigor has always had multiple crazy ideas occupying his mind and conveying the same to his viewers’ works as his biggest motivation and inspiration. For this, he found 3D as the best possible way to express his thoughts and to give life to his imagination.

Though he plots the drawing from his mind, his artwork, from scratch to finish, is entirely digital inspired. Gone are those days when he would use the traditional tools of pen, paper and ink to unleash his creativity.

Inspired

Follow Your Own Style!

Comfortable and confident about his own style of working, he accepts requests and designs characters only which have the possibility to be designed in his way. It is a moment of pride for him when clients, amazed by his portfolio, call to hire him for their work to be delivered in his style. His style is defined by the cute appearance of his characters, merged with a slight amount of humour and fun, aimed at bringing a smile to the viewer’s face. Sometimes not knowing what to draw works best for him as the ideas develop alongside his doodling.

Nature, a Trigger For Art!

He credits his inspiration, innovativeness and ingenuity partly to nature and partly to his crazy thoughts. A nature-lover and enthusiastic about outdoor activities, he is influenced by the things he sees around him and sometimes draws inspirations for his characters and art work while trekking up a mountain.

Tips From the Master!

Enlightening the young ones with certain tips and tricks, he emphasises on the fact that having ones’ own style is a very important thing. In addition to this, the quality of the portfolio plays a very crucial and significant role in a creative’s life.

It is essential that the artist should remain faithful to his tastes and be very careful with the toxic customers wanting to change their style.

Inspired

Published in Issue 43

With the changing weather comes the season of Interns, with fresh new energy everywhere and your talented creatives wanting to test their skills and knowledge in the real world of live creative briefs and super creative professional environment.
This issue is a must-read for internees and fresh talents. Go ahead and order your copy here or subscribe to not miss any future issues!

 

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Creative Gaga - Issue 55

 

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For an artwork to be complete in an emotional and outstanding manner, characters and stories contribute as inevitable components. Danny Jose is a staunch follower of this theory, clearly evident in all his works.

Character-Story-DannyJose
Character-Story-DannyJose
Character-Story-DannyJose
Character-Story-DannyJose
Illustrations for Canvs Club

An engineer by profession but an artist and designer at heart, Danny has sketched for his entire life! The Internet and the online community of artists worked as a medium for him to polish his skills and gain confidence to step into the real world.

Character-Story-DannyJose
Daaham, Malayali’s life
Character-Story-DannyJose
Naadodi, Malayali’s life

His journey began by illustrating medical procedures and scientific drawings for a journal. Alongside, he developed a taste for fine cinema only to realise that his illustrations had a major missing factor, stories. Once he incorporated these stories in his work, then came in his big break of being hired as a story-board artist.

Character-Story-DannyJose
Illustration for Dunzo.in
Character-Story-DannyJose
Monkey Business

Constructing scenes and shots like in cinema and incorporating stories in them, Danny prefers to have characters in all his illustrations as they bring forth the emotional aspect of the scenario.

Character-Story-DannyJose
Illustrations for Sasken Technologies for their annual report
Character-Story-DannyJose
Monkey Business

His personal projects serve as a platform for him to express his own design-style and storytelling. He very gracefully, transformed his explorations of shapes and poses into monkeys from different walks of life, defining his genre of art and style.

Illustration for Sasken Technologies for their annual report
Characters-DannyJose-Feature-Creative-Gaga
Monkey Business

With his clients reaching out to him for his way of art and story-telling, he uses this strength to his advantage to move forward. Believing in the core principles of mutual understanding, trust and respect in collaborative work, Danny is still on the hunt for his ‘A’ team to expand his work profile.

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Monkey Business
Characters-DannyJose-Feature-Creative-Gaga
Monkey Business
Issue 44 - Creative Gaga

Published in Issue 44

Who doesn’t want to become famous, when everyone knows your name and especially for us designer, it is the basic dream every design student or young artist dream. But behind every successful studio, artist or designer there are stories of challenges, struggles and their unique solutions to these. With this issue, we interviewed many well-known names from the creative industry and found their different learnings and experiences behind making their own self as a brand. So, if you are looking to establish yourself as a brand in the creative market or already in the process of it, this issue is a must-read. Full of insights and inspirations from the best of the talents, this issue is waiting to reach your desks.

 

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CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 55

 

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Characters – you’ll find them in comics, storybooks and fairytales as manifestations of imagination. Beyond that, elements like anatomy, expressions and plot are key in making a character appear realistic and relatable, believes character designer Aditya Chari. He explains the realistic principles one must incorporate while creating a character.

Kali. Illustration for a gaming concept. Depicts a negative character.

The Story Catalyses a Character

It’s important to know the story before giving shape to a character. After all, the purpose of every character is to tell a story. The story is built around their strengths and limitations. The props help them overcome their limitation and move the story forward. Next, figure out the role of the character in the story and layer your vision on top of it.

Tamohara. Displays how the character can narrate the story when placed in the right setting.

When you get content describing a character, you actually narrow down the choices and attain a more focused approach. This makes it easier to plan your character. However, when you work on your own conceptual art, there is no fixed direction. And you have to take the idea in your mind and put it down as a building block for the design. After that, let your intuition take over.

Character Design

It’s All in The Face

Facial expressions are most important when it comes to character designing. The eyes best convey the expressions, especially when in a close-up. The hands and the spine dictate the posture of the body, magnifying the emotion you try to convey through the facial expression. The expression is a window into the character’s mindset. Therefore, if you want people to relate and accept your characters, you need to design them to be expressive.

Character Design
Devi. The soft curves, posture and the facial expression keeps the feminine essence intact.
Character Design
Zoravar. The massive overgrown character has exaggeration that in no way disrupts the rules of anatomy.

Exaggerate What Anatomy Allows

When you are trying to draw from life or memory, your knowledge of anatomy is your main tool. You learn to look out for the landmarks on the body which help you put down your figure faster. Moreover, it helps you foreshorten the figure and also dress it up where the underlying body is not visible. Anatomy helps you understand mobility and the function of muscles. Muscles look different when they are relaxed and when they are contracted.

Character Design
Devi Comic. A very determined facial expression lends it the power that muscle lends to man.

Exaggeration is just an adaptation of muscle and bone structure to the characteristics of the concept you wish to develop. This depends on what you expect the character to do when playing its role in the story. Characters like Popeye with huge forearms, Hulk with massive overgrown muscles or disfigured creatures from visual effects films, all fit into the same skeletal and musculature structure.

Sea Creature. Irregular and bizarre. Follows the anatomy of sea life like the fins, the flippers and the claws.

Know the Difference Between Muscle and Mental Strength

While working with characters that are either male or female, it’s important to be aware of the differences between the two. Apart from the obvious physical differences, you need to bring forth the emotional difference too. Imagine combining the physical frailty of a woman with a very determined look when facing a larger than life scenario.

Gorg. Complex, surreal and mechanical creature. Manages to get living feel because of its fierce facial expression.

You have to make her look strong but at the same time maintain her feminine side. It’s about her mental strength. On the contrary, a male character would be more about robust physical posing and an exaggerated angry expression with throbbing veins and a muscular built. Even the design of clothing has a different approach for each type just as in real life.

Snake Woman. Body postures and facial expressions bring out the character’s personality.
Character Design
Character Sketch. Reveals many characters need props to help them overcome their limitation.

Published in Issue 14

We dedicated this issue to Digital Art where we explored the connection between our dreams and imagination and how the flexibility of technology can be used to document that. In his exclusive article, Android Jones explains the broader perspective of digital art. Featuring Ankur Singh Patar, Aditya Chari, Archan Nair Harshvardhan Kadam and Aamina Shazi Arora, every article discusses how each of them has an individual way of working and yet they all look at life beyond the obvious to appreciate it’s beauty.

 

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CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 55

 

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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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CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 55

 

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It’s interesting how all of us grow up with individual memories and experiences. It’s fascinating how transforming these memories to stories can create opportunities of telling unique tales that can emotionally connect to a universal audience. Animation filmmaker Balasubramanian explores his own memories and maps them to create engaging visuals and films.

Engaging
KING SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. As the ruler
Engaging
MYSTERIOUS SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. In his mystic world

Everybody is Somebody

All of us grow up in a certain environment, surrounded by visuals, which are unique in their own right. For an artist and storyteller, it’s imperative to go back to these memories to find figment of characters and stories. Everyone’s upbringing defines the visuals, mood, emotion, choice of colour, lighting etc. that one works with. One should be aware of it. After all, it’s always an emotional turmoil and an urge to communicate that makes one a creator. Be true to these feelings and you’ll end up creating engaging stories that will connect and speak to the audience.

Engaging
RELIGIOUS SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. Performing a tantric ritual

The Story is the Key

The process of narration can begin with a story, or a character, or justa few visuals. Any which way, it all boils down to one core story which is what you are working on. And this depends on a lot of factors. Who are you talking to? Which cultural mindset do they adhere to? What is the lifestyle and belief set they dwell in? And many more such questions that need to be answered before you take it forward. Next up, the story gives way to the elements of the craft – design, look-&-feel, camera angles, colours, lights etc. The key is to keep your story simple. If struck right, it will never fail to hit the audience and move them from within.

Engaging
Ideation for an Illustration
Engaging
WARRIOR SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. The fearless warrior

For Your Eyes Firstly

A film is primarily a visual medium. Therefore, it makes sense to pay extra attention to what you are sketching. The visuals should be appealing enough to keep the audience glued and be attentive to the narration. While the story dictates the visuals, it is usually the choice of colours that define the mood. And to top it, use a careful arrangement of lights to heighten the drama and movement of the frame.

THOUGHTFUL SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. Glimpse of his incredible brain

FIGHTING SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. The magnificent warrior

Normal is Boring

There is no fun in being normal. As filmmakers, our job is to blow up proportions of a character or a story that turns it into dramatic, engaging and moving. Exaggerating characters and elements is, therefore, one of the most prominent tools. Caricaturing is an age-old phenomenon. Therefore, the idea of exaggeration brings with it lots of challenges and opportunities at the same time.

POWERFUL SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. Displaying supernatural power
FURIOUS SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. The indestructible force

Hold on to Your Thought

There are umpteen visuals, sounds and incidents happening around you that hold seeds of stories. Keep your eyes, ears and mind open and grasp everything that you can. You never know what is going to strike you, when and where. And once you have got the thought, hold on to it. Spend time with that streak of an idea and develop it into something that becomes a part of yourself, in a true and honest manner. That’s how you become a storyteller that’s uniquely you. Hit upon an idea, form a story and then leave it to your instincts to do the rest.

RIDING SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. On an incredible journey

Published in Issue 13

Coming from a country of stories and storytellers, Indian animation professionals are sitting on a gold reserve. Yet, we are miles behind the Western world. We spoke to few leading names to find out the reason and understand the Indian animator’s sensibilities and practices The house unanimously opined that we need to develop more original ideas and also create exclusive stories for animation, rather than going the other way round…

 

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Creative Gaga - Issue 55