Being different, standing out from the crowd and shining like a star is what every achiever dreams of, but not everyone achieves it. Jithin Roda has followed certain of his own principles to achieve this milestone of shimmer and brilliance.


A kid who not only loved watching cartoons, but was quite a few steps ahead of his age as Jithin could spend hours thinking and creating his own versions of these cartoons.

Decapod Monsters

Always wanting to do something which interested him, making a career choice came very easily to him. From childhood, with a mindset that constantly worked on creating the non-existent, Jithin decided to take up illustration as his profession as it was a tool for him to speak his mind and communicate with the world in a visual manner.

Creatures II

The Fantasy-land in Making!

A big fan of watching fantasy movies and an avid reader of the same genre of books, these interests transported Jithin’s mind to a parallel world. He has created a series of characters belonging to a fictional and imaginary world, some being inspired by animals of the human world.


With concepts in the making and story-boarding, he has created some of his characters to be related to each other, connected through a story. He hasn’t left it at just generating faces and giving these faces a body, he has also worked intensely on the background of these creatures with an intricate level of detailing in both, the creature and their surroundings.

Hunter and his beast

Sometimes the use of referential images helps him in channelizing his vision into visualizations in the right way, acting as a guiding factor and preventing him from getting lost in his world of imagination.

Decapod Monsters

Digital Impressions!

Using only digital mediums to transform his thoughts into reality, it is quite an investment of time to produce the output he wants. Being a digital creator, he spends a varying amount of time ranging from just ten hours on one piece to a couple of weeks on another piece, depending on what is required of it.


Depending on the need of the artwork, he makes a decision whether to create his character just to be looked at from one angle in a two-dimensional frame or does the character have to be designed with a possibility to be viewed from multiple sides, which then needs to be done in a three-dimensional frame giving the viewer a complete insight into his imaginative thinking.


Out of the Box Methodology!

Sometimes being different and not following the traditional path of portfolio making works out to be more successful than the regular and generic way of going about it. This is true in the case of Jithin and his career. While creating his portfolio, he did not follow the way of making what everyone does, instead he just did what he liked!


His portfolio work, mostly being fictional, never really was a hindrance in his career options. It rather opened up many more doors for him. Not really wanting to work with studios and in-house jobs, being hired or not didn’t deter Jithin from doing what he loved.


With the profile created using his portfolio, he has been able to find numerous freelance jobs as it gives him the freedom to express his creativity the way he wants.


”For the beginners stepping into this world of professionalism and tough competition, he is of the opinion that one should try and improve in every possible way out there”

Big Bug Monster

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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Ever thought of your imagination coming to life, just the way you pictured it? Pankaj Gole, a concept artist and a character designer show how this is possible.

The Creature
The Creature Scary sound
The Creature
The Creature

With the belief that artists are free-spirited souls and the urge of always growing and improving, Pankaj took up everything as a challenge that came his way and started freelancing for wall paintings, tattoos, caricatures, portraits and storyboard developments.

Moon Light Hut, Morning Meditation
Monster Home

Pankaj feels that art without thought is just a decoration. The possibility of giving life to ones’ thoughts and imagination through visual design, empowered Pankaj to become a concept artist and master the art of character design. Pankaj has had a chance of designing characters and mascots for branding, advertisement, board games, 2D animations, video games and books and is currently designing for kids’ games.

Everyday work sometimes irritates people, makes them look nervous or tense. Its like something is missing.
First Kiss

Let’s create a character!

Merging the clients’ brief and his own imagination of the brief, Pankaj starts by visualizing the character in terms of its form, costumes, emotions, personality, attitude, gestures, age, expressions and background. This is followed by rough sketching and modifying it by varying the design styles. He gives importance to proportions as they help in creating visual interest among these imaginary beings. Target audience surely plays a significant role in character designing.

Smelly Cat
Smelly Cat Cuteness

Pankaj explains this process with an example of a character called ‘Creature’. Considering the target audience as kids and young people, he began personifying the character.

What if Obama could be this?
The Gladiator

The Creature is an active and healthy female living in a jungle. She is cute, innocent, emotional and scary looking with cute and expressive rounded blue eyes. The idea was to fuse all the forest elements together and so creature has the body like a turtle, face like a horse & horns resembling tree branches. It was a challenge to make creatures’ character look scary, cute, emotional and innocent all at the same time.

The Warrior
Concept Art

To create the storyline, he does about 6-8 rough sketches per frame to get an idea about the desired environment, composed of characters in different angles and actions and also other supporting elements. He then settles for one sketch, deciding upon the colour scheme, colouring style and lighting source which helps him render the three-dimensional character, keeping in mind the feel of the story.

Merry Christmas
Digital Portrait

Style develops knowledge and knowledge creates a style!

The challenge of coming up with different styles can be overcome by always being on the lookout for new things, ideas and concepts and being curious and experimental to achieve something different and unique. Designing the basic shape keeping in mind the characters proportion, structure, body shape gestures and simplicity makes all the difference. Being true to himself and his profession, Pankaj always creates new characters and never reuses the old ones.


To create his style, Pankaj starts out with the traditional method of pencil sketching as it gives him the freedom of playing with lines, rhythms and basic shapes and then modifies it with the digital mediums as it gives the freedom and possibility to create unbelievable art!

Childhood Dreams
Caricature of Baba Ramdev

Keep pushing forward, the time and efforts put in will lead to success!

Pankaj encourages young enthusiasts to believe in the beauty that lies within and not to compare oneself with others as every artists’ style is unique and different! Being passionate definitely opens up doors and luck syncs’ in automatically.

Chinese Street Food Seller Making Process
Chinese Street Food Seller Table Service
Issue 42

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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A character is incomplete without its costumes, props and environment. Especially if it belongs to the world of fantasy. Therefore, to render a character in totality, one should be very clear of its complete image right from the beginning. Concept artist Milton Das explains creating an artwork of a warrior, complete with its accessories. Here is the step by step process.


Step 1

Started with an empty canvas. As a practice, avoided using white. So filled it with dark blue green. This would be the base colour.


Step 2

Added some rough ground colours. Also, darkened the edges of the frame so that the eye didn’t wander off. Since the composition would have most of its highlight at the centre, didn’t put any other element towards the edge. Blocked in the rough mass of the character.


Step 3

Added a bit of details and a secondary light source below the legs.


Step 4

After a satisfactory pose was struck, started to fill in areas. But avoided rendering every place of the image. One should place points of interest at even places. So that despite the eyes moving off, they would find something interesting to look at and eventually come back to the main focal area.


Step 5

Fixed the overall composition. Also, made the edges of the twin blades pointing backwards which further reduced the chance of the eyes moving elsewhere. Did some colour corrections and added a stronger light coming from below.


Step 6

Added some more elements in the background. Fleshed out the dead monster a bit and added some inscriptions on the sword. Time to render the details.


Step 7

Started with the sword first. It is human nature to look at things the main character is looking at. So added two faces in the lower left corner to balance the large hydra (the 3-headed snake) from taking away viewer’s attention. Noticed that the left hand side of the image felt a bit heavy.


Step 8

Balanced the composition by adding 3 heads on the right. Rendered the lower blade with flames. Also, worked a bit on the armour. Lastly, added a bit of yellow on the parts that got light from the weapon. Made a point to not use burn and dodge tools while drawing the flames lest they went out of control. Used a soft brush to define the glow then did the details with a hard round brush.


Step 9

Rendered the armour and added smaller details. Changed the hair because it was looking a bit too stiff. One would require a lot of patience while detailing this part.


Step 10

Finally, did some colour corrections. Copied the whole image and pasted it in a new layer to apply the effects. One could also use a masked layer to do this. Arrived at the final image.

Published in Issue 16

We always wish we had someone to show us the right way of doing things when we were starting our professional journey. And that’s why we have based this issue on graduates. The cover feature is an ensemble of advice from top names of the industry. We have also showcased few talented fresh graduates from across the country, keeping with the theme. You’ll find Tom J Manning and Pallavi Sen share their international exposure as well as insights behind their unique approach. Also featuring Shreya Shetty, a prominent concept artist, who shares the secret behind the believable characters she creates. She believes, with practice and patience, anyone can be a good artist.


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Concept Artist, Raj Khatri, takes us through his step-by-step fan art progression of his favourite band, Iron Maiden. Starting with the initial sketches in the pages of his college notebook, he transports the sketching into the elaborate stages of adding drips and streaks; highlighting; playing with tones, and such other details, before finally reaching the envisioned representation.

From Sketch To Canvas

What Raj Khatri began as light sketches between the lines of his college notebooks, eventually found expression on the digital canvas. He executed and represented his love for the British band, Iron Maiden, through the application of layering processes; complex colour blocking; shading and blending, and the likes. He elaborates, in detail, each of these steps in detail, thus showcasing what it took to arrive at the final picture.

Step1 Tutorial The Poster of Pure Iron Love - Creative Gaga

Step 1

Started out by scanning copies of original sketches from my college notebooks, done in 2000-2001, proceeding onto digitally cleaning and balancing the black values to get the details and contrast out from the scanned images.

Step2 Tutorial The Poster of Pure Iron Love - Creative Gaga

Step 2

Since Iron Maiden are a British band, composing all of them in the shape of the Union Jack was the base concept, digitally linking the sketches was a primary step.

Step 3 Tutorial The Poster of Pure Iron Love - Creative Gaga

Step 3

Ready for digital painting, the first shading of mid tones were applied onto the top character, likewise isolating the layout into individual characters, before adding the second layer of shading and blending.

Stepa4 Tutorial The Poster of Pure Iron Love - Creative Gaga

Step 4

Shading with dark tones and blending in together, creases and wrinkles were brought into effect, adding the first layer of highlight.

Step 5

Colour blocking was applied to the second character, Eddie from ‘Seventh Son from the Seventh son’, followed by Midtone shading, highlighting and blending for the second character.

Step 6(a) Tutorial The Poster of Pure Iron Love - Creative Gaga
Step6 (b) Tutorial The Poster of Pure Iron Love - Creative Gaga

Step 6

The same process was then executed for the third character, Eddie from ‘Fear of The Dark’, as also for the fourth character, Eddie from ‘Best of the Beast’.

Step7 Tutorial The Poster of Pure Iron Love - Creative Gaga

Step 7

Recomposing all the shaded characters back together, adding a flat colour behind, made it possible to see how the shape was forming or coming together.

Step8 Tutorial The Poster of Pure Iron Love - Creative Gaga

Step 8

Proceeded onto colouring the characters using the gradient map, then drawing the basic shapes and streaks for drips on it.

Step9 Tutorial The Poster of Pure Iron Love - Creative Gaga

Step 9

Toning the dark values of red, and balancing the overall colour spectrum of the layout, before painting the details of shadows and highlights on the drips, finally adding the round edged border to the layout.

Step 10

Added more details to the drips, also placing the painted logo of the band in the center.

Step11 Tutorial The Poster of Pure Iron Love - Creative Gaga

Step 11

Adding additional drips and more details to them; adding shadow to the logo. Applied a layer of flash off-whitish beige colour on top of all layers in the ‘Darken’ mode.

Step12 Tutorial The Poster of Pure Iron Love - Creative Gaga

Step 12

Final colour adjustment, using colour balance and levels to manage the overall contrast and red values. Added sharpness by taking a merged copy of the layout on top of all layers and adding the ‘Sharpen’ filter. Then reducing the capacity to 60-70% as per your taste and finally completing the artwork.

Pitch your Dream Client! - Issue-37 Creative Gaga

Published in Issue 37

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’. 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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Concept Artist Renju MV discusses the process of creating an effective narrative by blending the knowledge of traditional mediums into digital tools and the interplay of line work and colours to convey the unique emotions in a day-to-day story.

Overlooked Day-to-day Story
Mayan Dance
Unexplored Ruins, Buddha

The Right Blend for Desired Results.

Describing emotions in a single frame of time with the help of lines, tones and colours can be extremely stimulating and challenging. Although there are varied digital tools which can be utilised to ease the process of design, injecting one’s knowledge in the traditional forms such as water colours, oils, acrylics and pastels can be a boon in the process. Sometimes mixing up both mediums to produce quality work with an effective narrative can be immensely productive as well With his passion for Fine Arts, Illustrator and designer Renju MV has had a great experience in interspersing the traditional mediums with the digital while working for various industries such as game, film and animation.

Spiritual Enlightenment
Unexplored Ruins, Lord Shiva

Question Everything.

People see and interpret the same situation differently and every person has their own way of looking at things. There is always a story around every corner and it is imperative to question everything around us and interpret the significance and meaning of what it truly means. Art is a wonderful medium to explore and showcase one’s original perspective on the world which might have been overlooked by the mass. Gaining perspective is the only way to break free from herd mentality and stereotypes that are ingrained in the society.

Hide and Seek
Thumbnail sketches for Lord Shiva art work

Observe, Interpret and Deconstruct.

The illustrator believes that observation is elementary; interpretation of the observation and then deconstructing the information is vital in the process of design. While trying to stay emotionally connected to the facts, he then uses his limitless imagination to assemble his project’s reference. This method provides a base and gives a sense to clarity to begin or develop an idea.

Mayan Dance
Ganesh Chaturthi

The Role of Pencil.

An initial comprehensive of early sketches of an idea is essential. These series of quick drawings help the designer to get a visual continuity and refine the sketches in the progression. Fleshing out pages of thumbnail sketches and slowly locking down the final rough is a gradual process that is extremely crucial to understand the different elements in the narrative and how they must be depicted. This later becomes the template for the final art work.

Caravan Series
Ganesh Chaturthi Series

Every Detail is Important.

Capturing the essence of the narrative is of utmost importance when producing the line work, however, the illustration gains its meaning and soul only after it is coloured. Portrayal of emotion and depth in a story is critical to comprehend the mood and appropriate tones and colours highlight it effectively. The designer chooses the colours very carefully to encapsulate the mood and accentuate certain attributes in the story.

Lost Path

Published in Issue 40

We all have favourite TV shows and we passionately discuss the stories and characters of it. But sometimes, we tend to ignore the channel and its branding. Now with many different channels to choose from, we are experiencing many new branding overhauls to grab the audience’s attention. In this issue, we focused on Motion Graphics design and people behind some awesome channel rebrandings. If you are interested in moving design or animated content then this issue is a must-read for you!

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Seerow Unni, a keen animator, takes us through his approach and process. He sheds light on how he arrives at improvising in the course of designing, and why it is so vital to enjoy each and every aspect of the progression.

The core intention is to convey the message.

For that, it is essential that one enjoys each and every moment of the process of creation, no matter how small or big the work. For example, rather than just as a simple image or illustration, one may perceive everything as a scene, like in a movie. This leads to adding details, emotions, fun and more to a scene. Similarly, when we get it right, fun or wit and humor are the easiest ways to make people fall in love with what we create. Improvisation, likewise, is a part and parcel of the experience. From the very beginning, one may sustain the habit of keeping a close eye on the developments that are happening in the world of creative designing. For instance, I had started with the traditional canvas and then with time, shift to the digital medium.

One may continue to keep familiar and updated with the works of renowned digital artists. This automatically teaches to adapt to the needs of the changing times.

Diversity is a boon in the form of a challenge.

Dealing with different clients from diverse fields means they all have different requirements. They all demand a new approach, something that’s entirely path-breaking in the making of their animated film. This gives the freedom to keep the entire setting as well as characters so different from previous work. One must look at this as an opportunity instead of as a challenge and, no matter how big or small the work is, enjoy it to the fullest. Even if you are good in it, keep practicing and never stop sketching. It is equally important that you follow the famous artists and be updated about the trends and changes in design. There is no shortcut to success; as hard work always pays off in the end.

Changing with the times involves observing the direction.

The trend this year is shifting towards clean and minimal design from the complex, elaborated ones. Flat designs are going to be in the limelight. The idea is to keep things simple and minimal. In fact, minimalism is probably going to be a huge trend this year, not just in design, but in all walks of life. The challenge to come up with new ideas would be of galactic proportion. But simplicity is the way to go forth, and it has got a lot of untapped potentials. We will be able to see these elements everywhere from movie titles to logos and other mediums. As far as perception goes, our audiences have always been game for positive changes. They will embrace the change with open arms.

Published in Issue 41

Every year brings many opportunities and hopes along with celebrations. For this issue, we reached many visual artists and designers to know their expectations from the year 2018. This issue’s cover designer, Shreya Gulati is exceptionally impressed by the advancement of technology in design, especially how VR & AR has impacted new ways of creating. Honing and sharpening one’s skills is always a quest for every creative. So, whether you have many or none expectations for the year, 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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Concept & visual artist from Mumbai, Medha Srivastava takes us through what really motivates her work and depictions. Likewise, she introduces us to the process by which she executes what she wants to convey onto the canvas, merging realism with animation.

What makes you merge realism with animated effects across your works, and in what way does it contribute to your style?

Medha Srivastava: I express myself better through art and, so, when I feel deeply touched by a social issue, it begins to manifest thoughts into my head and gradually bring to life an artistic representation. Being a keen observer, I also tend to pay attention to details in my surrounding vicinity and that helps me pick up on textures, shapes, colours and the likes that I see every day.

What are the tools that you apply to bring about this merger, and how do they help to execute that effect?

Medha Srivastava: It usually begins with doodling variations of my thoughts onto paper, before going onto the final piece that is digitally created and developed using Adobe Photoshop integrated with a digital sketchpad (Wacom). Also, it proves to be quite useful to be able to edit, undo or backtrack on certain elements so that I can accommodate changes and adjust details according to what I would want to finished design to look like.

What fascinates you as subjects for your work?

Medha Srivastava: As I have always been fascinated with realism, conceptualisation and ideation. The whole idea of metaphors and thought-provoking depiction of art is something which I am naturally drifted to. Concepts and character building are of primary precedence as they align with my main intent in any artwork of mine.


Also, I have always followed the importance of light and shadow in my artworks too. Social issues, particularly, have always inspired me to create further.

How would you describe your style of work and the perspective behind it?

Medha Srivastava: My style of work is mostly realistic with a hint of stylisation and conceptualisation. The love of putting realism into my artwork eventually helps me to incorporate realistic elements in my paintings. Initially, I started with mere illustrations and slowly got inclined towards the world of concepts.


I think as an artist, I need to keep an open mind as I don’t know where technology, opportunities and my work will take me.

Many things have changed in design, during past few years, and the trends are shifting very rapidly. So, in the new year, what are your predictions for your genre of design?

Medha Srivastava: In my opinion, the digital art will pick up the brisk pace in the year 2018. A decade ago, digital art wasn’t as recognised as traditional art but it is pleasing to see so many artists developing an interest towards it. Additionally, having prior experience as a game artist, I believe that the gaming industry in India is set to blossom in the coming years and there will be extensive opportunities for upcoming artists in our country.

Likewise, what are the changes that you, personally, would like to see in 2018?

Medha Srivastava: I would like to see, in 2018, artists showing emphasis on various other subjects such as fantasy, sci-fi or even self-developed new concepts and ideas.


Another significant trend I would like to witness is that of artists showing dedicated importance to the stages of pre-production which include concept development, character creation, and environment designs.

Published in Issue 41

Every year brings many opportunities and hopes along with celebrations. For this issue, we reached many visual artists and designers to know their expectations from the year 2018. This issue’s cover designer, Shreya Gulati is exceptionally impressed by the advancement of technology in design, especially how VR & AR has impacted new ways of creating.

Honing and sharpening one’s skills is always a quest for every creative. So, whether you have many or none expectations for the year, this issue is a must-read.


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Concept and 3D artist Bhaskar Rac, who’s been working extensively in character development, 3D sculpting and the likes, expresses how one can come up with and hone one’s own style, without needing to follow popular fads or trends.

Create Your Style
Create Your Style
The legend of Anarchy
Create Your Style

Refreshing ideas is the intention.

The idea is the starting point; its nature, relevance, and quality come into play even before the stage of executing it through the medium. The intention is to bring freshness into the storytelling or characters.


To entertain people is quite a tricky task, and you have to have a fresh mindset to playfully bring something new to the table every time.

Create Your Style
Create Your Style
The Maharaja
Create Your Style
The Gift

So, it’s always recommended to not just stick to any one style or idea for too long, as its magic starts to fade away after being over-repetitive.


The solution, thereby, is to not categorise oneself with a style or medium. When it comes to the major approach, it simply about has preliminary sketches from the brief, and collecting all the related references, structuring, line drawings and then rendering.

Create Your Style
One last bullet
Create Your Style
Create Your Style
Wicked Wazir

Striking the balance is of the essence.

Without expressions, figures are basically lifeless mannequins. So, it is always better to try and find a balance between simplicity and expressing with colours, feelings, emotions, lines, contours and the likes.


If everything is too saturated and complicated, the illustration starts to crumble. The old and prevalent idea is always to capture the main essence of the subject, and let loose off the other things in the background.

Create Your Style
Splinter Cell
Create Your Style
The Interrogation
Create Your Style
The Royal Guard

Colours, for instance, have their own importance in telling the difference between moods and temperature. At the same time, too many colours can be asking for too much attention, thus feeling overdone and confusing.


It doesn’t matter if one goes by the book, even when it comes to choosing colours if the process of drawing is dedicated to more attention and details. If the contrast or values are handled right, colours may not even be needed; it’s like expressing more with lesser words.

Create Your Style
Create Your Style

Do what matters.

The illusion of giving a good light takes the lion’s share in bringing the overall impact, whether it’s a simple line drawing or fully rendered artwork. Contrast and values are important to bring any photograph or illustration closer to its subject. If this fails, it’s hard to bring out what’s important against what’s in the background.


Depending on the composition, textures, surface material, shape or form of anything we are placing as a subject, there can’t be a simple preset to it. This has to have experimented at various levels.

Create Your Style
Create Your Style

There has to be a streamlined and thorough process to creating anything, else the result might be too chaotic in nature. The refreshing part of this industry, to succeed, no one has to copy others. Draw a lot; learn fundamentals; stay open to new techniques and technology, and keep experimenting.

Create Your Style
The Borrower
Create Your Style
The Rational Exorcist

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. 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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The Mahabharata has been told and depicted in various forms and formats. However, Freelance Illustrator and Concept Artist, Mukesh Singh, never felt satisfied and believed there was more to the story. In Graphic India’s project 18 Days, he illustrates the characters and their stories in a whole new light.

Jayadrath and Duryodhan

CG: Your artwork is a tribute to India’s rich mythology and culture. What gravitated you towards the subject of Mahabharata? As an illustrator, how do you relate to the story and the characters? How is it different from other projects that you’ve worked on?

MS: “Whatever is here is found elsewhere. But what is not here, is nowhere else”. This is the Mahabharata. It is the epic of epics, one that can be told again and again, generation after generation and still ring true. For all of their vain glorious powers, all the warriors, kings and queens are human, susceptible to the species’ frailties. Each character is a story in itself and the epic beautifully traces their lives from birth to eventual death. Read it with an expansive view of the affairs of men and Gods or choose your favourite character and walk with them as they make their way through life. Whoever you are, you will find something in the book to relate to and make of it what you will. At a personal level, compared to other projects, it was different in the sense that while I was already familiar with every major character it was also an opportunity to revisit them. But this time I was not part of the audience. I found myself set loose in a familiar world where I could not just wonder the what ifs, but also act upon my convictions.

The Mahabharata
Enter Man God

CG: Before you could manifest the story in your own style, how did you study the script and understand the storyline? Was it as simple as reading a book, or like a writer? Did you spend some time living in India and soaking in the environment?

MS: I was born in India and have stayed here my entire life. When it comes to Mahabharata, every Indian is familiar with it. I grew up, like most kids do, reading illustrated storybooks based on the epic as well following comic book version published by Amar Chitra Katha. Not just that, my father played a major role by narrating anecdotes from the scripture. This was then followed by television series, that gave 2D character form a 3D appeal. They had become real and have remained so ever since.

The Mahabharata
Markandeya Oracle Entrance

CG: You have given the Mahabharata a twist of your own. How do you describe your style? What was it that you experimented with and changed around? What remained the same?

MS: The modern audience has a keen and sophisticated understanding of the narrative design. They are beneficiaries of an accelerated volution of the storytelling process that started with the invention of the printing press and refined further with each succeeding generation of newer forms of communication mediums. Combine this with their familiarity with modern technology and it isn’t difficult to sell the idea of a hyper advanced civilization of a bygone era that could communicate across vast distances or wield destructive weapons embedded in something as small as an arrow head. I also trust their evolved sense of understanding to familiarize themselves quickly with an unfamiliar cast of characters.

If we shift our gaze from the core USP of Mahabharata, which is of course its multi-layered characters, to its fascinating world of highly evolved technology, it isn’t difficult to envision its larger than life aura. While other interpretations of this timeless epic have done enormous justice to its characters, few, if any, have looked beyond them to its setting, its environment, its grandeur, its scale, its theatre stage where the lives of its players played themselves out. I had remained dissatisfied with earlier visual interpretations of the Mahabharata world. Armed with these inferences, I immersed myself with world building of 18 Days. Some images I had carried for a long time in my head, some suggested themselves based on Grant Morrison’s scripts, the writer of 18 Days. It also helped that I had spent a lot of time with its characters, through the works of others and my own interpretation of their psyche. In 18 Days the characters have remained the same, at least as I see them. Their outwards appearances though have changed. I wanted the audience of today to identify and accept not just the character’s inner selves but their outer ones too, which are external manifestations of their inner selves.

Arjun Invokes War godes

CG: If you look through India’s depiction of the Mahabharata, it appears more colourful and vibrant. Any specific reason why you chose to work with dark shades and hues? What is the overall feeling you wish to create through your designs? 

MS: Impending doom perhaps? For all of their boasts and chest thumping, the characters meet their maker in the end. Some believed that they will survive the war. So they go all out heroic, in their quest to leave their mark on what they know will be an immortal event, this 18-day war. At the end, it was a pyrrhic victory for the Pandavs. Arjun questions the war in the beginning and Yudhistir in the end. What has changed?

Bhem Beserk

CG: This one’s fairly straightforward; how you do manage to make violence look so beautiful? What features and characteristics do you need to balance with to make your artwork come across that way?

MS: Ah! I don’t know how to respond to that. Violence can never be beautiful. If it appears beautiful, it is only during its build-up phase, when primal anticipation overwhelms the senses. The aftermath is always ugly. A mundane analysis suggests few things. Maybe the ornate designs in the drawings coupled with composition choices give it that sense of beauty. It also helps that the art itself isn’t hyper realistic. The line art based style may also have something to do with the pleasing appearance of the images. Or perhaps it is because I knew the inevitable fate of each character. I gave them their moments of glory.

Andhaka -Pimple

CG: No doubt people are smitten by India’s roots in history and culture. So after the Mahabharata, what’s next? In what other ways do you wish to explore Indian culture and mythology?

MS: As of now I am taking a break from stories based on Indian mythology and working on other things. But the intervening hiatus may be good. If I come back, I will hopefully have some new perspective. That is for the future though. We will cross the bridge when we come to it.

Bhem acepts Duryodhan’s challenge

Published in Issue 28

This Illustration Special is best to know why and how illustration as a popular medium is taking the design world by storm! From evolution of illustrations to its place in the world today, renowned designers and illustrators like Abhishek Singh, Mukesh Singh, Archan Nair, Alicia Souza, Raj Khatri with some international talent such as Fil Dunsky from Russia, Iain Macarthur and Richard Field from UK, who live and breathe illustration, would be the right people to gain some insight from. With many more talents to explore with great insights and excellent techniques, again a fully packed issue is waiting to amaze you!


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

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

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

LN. 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 happiness 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.

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?

LN. 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 are 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 changes colour. It’s an ongoing journey, and tremendous fun!

A Flamingo in My Garden. A beautiful diversity of birds of the Indian subcontinent come together in this lovely story. By Deepak Dalal, illustrations by Lavanya Naidu.

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

LN. 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. By Deepak Dalal, illustrations by Lavanya Naidu.
The Dark Glen. Cover art for Tinkle Comics. What started off as a cover, soon turned into a comic inside as well!

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?

LN. We live in an age where there is 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.
Lulu and Jazz Sticker set for Google Allo. Sticker pack for Google’s new messaging service. Project commissioned by 'Anyways London'.

CG. What inspires your style of work?

LN. 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.

To the Future. Personal art dedicated to my best friend and our enormous love for dogs.
CreativeGaga.com 27 Issue 37 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.

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