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Satish Gangaiah, a successful independent freelance illustrator and designer, teaches us a few tips and tricks of working in the creative field.

Illustration by Freelance Illustrator Satish Gangaiah
Illustration by Freelance Illustrator Satish Gangaiah
Sticker Design for Facebook
Illustration by Freelance Illustrator Satish Gangaiah
Sticker Design for Facebook
Illustration by Freelance Illustrator Satish Gangaiah
Sticker Design for Facebook

CG. What was the inspiration for you to take up illustration as a career (freelance illustrator)?

Satish. During my childhood, I occupied most of my time by drawing. My fascination for drawing has evolved through time. My inspirations have mostly been from the urban context or pop culture. Later during my career, I was exposed to art from across the globe. This pushed me to further explore and understand international design trends.

Illustration by Freelance Illustrator Satish Gangaiah
Raitha - Landing Screen illustration
Illustration by Freelance Illustrator Satish Gangaiah
Hooghly River

CG. Your artworks depict caricatures. Is that your style in general or do you use it for specific pieces of art? Are there any other styles also that you like to try out or that you follow?

Satish. My style is not exactly caricatured, instead it reflects a sense of lightness and is aimed at easy communication. Stylisations often convey the message far better than realistic depictions. As an artist, I believe in being versatile in style and content. It is important to mould your work based on the requirement.

Illustration by Freelance Illustrator Satish Gangaiah
Life with pets
Illustration by Freelance Illustrator Satish Gangaiah
Diwali Greetings

CG. Your artworks have a lot of Indian touch to them but projected in a very contemporise manner. Could you please tell us a little about this style?

Satish. I take great care to ensure that the style I create connects with the audience. The artworks of this particular style are based on the Indian context and are intended to give a local feel. They carry my lived experience, my influences and my inspirations. The added contemporary feel helps them resonate with the times we live in. They reflect the trends and sensibilities of today’s culture and society.

Illustration by Freelance Illustrator Satish Gangaiah
Herbs to Home Poster

CG. Your profile showcases an animated version of reality through your work. Is it a concept, scheme that you follow?

Satish. Most of my work draws from my experiences and attempts at thinking out of the box. They all have a common thread that reflects different fragments of my identity. Most of my personal artworks are inspired by things around me.

Tik Tok lady, personal artwork

CG. What are the messages that you aim at bringing across through your artwork?

Satish. One common message is that of joy. I am neutral as far as identity politics goes. Instead, I create my characters in a utopian realm of happiness. My artworks are also a tribute to the things that have shaped and inspired me. My messages are simple, minimal and relevant to us all.

Welcome to the world of corporate culture, personal artwork
Republic Day Tableau, personal artwork

CG. Could you give an insight into your design process, from the beginning till the end to get the desired output?

Satish. I always begin with a systematic understanding of the requirement or the subject. The next step is research; it is vital as it helps me explore multiple possibilities in representation as well as making the delivery of content more efficient. It also gives a good foundation on to base their concepts and ideas. After that, I start compiling mood boards and inspirations for the ideas. I also start making key sketches in tandem. This helps me keep the idea fresh and innovative. I believe by giving this amount of time prior to making an artwork always adds value to it. The next process is all about developing the idea into an artwork.

Chronicles Over Coffee

CG. In brief, what has your journey been like being a freelance illustrator?

Satish. My journey has had its ups and downs, in spite of that, I have enjoyed it so far. Experience has taught me that the more planned and well managed the process is, the more sustainable and easy the journey becomes.

Swayamvara, personal artwork

CG. Being a freelancer yourself, what would be your words of inspiration and a few tips for all the people wanting to start out a career in the field of illustration in today’s times?

Satish. The advice I can give to those who are starting their career is – always be passionate. Being passionate about your art practice also builds empathy to appreciate good art and design. And always try to create your own identity. Success always follows slowly if you are focused and retain the passion to be creative.

Good Morning

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! 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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Creative Gaga - Issue 55


We all look for it. From a product to a person, quality is what stands out. It’s what is most desirable. “Design without quality is like mathematics without the number zero”, believes Creative Director, Avi Sehmi. And its importance multiplies when you’re starting up a design business. Here, he tells us how quality and other factors contribute to calculated growth of your business and you as a designer.

Reemerge - Digital Art Creativegaga
Shivinity - Digital Art Creativegaga

Achieve Quality And You Can Achieve Anything

For a design business, quality work always comes first and foremost followed by networking events and the word of mouth. To hook a new client, the best way to move forward is to sit with your team and whip together a solution based pitch deck, with a simple and consistent follow-up schedule. The rule is to not push too hard or you will push them off.

King Brach Kaiju - Digital Art Creativegaga
Spuddle - Digital Art Creativegaga

Practice Makes A Master

We’re born with talent within us and inspirations around us. These vary from designer to designer. One may wish to portray an abstract world and the other might want to tell a story through accentuated body language and a surreal setting. But the question is, ‘How do you do it?’.


Well, learning is a step by step journey. It’s a constant dance of finessing the basics’ the composition, the tone, the quality of light, the story etc. From Wacom & Adobe to Autodesk & Pixologic, digital design software and programs is where the magic lies. Master the magic, and there’s no stopping you.


And of course, it’s not just what’s within the measures of your screen but also the giant world around you. Travel. Experience various cultures. Discover different designs and art forms. Whether it’s African tribal art or the Bauhaus of Germany, notice the distinction, notice the similarities.


Remember, your mind makes connections that are unique to you and then you get to integrate that understanding and express that in a way that’s true to you. The process is nowhere near complete as it’s a lifelong mission to patiently work away at your craft.

Mechsplorer - Digital Art Creativegaga
Asia Borg - Digital Art Creativegaga

Every Creative Mind Needs To Be A Technology Mind As Well

The design is solution based and with modern day analytics and AB testing, there are ways to measure engagement and success rates. Keeping up to date with the trends in technology and working on the way you see the world around you is not an option, but absolutely necessary. Art is open to opinion and one will always feel that there are better, worse, stranger, even cooler artists out there. In that space its better to see how others are applying the principles and techniques and apply that understanding on improving the expression of your vision. Remember, it’s not a rat race but a lifelong process. Thinking otherwise will end up exhausting you too soon.

Trod - Digital Art Creativegaga
Puppetite - Digital Art Creativegaga

Never Forget To Work For Yourself Too

Over time, you will realize that it’s not all about you and your ideas but rather about facilitating the thinking of the team, making them work cohesively and passionately, to come to the best solution. That is actual growth. With such growth comes pressure and responsibility; not only to handle a team but to also manage a client. To stay in touch with creativity and innovation, always present an alternate route to the client if you believe it adds value to them. That’s another thing that often times, the client will stay bull headed in the pitch meeting. Some may appreciate the extra mile you walked, some may totally disregard the idea. Hence, it’s always beneficial to have an outlet, like digital painting or music. It keeps you sane and creatively active. That’s your space for unleashing ideas and experimenting.

Turtleopolis - Digital Art Creativegaga
Issue-23- Digital Art Creativegaga

Published in Issue 23

The issue explores a topic which is close to every designer, the Business of Design. We try to understand from the experienced ones that when is the right time to open own studio and what more you should get in your toolbox before taking the plunge! We had interactions with many talented studio founders like Rajesh Dahiya, Archan Nair, Ishan Khosla, Prasun Mazumdar and Anupam Tomer. Also featuring some of the best talents around the world such as Martin Grohs from Germany and Avi Sehmi from Canada, this issue not only provide answers to many questions but also initiate many new ones to explore further! We hope you will enjoy exploring the possibility of your studio with this issue.


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Creative Gaga - Issue 55