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Encouraging us to make the best out the situation, Febin Raj cheers us to turn our obstacles into opportunities as the world fights this deadly pandemic.

Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
What inspired you to take up art as your profession?

Febin. I loved drawing even as a child, and it has only grown stronger over the years. Hence, when it came to choosing a profession, there was no second choice. I consider myself blessed to be living my passion and making a career out of it.

Pandemic - Febin raj
Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
Though your art journey began in watercolours, your current works are extensively digital. What is it about digital painting that draws you to it?

Febin. It is necessary to stay updated in this fast-paced world. Digital art provides us with a wide range of opportunities to challenge ourselves and explore new dimensions of art, while also making our work a lot easier compared to conventional methods. But nothing can replace the satisfaction of painting with watercolours on a piece of paper.

Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
Your current digital artworks possess a specific style and geometric flair. Kindly share the artistic process with us.

Febin. My style has evolved over the years, and it is not done consciously or with any plan. I execute my ideas rather spontaneously and draw inspiration from what I see around me.

Q.
Your art pieces seem to possess a strict colour palette. How do you select the colour scheme for each piece?

Febin. My works are inspired by nature, and hence, the colours are a reflection of what we can observe around us. The colour palette goes in sync with the intricate hues of nature, and I try my best to do justice to this beautiful swirl of colours around us and keep my works natural.

Pandemic - Febin raj
Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
Your artworks reflect your love for travel and nature. How did this pandemic challenge your creativity and artwork, especially since we were required to stay at home?

Febin. This pandemic did not challenge my creativity. I tried to see this as an opportunity to explore my limitations and push my boundaries. It is indeed true that we were all confined within the four walls, but our creativity and ideas were never confined. Even with these limited resources, I tried to bring out the best in me.

Q.
What are the effects of the pandemic on the art industry? Were there any unexpected hurdles?

Febin. The art industry, just as all the other industries, faced certain setbacks due to this pandemic, but it is slowly picking up the pace. If we convert every hurdle we face into an opportunity, I’m sure we’ll thrive. That is what I’m trying to do right now.

Q.
Freelancers are some of the most affected by this pandemic. What is the market like for freelancers now?

Febin. Just as in all the other professions, freelancers have faced some difficulties too. The market is not as commendable at this point in time, but the situation is undoubtedly improving. Personally, the pandemic has only brought new opportunities and fabulous projects for me.

Pandemic - Febin raj
Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
How are the art agencies and studios coping with the pandemic? How are they supporting the freelancers through this crisis?

Febin. Art agencies and studios are indeed going through a difficult situation due to this crisis, but I believe that they are extending every possible support to freelancers. During the pandemic, I got the chance to collaborate with a few international studios.

Q.
When ‘Work From Home’ is the new norm, do you see any long-term changes in the way freelancers work?

Febin. The profession of freelancing, as we see it today, has evolved over the years. Any and every change is gradual. Hence, it is tough to predict how the concept of freelancing would be perceived in the future. But as of now, freelancing is linked to freedom and that would remain the same, regardless of any change.

Pandemic - Febin raj
Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
Has the working style of art agencies and studios changed? Do you think this change will last post-pandemic?

Febin. The working style has definitely changed into a whole new dimension since the resources are limited. This pandemic proved to us that whatever the situation may be, there is always a way out. Perhaps some of the positive aspects of this new working style might stick with us post-pandemic.

Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
Would you like to say a few words to your fellow artists and freelance who are fighting their way through this pandemic?

Febin. Make every obstacle your opportunity. Remember that these struggles, this crisis is not here to stay; this too shall pass. So, make the best out of the time you’ve been given, as creativity knows no bounds.

Pandemic - Febin raj

Published in Issue 51

TBusiness, studios, agencies, freelancer all have different perspectives to handle the pandemic and hurdle it brings. While some find pandemic an obstacle which will soon fade away and on the other hand, few saw opportunities in the same. Many creatives used the past few months to reflect on their styles and horn their art. Many utilized it for collaboration opportunities with national and international creatives. This issue is a must-read if you are looking for insights, inspirations and ways to bounce back in this unlocking phase.

 

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The real world is rich in experiences. But the one created by our imagination has greater possibilities. Inspired by the latter, Ishan Trivedi lets his brush loose when he goes on a fantasy drive to create captivating and surprising works.

At times, things that don’t exist inspire you the most.

Artists inspired by fantasy usually create a world of their own through their work. It is like the window to the soul and mind. If one wants to create realistic art then photography is the best manifestation of the real world. But beauty lies in showing people what they have never seen before, or rather something they have never even imagined.

Imagination
A pop-up book of adbenture of Hindu's blue God Krishna

Imagination
A pop-up book of adbenture of Hindu's blue God Krishna

It’s about crossing the horizons of imagination each time to discover something untouched and unseen. Artists are lucky today, in that, they don’t belong to the Renaissance, Realism, Romanticism or Classicism era. Now is the era of experimentation.

Ganesha and Mooshak



Ganesha and Mooshak

Imagination has no rules.

Ever wonder why most of us are amazed at a child’s imagination? That’s because it is unrestricted and free, because it follows no rules. In other words, it doesn’t go through a reality check. Same works for a true artist. Because imagination takes you where no one has gone before, it is a strong base that an artist can use to take his work beyond the ordinary.

Imagination
Imagination

Imagination has no rules.

Ever wonder why most of us are amazed at a child’s imagination? That’s because it is unrestricted and free, because it follows no rules. In other words, it doesn’t go through a reality check. Same works for a true artist. Because imagination takes you where no one has gone before, it is a strong base that an artist can use to take his work beyond the ordinary.

Imagination
Imagination


Imagination
Raja & Maharaja's Character Designs

Imagination is something very personal and one can’t design according to the point of view of the audience. Successful art works the other way around. The art must be such that it gives the audience a totally new perspective.

Illustration for a book about Krishna from Scholastic

Illustration for a book about Krishna from Scholastic

Illustration for a book about Krishna from Scholastic

Where there is a character, there is a story.

When you imagine a character, you imagine it in a particular setting and context. Knowing the concept is important as it brings out the right characterisation. How else will you know who is the villain or the hero? Hence, story and character are never mutually exclusive; they are both present to complete each other .

Nimboda (A Magical Tale of India) - A Picture Book

Imagination
Happy New Year 2020

Colours have a language of their own.

We may not realize it too often, but colours have been communicating with us for a long time. The ‘Tiranga’, for example, where each colour stands for something to make the flag meaningful. Colours have natural associations and psychological symbolism. The fact is that people feel comfortable when colours remind them of similar things. Like a shade of blue triggers associations with the sky and a psychological sense of calm and tranquility.

Illustration for 'The Enchanted Prince'



Illustration for 'The Enchanted Prince'

Owing to such importance that colours have for people, successful design requires an awareness of how and why colours communicate meanings. The point is, colours have acquired the ability to define any mood or contrast. Hence, a good sense of colour is important because it helps to define art physically in terms of shade, saturation, hue, tint etc. by giving it a deeper setting.

Illustration for 'The Enchanted Prince'

Light defines form and texture.

Otherwise, how do we know the difference between metal and glass? That’s why, lighting and shading is an important tool for artists to give definition to objects and bring the differences out. Sometimes, the colours of light and shade help create an illusion too. Such a treatment also gives an overall mystical appeal to the work, making it look dreamy and fantasy-like.

Illustration for 'The Enchanted Prince'

Beauty is the best experience for the senses.

No doubt, an idea is very important for making any painting, sculpture or illustration. However, aesthetics is also as important. Because it is the perfect kind of knowledge that senses can experience. It is what people first take notice of. In order to captivate the audience, an artist must beautifully present its final work. For that, an artist must ensure a lot many things. There must be a sense of balance, keeping in mind the proportions, colour combinations and arrangement of elements that give art its final aesthetic appeal.

Imagination

Published in Issue 05

With some of the best illustrators to political cartoonists, this issue covered independent Indian Design language.

 


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The enchanting portraits of Anna Dittmann evoke different emotions. It is a right blend of real emotions showcased in a dreamy, whimsical setting using delicate detailing with natural elements. Here, she gives us an insight into her creative process and discusses how one’s passion can be moulded to create striking designs.

Enchanting Natural Portraits
Oil

Enchanting Natural Portraits
Chalice

CG: Your illustrations are mystical portraits with delicate detailing which is heavily influenced by natural elements. What fascinates you to utilise these elements in your illustrations?

AD: I love the beauty and unpredictability of nature – it perfectly complements the human face. Most of my work consists of portraits because I enjoy depicting characters and emotions. I often draw inspiration from movement and organic shapes by fusing abstract natural elements. Environment evokes a sense of mystery which is very appealing. Therefore, I tend to create soft pieces with a combination of graphics and realistic elements.

Enchanting Natural Portraits
Spore

Enchanting Natural Portraits
Ink



CG: As a digital artist, what aspects of the tool attract you the most? Do you like to work in the traditional mediums as well?

AD: Digital art gives you the freedom to make as many studies/mistakes/finished pieces without wasting materials. When it comes to working with traditional mediums, I have recently enjoyed using pastels, watercolours, and oils for personal studies and I try to incorporate the textures of these to bring a spontaneous effect in my art created digitally too.

Enchanting Natural Portraits
Petal

Enchanting Natural Portraits
Camouflage

CG: What are the key points that you take into consideration when developing an idea into a design?

AD: With the portrait as the central aspect of my work, rendering and detailing facial features is the key. I love observing unique features and painting beauty that might not be traditional, but still striking. Through my art, I hope to inspire a sense of otherworldly beauty and mystery. The balance of a realistic figure within decorative surroundings is an aesthetic that I love and often try to apply to my work.

Enchanting Natural Portraits
Myriad

Enchanting Natural Portraits
Orb

CG: Your portraits illustrations are realistic and evoke emotions. How do you manage to do so? Are there any specific tools/ elements that you incorporate?

AD: Many of my portraits deal with liberation, release, and the search for a dream state. Perhaps because that’s what art is to me. Painting is therapeutic. I create my works digitally using Adobe Photoshop CS6 and my trusty Wacom Intuos 3 tablet. Mainly use a chalky brush throughout my process, as well as various watercolour textures that I’ve found and made for a traditional feel. Normally, I start with a vague concept in mind and sketch out my idea in black and white. After tweaking the composition, values, and being generally nitpicky, I start seeking out references and refining my sketch. Next, I start throwing in textures and add colour using layer modes. Toward the end, I detail the piece and call it a day.

Enchanting Natural Portraits
Dawn



Enchanting Natural Portraits
Bauhinia

CG: How has formal education in Art and Design helped your process or creations?

AD: I attended the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia and received my Illustration BFA in 2015. I loved being surrounded by creative people with a similar passion for art, who pushed, taught, and inspired me on a daily basis. I think the greatest benefit was learning more about the business side of illustration through my professors who had practical experience and making connections with other artists. However, I find that art school is really what you make of it and not entirely necessary for an artistic career (aside from those majors that require a degree). In the end, I feel that most growth occurs by the time and effort you’re willing to put in for improvement, as well as being driven by self-initiated projects.

Enchanting Natural Portraits
Tigress

Enchanting Natural Portraits
Duo

CG: How important is a colour palette in design?

AD: Over the years, my style has become more muted and monochromatic. I’m drawn to works that have colour restraints and which emphasises the atmosphere. Muted hues can often lead to greater balance and provide cohesion throughout a piece. There’s a delicate vintage quality that can result in limiting a colour palette. The colours I choose are inspired by flora, fauna (particularly insects), and other artworks. Even though I tend to start in black and white and prefer limited palettes, adding hue is my favourite step. After seeing an inspiring colour scheme, there’s nothing I want to do more than paint.

Enchanting Natural Portraits
The-Forgotten-Tale-of-Larsa

Enchanting Natural Portraits
Felis

CG: What aspect of illustrating excites you the most?

AD: I love everything about art and get very excited about every project I undertake. I love all the emotions that art evokes in me; it could be the rush when something is going well or the frustration of working for hours with no fruitful outcome. It is the thrill when I find beautiful artwork, the overwhelming feeling that turns my frustration into inspiration. I consider myself so lucky that people have given me opportunities to create art both personally and professionally.

Enchanting Natural Portraits
Flood

Enchanting Natural Portraits
Fragment



CG: What is your advice to budding artists?

AD: When you love what you do, the process involved and the experience, it will definitely show in your work! Be disciplined; draw every day even if it is just a little sketch. Introspect and understand the elements that attract you the most and what you personally enjoy creating. By doing so, your own voice will emerge. Look for possibilities and gain an online presence to showcase your work; never stop making lots of wonderful things (whatever that may mean to you).

Enchanting Natural Portraits
Soul Breather

Enchanting Natural Portraits
Beverley

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Highlighting illustration aspects such as lighting and colours, Naveen Selvanathan also dwells on his own personal story as an artist.

Lighting & Colours - Illustration by Naveen Selvananthan

Naveen has made quite a journey as an illustrator since he started out as a professional artist at Sony India. From his early days studying engineering to taking up an animation job post a related course in Chennai to further pursuing a Master’s in Fine Arts in the USA, he has made his way through.

Lighting & Colours - Illustration by Naveen Selvananthan

Today he’s involved in prestigious projects with Dreamworks in LA, California, currently focused on Puss in Boots 2 for the past couple of years.

Lighting & Colours - Illustration by Naveen Selvananthan

CG. Please take us through your early days in art – How did it all begin? How did events progress thereafter and how did you experience them?

Naveen. I was always interested in art as a child but I did not know how to make a living as an artist. So, like all of my friends, I studied engineering. However, by the time I finished my engineering course, I realized that I did not want to work as an engineer and that art was my true passion. So I joined a short animation course in Chennai and managed to get a job as an animator. I worked there for a couple of years before moving to the US to pursue my Master of Fine Arts degree.

Lighting & Colours - Illustration by Naveen Selvananthan

CG. How did you get into DreamWorks Animation and what role did you play there? Please also take us through one or two of your significant projects there.

Naveen. My director for Spiderman into the Spiderverse, Bob Persichetti, invited me to work on his next project, Puss in Boots 2, that he was directing at Dreamworks. That’s how I joined the studio. I have been working there for the past year and a half on the same project.

Lighting & Colours - Illustration by Naveen Selvananthan


CG. How can one get the balance between lighting and colours right, so that they complement each other well?

Naveen. You have to think about lighting and colours in tandem since lighting decides how an object appears in the painting. A red object may appear orange-based or purple-based, depending on whether it is lit by the evening sun or the cool skylight in the shadows. You have to design your lighting based on what you want to convey through your work. A fashion illustration will be lit very differently from a painting of an action sequence, for example. We can learn a lot about light design by studying movies and photography.

Illustration by Naveen Selvanathan

CG. Can you point out some works or artists that represent this balance well?

Naveen. Among traditional artists, I look up to John Singer Sargent, Anders Zorn, Richard Schmid, Jeremy Lipking, Kim English, and Matt Bodges for inspiration.

Lighting & Colours - Illustration by Naveen Selvananthan

CG. Did personally moving to LA show any effect on your work process, results or so? How did it impact you as an illustrator?

Naveen. LA is where the Hollywood animation industry is mostly based. So many of the prominent artists have made it their home. Apart from that, many animation and art conventions take place in LA. Being surrounded by so much talent and having exposure to the industry has definitely improved my work and kept me inspired.

Royal Detective (Disney TV) (Design & Paint)

CG. Please tell us about your time with Disney Interactive Studios – What projects did you work on and what was unique about the work process there?

Naveen. Disney Interactive was a social gaming studio where I worked as an artist doing simple designs for their games. It paid my bills while I attended art workshops in the evenings to improve my portfolio and achieve my true goal of working in feature animation.

Royal Detective (Disney TV) (Design & Paint)

Royal Detective (Disney TV) (Design & Paint)

CG. Is it pressuring to work for big names and projects? How do you handle it?

Naveen. There is more pressure associated with big-name projects as you are surrounded by top talent who produce amazing work. You feel like you have to always be at the top of your game. I handle it by taking it one day at a time and trying to play to my strengths.

Lighting & Colours - Illustration by Naveen Selvananthan

CG. How would you compare two greats such as Dreamworks and Sony, having worked for them both?

Naveen. Sony was the first feature animation studio to give me a chance by hiring me and providing a working visa. So I would forever be grateful to Sony. It was a great learning experience to work on productions there and watch top artists in the industry work. I have to say that the work at Dreamworks is a lot more relaxed because I joined as an experienced artist, not feeling the pressure to prove myself.



CG. Please tell us about your role for Smurfs and elaborate on it from brief to end result.

Naveen. Smurfs was my first feature film. I learned a lot of skills on that project, ranging from painting props and characters to painting locations, as well as lighting and colour keys.

SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE (Paint only)

SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE (Paint only)

SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE (Paint only)

CG. How much of a role do lighting and colours play in your work and what techniques do you use to apply them effectively?

Naveen. Lighting and colours play a very important role in my illustrations. I keep my light and shadows in layers so that I can play with the values and keep the overall illustration crisp and graphic.

Illustration by Naveen Selvanathan

CG. What have been your greatest lessons through working with such diverse organisations?

Naveen. I’ve learned that if your foundation is strong, you can survive in any studio and project. Along with that, always being willing to learn new ways and techniques from others, is something that always helps.

CG. Please shed some light on the significance of formal education in your illustration journey and what’s your advice to current art students?

Naveen. I would say, getting trained in the basics of art – such as anatomy, perspective, graphic design, lighting, and colour – is extremely important to enter, survive and thrive in the animation and illustration industry. What you learn is more important than where you learn it.

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Hazem Ameen breaks down the unity of his illustrations and personality through his creative process and various influences, which do not always exist in the creative sphere.

Illustrations by Hazem Ameen
Thiriyal, the bard

Wailing Merfolk

Hazem Ameen Ahsan is a freelance artist from Kerala whose work largely focuses on character art and narrative illustrations. Going by the tag “caninebrush”, a moniker he came up with when he learned that prehistoric people used canine teeth to carve drawings into rock, Hazem discovered digital art through the work of Izzy Medrano (a concept artist who worked on the God of War game series) and realised that being an illustrator was a viable career choice that balanced all his interests.

Illustrations by Hazem Ameen
Kali, the dancer

Illustrations by Hazem Ameen
Al Manaat, goddess of Fate and Destiny

Looking at Hazem’s gallery of illustrations, all the pieces are rooted in fantasy or mythology with a mystical folk vibe that immediately transports the viewer to a world of creatures and magic with a promise of adventure. On asking him to describe his personal art style, he says, “Every artist has an art style, and it usually is the result of all their collective influences and visual inspirations. I could not explain why my art looks the way it does anymore that can explain what makes me myself.” He does mention that his approach to each project is based on timelines, and a faster method may give rise to a “new style” just due to the circumstances.

A Cave Shrine

Illustrations by Hazem Ameen

While he draws inspiration from other artists, art forms, and video games, the larger sources are books, both fiction and non-fiction. It comes as no surprise when he claims to be influenced by history, mythology, and religion while creating his digital art/ illustrations. As an artist, being obsessive about something that isn’t art is a great way to find a well of inspiration. Aesthetically, fantasy literature such as Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones has inspired Hazem to create his own worlds through his own cultural sphere, which bridges his interests, giving him a unique voice when contributing to the genre.

Illustrations by Hazem Ameen
Padayani, the truth-teller



Illustrations by Hazem Ameen
Al Uzza, goddess of Lust and War

A huge fan of the ideation phase, Hazem visualises his concepts before putting pen to paper to help with any creative blocks. He is a line-drawing centred artist who sketches the entire concept before approaching colour and details, always using any references to help the project flourish. His art career includes working on RPG tabletop games for companies like Paizo, Petersen Games, Chaosium, and Creative Assembly; an online game titled “Vainglory”; and the 3DTotal book series.

Al Laat, goddess of Wisdom and Strategy

A bond in the sea

Hazem holds great appreciation and hopes for the concept art industry in India. While there is always room for growth, he is confident that with the accessibility of art resources today, many Indian artists will use their heritage and distinctiveness in today’s vast global art market to stand out. Only half-joking, the effects of the pandemic had not changed his routine much as “artists have been social- distancing from others long before Covid”. He went on to say, “This pandemic, though terrible for many of those unfortunate, has helped me focus and finish a lot of work, get some jobs and even set up a personal studio.”

Illustrations by Hazem Ameen
The Grower

Zaba the flute player

We threw a bit of a curveball question to Hazem, where if aliens invaded and he could only save the world through art – who would he choose to be by his side? He drafted his artist friend (Aniruddha Khanwelkar), who he claims represents the human condition and his mentor, Even Mehl Amundsen who guided Hazem’s journey as an artist. It goes to show that when it’s all said and done, the support of a community and a guide will always be valuable.

Illustrations by Hazem Ameen
Odin, the Alfather

Mermaids of the Reef

Hazem is excited to explore and experiment with different storytelling methods within books, graphic novels, video games, and animated films in the future. We can safely say that we are excited to see more of his fantasy world-building and riveting characters in the days to come.

The Yanuk Priest

Birker and the gang

Published in Issue 52

The pandemic has brought many different challenges for everyone. But educating our young ones is among the top priority. The issue focused on how design education is still possible while most of us are locked in our homes. We also interacted with illustrators and photographers such as Jasjyot Singh Hans and Anirudh Agarwal, who seem to stand firm with their uniqueness in this time of chaos. Overall this issue serves food for thought with visually stunning creativity on a single platter.

 


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Real is believable. But abstract teases the imagination. You don’t have to choose one of the two while creating. Mixing reality with abstract is the way to go according to digital artist Ankur Singh Patar. Whether it’s creating a portrait or manipulating a photograph, the digital art is capable of going as far as your imagination can take it. He shares what to keep in mind when working on the digital medium.

Illustratio for Toyota Land Cruiser - 70 years

Digital Art
University of Queensland

Digital Art
University of Queensland

Let your Artwork Play the Guessing Game

Realism, disguised with abstraction, makes for interesting artwork. Abstract art has no boundaries, no set of protocols and no clear message. The fun part is that even though you’ve created the piece with a certain subject in mind, every viewer will comprehend it according to their thinking and imagination and arrive at different conclusions. Realism is important because it helps to connect with the viewers.

Digital Art
Harp and Rabaab

Digital Art
Pandit Ji

Digital Art
Campaign for Adobe

The Challenge is to Re-create the Already-Created

When a famous personality is your subject, it’s important to think beyond how others have portrayed him/her. It gives you the chance to surprise not only yourself as an artist but also the audience. Doing some research, like going through some of the best creative works on the subject, is always recommended. You’ll notice that most portraits are hand-drawn sketches or paintings. That’s why exploring the digital medium can work wonders as it gives you limitless scope and opportunities to experiment.

Digital Art
Anom

Digital Art
God of Small Things

Digital Art
Femina Illustration

Illustration & Photography for Anibus

Creating digital portraits makes your work stand out. It also allows for the beautiful creation and merging of abstract elements along with unique colours. Now that’s different!

Digital Art
M.S. Dhoni

Digital Art
Rafael Nadal

Digital Art
Roger

Colours are the Protagonists

Our subconscious mind is capable of communicating with colours. After all, they are the expressions of our emotions, feelings, thoughts and moods. That’s why, most of the time, you’ll find that the colours you chose were done without a thought. Sometimes it’s better not to plan them and let them be spontaneous. However, sometimes they need to be monitored with respect to the design. The primary colour is an important ingredient as it sets the mood. Including a splash of contrasting colours supports and emphasizes the message and feeling which are embedded in the design.

Digital Art
Scent of a Woman

Digital Art
Udda

Digital Art
Ghagga

A Colour on its own is Incomplete

Colours are like a language. Like certain words hold different meanings when used in different contexts, so do colours. You can use the same colour to represent a smile in one artwork and laughter in another. It’s how you combine it with other colours and look at a painting as a whole to tell the complete story.

Digital Art
The Catwoman