The Gurugram-based digital illustrator Lovely Kukreja shares his journey of being in multiple creative roles and how it all has shaped his process in this in-depth interview.
He has dabbled among creating children’s illustrations, rendering mobile comics and wallpapers and even created wire-frames and UI designs for the iPhone and iPad. His work is filled with subtle strokes exuding warmth and happiness.
Lovely’s work invokes devotion and playfulness – a rare combination. His animated illustrations of Hindu gods and goddesses blew up on the internet when he began posting them, says the visual development artist and Illustrator with over 15 years of experience in the wide spectrum of digital designs.
“My decision to become a designer was quite spontaneous since I was in school,” says Lovely, who now leads the Content Design Team at his firm, Bobble.
Since he began his career in 2005, Lovely has dabbled among the domains of publishing, advertising and medical illustrations. His turning point came at Thomson Digital while creating medical illustrations as he could be flexible and experiment with different styles to come up with creative illustrations while heading a team of illustrators at the medical department.
He also worked on children’s illustrations – where concepts of harmony and happy emotions were given top priority.
Lovely worked at three other design studios before he launched his own studio, White Mice Media in 2013. Having worked in graphic design, UI and AI design, designing for iPhone and iPad – he was quite familiar with the role of design in tech.
With several of these feathers in his cap, he launched Bobble AI Technologies – a medium through which users can communicate with each other in virtual conversational languages.
Lovely says all of his work is a result of meditated thoughts and emotions. When asked to describe his design process, Lovely explains, “The first thing I do is to stop browsing on the internet if I want to ensure a particular piece is original. I then try recalling and extracting the original compositions, characters, emotions that inspired me to create the piece initially and try to replicate that on paper.
Once this is done, I add colours to support the whole experience and always try to be better than I was yesterday – which is most important.” Some of Kukreja’s favourite projects include Little Punch Inc. Pearson, Penguin, Chinmaya Mission UK, Phizzical Productions UK and Dorling Kindesley to name a few.
As someone who specialised in digital art throughout his journey, Lovely says he saw the decline of all print mediums coming a mile away, even when he first started out. “I saw it happening even before the decline of print media when illustrator started practising art on digital mediums over traditional ones even if they were working for print media. Artists are surely switching to digital platforms for all commercial uses.
I would strongly recommend designers to use these devices and software merely to ease their process and not become dependent on them with respect to tools and templates for illustrations,” he adds.
Lovely uses digital software to help him complete large scale projects and help with options and turnarounds but when he is brainstorming for a new idea that is very personal – the conventional pen to paper method works best.
As an illustrator, Lovely has had his fair share of challenges. “I think the biggest challenge of them all is for any creator to be able to sell their skills at the right time, right place and with the right approach. Everyone faces hurdles but evolution is the only way to grow. You should not rest simply because you are the king of a hill. Instead, hustle to become a warrior of a mountain. This approach will automatically help you get to the top.”
When asked about his future plans, Lovely says one of his goals is to own a production house that narrates untold stories with different approaches.