The world of design is huge and every client’s need is different. As a versatile designer working for a broad spectrum with regards to commercial requirements, Rahul Arora is able to push his boundaries, explore more styles and learn in the process.

The ubiquity of the Internet and digital technology today has opened the door to the myriad of opportunities. As, the online platforms are transparent and great to showcase one’s work while discovering the work of others worldwide.

Versatile Designer
Koi Fish
Versatile Designer
Lazy Sunday Ride
Versatile Designer
Versatile Designer

Style of the designer is a reflection of the client’s sensibility and vision. 

With diverse projects and context, each client has a different agenda and every script has its own requirements. Sometimes, the sensibilities of the clients vary too; some have a clear vision whilst some want to develop by working in tandem with the artist. Therefore, the foremost step is to discuss the script/ project with the art/creative directors to get an understanding of how they visualise the final product. Latching onto their concept, a versatile designer has to create styles portraying the same.

Versatile Designer
Castle on the rock
Versatile Designer

Characterisation is pivotal in a narrative. 

A characterisation is a gradual process that first involves understanding few pre-requisites before delving into its creation. As, context, appearance, ideology, and age are some of the factors that must be thought out prior to creation. So that, the exaggeration of these features amplifies the ‘key qualities’ which evoke interest. Relating the surrounding with desired detailing to enhance and portray the protagonist’s role conveys the storyline.

Versatile Designer
Minister of Universe
Versatile Designer
The butcher

Tackling different avenues.

Working on comics is like making a movie where you can convey stories through illustrations and words by generating it frame by frame. Studying the human anatomy and expressions is a must for a compelling narrative. Creating arresting illustrations that appeal to the readers, is challenging and a test for artist’s imaginations.

Versatile Designer
Drunken Monkey
Versatile Designer

Storyboards are the pre-visualisation of a story/film/ad-film. Here much importance is given to the character placements and the angles rather than the colour schemes in the suggested visuals.


Advertising, on the other hand, is completely distinct. With tight deadlines, the challenge is to prioritise and achieve the required quality in the given time frame.

Versatile Designer
The imp
Versatile Designer

Colour schemes and mediums have their own charm.

They play a major role in bringing a story to life and convey the important aspects in the composition to set a mood of the narrative. Traditional mediums such as oils, poster colours, pastels, watercolours and pencil sketching often allow the designer to hone his skills and learn the intricacies.


When working commercially, a digital medium is much easier and straight-forward to execute. As you can easily start with a quick thumbnail that gives a glimpse of the idea which then can be elaborated to form the layouts and finally, pencilling and colouring it in Photoshop can be done post the client’s approval.

Versatile Designer
The Passenger
Versatile Designer

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. Neha Tulisan, the founder of NH1 design, highlights to understand how we Indians live; how we grew up; and what moves us emotionally. Whereas Mira Malhotra, founder of Studio Khol, emphasises on the difference of Western and Indian Sensibilities.


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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Sachin Puthran was there when it all happened. It was 1995; the time of hand-drawn illustrations, airbrushed finished images and cut-paste typesetting. Digital was slowly coming in, bringing with it a generation gap. There was an air of fear in the older Art Directors as the younger generation, fascinated by Mac user interface, was already learning software. Below, he takes us on the journey of an Artist, from then to now.

Art From Pencil to Stylus
The Yakshangana Performer

The Analog Age

The earlier generation was blessed with the passion and experience of using the tactile medium. It gave the true satisfaction of working on various surfaces using different media and styles. Everybody knows art back then was a luxury, a rich passion. “It was larger than life,” says Sachin “where expressions were a physical manifestation of the artist’s vision. People travelled to view art in public spaces. Getting to see and meet the artist was truly an experience of joy and inspiration. Nothing came easy.”

Art From Pencil to Stylus
The Coconut Tree

Art for Art’s Sake

According to Sachin, traditional artists still swear by the smell, the touch and the feel of the traditional medium. That’s because they seemed to have understood the sensitivity and developed a purist approach to Art. They were the ones who stuck to the medium and rejected the so-called ‘digital medium’ that was going to take them by surprise in a few years. But the fear had set in.

Art From Pencil to Stylus

 The Advent of Computers

The arrival of first generation computers in the early 90s opened a Pandora’s box for visual artists to explore the slow but responsive medium. Reminiscing about those days. Softwares were slowly heading towards capturing the artist’s imagination. Suddenly the advantages and disadvantages of painting digitally were getting clearer. The needs and demands of clients started changing fast. For the first time, the clock was ticking digitally. Everything that was wanted tomorrow was being delivered today.

Art From Pencil to Stylus

The Magic of Cinema

This was the time when technology was ahead of its users. Hollywood started using high-end Visual Effects or VFX and changed the art of storytelling. “There was only a thin line of difference between science fiction and realism. Software and hardware could now do magic. The Internet made downloading a popular new phenomenon. Suddenly there was a paradigm shift.” During that period, the world was changing and not everybody was able to keep up with it.

Art From Pencil to Stylus
Work in progress Mumbai

The New Millennium Generation

A creative visualising power was not enough to survive in this era. Art Directors were required to know paint and design software as well. That’s how visual grammar changed over the years, as designers incorporated photo manipulation techniques and digital retouching to create surreal imagery. “Every software upgrade brought in more features and capabilities,” says Sachin, “so much so that one day, artists were lost and filters were in.”

Art From Pencil to Stylus
JijamataUdyan Mumbai

More Clutter

The designer was engulfed by the software in the next few years, as they relied more on software and less on their skills. “Ideas were driven by styles that were possible quickly on digital. Tactile sensitivity was lost and the rat race had truly begun.” Sachin tells us. “Social media added to the confusion, as it allowed designs to be circulated and critiqued by everybody.”

Art From Pencil to Stylus
Indian Wedding

Art gets Interactive

Slowly, design in digital was opening out and was exploring new ways of touching people. The design didn’t just involve the designer, but his audience as well. New media and installation art were new storytelling techniques. Tagging and annotating gave new dimensions to Art. “Suddenly so much more could be done.” He adds.

Art From Pencil to Stylus

The Birth of the New Artist

“Equipped now with the latest gadgets, the artist was truly getting the best.” says Sachin. iPads and ‘apps’ for almost anything you wanted to do; from calligraphy to typography, were a finger click away. Everything was on the ‘cloud’ and the artist was now ‘virtual’.

Art From Pencil to Stylus
Daily Hard Work

So, Where Next?

Now is the time to think beyond. If you can imagine it, you can create it. There are endless possibilities and that should keep us all busy for a long time. But the trick today is to be open to the world and yet always do your own thing.

Published in Issue 20

Pencil or stylus? Paper or touch screen? This is just a start to the long list of questions that are swimming in every designer’s mind today. They say change is the only constant but has digitalisation really taken over the traditional methods? Would there be a time when the pencil will be forgotten forever like writers have forgotten a fountain pen?

We discuss the issue with famous Indian designers and try to understand what they think. This issue also has some very talented and unique designer like Sachin Puthran, Raghava KK, Ramanjeet Kaur and Pavan Rajurkar got featured along with much more. Mr. Xerty and Amrei Hofstatter came with unique interpretation in our MadeIn section.


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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
Enchanting Natural Portraits

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
Enchanting Natural Portraits

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
Enchanting Natural Portraits

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
Enchanting Natural Portraits

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
Enchanting Natural Portraits

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
Enchanting Natural Portraits

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
Enchanting Natural Portraits

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 a 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
Enchanting Natural Portraits

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 attracts 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

The realisation of your idea doesn’t have to be technically correct, but it has to look authentic and believable. That’s how your stories find their way to the heart and mind of the audience. Gaming Studio Grafit Studio shares tricks that make learning this art easier.

Fantasy Stories
Fantasy Stories

Almost all stories are alike.

That’s the hard truth, however creative you think you might be. Therefore, the challenge is to present them differently, make them special in some new way. One needs to strive to make made-up stories come to life, to make a beholder believe in whatever is happening on the screen. This trick is not the easiest thing in the world, but it’s worth learning. As soon as you have an idea of how the details work, it becomes easier to ride the whirlwind. Understanding the very core of the subject gives an ability to create believable lighting, surfaces, materials, etc.

Fantasy Stories
Asian Varior
Fantasy Stories

The plot comes first.

No matter how great your character is, with the poor idea, it is a lost cause. Even super-tough attitude and superhero outfit won’t conceal the weakness of a raw plot and poorly written dialogues. A good plot’s purpose is to reveal something about the characters, confront them with thought-provoking choices, throw them in a situation where their personality gets exposed. The appearance, costume and other details follow this core theme established by the overall plot.

Fantasy Stories
Fantasy Stories

Good work is all about skill and sense.

With tools evolving, it’s becoming easier and faster to create art. But the availability of improving tools doesn’t cancel the importance of knowing what you’re doing. Without skill and sense, it’s impossible to create good, an eye-catching image with its depth and atmosphere, regardless of what tools you are using. The core idea always comes from inside. No matter which medium you are using, the basic sense of colour, anatomy, perspective and other skills are must-haves. It’s important to be mindful of technology and style while you create. Sometimes you can give your idea a boost with a proper combination of tools and skills, resulting in a better outcome.

Fantasy Stories
Fantasy Stories

Published in Issue 15

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 Internationally renowned Russian studio, ‘Grafit Studio‘ and many more talented creatives. So, go ahead


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Art is an abstraction of the waking world, says Android Jones, the digital artist. As he explores his consciousness and finds visuals for his fantasies, he dwells between love and fear to create a body of work that is “One unending love story”. Excerpts from a conversation where he talks about his art, ideas and everything in between.

Android Jones - Consciousness

CG: How do you perceive the relationship between art, artist and the world they are in?

AJ: Human creativity is one of the most precious resources of our consciousness. As we look back at history, great art has always been the fulcrum point from where we measure the value of our humanity and the crucible of our evolution. Art helps us relate and reflect on the relationship between the invisible world of our consciousness and our dreams and makes it visible for the physical world. It acts as a bridge between the inner and outer realities that can share and evolve collectively.

Android Jones - Consciousness
Android Jones - Consciousness

CG: How much of this connection exists in your art? How has it evolved over the years?

AJ: The creative process is an expression of my love of life and a service to my friends, family, and community. Fear of boredom or lost opportunities of using the gift of creativity keeps me active. This friction between love and fear always inspires my art. I am attracted to images that carry a spiritual or emotional significance to create a landscape that the viewer can form their own narrative around.

Android Jones - Consciousness
Android Jones - Consciousness

CG: Where do these images come from? And how do you make them coexist in your artworks?

AJ: Instincts guide the selection of images. I am naturally drawn to certain shapes, colours and patterns. It could be an arrangement of clouds, a unique tapestry on the wall, anything. Often, I look for the visual-fractal relationships between objects. For example, the spirals of the milky way or of a hurricane reflect the spiral seed pattern of a sunflower. I can look at the branches of a tree in wintertime and see the ventricles in the human heart. At the core of our neocortex is one of the most advanced shape and pattern recognition technologies. It’s the duty of an artist to take advantage of this gift of recognising the intrinsic relationship between all things. And art is an amazing medium through which one can express this concept.

Android Jones - Consciousness
Dharma Dragon

CG: But do your viewers relate to the connection in the same way you do?

AJ: My artworks are not the stuff of galleries or museums, but the interior of human imagination. The works I create are only crude snapshots of other realities, digital seeds that take root through the rich soil of the neocortex in order to inspire dreams, visions, ideas and emotional connections through the viewer. Art is really a visual crystallisation of consciousness. So, the more developed ideas you have, the clearer that idea comes out in the artwork.

Android Jones - Consciousness
Android Jones - Consciousness

CG: Isn’t it also a mastery of technology that complements the idea?

AJ: Human evolution is predicated on the advancement of our mastery of tools. All tools are first born in our imagination. They are essentially only a physical extension of our imagination. The advancement of our creative tools marks a furthering of our creative evolution. It gets really exciting when the tools we use expand our ability to imagine greater things and then give birth to further new techniques and new tools.

Android Jones - Consciousness
Save One Planet Poster

CG: What role do technology and tools play in your art?

AJ: I often dream in the current software that I am using. I don’t dream in brushes or paint anymore. My consciousness has completely embraced my technological counterparts. As we approach a technological singularity, digital hardware and software have the potential of advancing at a rate where it may be impossible for one mind to keep pace. This is going to open up new horizons of potential that no artist has ever anticipated.

Android Jones - Consciousness
Android Jones - Consciousness

CG: Where do you see digital or concept art moving?

AJ: I believe that our thoughts and our dreams are electrochemical impulses. I see digital art moving into a space that will eventually bypass our meat fleshy extremities, Artists in the future will be able to ‘paint’ visual images, thoughts, dreams, and emotions directly into each other’s consciousness.

Android Jones - Consciousness
Android Jones - Consciousness
Lightening in a Bottle

CG: Does that imply live art experiences? How is it different from the traditional sit-and-draw ones?

AJ: One of the significant differences is when making an image I am encoding my time and my life in a series of strokes and pixels. People ‘experience’ it but it’s a much more isolated series of moments. As an ‘experience designer’ you are not making paintings of people, instead you are making people your paintings. In a studio setting, you have total control over temperature, lighting, sound, silence, atmosphere etc. In live performances, I have to completely surrender control of all of these factors. My solitude is then replaced with thousands of other people. Human transformation is the final creation.

Android Jones - Consciousness
Deux Machina
Android Jones - Consciousness

CG: With Digital art going through such a dynamic phase right now, what advice will you give to aspiring digital artists?

AJ: It is important for all aspiring digital artists to recognize how profound the opportunities are in this moment of time. Never before have artists had access to such a plethora of information and tools. The future of art is not digital painting, but how we develop a creative relationship with the emerging tools around us. The boundaries are begging to crumble around us.

Android Jones - Consciousness
Fertility 2.0

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, 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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Fantasy and realism are conflicting thoughts. Yet, for fantasy characters to be believable, it is important to bring in a sense of ‘otherworldliness’ while still keeping them anatomically and functionally viable, professes concept artist Shreya Shetty. She lays down few very important tenets to create fantasy-realism, as she likes to call it.

Characters Shreya Shetty
Characters Shreya Shetty
Mr. Nibbles

Origin decides the destination.

The characters are shaped by the environment he/she resides in. For example, if you were drawing a character from a tribe that lived in the desert, you wouldn’t cover him/her in heavy fur – it just wouldn’t be practical. Or, if you had to design a character that lived up in the Arctic, you wouldn’t design elements that echoed tropical climates like palm trees and such. It is very important to design the characters in relation to the environment it lives in to maintain believability. Try not to have too many elements in the background or keep it super detailed because then, the character would be difficult to read. Keeping the background simple helps in reducing clutter in the image and maintains the focus on the character.

Characters Shreya Shetty
Characters Shreya Shetty

All the characters are born out of a real instance.

Usually, the overall design and silhouette of the creature will first catch your eye. Take inspiration from associated elements, for example, surface qualities like colouring, pattern and texture details, physiological traits, mechanics and behavioural traits to come up with your imagination. With humans, faces with nonconventional features make for more interesting characters. Replicating, in terms of fan art or redesigning, involves a bit constraint. But you can always add your own unique perspective, while maintaining the original identity of the character. On the other hand, original artwork gives you free reign to design as you wish.

Characters Shreya Shetty
Characters Shreya Shetty
Merman Sketches

Exaggeration makes the character memorable.

If you exaggerate just the right amount, it could be the difference between a dull, forgettable character and one that stands out and grabs the viewer’s attention. You can play with physical proportions and expressions to add a theatrical flair to your design. Props and costume add to the storytelling and history of the character. Look through resource materials for costumes and hairdos and find inspirations that are more suited for your character. It’s important for the added elements to match the universe of your character to bring in that sense of authenticity.

Characters Shreya Shetty
7 of Pentacles
Characters Shreya Shetty

Expression defines the persona.

Expression and posture are all parts of the visual storytelling process and act as cues. They tell us more about the character if he/she is aggressive or submissive, intelligent or dumb and so on. In respect to the overall plot, expressions define the role played by the character in it. The right expression and poise can create a memorable moment that will stick with the audience even when the story gets over.

Characters Shreya Shetty
Characters Shreya Shetty
Characters Shreya Shetty
Flower Fairy

Practice, patience and perseverance.

Many people have this notion that few artists are naturally gifted with the ability to draw and paint while others are not. That’s not true. With hard work and persistence anyone can be a good artist. The important thing is to just practice, practice and practice more. Look at the artists you admire, see what attracts you to their work. Do master-copies, observational sketches and supplement your studies with working from imagination. Finally, give yourself time to grow and develop to be the one you always want to be.

Characters Shreya Shetty
Enoi Queen
Characters Shreya Shetty
Characters Shreya Shetty
Alice and the Caterpillar

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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They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery. For a designer, it doubles up as a way to pay homage to an icon and inspiration. Digital artist Pankaj Bhambri re-creates a portrait of the duo from a reference picture, adulation and following. He explains how.

Step 01

Picked the reference image to start the portrait. Observed three things that would play an important role in the illustration – mid tone, highlights, and shadows.

Step 02

Started with basic doodling. Worked in layers as that would help to separate elements in the composition and allow experimenting with lights.


Step 03

Found a cardboard texture on the net. Used it as a base for the illustration which would act as a middle tone. Multiplied that layer after importing it into the composition.

Step 04

Refined the doodle a little more and then started with wet media brushes with the respective colour palettes. The first palette was for Lata Mangeshkar while the second one was for Asha Bhonsle.

Step 05

Started with blocking shadows first with thick round brush of size 12 px.

Step 06

Added black with round wet brush for more details in shadows. Downloaded ink splatter brushes from the net. Used them in different angles as highlights in the composition.

Step 07

Used one of those brushes with scattering count 5. Refined till the desired effect was achieved. Used a round brush of 3 px for detailing with stylized black and white lines.

Step 08

With the colour palette for Asha Bhonsle, started blocking shadows and then highlights. Lots of practice and observation of objects in different lightings helped in this job.

Step 09

Blocked with the colours in the palette choosing dark for shadows and light for highlights.

Step 10

For highlighting, used a wet round brush with white colour as a contour over it.

Step 11

Used splatter brushes for final detailings.

Step 12

Made a random flow of colour to differentiate the main object from the background. This made the composition balanced. Used writing brushes downloaded from the net on the splatter layer that separated the background.

Step 13

Added writing brushes on a new layer and filled the splatter layer with different brush sizes. Erased the edges to blend the writing with the splatter brushes.

Step 14

Used floral texture downloaded from the net to give some interesting background.

Final Portrait

Published in Issue 11

This issue also explored the Jewellery Design & Wedding Photography with some cool techniques to learn from experts in Gyaan section.


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In this Advanced Photoshop tutorial, Kevin Roodhorst shows you step by step how this Astronaut Photo Manipulation is made. Someone even decided to have this as a huge tattoo on his arm!


Kevin Roodhorst a 26-year-old digital artist/retoucher from Almere, The Netherlands, specialized in high-end creative imaging and editorial/commercial advertising.




Wacom Intuos
– Eizo 27inch Screen,
– Photoshop CC 2017



More From Kevin

Finding the modern in the ancient is a matter of vision and desire, to renew the old in such a way that is thoroughly transformed in not only its form and look, but its very fibre and perception. That is what illustrator Omar Gilani prefers to do through his rather fascinating interpretations.

Ancient Future
Desert Warrior Aunty.

CG. Your range of work bears contemporariness as a trend that seemingly defines or represents your style. What inspired this concept and what is your idea behind it?

OG. I wanted to show what I want to see (more like giving a perspective into one’s outlook, interpretations, and perceptions). Science fiction or fantasy typically falls into very western tropes, and the subcontinent is usually ignored in those regards. That was frustrating, for me – that no one was depicting how this region may look in the future, and so I decided to give it a shot in my spare time just for fun.

Ancient Future
Pindi Boyz.

CG. What impact or effect do you intend this ‘contemporary’ or ‘modern’ element to have upon your audience?

OG. I just wanted to show that it is possible to create such kind of visuals and interpretations through such representations of everyday objects, many-a-times easily taken for granted. If anyone can look at my work and feel motivated to do something outside the box for themselves, I’d consider that a huge win for myself.

Ancient Future
Sitaar Player.

CG. What inspires you as subjects for your depictions?

OG. Just everyday things I see around me inspires me as subjects, and I easily find them worthy enough to take shape as depictions. We have a pretty rich culture and ancient history, and to wonder, visualise, interpret and finally depict how that would evolve – or not – in the next hundred to two hundred years is a rather interesting and exciting task.

Ancient Future
The Bounty Hunter.

CG. What role does lighting have in your illustrations, and how do you approach and apply it?

OG. Lighting has a rather significant role in any realistic illustration. I use lighting to determine the initial composition of a piece. Dividing the canvas into simple black and white shapes to see if all the various aspects are harmonious, helps me do that. The lighting in the shot helps guide at this step, and it does go on further to play a huge role throughout the development of the piece as a whole.

Ancient Future
Smog City.

CG. How do you conceptualise what you depict?

OG. I have a fair bit of back-story for the world I’m depicting, and so it is a matter of combining a certain scenario with that back-story. Artistic elements like colours and lighting play a role in conceptualising, composing and finally executing a shot to create the final image. I approach it as thinking I’m creating a screenshot from a movie.

Ancient Future
Inner City Tourists.

CG. What kind of improvisations or changes would you like to intend to bring about in your style?

OG. I’m learning to work with 3D these days, and it’s already hugely improving my flow of work. An essential change that I would like to make is to just get better at showing what’s in my head i.e. depict more clearly and precisely the image that is conceived in the mind, such that it is represented effectively on canvas. Although, it must be noted, that is a lifelong, constantly ongoing and evolving journey.

Ancient Future
Ancient Future

Published in Issue 38

With this issue, we try to explore different views from many well-known studio owners and senior designers. While Anthony Lopez of Lopez Design shared tips on what a studio looks for in a designer, Mohar Ray from Codesign highlights the key aspects that play a significant role and make the difference in whether you are hired or not as a promising designer. Also, this issue has an insightful article on ‘Branding with reason and love’ from Itu Chaudhuri, founder ICD (Itu Chaudhuri Design) along with Siddhi Ranade, explaining his tools of story telling through his unique style of illustrations. This issue is a must read for a talented graduate to a branding expert. Order you copy and enjoy reading it!


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The Netherlands might be below sea-level, but when it comes to design, it’s right up there! Digital artist, Kevin Roodhorst, believes in developing concepts and working on a central element. Here, he takes us on a tour of his design that has helped bag various international exposure.


CG: Tell us about your evolution as a designer? What made you choose this career path? What do you enjoy most about what you do?

KR: I started around the age of 13, making a mixtape and album covers for artists I liked. After receiving a lot of positive comments I was motivated to keep photoshopping. I graduated in 2012 as a Graphic Designer and currently work at a post production studio called Souverein for almost 2 years. Becoming a designer was a natural choice. I loved how one can create in Photoshop and develop creative ideas. I enjoy the freshness and freedom that comes with this profession.


CG: Most of your designs focus on human forms and faces. Is that your style or is it coincidence? What are key elements you always use in every design? What are your inspirations?

KR: It’s not really what I would call style. I simply love working with eye catching elements or models and manipulating them furthermore. And it’s just a coincidence that most of the time it happens to be a beautiful female model with a mysterious expression. Beauty can never escape any eye, can it? And just like a central plot in a book, placing the element right in the center of the canvas helps in making the artwork hard-hitting and comprehendible. As for inspirations, surfing the web is it. There are plenty of inspiration websites floating around like: or or Another thing to explore, that’s interesting and inspiring, is the work of other artists online.


CG: You mainly focus on designing for advertising. How do you use your design to put your own idea into it? How much freedom are you given? How often do you feel restricted?

KR: The amount of freedom you get depends on the client and the brief. But most of the time, they want me to work on their project because of my style and strengths. Hence, the restriction is not so often present as much as freedom is. But at the end of the day, one has to understand that it’s not personal work and that appeals differently to each and every one. When the client comes back with feedback, changes need to be made even if you’re not satisfied with it. I guess this is a universal truth!


CG: Being a freelancer at such a young age, how do you manage to get assignments and projects? Have you worked on some international projects?

KR: I’m glad to be living as a designer in the time of social media. As you might have already guessed, most assignments are obtained via social media, mainly Facebook and Behance network. Once you get your name out there the rest of it happens on its own. Before you know it, you become viral and at that point of time it doesn’t matter where in the world you are. That’s how my portfolio has assignments that are international. I regularly work for clients in Brazil and Canada.


CG: How is it being a designer in The Netherlands? Is there a lot of competition? How do you feel your skills and talent stand out from the rest?

KR: I think that I’m lucky to be a designer in The Netherlands because there are enough companies offering work and looking for talented designers. I didn’t noticed much competition when looking for work. It’s really important to start as soon as possible by landing a job with a design company instead of staying at school. In this creative sector, you don’t learn much at school. You have to figure it out yourself.


CG: Where do you see yourself in the next five years? What is your dream project that you’d love to do at some point in life?

KR: In 5 years, hopefully I’m still working at Souverein with much more knowledge and experience! My dream project would be to work for a client such as Discovery or National Geographic.


Published in Issue 22

This issue is dedicated to the talented design graduates who are not just looking to work but seeking experience in order to realise the greater goal of life. The issue features various designers from India and abroad. Kevin Roodhorst from The Netherlands realised his goal so early in life that propelled him to start his career as a designer as young as 13. Ashish Subhash Boyne, a student of Sir JJ Institute of Applied Art realised his dream while studying when he started doing freelance projects, which allow him to express his free thoughts. To name a few talents we have Vivek Nag from Fine Arts from Rachna Sansad, Simran Nanda from Pearl Academy, Anisha Raj from MAEER MIT Institute of Design, Giby Joseph from Animation and Art School and much more. 


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