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The animation industry in India has come a long way and has a long way to go. Renowned animation filmmaker, Suresh Eriyat, gives us the ground reality of the industry today, and where the future lies. In the process, he also teaches us a few things that make the animation world go round.

The Indian Animation Legend, E Suresh, has been a pioneer in storytelling and animation through films. He currently heads his animation studio Studio Eeksaurus. He was the first to launch clay animation commercials in India. A few feathers in his cap include creating Amaron battery advertisements, music video Bindu re Bindu, the Simpu series for Channel V, MTV Poga series, Johnny Bravo goes to Bollywood, Levis Slim vs. Slim, and so many more.

His short films, Fisherwoman and Tuk Tuk, and Tokri, both won National Film Award for Best Non-Feature Animation Film, apart from winning almost 60 national and International awards at various festivals with over 150 official selections globally.

CG. Where does animation stand today in India? Is there a gap in the understanding of what the animation industry encompasses?

Suresh. There are several gaps in the way animation is understood in India. Internationally ‘animation filmmaker’ and an ‘animator’ are similar. There the animator is synonymous to a filmmaker who uses animation to make his/her films bringing in a holistic process to the film making. In India that is not necessarily the case. Firstly, the animation is associated with cartoons in India. Beyond that, it is widely believed to simply be a technique. And this is used in the Indian animation industry mainly to provide a service, as a BPO format. Unfortunately here animation is seen as a skill set equivalent to learning software or a tool, and not as a conceptual ability of a person creating ideas to tell a story. It is not seen as the overall process.

Another misconception is that animation films don’t require direction/a director. These are all misnomers because it is not yet a popular medium here. The way it is taught or talked about by some of the academies in India, also adds to the confusion and misleading terms.

CG. What do you think it would take to change this perception in India?

Suresh. It would take more exposure to see these films, and gathering a better understanding of what animation is, for this change to occur. This will eventually lead to recognition for animation and its various forms. The evolution needs to happen where people become more aware of animation.

 

In the West, people have been with animation for many decades now, so they understand all that it encompasses. They understand that it is a tool to tell powerful stories. In India, the animation is still young. I am sure in another 10 years we will be where all these countries are in terms of understanding of the medium.

CG. When you are making your films, what sort of target audience are you looking at?

Suresh. I make both short films and advertising films. Both have different agendas. Advertisement films have a definite purpose, either to spread awareness about a brand or convey a message. In both cases, a behavioral change is desired. The brief and objective are very clear and the process involves a lot of research. We go by the design process where there is a defined problem, a defined target audience, and a very clear message to convey. The advertising films have a wider reach in that sense.

My short films, on the other hand, aren’t targeted to a market audience. Instead, they are targeted to a crowd who are artistically inclined and who appreciate the process. The films also target the festival audience, so that they see what India is capable of creating. It is important for Indians to not just be perceived as a service but also as great storytellers.

CG. Where does India stand on the global platform in the animation industry and film making?

Suresh. At the moment, we are not considered capable. Nobody thinks India will make good content. Right now, there are only a handful of companies that are known to create content in India. But the majority lot of animation professionals is complacent about creating something original. We need to tell more stories and make more films to be put on the map.

CG. In your work, how extensively do you use the design process?

Suresh. We often use the design process in the craft of film making. Through this process, we arrive at the most appropriate form and direction to convey the story in the best way possible. Different production houses are bracketed for making a certain type of content. It took us some time to establish ourselves without being labeled in that manner, and instead to be perceived as a design-driven production house.

We are known to work with any medium in order to make the idea stronger. I have directed and produced close to 500 films now, and I don’t consciously try to come up with a new medium, but somehow that has always happened. Each of my films has a unique look and feel to them. This is mainly the result of the design process that we use to strengthen the idea we want to convey.

CG. Creative professionals often begin to make the same kind of work, and then get stuck to that style. How did you escape that?

Suresh. While making films we first look at the story and then the form. We never begin by deciding the form. Many people tend to decide the form first thus stick to it. Sometimes clients go to them because they are known for a particular narrative style or a form that they specialize in.

Creating work with similar form is understandable because of our influences. We see things around us and try to include them in our work. But this is exactly why the design process is important. It diminishes the tendency of aping something or following a trend.

 

Our attempt has always been to push the form further than the predictable and strive to make it more cutting edge and niche.

CG. What makes a good story? What is good storytelling?

Suresh. No story is good or bad. It depends on how memorable a story is. And this depends on how engaging and captivating the audience is by it. And all this comes down to how the story is told. Majority stories have a similar pattern, the intro, the middle, the climax, the end, etc., but how you manage to tell the story in a captivating way is what counts. For example, the story of Ramayan and Mahabharat has essentially been the same. But the style of narration has changed with time. Every story can be told in many ways. Narrating it in a way relevant to the context is important.

CG. What is the importance of humour in storytelling?

Suresh. While narrating a story, the audience needs to feel good about it, and humour is a sure shot way to do that. It lightens up the mood and adds a twist to look at reality. Laughter is definitely a great ingredient.

CG. An example of great use of humour is the awareness campaign for Mumbai women that you had created. Can you tell us a little more about that, and how humour worked there?

Suresh. The Mumbai police claimed that in Mumbai, anywhere a woman is in distress, all she needs to do is call the hotline, and the police will reach her in within minutes. This was something they were proud of, but when I checked around, no one knew the number. So I decided to create a campaign to create awareness.

We did not want to go by the obvious approach of showing women morose or stressed ‘victims’, because that does not work at all. Through the communication we wanted women to feel empowered and get the courage to face the world. We wanted them to imagine the hotline was their weapon.

 

The beauty of this campaign is that the way it was executed, still makes it relevant. The form has a cartoon look, but artistic styling sets it apart.

CG. Many youngsters look forward to a career in animation. But Indian parents are very concerned about how lucrative this industry is. How would you respond to that?

Suresh. The animation is unlike mainstream fields like medicine, today in India. Instead, it leans towards art and culture, and these are essential elements of the fabric of society.

 

Another thing is, if you empower a student with animation, you are making him independent because animation films can be made single-handedly. It is like writing a novel. Just by investing time in it, sharpening your skills and exploring different mediums, a career can be made out of it.

If you are good at it, work will always come your way; because we are living in a time where the demand for entertainment is going to grow. Earlier the platforms were limited, but now there are so many non-linear avenues for accessing entertainment like Netflix and Prime. There is a lot of content that needs to be made available, because not it is turning into a library of content. In that sense, there will never be a dearth of work.

 

Apart from this, there are so many other emerging sectors connected with animation like the education sector, AR and VR experiential environments, simulations, etc. There is a tremendous scope and I don’t see parents regretting this in the future.

CG. Tell us why you see specialization as a danger today.

Suresh. Nowadays the younger generations are too focused on a specialization. It is necessary to know peripheral aspects that could influence art or the specific subject one is into. When you are thinking of a story or making a film it requires a certain sensibility towards what is going on politically, socially, and environmentally what is happening in the country and outside. Youngsters today find this irrelevant. They focus so much on their specialization that the ideas they give are no more holistic. When you are a specialist, the danger is not being aware of the bottom line issues.

There is always a contradiction between generalization and specialization. The organic path would be specialization after generalization. I am talking purely technically, but in life also, if you have a wider opinion on things, you have a much better view on a specific topic.

Creative Gaga - Issue 46 - Cover

Published in Issue 46

This issue is focused on, how to design for kids, bundled with articles full of inspirations, advice and unique point-of-views from the veterans of the animation industry, illustrators, photographers, artists and many more. So, order your copy or subscribe, before print copies run out and enjoy reading this issue!

 

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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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Creative Gaga - Issue 54

 

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Photographer and 3D illustration artist Romain Braccini is a successful freelancer who has completed 100+ projects. He has a unique style with the elements and shapes he uses, to make it both simple and satisfying. It is inspiring to see him be courageous to deal with big dreams and desires in his world of art.

Romain Braccini is a 3D illustration artist and motion designer based in Paris, with over more than 100 completed projects in his portfolio. His work contains inspiration from humans, nature, the everyday world, and other innovative liberties of art

3D Art & Illustration - Romain Bracinni

He creates across various 3D illustration mediums and works on these characters and ideas. He takes astride on his creative problems by doing a time block, where he starts sketching out things from scratch on paper to figure it all out. The most technical problems have answers on the internet.

3D Art & Illustration - Romain Bracinni

An artist has to know how to be efficient to deal with these kinds of problems on an everyday basis so that the process of creation is smooth and follows a certain rhythm. Learning new techniques every day is a process that helps every creative improve in their art form, says Romain.

3D Art & Illustration - Romain Bracinni
3D Art & Illustration - Romain Bracinni

Romain works on multiple passion projects, and he believes in giving them as much importance as his professional work. He feels that it gives him a new light of looking at his work, and gives a completely different understanding of work.

We mostly learn something from every little project, and he organizes his thoughts and ideas to put his best one forward. Romain’s unique style mixes 2D and 3D illustrations of art, and he works on creating simple and satisfying shapes to make an interesting illustration. He always looks forward to expressing himself with everything that he does.

His team works with him tosometimes work on finding the right subjects and creating new ideas Romain’s unfaltering passion for his work is clearly shown with his imaginative art, where he almost captures the images in his mind to his work.

Not only art, graphics, and 3D illustrations, Romain has been inspired by music as well. He listens to a lot of albums, some of which he feels has motivated him to create newer things. He believes in a strong link between music, art, and animation, and those artists that create such powerful music pass it on to listeners with their vibrations. This has also helped him work with artists like Adrobski, who’s specialized in sound design, and helps him work on new ideas.

3D Art & Illustration - Romain Bracinni

Being a photographer as well, Romain works on a system of organisation between these different passions of his. That is the most important trait of a freelancer, he says. When the work that you receive cannot be termed “regular”, you have the time and energy to focus on personal projects that add up to your skill-set.

 

Romain has added another feather to his cap with his interest in photography. He feels that photography brings a real perspective to everything. Video helps him develop his 3D illustration work, he says. He concludes by planting the thoughts of organisation in our mind, and how that is most essential to be a master of all.

3D Art & Illustration - Romain Bracinni

You can find Romain Braccini on Instagram.


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Creative Gaga - Issue 54

 

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Packaging has been for long an ignored discipline of design. But the trend has changed nowadays, and it is becoming an exciting space for designers to showcase their artistic and innovative skills. Graphic design studio, Impprintz, derives inspiration from the products to add to the experience of the buyer and user. Here, Simran Sahi and Rahul Sureka talk to Creative Gaga about how they successful packaging!

Packaging for Carees Soap
Packaging for Carees Soap
Packaging for Gift Boxes Blue Tokai

CG: Your designs seem to follow a geometric formula and are pretty systematically arranged. Is that your design style, or does packaging follow a standard formula that clients ask you to apply?

Impprintz. The idea is to keep things simple yet delightful. With packaging, it’s not an anomaly to face a series of variants within the same product range. Therefore, the challenge lies in creating something different while maintaining a strong cohesive visual family. Another vital element for packaging designers to be mindful of is information architecture which helps buyers navigate systematically through the communication.

Packaging for The Little Pondicherrian
successful packaging
Incense Gift Packs.
successful packaging
Incense Gift Packs.

CG: According to you, what makes a successful packaging design? You use a varied sense of bright and attractive motifs. Is that what you feel makes a product stand out on a shelf with other competitive brands?

Impprintz. The inspiration for packaging is more or less derived from the product and its unique attributes. Packaging design can be successful on various levels and often requires a combination of attributes like its ability to attract, engage and inform. Simultaneously, it must also deliver a tactile experience with the apt choice of material and optimum fabrication, a well-thought-out functionality, and the difference and joy in it. Of course, the well-designed and attractive packaging on the shelf is going to grab your attention.

Packaging for Popular Essentials Flours
Packaging for Popular Essentials Flours
successful packaging
Pondicherry Collection Incense.
successful packaging
Pondicherry Collection Incense.
Seasonings by Milagro

CG: How is packaging different in today’s times? Apart from just a pack that people throw away, how do you get your designs to serve a greater purpose? Or is the purpose only to lure people and then packaging design loses its purpose as soon as the product is purchased?

Impprintz. The primary purpose of any successful packaging is to protect the product. By using vibrant and positive colour schemes, artistic illustrations and imagery and durable materials, packaging can prove to be an informative, enriching, and educative experience even in the process of selling/buying the product.

Mason&Co Limited Edition
successful packaging
Indigenous organic boxer shorts.
Zuka Chocolate Bars

CG: How is packaging for an incense stick different from say, a bottle? Do you believe it’s the same thought process and concepts that need to be exercised or does packaging design vary from project to project?

Impprintz. In terms of process, all packaging design projects begin with a similar set of questions and critical analysis, but then they begin to take shape within their own parameters. Each project has its unique requirements, vision, communication, market segment, timelines and fabrication possibilities. What never changes is the spirit to deliver the best; more than what the client asks for.

successful packaging
Special Incense Packs.
MasonCo Diwali Packs

CG: And finally, what advice would you give people who want to take up packaging design and make a difference?

Impprintz. Packaging design is a field in itself. It is a container of creative storytelling where two-dimensional design meets the third dimension. It is important to promote people, products, and concepts that you believe in. Keep trying new methods and ideas; there is always more to learn.

successful packaging
Mason & Co chocolate bars.
successful packaging
Mason & Co chocolate bars.
Packaging for Herbs by Milagro
successful packaging
Massage Oil Boxes.

Published in Issue 26

Packaging is the first vital step towards enchanting the audience. Who doesn’t like a cute box or a trendy bottle? With this issue, Creative Gaga lets the cat out of the box to reveal the world of packaging design. Featuring various local and international designers like Petar Pavlov from Macedonia and Brandziac from Russia, Elephant Design and Impprintz from Pune, the issue promises to be a keepsake for many.

 

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Vijaya Laxmi exhibits the power that a woman possesses through her illustration series, ‘Devi’, ‘Shiva-Shakti’ and various other series, all are an exploration of her mythological concepts allowing viewers to see beyond the obvious.

Obsession with drawing and painting is Vijaya Laxmi’s genetic code. Pursuing art as a free-time hobby flowered into a passion of extremes where she could forgo sleep to complete canvasses and thus began her creative journey as a professional artist.

 

Also practicing clay modelling, she credits herself with a substantial part in promoting the concept of ‘Green Ganeshas’.

Shivgami

Themed Concepts of Modern Divine

Sensing and feeling divinity within her and outside of her, she has explored this divinity through her artwork in a modern and contemporary manner. Her work is mostly figurative created using oil and acrylics on canvas in subtle blues and greys, attempting to convey a story.

Saraswati

According to Vijayalaxmi, the female form has allure, grace and beauty emerging from the gentleness of form, the curves – be it the nose, the neck, the torso, the bosom, the waist; the softness of lines of fingers and toes convey a sense of movement. There is remarkable strength in what to the eye looks merely dainty.

Towards Peace

The Devi Series

To convey the message that each female has a different rupa, she has created a series, Devi, which is a reflection of her unhappiness where people see a woman as a goddess but not the other way round. Unlike calendar art, she has depicted the various Devi in a simple manner, without the much elaborate attributes of goddesses with heavy ornamentation.

Durga

She says that simplicity is itself the beauty of a message: ‘Here She is – now you draw your own meaning, interpret it, but here are my guidelines.’

 

Laxmi in her work is depicted as smiling – as everyone wishes to be blessed by her bounteous grace. Devi Kali’s face projects the anger or rage at injustice. Like Kali, Durga too has a more chiseled face, emphasising their strength, both destructive and creative.

Shivalankaar

The Shiv-Shakti

The Shiv-Shakti series is where she sees Shiv and Shakti as one – separate and together but spiritually one. It is a glorious representation of souls, their quest for merger and the attainment of the moment when they are immersed into each other.

 

Vijaya Laxmi sees Shiva not just in a male form but also as a female – the ardhanarishwar. He manifests himself in a complex dual form; the two forms merged in a manner where it is difficult to point where the male form ends and the female begins.

Shiva-Shakti

Shivangini

She has showcased the constant effort of Shakti to merge with Shiva in the He-She element through a series of paintings like Shakti seeking his attention; Shakti with the power of her will, she herself transforms into Shiva in the posture of meditation, but with her feminine physical attributes intact; Shakti trying to create a Shiva into whom she can merge.

Natsati

Traditional is Evergreen

For Vijaya Laxmi, the visual language on the canvas is the marriage of an idea, a thought, the medium and the expression using the mediums. Even an ordinary thing has to be beautified or the art is lesser for it.

Prayers

For her, digital art is flat and does not reflect the energy that the strokes of a brush provide, imparting life into a work of art. The computer screen’s size and the size of her canvases are of no comparison. Working on an actual canvas scale is a stupendous realisation that the good old brush can turn a trick or two which machines may not be able to.

Published in Issue 46

We all design for different audiences and always keep trying to figure out what they would need and how will they react to our designs? But, one audience who is the youngest of all and most difficult to predict is ‘Kids’. So, to get more clarity, we focused on animation design, an extensively used medium to influence these young ones. This issue is full of veterans advice and a lot of inspirations throughout for every creative soul. So, go ahead

 

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Changing jobs and switching fields never let Zigor Samaniego’s love for art die. It instead inspired him and gave him the strength to follow his passion and go ahead with what he really wanted to pursue in his life.

Being successful and achieving what he has today has not been an easy ride for Zigor Samaniego. Experienced much, from having tasted editing of videos in a post-production company and working in the stream of info architecture to designing websites and being employed by a video game company, Zigor was neither inspired to work nor was happy at heart.

Just be Inspired to Work and Happy at Heart
Just be Inspired to Work and Happy at Heart

He then took to freelancing as an artist and an illustrator which got him illustrating for some of the highly reputed brands like American Express, Nestle, Wired and their likes.

Though some of these opportunities gave him the chance to explore the world of 3D design and drawing, he still wanted his artistic freedom to let his creative mind and thoughts pour out of his imaginative brain in the way he wanted them to.

Inspired

Transforming Imagination to Impressions!

Zigor has always had multiple crazy ideas occupying his mind and conveying the same to his viewers’ works as his biggest motivation and inspiration. For this, he found 3D as the best possible way to express his thoughts and to give life to his imagination.

Though he plots the drawing from his mind, his artwork, from scratch to finish, is entirely digital inspired. Gone are those days when he would use the traditional tools of pen, paper and ink to unleash his creativity.

Inspired

Follow Your Own Style!

Comfortable and confident about his own style of working, he accepts requests and designs characters only which have the possibility to be designed in his way. It is a moment of pride for him when clients, amazed by his portfolio, call to hire him for their work to be delivered in his style. His style is defined by the cute appearance of his characters, merged with a slight amount of humour and fun, aimed at bringing a smile to the viewer’s face. Sometimes not knowing what to draw works best for him as the ideas develop alongside his doodling.

Nature, a Trigger For Art!

He credits his inspiration, innovativeness and ingenuity partly to nature and partly to his crazy thoughts. A nature-lover and enthusiastic about outdoor activities, he is influenced by the things he sees around him and sometimes draws inspirations for his characters and art work while trekking up a mountain.

Tips From the Master!

Enlightening the young ones with certain tips and tricks, he emphasises on the fact that having ones’ own style is a very important thing. In addition to this, the quality of the portfolio plays a very crucial and significant role in a creative’s life.

It is essential that the artist should remain faithful to his tastes and be very careful with the toxic customers wanting to change their style.

Inspired

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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