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With the stakes of digital art soaring high in the market, have a look at some of the best Indian digital artists and get-going to be one!

Wanting to give life to your imagination? What are you waiting for! This is just the right time to start out and the right environment to be inspired from!

 

Be it replicating an image of a famous personality or creating other-worldly characters, anything and everything is possible with digital art using a simple pen-tab and digital software.

 

Follow these brilliant Indian Digital Artists and hop onto a journey of unplanned surprises and master-piece outcomes!

1. Aashit Singh

Aashit Singh is a Mumbai-based visionary artist specialising in creating visual representations of the intangible and other-worldly imagery. He feels that realism in psychedelic art is important to be able to relate to these psychedelic visions. Read the detailed article on Constructing Psychedelic Experience! featuring Aashit’s deep insights.

 


Digital Art

2. Ankur Patar

Ankur Patar, a national and international award winner, has had over 13 years of experience in the advertising industry. Accredited with being chosen as one of the best digital artists of India in 2012, he has brands like Adidas, Nike, Adobe and the likes associating him for years.

 

His recent collaboration with Adobe to recreate lost masterpieces got him into the limelight once again. He was one of the only 4 digital artists chosen from throughout the world to recreate paintings using only Adobe stock imagery.  Ankur also shared how does Digital Art help to exceed your imagination!

 


3. Archan Nair

A firm believer of creating what the heart says, Archan shifted from being a fashion major and an entrepreneur to a self-taught digital and visual artist and illustrator specialising in mixed media and digital art. He is now a Germany-based independent Indian Digital Artist with cultural roots from India. Archan calls this artwork as Psymbionic – a digital Illustration of human and the subtler elements of being human.

 


4. Jithin Roda

Jithin Roda is a freelance concept artist and illustrator based in Kerala. His passion for art got him specializing in a wide spectrum of the illustration world like pre-visualisation, concept designing, cover designing and illustrating for posters and topics in general.

 


5. Medha Srivastava

Attracted towards art depicting metaphors and thought-provoking subjects, Medha, previously a gaming artist has been fascinated by conceptualisation, ideation and realism. Concepts and character building have always aligned with the intent of her artwork.

 

Starting out with simple digital illustrations, she eventually moved on to the world of concept art. Social issues contribute to a major part of her inspirations. To be true to her style of art, which she defines as realistic with a tint of stylisation and conceptualisation, she picks up on things she sees in her vicinity like shapes, colours, patterns and textures for the visual representation of her digital masterpieces. She insists on thoughtfully mixing Realism with Conceptualisation.

 


6. Mukesh Singh

Mahabharata, the epic of epics, can be told and retold time and again, still feeling fresh and young to the receptor. Dissatisfied with the earlier visual representations of the Mahabharata, Mukesh Singh took on a journey to explore the characters of this epic through his own style of digital art and with the aim of wanting the audience of today to not just identify and accept the character’s inner selves but their outer ones too, which are external manifestations of their inner selves.

 


characters

7. Nikhil Shinde

Nikhil Shinde, an Indian digital illustrator feels that creating a character is similar to assembling the pieces of a puzzle together. He puts in his heart, mind and soul to create out-of-the-box characters and gives them a twist in a way which takes the audience by surprise!

 


advertising

8. Nithin Rao Kumblekar

Starting out in his career as an art director in an advertising agency in 2005 and having gained some experience in the field, Nithin decided to freelance as an illustrator from the year 2010, with a focus on commercial illustrations. Since then there has been no looking back and he has brands like IBM, Lenovo, Brittania, Idea cellular and alike as part of his clientele.

 

He has also collaborated with global advertising agencies like Saldo Disegni Italy, Kassett Norway, JWT Delhi and Bangalore, Leo Burnett Mumbai, Saatchi & Saatchi Bangalore, etc creating pieces of digital art to be used by them for their promotions and in other areas.

 


9. Pavan Rajurkar

Pavan Rajurkar, a young Mumbai-based freelance illustrator believes that traditional and digital art compliment and complete each other. In spite of being in the digital era, he feels that the mind is directly connected to the hand and a hand-drawn doodle is the strongest way to brainstorm, leading to an idea.

 

Pavan has worked for numerous reputed advertisement agencies and was also featured in Lürzer’s Archive’s 200 Best Illustrators worldwide in 2016.

 


Emotions

10. Pratima Unde

Accepting the challenge to create a unique beauty, Pratima Unde leaves no stone unturned to explore her subject of illustration. Specialising in expressing human emotions, she highlights these in her digital portraits through a particular technique called Giggling.

 

Focusing on subjects which are shy, she spends days with them sitting face to face, expressing the unexpressed, only to discover something new every day. This portrait is of a Joyous Rajasthani, as she likes to call it.

 


Versatile Designer

11. Rahul Arora

Rahul Arora is a Mumbai based freelance digital illustrator. Believing in the fact that versatility plays a massive role in the life of an artist, his spectrum of working typologies in the field of design is pretty wide, varying from illustrating for advertising to character designing, story-boarding, environment designing and comic books illustrations.

 

Keeping his clients in the centre of any project, Rahul feels that the designer is responsible for conveying the idea of the client through the creation of styles matching the needs of the clients; thus the style of the designer is a reflection of the clients’ sensibility and vision!

 


12. Raj Khatri

Raj Khatri is a Mumbai-based movie buff, visual designer and a digital artist who believes and lives by the fact that experimentation is the key to self-discovery. This thought has helped him create some brilliant movie posters and other artwork, only using the medium of digital art.

 

Having had more than a decade of an experience in various sectors of the field of design like websites, social media, flash animations, TV series, films and many more, he now heads the creative team at an entertainment design studio known as Marching Arts.

 


Indian thelas

13. Ranganath Krishnamani

Ranganathan Krishnamani is a free-thinker, an obsessive doodler and has a soft corner for architecture. An illustrator driven by passion, he feels that self-developed style is what contributes to the uniqueness of an artist.

 

With a keen eye for observation and a distinct point of view, Ranganathan captures and expresses the unique stories of simple everyday life through his own developed style of minute detailing in his digital illustrations.

 


14. Seerow Unni

Believing that the core idea of an artwork is to convey the message to its readers, Seerow Unni, a digital illustrator says that every artwork should be considered as a scene of a movie, as it helps in adding the missing elements, thus adding life and giving depth to the scene. Fun and witty humour are the key elements to grab peoples’ attention.

 

To be a part of the community, it is important to keep oneself updated with the latest trends and happenings of the digital design market. He feels that this year the trend is shifting to from complexity and elaborations to minimalism. He says the key is to enjoy the process and improvise at every level.

 


Characters Shreya Shetty

15. Shreya Shetty

Balancing fantasy and realism, Shreya Shetty creates characters dictating a sense of otherworldliness, yet being anatomically and functionally viable. Following certain thumb rules like relating the character to its environment and keeping the background subtle, she has mastered the art of creating original, believable fantasy characters on a digital screen.

 

She believes that the right expressions and poise can create a memorable moment that will stick with the audience even after the story is over.

 


16. Sri Priyatham

Earning his very first commission by turning his bedroom into a studio during his student days motivated and inspired Sri Priyatham to transform his love and passion for illustration into his profession. To have a free-flowing lifestyle and working on his own terms and conditions, he chose to work as a freelance illustrator creating digital art pieces.

 

The social platform of Facebook helped him communicate and promote his artwork and get commissioned. The reach of other social platforms like Instagram, Reddit and Imgur worked wonders for him to get in touch with a global clientele from the continents of America, Europe and Australia.

 


17. Sukanto Debnath

With an experience of living in changing surroundings and different cultures, Sukanto Debnath, a Hungary-based Indian digital artist explores human behaviour and body language through his extensively detailed yet sketchy illustrations.

 

He believes that travelling and exposure to various folk arts and cultures opens up an artist’s mind to think beyond the usual, thus resulting in mature design. The global artist has created this digital painting called ‘People in Groups’ where he expresses the facial features of Hungarian locals and their body language.

 


Illustrations

18. Uday Mohite

Uday Mohite is a digital-caricature specialist and paints characters believing them to be a piece of art! He does a deep research to understand the features that define and describe the subject of his digital illustration and then exaggerates certain components like colours or characteristic features to start a conversation with the viewer.

 


19. Vishnu

With an impeccable passion for drawing and sketching, Vishnu tries to achieve perfection in all of his artworks. With only an experience of a short span of 5 years in the world of art, he has mastered the skills and techniques of digital art in his own way, developing his own personal style.

 

To be the perfectionist he wishes to be, Vishnu puts his mind, body and soul into his work to achieve an intricate level of detailing, which is visible in all his sketches.

 


Vivek_Feature - Amitabh Bachchan

20. Vivek Mandrekar

Currently working as the chief creative designer for movie posters under the banner of Yash Raj Films, Vivek Mandrekar has come a long way from being just a self-taught artist to mastering the art of creating posters for the film industry.

 

Face expressions tell stories and Vivek has captured these different stories of many great legends of the Indian film industry through his digital paintings. One such famous artwork is that of the Bollywood star, Mr Amitabh Bachchan, created using Adobe Photoshop and Wacom pen-tablet.

Portraiture, as an art form, is much older than photography. Great portrait masters have spent their lives learning this art. Vikas Sharma, a self taught photographer, finds himself in the same pursuit. He shares some of the rules of portrait photography, with the hope that one breaks them.

1. Eyes do the Talking

They are the foundation of a portrait. What do you want to do with them? Strong eyes, spontaneous, piercing, dull, happy or sad? Eyes looking away from the camera? Or closed, perhaps? Look at the subject’s eyes and decide what kind of story they speak. You can read the subject’s mind just by looking into their eyes.

2. Composing the Story

Just as an artist draws on his blank canvas, think about how will you compose within your viewfinder. Are you going to show the surrounding or just a blank background? Again, this will be dictated by what you want to show in your portrait.

3. No Talking at the Back

The strongest portraits are the ones, which emphasise the subject by using a simple blank background. Keep things simple, unless there is something really exciting in the background that complements the story. If you are unable to control the background due to the limitation of a studio, use a shallow depth of field to blur out the background.

4. Light-up Your Thoughts

While this is an infinite subject in itself and the most important one too, keep it simple. Keep it soft. Look at how great artists like Rembrandt have played with it. Think about what you want to achieve. Will it be flat? Is it low key? Or high key? Will, it has the dimension or will it have drama? Will it be warm or cold? Or perhaps a combination of all these. Whatever you decide make sure the picture is about the subject and not your lighting talent.

5. The subject of the Discussion

Know your subject, make them comfortable. They should enjoy and have fun. Nervous or uncomfortable subjects don’t make good portraits. Don’t even show them a camera unless you know they are ready for the picture. If possible meet the subject in an informal setting before the day of the planned shoot. Get to know them and listen to their stories. It will give you ideas on what kind of portrait you want to shoot.

Also if you are a begainer, then make sure to:

a) Invest in a good portrait lens

– 60mm to 135mm is a good focal length range.
– Get a fast lens with the aperture of 2.8.

b) Pre-plan on lighting

– Be ready with a reflector if you are shooting outdoors.

c) Shoot a million pictures

– You definitely can with a digital camera.
– Try different angles, get high or down low.
– Focus on the eyes.

d) Use an aperture setting

– Between 1.4 to 8, depending on the lens.

e) Always shoot camera raw

– Do not apply any in-camera filters like contrast, saturation etc.
– Keep all those things for postproduction in Photoshop.

f) Learn Photoshop

– It’s your darkroom of the digital age. Commercial images today are 30% photography and 70% Photoshop.

Published in Issue 17

We tried to capture the time of chaos and confusion we all are in. How it inspires and influences creative thoughts. Starting with the cover design by Ankur Singh Patar, who captures the duality in the way we treat women. Followed by a conversation with Italian illustrator Giulio Iurissevich who explores beauty behind this chaos. And many more inspirational articles to explore.

 

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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’.

Vijaya Laxmi - Devata or Devi | Creative Gaga
Shivgami

Themed Concepts of the 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.

Vijaya Laxmi - Devata or Devi | Creative Gaga
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.

Vijaya Laxmi - Devata or Devi | Creative Gaga
Shivaay
Vijaya Laxmi - Devata or Devi | Creative Gaga
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 in 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.

Vijaya Laxmi - Devata or Devi | Creative Gaga
Kaali
Vijaya Laxmi - Devata or Devi | Creative Gaga
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.

Vijaya Laxmi - Devata or Devi | Creative Gaga
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.

 

Viajaya Laxmi sees Shiva not just in a male form but also 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.

Vijaya Laxmi - Devata or Devi | Creative Gaga
Shiva-Shakti
Vijaya Laxmi - Devata or Devi | Creative Gaga
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.

Vijaya Laxmi - Devata or Devi | Creative Gaga
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.

Vijaya Laxmi - Devata or Devi | Creative Gaga
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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Your childhood experiences, explorations and continued learning through life, greatly shapes the way we think and the career path we chart for ourselves. Veteran artist and animation film designer, Dhimant Vyas, is an example of this. He gives us a peek at his childhood and throws some light on the animation industry.

An alumnus of National Institute of Design (NID) and his previous work includes the title animation sequence for the highly acclaimed Hindi feature film ‘Taare Zameen Par‘, which was directed by Indian Film Industry superstar Aamir Khan.

 

During an earlier stint at Aardman Animation Ltd. Dhimant has worked as an animator on the Creature Comforts USA TV series. He has worked with brands like BBC, UNICEF, FCB ULKA, Zee TV, MTV, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon, to name just a few. His work for Taare Zameen Par, Happy Planet, Cute Bunny, Y-snore, MTV promos and his photography has won him several national and international awards.

Q: Your work is often related to the flora and fauna. Can you tell us how your childhood inspired the theme of your various work?

Dhimant. I grew up in a small town called ‘Dhrangadhra’ near Kutch, Gujarat. I spent a lot of time amidst nature, as my town is surrounded by rivers, lakes and farms. Most of my childhood involved playing with animals, bird watching, gardening, swimming in the river, and playing with the fish.

 

I used to collect clay from the riverbed to make toys and pluck grass to create handicrafts. We had no televisions or mobiles then. Even the race to get better marks in exams did not exist for us as children; this leads to spending most of our time in the lap of nature. And all my observations of nature now reflect in my work in some way.

Q: Please throw some light on the different animation techniques. Which of these is your favourite, and why?

Dhimant. There are a wide variety of techniques like 2D classical animation, 3D Computer generated animation, Stop motion, Cut out, Pixilation, and so many more.

 

I have used almost all styles of animation, but the way clay animation has evolved somehow reflects in most of my projects. I don’t restrict myself to clay animation though. I especially love the 2D classical animation style.

The style and technique always depend on the requirement of the story. For Amir Khan’s ‘Taare Zameen Par’ I used clay animation. The animation needed to seem like handmade toys created by children. There is an organic feel to the medium which cannot be achieved through computer-generated animation. Clay is something everyone relates to as it connects us all to our childhood.

 

In film making, storytelling decides the technique. The story needs to be executed in a manner where the audience completely engages with the story, instead of focusing on the technicality of the film. The style should seamlessly integrate with the story.

Q: The audience connects very strongly with your work, especially because it’s got heart and warmth. How do you bring in that feeling and emotional connection to your work?

Dhimant. Hard to tell. Perhaps because I put in my heart into my work or my childhood observations of nature reflect in my work. When one enjoys their work, the audience picks up on that, and they enjoy it too. While working, I don’t focus on the final product, instead, I put all my energy in the process of creation and learning.

Q: What role do you think animation can play in education? And how important is it?

Dhimant. Animation can play a significant role in education. I have worked on creating educational content, and have seen the impact myself.

 

A picture is worth a thousand words; now imagine the impact of thousands of moving images in animation! It is a limitless medium. Anything can be created through animation and this is what makes it a powerful educational tool.

Q: Which one of your projects is especially dear to you, and why?

Dhimant. My favourite projects are Rag Malhar (Promo for Music Asia Channel), Creature Comfort of Aardman, title animation of Aamir Khan’s film ‘Taare Zameen Par’, Purple & Brown, and Shaun the Sheep created with multiple Oscar winner Aardman animation studio, U.K.

Q: What are your words of wisdom for a budding animator?

Dhimant. Enjoy the process of making films, as your passion shows in the end. It’s important to do quality work and strive to create the best because this will bring in the money later. Always be observant and ready to learn and explore and share your knowledge. With all this it is equally important to show integrity and honour your deadlines

Creative Gaga - Issue 46 - Cover

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. We interviewed and feature experts opinion from the industry leaders such as Suresh Eriyat, Dhimant Vyas and Vaibhav Kumaresh to ponder on the use of animation for early education… So, go ahead

 

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It has been well established that women are front-runners in their professional lives, they have made success stories of any venture they’re a part of and continue to make a mark for themselves in the world. What women entrepreneurship have achieved is well known. But the Associate Creative Director and Partner of GCD Studio, Shahana Jain‘s take on women achievers is not the ‘what’, but the ‘how’. How are they able to achieve their goals? What modifications are they ready to make in their personal lives? What impact do their surroundings have in their path to success?

Women Entrepreneurship

While enjoying a short break in the hills of Kasauli this weekend, I got some time to think about what women entrepreneurship means to me personally.

Every woman has her own way of structuring her life around what she wants to achieve. It is a function of her personal choices. If she wants she can find a way to balance work, home, family and children, therefore creating an environment conducive to success for herself and those around her.

 

For instance, GCD Studio is an all women’s team, led by a woman who believes there is no work-life separation. From bringing her children to work to taking a vacation to spend quality time with them, she has always encouraged the co-existence of work and life.

Women Entrepreneurship

In fact, ‘work-life balance’ (where work is seen as something outside of your life) is a misnomer. You find a balance when they are different. It is as much a part of our lives as anything else. I feel women understand their responsibilities well and can effortlessly juggle both work and home without neglecting either. Not to generalize, but because women are accustomed to multitasking they manage to get a lot done simultaneously.

Women Entrepreneurship
Women Entrepreneurship

A workplace truly becomes your own when you feel the freedom to be able to bring your personal life into it. Citing my own example, I recently had a baby, and not for a day did it restrict me from continuing with my work. I could work from home and have colleagues over occasionally to work with me on a particular job.

 

Being women we understand each other’s personal commitments and needs and therefore create a sensitive and supportive environment in the studio. It empowers us to move forward no matter what. When you spend more than fifty percent of your day somewhere, it ought to be your second most favourite place in the world.

Women Entrepreneurship

As entrepreneurs in the creative industry, we find ways to balance profitability with investment in people. So while being driven and focused on work we also devise ways to make the studio creative and engaging. Deadlines and client calls are interspersed with occasional time outs.

 

I feel as women we tend to add softer elements to the work culture, like we have saree days, we play a game of taboo at lunch, or take an impromptu trip to Dilli Haat on a winter evening. Professional skills are layered with new learnings, like a recent photography workshop in Goa. This goes a long way in establishing a healthier and more productive work environment.

Women Entrepreneurship

Broadly speaking, women by their very nature create a nurturing environment around them. To value each other as individuals, encourage their creativity and out of the box thinking, to be sympathetic to shortcomings that others face without naming or shaming them are essential to the growth of any organisation.

There is no room for hierarchy, we’re not ‘bosses’ or ‘employees’, we’re just people who get together every day to do something we love. A flat structure with no silos allows everybody to be involved with every job happening in the studio. Which further means that if one person is crunched for time, or has a personal emergency, the others can cover.

 

I find that women are more cooperative in a team environment and especially when there is a non-threatening work culture that isn’t based on competition and one-upmanship. Values like these make it a place you want to come back to every morning.

Women Entrepreneurship
Women Entrepreneurship

Having created our own unique work culture, GCD Studio continues to be among the leading design studios in the country. Having worked with an impressive list of clients, like the Oberoi and Trident Hotels, Lemon Tree Hotels, The Times of India, Spicejet, Daawat, to name a few, as well as playing a key role in guiding new companies like Veeba, Eazydiner and Farmveda.

 

We consciously keep a balance between commercial projects that keep the bottom line healthy and socially supportive projects, which we often do pro bono. Moreover, taking our in-house work culture forward we have been able to create long term professional relationships with our clients; some more than 20 years.

Women Entrepreneurship

To conclude, when women choose to become entrepreneurs, they mean business! They often have given up some stereotypical role or broken a norm to do this – so often have to prove themselves. That is what gives them the drive to succeed and even do things differently. Women see their workplaces as extensions of themselves and an important means to achieve professional as well as personal growth.

Designing a relevant learning experience for children can be both challenging and rewarding. And one of the best ways to do it is by bringing in the play through educational games.

What crosses your mind when you think of the word ‘design’? Captivating colours? Fluid forms? Striking shapes? Trendy typefaces?

While all these elements and more are vital to design, it’s important to note that they all in conjunction serve the bigger purpose of design, and that is to solve a problem. This is exactly what makes designing so relevant, extending its use case to every discipline, one such discipline being the field of education.

From time immemorial efforts have been made to help children learn, especially mathematics. For example, in the 18th century Freidrich Froebel, the German educator, designed wooden toys to introduce play in mathematics. Since then, we have seen innumerable games, puzzles and fun activities to solve the problem of learning for the young.

In this article, Sonia Tiwari throws light on 4 novel ideas of how games and puzzles can be designed to make learning mathematics accessible and fun. Before jumping in let’s understand the two underpinning theories that the four projects are based on. Firstly, Constructionism (Papert, 1980), suggests that children learn by creating artefacts based on mental models. This visualization helps them understand how things work. Secondly, Spiral Curriculum (Briner, 1960) states that children can revisit complex topics as their understanding increases, or that any learning content can be made more accessible if structured and presented well, tailored to the child’s needs.

The other aspect to be taken into account is the type of material being used, the two types being, found material (paper/wood/cardboard/fabric) and fabricated material (3d printing, printing). The kind of material plays a vital role while designing games, especially for the purpose of education. The material needs to be perceived as an element that contributes to the learning experience, either through the various senses, or the ease of usage.

Puzzle 1 – Woodland Explorer, a Textile PlayBook

What can you do with leftover scraps of fabric? The answer is – you can make a wonderfully engaging Textile PlayBook for toddlers!

 

The cotton textile industry in India is quite large, which means, there is plenty of fabric waste being disposed of. And toddlers from the rural segment, with no access to formal schools, are equally widespread in India. Now imagine solving this problem by bringing the two together to create colourful fabric books of learning wonders.

The Textile PlayBook is designed as an educational playbook, allowing children to interact and engage with various cloth objects within the pages. And through the exploration and discovery, the children learn basic concepts and delve deeper in their imagination. The PlayBook is designed to facilitate versatile learning approaches, thus letting children learn and explore exactly how they please.

Learning Play
Pages exploring time and counting

Let’s look at the book, Woodland Explorer. Each page has a different story. For example, the “inside view” of the Hedgehog’s home, spread over two pages. The pages have an interesting mix of elements like cheese slices, tomatoes and mushrooms pinned on, letting children create their own story or explore basic mathematic concepts like sorting, grouping and counting.

A Fox and its world are spread over the next two pages. These pages allow the child to ‘pluck’ fruits and collect them in the basket, in the process sorting, arranging and building patterns. Children can unleash their imagination with the Fox character, by even introducing the Hedgehog from the previous page.

The next spread helps children learn to read time from an analogue clock. With materials like Velcro and magnets, the page comes alive with possibilities of interaction.

 

Apart from basic learning concepts and exploration, children also learn with the sense of touch, or sensory-tactile activities, thus heightening children’s overall learning experience.

Puzzle 2 – Cookie Cutter

This project was designed for a Kindergarten classroom in South Central Pennsylvania, USA, specifically as a teaching aid for a module on fractions. What makes it interesting is the story around it. Since the module was scheduled around Christmas, the emerging puzzle was a hungry Gingerbread man, who wanted to eat cookies – but must be fed only one piece at a time.

Learning Play
Cookie Eater, A fractions puzzle

The primary learning goal of this puzzle is to help children understand how simple shapes combine to form complex shapes. This also allows children to visualize fractions like halves, one-fourth and wholes, thus crystallizing the concept in their young minds.

The secondary goal is to allow children the freedom to play with the puzzle pieces by combining, stacking or building structures. This practice encourages discovery through exploration.

A. Simple Shape formations: Constructing and Deconstructing Shapes
a. Diamond = 2 triangles
b. Square = 4 smaller squares
c. Square = 2 rectangles
d. Square = 4 triangles
e. Circle = 4 pies
f. Circle = 2 semi circles
g. Rectanglecould be = 2 Squares
h. Rectangle = 4 rectangles

B. Complex Shape formations: Constructing and Deconstructing Shapes
a. Heart = 2 semi-circles + 2 triangles
b. Hexagon = 6 triangles (available separately to fit in the same socket)
c. Hexagon = 2 squares + 4 triangles

C. Fractions
a. ¼ + ¼ = ½
b. ¼ + ½ = ¾
c. ¼ + ¼ + ¼ = ¾
d. ½ + ½ = 1
e. ¼ + ¾ = 1
f. ¼ + ¼ + ¼ + ¼ = 1

D. Tangrams – Children can choose to combine puzzle pieces to make their own shapes
E. Structure Building – Children can stack the puzzle pieces to build structures
F. Counting – Children can count the puzzle pieces (up to 45)
G. Sorting – can sort by shape and size, possible to sort by colour if 3d printed in different colours
H. Comparisons – large vs small, wide vs narrow, tall vs short, sharp vs smooth etc
I. Free Play – building stories with the Gingerbread man and cookies, stacking, sorting etc.

Learning Play
Cookie Eater, A fractions puzzle

Puzzle 3 – Bricksters

When a game is designed around the immediate environment of children, it becomes relevant, and thus accessible. The Bricksters game was designed again for a Kindergarten classroom in South Central Pennsylvania, USA. But this time the game was based on Halloween, the eminent season. The objective of the game is to aid children in understanding the concept of constructing and deconstructing single digit numbers, through the idea of ‘trick and treats’. With the help of the board game, children get familiarized to single-digit addition and subtraction, depending on the trick and treat tiles of the board game. As the game proceeds, the children’s stack of blocks also raise, thus allowing them to visualize the added values.

Learning Play
Bricksters, A Board Game for practicing addition and subtraction
Learning Play
Learning Play
Learning Play

Puzzle 4- Turtle Pom Pom

This project was designed for toddlers. As the name suggests, children play with glittery turtle-shaped coasters and little colourful pom poms. The idea is to add the pom poms to the coasters to practice concepts like counting, sorting and grouping. The colours and containers provide many opportunities to explore the basics of mathematics.

Learning Play
Turtle Pom, A sorting and Grouping game

Bibliography

Clements, Douglas H., and Julie Sarama. 2004. Building Blocks for early childhood mathematics. Early Childhood Research Quarterly 19:181–89.

Clements, Douglas H., and Julie Sarama. 2005. Math play: How young children approach math. Early Childhood Today 19:50–57.

Anil KS trusts his instinct, essentially, while designing. Observing elements in his environment, he cultivates his techniques to simplistically present depictions that effortlessly spread smiles on people’s faces and make the world a happier place through his illustrations.

Illustrations
Tea Master. A fun illustration for a magazine featuring Kerala Tea shops.

For Anil, the design is a natural way of life, such that a person’s design sense and character are innately connected. Mainly guided by his love for traditional art forms, Indian mythology, sculpting and mural art, he’s always trying to bring his own style into his work of illustration, design, animation and typography.

Illustrations
Double. Amusing characters designed for an animation project.

Choosing a colour palette is a major aspect of Anil’s work, helping his illustrations to stand out and make easily relatable. Largely influenced by the living ambience and visual art forms in his hometown, Kerala, sharp and contrasting colours always make their way into in his work.

Illustrations
Parrot Man. An evocative illustration from a series of miniatures done for society6.

Trying to keep it easily readable in a silhouette, he starts out by scribbling the simplest, basic shapes, adding extra bits only later. Understanding the story behind the character helps in deciding the nature of the character. Anil always tries putting his personal touch into his work, preferring whimsical illustrations with humorous concepts and cheerful colours that make both, viewers and him, happy. That sounds like a win-win.

Horse Man. A colourful, whimsical and funny character designed for a project in 2010.

Published in Issue 34

This is a rebranding special issue focused on finding the answers to some of the basic questions like what is the right time for re-branding? or what all needs changing and how exactly? We interviewed some of the best branding studios like Landor Mumbai, Elephant, VGC, Inchwork, and many more. If you are considering rebranding or want to learn more about the art of doing it then this issue is a must read. So, go ahead

 

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Characters – you’ll find them in comics, storybooks and fairytales as manifestations of imagination. Beyond that, elements like anatomy, expressions and plot are key in making a character appear realistic and relatable, believes character designer Aditya Chari. He explains the realistic principles one must incorporate while creating a character.

Kali. Illustration for a gaming concept. Depicts a negative character.
Tamohara. Displays how the character can narrate the story when placed in the right setting.

The Story Catalyses a Character

It’s important to know the story before giving shape to a character. After all, the purpose of every character is to tell a story. The story is built around their strengths and limitations. The props help them overcome their limitation and move the story forward. Next, figure out the role of the character in the story and layer your vision on top of it.

 

When you get content describing a character, you actually narrow down the choices and attain a more focused approach. This makes it easier to plan your character. However, when you work on your own conceptual art, there is no fixed direction. And you have to take the idea in your mind and put it down as a building block for the design. After that, let your intuition take over.

Character Design

It’s All in The Face

Facial expressions are most important when it comes to character designing. The eyes best convey the expressions, especially when in a close-up. The hands and the spine dictate the posture of the body, magnifying the emotion you try to convey through the facial expression. The expression is a window into the character’s mindset. Therefore, if you want people to relate and accept your characters, you need to design them to be expressive.

Character Design
Devi. The soft curves, posture and the facial expression keeps the feminine essence intact.
Character Design
Zoravar. The massive overgrown character has exaggeration that in no way disrupts the rules of anatomy.

Exaggerate What Anatomy Allows

When you are trying to draw from life or memory, your knowledge of anatomy is your main tool. You learn to look out for the landmarks on the body which help you put down your figure faster. Moreover, it helps you foreshorten the figure and also dress it up where the underlying body is not visible. Anatomy helps you understand mobility and the function of muscles. Muscles look different when they are relaxed and when they are contracted.

 

Exaggeration is just an adaptation of muscle and bone structure to the characteristics of the concept you wish to develop. This depends on what you expect the character to do when playing its role in the story. Characters like Popeye with huge forearms, Hulk with massive overgrown muscles or disfigured creatures from visual effects films, all fit into the same skeletal and musculature structure.

Character Design
Devi Comic. A very determined facial expression lends it the power that muscle lends to man.

Know the Difference Between Muscle and Mental Strength

While working with characters that are either male or female, it’s important to be aware of the differences between the two. Apart from the obvious physical differences, you need to bring forth the emotional difference too. Imagine combining the physical frailty of a woman with a very determined look when facing a larger than life scenario.

 

You have to make her look strong but at the same time maintain her feminine side. It’s about her mental strength. On the contrary, a male character would be more about robust physical posing and an exaggerated angry expression with throbbing veins and a muscular built. Even the design of clothing has a different approach for each type just as in real life.

Sea Creature. Irregular and bizarre. Follows the anatomy of sea life like the fins, the flippers and the claws.
Gorg. Complex, surreal and mechanical creature. Manages to get living feel because of its fierce facial expression.
Snake Woman. Body postures and facial expressions bring out the character’s personality.
Character Design
Character Sketch. Reveals many characters need props to help them overcome their limitation.

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, Aditya Chari, 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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Job

CEO and Founding Director of Lopez Design, Anthony Lopez, provides a good look into what employers look for while looking for the new generation of designers, creators, innovators.

How do you land up with a job, and more importantly, how do you find the right job? The two are distinctly different. The right job must ideally balance what you are capable of doing and your future ambitions. It all comes down to how you approach job-seeking.

Getting a job is an anxious business, let alone getting the right one. The first and foremost step is to do a self-strengths and capabilities analysis, giving yourself marks for both tangible skills and non-tangible abilities. Aside of looking at your skills, strengths and conceptual abilities, an interview panel will evaluate your portfolio based on how you showcase your work. Never try to mislead the interviewer. Title your entries, and present only your best, avoiding elementary work. Your portfolio should clearly demonstrate your strengths.

Based on your self-assessment and portfolio, start to evaluate the type of job you would be interested in, and which you’d be fit for. Start short-listing firms, and study them carefully. In the case of Graphic Design or Visual Communication, there are many types of firms you can join: advertising, design studios or corporates. Every one of these will open up different roles requiring different strengths.

Decide your path, based on what will be the right for both you and the firm. Start writing individual mails to each firm. The best way is to draft a master letter, which you can modify to suit your pitch to each firm.

Here are a few tips that summarise the key points to finding the right job:

1. Believe in yourself.

Be confident about who you are and what you are capable of.

 


2. Present who you are honest, and be yourself.

Show positivity, and ensure it is demonstrated in every attempt throughout the process.

 


3. Every firm has its own personality and character; See if there is a match, and write them individual emails.

It is not very different from locating your desired home and the right landlord! I often tell my future clients that we need to check each other out to see if we are the right match. This is a good step to maintain.

 


4. Your portfolio showcases not only your capabilities, but your personality

Craft it well, and ensure you clearly communicate exactly what it is you are showcasing.

 


5. Connect the project to your role, contribution and impact it had.

Most importantly, let your hiring panel know the context and the purpose.

 


6. Never try to fit into a job you are not made for.

It is best to be in a position of adding value and being an asset to your firm and team. Any false attempt will take you down the snake instead of up the ladder.

Published in Issue 38

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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Imagining a story in your mind about something like playing cards that you have seen since you were a kid and making illustrations on paper with ink can be very interesting! Anup Kokate’s work is one such example to look out for.

Playing Cards Character Illustration
KING OF HEARTS.

A cartoon lover since childhood, Anup was always inquisitive to know about those characters, illustrations and other artsy things attached with cartoons. Growing up with these thoughts locked up in his mind, he decided to take up professional training in fine arts as this was the key for him to open up doors to graphic design and illustrations, now a part of his heart.

Playing Cards Character Illustration
KING OF CLUBS.

Playing cards as a kid got him wondering and curious about what would happen if the playing card characters actually could come out from the cards and fight with each other! This was his inspiration to illustrate the playing cards series.

Playing Cards Character Illustration
QUEEN OF DIAMONDS.

Influenced much by the key rules of designing learned at the beginning of his career, Anup believes in simplicity rather than multi-coloured and jazzy stuff. Which can be seen in his illustrative card series where the monsters are created using line drawings in monochromatic tones and varying thicknesses.

KING OF SPADES.

Believing in competition with oneself, Anup is of the opinion that one should work purely for the satisfaction of the inner self and improve self-abilities and skills to be a part of the race being run by many.

Playing Cards Character Illustration
KING OF DIAMONDS.

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. With this comes many dilemmas like where to intern and how to get selected in your favourite studio. So to bring little more clarity on current market trends of selecting the right interns, we interview some of the well-known studios to find their ‘Secret Process’ of selection. Where Visakh Viswambharan, founder of Appiness Interactive said that they only ‘hire attitude, and train skills’. For him, hunger to learn and go-getter attitude wins the real race in his team. Also, the founder of Wallcano, Arshad Sayyad, seconds the opinion of keeping the right attitude of learning and keeping up with the current trends & social media works for his interns. We also, gathered insights from freelancers, independent designers and seniors creative on the importance of an internship.

 

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