Ad here

An illustrator and cartoonist, Charbak Dipta gives us a peek into his world of inspiration and then how he transforms his ideas into mesmerising artworks.

Third World. The third world countries busy masturbating.

CG. What inspired you take up art/illustration as your profession?

Charbak. I believe one should always listen to his/her inner calling. Since childhood I enjoyed doodling on paper and walls. However, my parents wanted me to be a lecturer and singer. I stopped my art and earned a MA degree. I also pursued music. But destiny is such that I inevitably landed a job as an intern cartoonist in the ‘The Time of India’. There was no looking back from there.

The Sad Indian Alien. When the girlfriend leaves an alien to marry some other wealthier alien.
Blowing in the Wind. The ecstasy of blowjob.

CG. How would you like to define your style of art? Is there a specific name that you like to call your style by?

Charbak. My style is an amalgamation of the various schools of art which I have been inspired from. As a kid I used to copy whatever comics or cartoons I liked, for example, Phantom comics, Marvel, Tintin and Asterix. Later, with exposure to wider art styles, my style began to develop and take shape.

People 2. Different kinds of people and their actual face.
The Jorasanko Ghosts. Ghosts of Rabindranath Tagore and family in their house in Jorasanko.

CG. There seems to be a use of Bengali alphabets and words in a few of your creations. Is there a specific reason for it? Is culture an influence for your creations?

Charbak. I am a Bengali, thus Bangla culture is a big influence in art as well as the person I am. I grew up soaked in Bengali culture, literature, tradition, music and language. It reflects on my art and is an extension of my psyche. Bengali culture, attire and food keep appearing repeatedly in my art.

Harmonium Monster. The monster lives inside Harmonium comes out.
London Underground. World.

CG. Are your characters purely fictional? Or are they drawn from certain realities? And what is the intention of using of these characters together?

Charbak. The characters are used to depict the idea behind visible pictures. The Indian Alien series is an exception where the alien characters are purely imaginary. The other works show realistic humans too. I like layered art instead of direct communication. So my settings and characters too have different facets in their appearance that incorporate different social, historical or political references as well.

The Essential Family. A group image of a typical Bengali family stuck to one another.
Alien Uttam, Alien Suchitra. An alien avatar of Bengali matinee idols Uttam-Suchitra.

CG. Your artwork varies from showcasing realistic scenes to visualisations of imaginary concepts, covering an indefinite spectrum of situations. Yet there is uniformity all across your work. How do you maintain this universal language in your work?

Charbak. Uniformity is my style. Every individual has a way of thinking. My glass is tinted with a uniformity screen that filters my ideas and gives them a unique shape. For example, if you wore red spectacles, all objects would appear with a red tint, yet retain their original shape and function. Similarly I see objects through a this screen.

Ogres. Monsters. A set of ogres with equipment lose to a little girl.
The Mud House. Surreal Gujarati village houses.

CG. What are the mediums that you use to create your artwork? Is it hand-drawn, digital or a mix of both the mediums?

Charbak. The medium varies, some are hand drawn, others are digital. Often the best comes in a mix of both. For manual drawing I use Clutch and Pigma pencils. For digital, I use a range of software. I sometimes experiment with the drawing on different surface too, for example, paper, canvas, flex or plastic.

The Rain Water. Aliens. An alien who hates rain, submerges into rain water to avoid rain.
Machine Series. Arms are inserted into the peace machine that turns them into peace pigeons.

CG. Change is inevitable. So, 10 years down the line, what is the kind of art creations that world would be exposed to from your end? We would also like to know about your future endeavours in brief.

Charbak. I have moved from single artwork to writing full length books, art anthologies, illustrated books and graphic novels.

The Panama Papers. Drawn for a contest by 'The Times of India', Mossack Fonseca digs the money below the papers.

I have released 3 books so far. The first one was ‘The Art of Charbak Dipta’, an anthology of over 100 selected artworks of mine created between 2014 and 2017. The second is ‘Zero: An Indian Aliens Adventure’, which was a spin off from my earlier Indian Alien series of artworks. It throws light on India’s contributions to the world of science and invention. The third one is ‘Apes: An Indian Aliens Adventure’, a sequel to Zero.

Hutom. Bengali Literature. Based on the cult Bengali book ‘Hutom Pyachar Noksa’.

My fourth book is in production currently and will be out this year. In the coming 10 years I wish to write at least 10 more books. I have so much autobiographical and conceptual content, the challenge though is to put them on paper within limited time. I am also interested in web-comics. Hopefully sometime soon that takes off as well.

Relatives. Nature of blood relatives who bite back.

Published in Issue 48

A Freelancer’s Life in India! Every day, with a dream of ‘Being Your Boss,’ many creative professionals jump into the pool of freelancing. But many are not well prepared for the life of the freelancer, which brings many challenges along with benefits. So to explore further, we interviewed many freelance illustrators and designers to get answers to the question you should ask before taking the final call of becoming your boss! So, if you are planning to or have already become a freelancer then this issue is a must-read for you.


Order Your Copy!

Ad Here

Satish Gangaiah, a successful independent freelance illustrator and designer, teaches us a few tips and tricks of working in the creative field.

Herbs to Home Poster

CG. What was the inspiration for you to take up illustration as a career (freelance illustrator)?

Satish. During my childhood I occupied most of my time by drawing. My fascination for drawing has evolved through time. My inspirations have mostly been from the urban context or pop culture. Later during my career I was exposed to art from across the globe. This pushed me to further explore and understand international design trends.

Tik Tok lady, personal artwork
Welcome to the world of corporate culture, personal artwork

CG. Your artworks depict caricatures. Is that your style in general or do you use it for specific pieces of art? Are there any other styles also that you like to try out or that you follow?

Satish. My style is not exactly caricatures, instead it reflects a sense of lightness, and is aimed at easy communication. Stylisations often convey the message far better than realistic depictions. As an artist, I believe in being versatile in style and content. It is important to mold your work based on the requirement.

Republic Day Tableau, personal artwork

CG. Your artworks have a lot of Indian touch to them but projected in a very contemporised manner. Could you please tell us a little about this style?

Satish. I take great care to ensure that the style I create connects with the audience. The artworks of this particular style are based on the Indian context and are intended to give a local feel. They carry my lived experience, my influences and my inspirations. The added contemporary feel helps them resonate with the times we live in. They reflect the trends and sensibilities of today’s culture and society.

Chronicles Over Coffee
LDS Smile, personal artwork

CG. Your profile showcases an animated version of reality through your work. Is it a concept, scheme that you follow?

Satish. Most of my work draws from my experiences and attempts at thinking out of the box. They all have a common thread that reflects different fragments of my identity. Most of my personal artworks are inspired by things around me.

Good Morning

CG. What are the messages that you aim at bringing across through your artwork?

Satish. One common message is that of joy. I am neutral as far as identity politics goes. Instead, I create my characters in a utopian realm of happiness. My artworks are also a tribute the things that have shaped and inspired me. My messages are simple, minimal and relevant to us all.

Auto Santa Claus

CG. Could you give an insight into your design process, from the beginning till the end to get the desired output.

Satish. I always begin with a systematic understanding of the requirement or the subject. The next step is research; it is vital as it helps me explore multiple possibilities in representation as well as making a delivery of content more efficient. It also gives a good foundation to base their concepts and ideas. After that I start compiling mood boards and inspirations for the ideas. I also start making key sketches in tandem. This helps me keep the idea fresh and innovative. I believe by giving this amount of time prior to making an artwork always adds value to it. The next process is all about developing the idea into an artwork

Bakasana, personal artwork

CG. In brief, what has your journey been like being a freelance illustrator?

Satish. My journey has had its ups and downs, in spite of that I have enjoyed it so far. Experience has taught me that the more planned and well managed the process is, the more sustainable and easy the journey becomes.

Swayamvara, personal artwork

CG. Being a freelancer yourself, what would be your words of inspiration and a few tips for the all the people wanting to start out a career in the field of illustration in today’s times?

Satish. The advice I can give to those who are starting their career is – always be passionate. Being passionate towards your art practice also builds empathy to appreciate good art and design. And always try to create your own identity. Success always follows slowly if you are focused and retain the passion to be creative.

Gravity, personal artwork

Published in Issue 48

A Freelancer’s Life in India! Every day, with a dream of ‘Being Your Boss,’ many creative professionals jump into the pool of freelancing. But many are not well prepared for the life of the freelancer, which brings many challenges along with benefits. So to explore further, we interviewed many freelance illustrators and designers to get answers to the question you should ask before taking the final call of becoming your boss! So, if you are planning to or have already become a freelancer then this issue is a must-read for you.


Order Your Copy!

Ad Here

Every designer develops a style, which can be seen through his or her work. No matter which medium you choose to work in, it is this unique point of view that gives an identity to the artwork. Shreya Gulati gives an insight about her bold and quirky work and delves deep into the process that helps her achieve this style.

Upstox Branding.

Deconstructing The Subject.

Shreya enjoys in fragmenting the illustration and having fun with each part as it allows her the freedom to create something different each time. Working on individual parts rather than the whole gives her the bold, clean and quirky style that is clearly visible in her illustrations. Bright colours, striking graphics and playful characteristics are synonymous with her style. She loves creating characters and building stories around them. Designing contains many permutations and combinations of applying art and problem solving methodologies. The vastness and the limitless possibilities fascinate her and this lends very unconventional and experimental expressions in her designs.

Still from the Video ‘Financial Management’.

Versatility is the Key.

She does not believe in any one particular style but likes to experiment with different palettes, treatments and line work according to the subject matter. Not being bound by any precondition and taking the flexibility to explore different mediums and have fun with it makes her each piece unique. Moving effortlessly through mediums her versatile style of work has taken her through illustrating a children’s book to designing an app for stock trading.

Pseudo Sapera.
Future is Female


Inspiration from the Subconscious.

Inspiration is not something that is acquired but it is the objects, visuals, words or anything that influences you and seeps into your memory. She draws inspiration from memory, sometimes by referring to her Tumblr dashboard which is constantly evolving as she travels and records the inspiring things that she sees around her. Sometimes she also refers to the artworks of the artists she adores. She loves drawing human forms, especially female, mostly not clothed. Human anatomy and sex are the two subjects she enjoys exploring the most.

Pop Stickers.

Design is Therapeutic.

She doesn’t have a defined design process but lays emphasis on research and scavenges for information. Whether it is watching a movie, reading an article or a book everything influences her in some way or the other. At times, the trigger is found right away if not then she analyses the data thoroughly and doesn’t stop till the cue is found. Solution lies in understanding the problem in depth and drawing a clear brief. It is sheer joy when your target consumer is happy with the product and you see your designs being accepted and becoming a part of your users. She enjoys designing thoroughly and finds it very healing and therapeutic.

Obot Character.

Asia Map

Seeing Excellent Work Pushes.

In case of a creative burnout or when she feels creatively exhausted, she loves to surf the Internet to see some brilliant work. At times, images, visuals or powerful words that might not be directly connected but seem to have an impact, infuse great ideas. Being exposed to the great work being produced inspires and influences to push the bar further. Seeing good work inspires her but when she finds some extraordinary work it motivates her to push harder and work to achieve greater heights. The amazing and boundless world of design keeps unfolding in mysterious ways inspiring to work more and more.


Every profession and field of work have certain tips that one must know before jumping into it. Lavanya Naidu, a freelancer, illustrator and animator shares some of the tips, especially to manage finances, she has followed.

Dino Buddies

Before I started off as a freelancer, I had spoken to seniors in my field and thus had a brief idea of what to expect. It motivated me to discipline myself from the beginning. When you don’t have a strict schedule and work from home, it can sometimes be hard to have a routine.


Some of the key points that I like to keep in mind when taking on a new project are:

Kittu's very mad day

Keeping Deadlines

Aside from the client deadline, I usually create a personal deadline, a couple of days before the expected delivery. This gives me a small window, in case there are unforeseen hurdles during the project timeline.

Kittu's very mad day

Clear Communication

At the start, before taking on an assignment, I prefer putting everything on the table with my client; when to expect drafts leading up to the final files, fixing the budget, making sure to mention when I might be taking time off, and assuring completion in good time. Clear communication keeps everyone on the same page and helps avoid misunderstandings

Kittu's very mad day

Inspiring Work

I try to take on work that helps me grow and challenges me. As the years have gone by, I have become more selective about what I like to take on, but I am always up for trying something new! I find that I can be true to my work when it is something I can connect with.

Dino Buddies

A Clear System of Payments

Although hard, it is important to be able to assess your skill level, the scale of the project, due to deadlines and quote a budget accordingly. It is equally important to set up a clear system of payments, create necessary invoices, and maybe even think about setting up an advanced payment before you begin work, and/or signing of a contract, when you can. I have been lucky to have had clients who have been very good to me but to avoid miscommunication at a later stage as well as to save precious time on both sides, it might be worth planning ahead.


I have found in my personal experience, that having these little details worked out, allows me to fully immerse myself in the creative process.

Since most of us freelancers work project to project, giving a thought about savings or investing money when you can might be useful, even if in small amounts. I find that it gives you a sense of security and also helps out on a rainy day.

A Butterfly Smile

There are some of the things that have worked for me over the years, but everyone has their own formula that works for them. Putting all of the nitty-gritty aside, we are lucky to be doing what we really love to do, that’s half the job done already!

A Butterfly Smile
Issue 42

Published in Issue 42

Every designer wish to be independent and willing to jump into the word of freelance but most of them unaware of the fundamental challenges of the initial phase. So, we dedicated this issue to freelancers and interviewed some established and talented designers to dig deep for the expert advice. Kevin Roodhorst on the other hand, an experienced freelancer from Amsterdam, has recently shifted to be a full-timer with an Agency says “Freelancing is not all roses!” and shared the best way to survive as a freelancer! So, whether you are a freelancer or planning to be one, this issue is a must-read. Go ahead and order your copy here or subscribe to not miss any future issues!


Order Your Copy!