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Art styles are often regarded as something personal and subjective. It tends to vary from person to person. But there are certain timeless styles and design (illustrations) trends that one cannot overlook or disregard. But all of these classic styles started out as mere fads, which inspired enough artists to carve a niche in the industry.

Hence, as an illustrator and as a designer, it is pertinent to understand current trends and styles, which pave the way for future art styles. Here is a comprehensive list of trends to look out for in 2021.

01 Lines


Illustration by Priyanka Karyekar


Illustration by Sajid Wajid Shaikh


Outlines are one of the most critical factors of an illustration. In their varying colours, thickness and texture, lines can create a world of difference to the artwork, each bearing a unique style and offering an exciting new dimension to the art piece. Outlines are also the most susceptible to change. Each season brings a new trend to outline an artwork. And for the most part of 2020, thin outlines were in fashion. This trend is expected to continue this year as it gained momentum only in the second half of 2020.

02 A whole New Dimension – 3D

Illustrations by Amritpal Singh


Three-dimensional pieces, or 3D artworks, are expected to grow considerably this year. This might come as no surprise to many as the dominance of 3D in design space is evident in recent years. Though three dimensional, the composition for these illustrations is expected to remain minimal, drawing inspiration from their two-dimensional counterpart. Colours for these 3D illustrations may range from strong, vibrant shades to soft pastels, depending on the context of the artwork.

03 Enchanting Nostalgia

Illustrations by Darian Pereira


Charming composition with simple outlines and shapes with few necessary details seems to be the way forward. Inspired by the classic style of cartoons from the 1970s and ’80s, this style can invoke a strong sense of nostalgia if only one can remember days of the past.

04 Abstract all the way

Illustartion by Illustrator Saurabh Chandekar

Illustration by Saurabh Chandekar


AnandRK - Enlighten Illustration by Anand Radhakrishnan


Mesmerizing shape and vibrant colours are expected to reign this year through a quirky yet clever style. Catering to a niche audience, these illustrations can seem to be nothing more than a thoughtless scribble at first glance, when in fact, they are cleverly composed, well thought out pieces. The Colour palette is often heavily saturated, with varying shades of neon undertone, with colour schemes belonging to clash, split complementary, double split complementary, tetrad and triadic.

05 Illustrations in Motion

Static illustration may not always solve our requirements, and here is where strategically composed illustration presented via video comes into play. This trend has been sturdily gaining popularity throughout 2020 and is expected to grow further in 2021.

06 Feel Indianness

Illustration by Ishan Trivedi


Illustration by Freelance Illustrator Satish Gangaiah

Illustration by Satish Gangaiah


Illustration by Lovely Kukreja


India has always been a land of culture and arts. And our artists, illustrators, and animators are once again claiming the global spotlight in the art industry. Works of illustrators such as Ishan Trivedi, Satish Gangaiah, Lovely Kukreja are taking the world by storm. Artworks based on Indian mythology recounting the stories of ‘Puranas and ‘Itihasa ’ are some of the most popular themes online. Apart from this, illustrations are also used to ignite social revolution by narrating the issues faced by the Indian public and raising awareness for societal wrongs.




Pavan Rajurkar - Illustrator
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The illustrator Pavan Rajurkar advocates how the internet has made this a great time to be an illustrator and from here on where every artist should focus to constantly evolve.

n the Internet age, where sophisticated tools and techniques are at every fingertip, functioning for most industries and especially for design and illustrations has evolved greatly. But more essentially, I believe exposure and opportunities have reached beyond the doorstep, which helps people to understand better about their interests and their career paths. For me, the Internet (including social media) also acts as a major source of inspiration and following are the areas where every illustrator ought to heed in 2020.

1. Modern Tools

Even if one’s style of working is through traditional tools, it is imperative to stay updated with the know-how of new software & devices, to keep up with the pace and taste of the contemporary demands. Say, if you are good at drawing, don’t hesitate to take it a step further and translate those skills into animation or motion media. Likewise, if you are an animator, you should be keeping an eye out on VR technology. So be open to improve, expand and upgrade your skills.

2. Storytelling

As an illustrator, you have the power and responsibility of bringing the story alive through your art. So, it’s really important that we, as visual artists, develop the skill of storytelling. Start with writing your own stories (those can even be silly anecdotes or simple incidents). Then draw them, just in the flow and way you’d like that story to be depicted.

3. Know Your Roots

For any and every artist, at least some part of his/her creation is a reflection of who he/she is. Although we use our physical and logical prowess to create art, most of it comes from within. This inner self is always influenced and developed by aspects like culture, life views, social circle, beliefs etc. Explore your surroundings, because inspiration can pop out just from anywhere but still stay in touch with your roots as that is where you will get your uniqueness from. Also, as in every field ‘practice’ is essential, but it’s equally important to understand and involve yourself in your work for it to stand out.

4. Use the reach of Social Media

Now that Social media has become a way of life, we’d rather use it to our benefit. It’s a very convenient medium to get in touch with artists who inspire you and with whom you’d want to communicate/discuss your queries. Have a sorted digital presence which showcases your talent as it helps you in getting instant feedback from experts and professionals.

Published in Issue 49

The Design in 2020! Each year starts with many predictions, anticipations and a lot of hope for bad things to go out and good things to come in our life. The year 2020 has already started with eventful initial months and may hold more surprises in coming times. To understand what’s coming from the design perspective, we featured some of the best design projects from last year. Also discussed a few broad questions like how minimalism will affect our designs or what all an illustrator to keep in mind to be successful and much more.


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