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Established illustrator Samji provides exciting insights regarding the eld of illustration, sharing his techniques, tips and tricks, while also opening up about the challenges and hurdles presented by this pandemic.

An elegance, in her pyjamas, moving through her backyard in a parallel world.
Freedom of expression.

Samji’s fondness for art was carefully nurtured since childhood. His first step into the realm of art was through the field of animation. “It was not a particularly successful stint. I began doing a few odd jobs to keep myself afloat. Following which, I took up BFA in Applied Art. But I had to drop out from that course in my third year, thus putting an end to my formal art education,” said Samji. After several years of exploration, he realised that his true love lies in the field of illustrations and thus began his career as a freelance illustrator.

A personal project titled Be Different

Brilliant, vivid colours, the gorgeous textures and zealous energy exuded by the artworks are key signatures of Samji’s illustrations. Through years of experimentation and exploration, Samji developed a distinct style, thus establishing himself as a talented illustrator in the industry.

A personal project titled Freedom of expression.
Package illustration done based on Ekpe masquerades culture
An illustration representing the research wing of Terra Money.

The bright, rich colours set Samji’s illustrations apart and give the pieces a burst of energy. “I used to work with a minimal set of colours. The hues you see in my work now are the ones I used to stay away from, simply because I was afraid of using them. I was not comfortable using highly saturated and vibrant colours. Then one day, I found the courage to get out of my comfort zone and experiment; and that made all the difference,” explained the artist.

Illustration by Samji
Mermay challenge
Illustration by Samji
Themed on Christmas

The richness and brilliance of the colours in an illustration are attained by adjusting and experimenting with the hues, saturation and brightness of a tone. “My process varies according to need. If the work is for a client, I follow the brand guidelines and other factors to set the colour palette. For personal projects, I start with random colours. I use complementary colours to differentiate between subject and background. After which, I keep experimenting till I hit the mark. In fact, HSB (Hues, Saturation and Brightness) is one of my favourite tools that I constantly use in my works,” shared Samji, illuminating the process behind his illustrations.

Illustration by Samji
Illustration by Samji
‘Me and Caverito’ based on my pet cat.

Lighting is another crucial factor in an illustration. “When it comes to lighting, I focus on highlights. I save it for the end because highlights are to an illustration what a soul is to a body; it provides life to the image,” commented the illustrator.

A podcast illustration themed on the power of music.

But the colours in our lives dulled at the wake of Coronavirus pandemic which shook this world. Our lives were drastically altered, and the pandemic affected various walks of life in various degrees. Hence, it is but natural to strive to understand the extent of its effect on the art industry in India. “The pandemic could have had monstrous effects on the art industry if not for the Internet and social platforms like Instagram. As with any change, adapting can take time, and it can affect your mental health. This is especially true for artists who are constantly seeking to get inspired, be it by taking a walk or talking to a person’s face to face. It is challenging for an artist to keep his creative juices flowing when his wings are cut,” commented Samji.

Illustration by Samji

A significant part of the art industry is freelancers. Providing critical insight into the lives of the freelancers, the illustrator observed, “As a freelancer, I’m used to working from home; hence I didn’t find much of a difference. The mass layoffs resulted in an increase in the number of freelancers which in turn led to more competition within the industry. The only way for us to keep up is by carving a niche and standing out in professional platforms, which is difficult to many, including me.

Illustration by Samji
Annoying Colleagues
Illustration by Samji
A digital artwork illustrated to be the cover art for a podcast.

It is quite a challenge to produce quality works and maintains your visibility in social media at the same time,” said Samji. And to cope with these sudden changes, artists devised various methods to stay active professionally. “I marked my presence in platforms where I could get potential work enquiries or opportunities. These included social media like Instagram, where we have to constantly stay engaged and be easily available,” explained the artist.

Illustration by Samji
This was inspired by a photograph that I had seen in Fubiz page.

But it was not all grey and dreary, the pandemic also resulted in positive changes and improvements. “The work inquiries, collaborations and potential clients increased during this pandemic for me. I am not sure of the exact reason – perhaps it is because of my improved effort at the online presence or the lack of full-time employees in firms and a higher rate of outsourcing to freelancers,” said Samji.

Illustration by Samji
One of the figure illustration done for a company based in U.K

With proper planning and smart management, it is indeed possible to cope with the hurdles of the pandemic. Offering invaluable strategies, the artist shares his suggestions, tips and tricks to fellow illustrators and freelancers. “We have proved that it is possible to work from home without any hassle. The next step is to maximise our visibility and availability across all platforms, especially if you are a freelancer. Another important step is to build a reliable community since we cannot downplay the extent of security that a well-built community can bring in a situation like this. So, I’d suggest that we all make an effort in bringing this community up. At the same time, please take care that you do not overwhelm yourself with the use of social media by comparing your work with someone else’s. Try to limit your use to get inspired or promote your work and not bring yourself down”.

Illustration by Samji
Fenix Getting ready for Halloween
UnibroW

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The human brain is a fantastic library of images. The more you watch the world around you, the more it gets enriched. All one needs to do is to observe every detail around very closely, suggests animation filmmaker-illustrator Vajra Pancharia. He discusses pointers that help him create engaging visuals.

Visuals
Cave birdy

Visuals
Dojo Training Centre

Visuals
Concept illustration for a game

Visuals
28 days later after infection

How you see is what you draw.

You derive your mood and emotions from your surroundings. That’s how each element works for you. For instance, nature, for almost all of us is always beautiful and serene. So while painting landscapes and environments you tend to bring out spatial and ethereal feel in them. Of course, the concept plays a great part in determining the details. Similarly, many a times, the surroundings push your emotions to an extreme. That’s when your characters become dark and edgy.

Tomcruise



Visuals
Environment

The story decides the character.

The heart of the story should be the soul of the character. While the story acts like a container, the character is the content. They both work hand in hand to drive the narrative. Above all, aesthetics and clarity matters a lot. They complement each other if you feel the core of the story and bring the small nuances from it visually to the characters. A small gesture, which is appealing, can tell the entire story effectively.

Interior Sketch



Wolverine

Perspective is your camera on paper.

The world around us is in a 3D space. But we tell our stories through a 2D medium, like paper. That’s why one needs to use few tools to aid the narrative. The most important of them is perspective. It makes viewers’ attention focus towards a certain area in an artwork. Visually, perspective can be used to enhance storytelling, adding more dynamism to some parts. It can also mellow down certain areas to give importance to others. If used wisely, perspective can surely do a good job of conveying an idea.

Naseerudin Shah

Happy holi


Visuals
Hangout

Colours make your stories move.

Colours are the most dynamic part of an artwork. In the real world, they change so quickly that capturing the mood becomes quite challenging for an artist. One needs to learn colour behaviour and understand how it affects the viewer. The best way to go about understanding it is to paint from real life with traditional mediums. This increases your visual sense and helps you choose the right colours which can be later applied on the digital medium.

Relate to exaggerate.

You get best ideas for your character from the surroundings. First identify who, your neighbour, maid, postman, bus conductor, or people in a mall, resembles your character best. Then spot the characteristics, both in behaviour and appearance, which make them what they are. These are the qualities that can bring out the emotions. A good way to understand these features is to enact them out in front of the mirror. That way, you are able to absorb these qualities and translate them into your designs.

Visual development for a game level



Visuals
Environment Concept

Be open and observant.

There is a storehouse of positive energy that surrounds us. It manifests itself through characters, images, stories and every element of nature. You need to keep your eyes and mind open to grab all of it. Ideas, imagination, aesthetics, colours, forms and everything else that make your visuals are born out of this energy. It is the key factor that gets translated into your visuals. Everything else is incidental.

Visual development for a game level

Visuals
Forest Design


Published in Issue 15

In this issue, we invited leading Gaming professionals to share their inspirations along with their suggestions to improve the Gaming Art in India. Featuring some of the big names of Gaming Art likeVinay Vikram Singh, Sandeep Menon and Neeraj Menon along with International renowned Russian studio, ‘Grafit Studio‘ and many more talented creatives.

 


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Encouraging us to make the best out the situation, Febin Raj cheers us to turn our obstacles into opportunities as the world fights this deadly pandemic.

Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
What inspired you to take up art as your profession?

Febin. I loved drawing even as a child, and it has only grown stronger over the years. Hence, when it came to choosing a profession, there was no second choice. I consider myself blessed to be living my passion and making a career out of it.

Pandemic - Febin raj
Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
Though your art journey began in watercolours, your current works are extensively digital. What is it about digital painting that draws you to it?

Febin. It is necessary to stay updated in this fast-paced world. Digital art provides us with a wide range of opportunities to challenge ourselves and explore new dimensions of art, while also making our work a lot easier compared to conventional methods. But nothing can replace the satisfaction of painting with watercolours on a piece of paper.

Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
Your current digital artworks possess a specific style and geometric flair. Kindly share the artistic process with us.

Febin. My style has evolved over the years, and it is not done consciously or with any plan. I execute my ideas rather spontaneously and draw inspiration from what I see around me.

Q.
Your art pieces seem to possess a strict colour palette. How do you select the colour scheme for each piece?

Febin. My works are inspired by nature, and hence, the colours are a reflection of what we can observe around us. The colour palette goes in sync with the intricate hues of nature, and I try my best to do justice to this beautiful swirl of colours around us and keep my works natural.

Pandemic - Febin raj
Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
Your artworks reflect your love for travel and nature. How did this pandemic challenge your creativity and artwork, especially since we were required to stay at home?

Febin. This pandemic did not challenge my creativity. I tried to see this as an opportunity to explore my limitations and push my boundaries. It is indeed true that we were all confined within the four walls, but our creativity and ideas were never confined. Even with these limited resources, I tried to bring out the best in me.

Q.
What are the effects of the pandemic on the art industry? Were there any unexpected hurdles?

Febin. The art industry, just as all the other industries, faced certain setbacks due to this pandemic, but it is slowly picking up the pace. If we convert every hurdle we face into an opportunity, I’m sure we’ll thrive. That is what I’m trying to do right now.


Q.
Freelancers are some of the most affected by this pandemic. What is the market like for freelancers now?

Febin. Just as in all the other professions, freelancers have faced some difficulties too. The market is not as commendable at this point in time, but the situation is undoubtedly improving. Personally, the pandemic has only brought new opportunities and fabulous projects for me.

Pandemic - Febin raj
Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
How are the art agencies and studios coping with the pandemic? How are they supporting the freelancers through this crisis?

Febin. Art agencies and studios are indeed going through a difficult situation due to this crisis, but I believe that they are extending every possible support to freelancers. During the pandemic, I got the chance to collaborate with a few international studios.

Q.
When ‘Work From Home’ is the new norm, do you see any long-term changes in the way freelancers work?

Febin. The profession of freelancing, as we see it today, has evolved over the years. Any and every change is gradual. Hence, it is tough to predict how the concept of freelancing would be perceived in the future. But as of now, freelancing is linked to freedom and that would remain the same, regardless of any change.

Pandemic - Febin raj


Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
Has the working style of art agencies and studios changed? Do you think this change will last post-pandemic?

Febin. The working style has definitely changed into a whole new dimension since the resources are limited. This pandemic proved to us that whatever the situation may be, there is always a way out. Perhaps some of the positive aspects of this new working style might stick with us post-pandemic.

Pandemic - Febin raj

Q.
Would you like to say a few words to your fellow artists and freelance who are fighting their way through this pandemic?

Febin. Make every obstacle your opportunity. Remember that these struggles, this crisis is not here to stay; this too shall pass. So, make the best out of the time you’ve been given, as creativity knows no bounds.

Pandemic - Febin raj

Published in Issue 51

TBusiness, studios, agencies, freelancer all have different perspectives to handle the pandemic and hurdle it brings. While some find pandemic an obstacle which will soon fade away and on the other hand, few saw opportunities in the same. Many creatives used the past few months to reflect on their styles and horn their art. Many utilized it for collaboration opportunities with national and international creatives. This issue is a must-read if you are looking for insights, inspirations and ways to bounce back in this unlocking phase.

 


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Animator and Illustrator, Lavanya Naidu, expresses how one can find more, happiness, room to grow, not only professionally but also personally, by focusing on producing work that is rather challenging and cherishing at the same time.

Morning Stroll

Potato and Pea curry for dinner

Neighbours

CG. All your illustrations are fun, represent happiness. How do you choose your characters and topics of illustration?

Lavanya. I try to be an optimist about most things in life. I guess my work too in many ways, reflects the same. I want to be able to induce in my audience, I want to be able to share that positive energy. A lot of my work, characters and environments are based on simple joys and human emotion. I draw inspiration from my relationships; my friendships; the people (and sometimes animals) I see around; everyday moments worth freezing on canvas; worth appreciating and taking a second look at.

happiness-Lavanya Naidu
Bright Sunny Days

An illustration created for a friend celebrating her relationship.

CG. You use a very lively colour scheme that is, both, vibrant and subtle. Could you please tell us how you arrive at it?

Lavanya. My colour scheme has developed over time, and still has a long way to go! I began asking myself why does the sky have to be blue when it really isn’t always blue? There is a myriad of colours that we can play with. I began experimenting with different palettes and started understanding how the absence and presence of light change colour. It’s an ongoing journey and tremendous fun!

happiness-Lavanya Naidu
Healers

Afternoons with the neighborhood watch

Summer


CG. What is your approach towards acquiring clients, and how do you fulfil their needs?

Lavanya. I have been extremely lucky to have had some wonderful clients. Most of my clients have approached me, having had looked at my work on Behance or my blog. I make sure to keep all of my pages updated with new projects, as soon as I can. I respect another person’s time and money as I would expect that in return, so it is of utmost importance that I deliver on or before a reasonable deadline. I usually take on work that I know, I would love to do so that I can be true to that commitment. Professionalism is key, it helps you filter out the unnecessities and focus on the actual task at hand.

Flamingo in My Garden.
A beautiful diversity of birds of the Indian subcontinent come together in this lovely story.

The Dark Glen. Cover art for Tinkle Comics.
What started off as a cover, soon turned into a comic inside as well!

happiness-Lavanya Naidu
Where's the Mummy

CG. What do you feel is the balance between marketing, portfolio and quality of work when it comes to acquiring work? Do you think there’s anything more a designer needs to do?

Lavanya. We live in an age where there is an endless choice, and it gets harder and harder to make an impact on your audience. Our attention spans are fleeting. However, if you love what you do, and you can put that into your work, people can feel it. If instead of focusing solely on staying relevant, we can focus on producing work that challenges us and that we are passionate about, it gives us more room to grow both personally as well as professionally.

Something fishy. No Smoke Without Fire – a personal short animation film. Background explorations for an upcoming personal
short in progress.



I would say that quality of work is usually the most important aspect when acquiring work, followed by sharing it on different forums, where peers and professionals can see and critique your work, as well as sharing it on more public forums where people can relate and experience your work too. The learning never stops, so ask questions and keep at it.

The Bookworm.
A personal illustration dedicated to my best friend, a voracious reader, even in dim lighting.

happiness-Lavanya Naidu
Art made for TEDx Bangalore’s annual event.

CG. What inspires your style of work?

Lavanya. I am an avid observer and am stimulated by those around me; by everyday interactions, sometimes more complex emotion, or relevant subjects around the world that resonate with me. There is so much we have in common, so much to share, so much that can bring us together, that is what inspires me.

A Flamingo in my Garden.

To the Future. Personal art dedicated to my best friend and our enormous love for dogs.

happiness-Lavanya Naidu
You Came. Personal work
Concept art for an upcoming personal animation film.

client

Published in Issue 37

Recent demonisation and changing Taxes has pushed most of us in planning our finances more seriously. So to answer some of the basic questions for designers, freelancers and creative studios, we interviewed some of the creative legends to guide and share their wisdom. The issue includes interactions with Preeti Vyas from VGC on ‘How to pitch for clients or retain the existing one’ and Ashish Deshpande from Elephant on ‘Challenges of working with a startup’, along with some best freelancers like Archan Nair, Shreya Shetty and Paul Sandip, sharing their knowledge of working with various clients. Also, Sachin Puthran from Thatzit.com gave a 10-point no-nonsense guide for studios to handle their finances. A must read, if you are planning for the financial year ahead or worried about your handling your money matter, this issue can give you much-needed insight and guide you to a better financial health of your business or freelancing.

So don’t wait, just order your copy NOW!

 


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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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Vibhav Singh is a Bangalore-based artist and illustrator who has a penchant for storytelling. After gaining popularity in the indie music scene for innovative album arts and event posters now he is keen to take his creative venture, Studio Sideline, forward.

Illustration and Storytelling by Vibhav Singh

After working with Achint Thakkar, he collaborated with Anuv on two more artworks, plus he also recently worked with Tejas for his new album “Outlast”, creating four pieces in total. Now, he is keen to take his creative venture, Studio Sideline, forward.

Illustration and Storytelling by Vibhav Singh

It all started with the love of reading. When he was growing up, his favourite books were sci-fi and fantasy stories, and he always loved the cover illustrations that came with them. He became increasingly fascinated by the storytelling by these images over the years, and it soon turned into a full-fledged career path.

Illustration and Storytelling by Vibhav Singh


He also found music extremely compelling, and in college, he began to make artworks inspired by music. These caught the eye of some people in the indie arts community, and it eventually led him to make posters for Sofar Sounds.

Illustration and Storytelling by Vibhav Singh

There has been no looking back ever since. He has been working on a lot of projects with Converse, Kulture Shop, and Netflix—just to name a few. He has even designed cover artworks for some of Audible’s original stories. His collaboration with Converse as part of their Peace campaign, where he was one of the 9 artists selected from around the world.

Illustration and Storytelling by Vibhav Singh

As he continued to achieve his artistic dreams, Studio Sideline was born. Four storytellers combine their creativity and skills to bring the kind of stories they always wanted to tell but never had the manpower to pull off. ‘Our vision is to tell stories that have heart, and to execute them at the highest quality,’ says Vibhav.

Illustration and Storytelling by Vibhav Singh

What inspired the illustrators to start this company was the large number of people who are returning to illustration as a means of self-expression and storytelling. A range of exciting possibilities has been added to illustration by the digital medium, constantly blurring of lines between illustration, animation, fine art, installation art etc. In fact, movie posters, album covers, and books have been using more illustrated art. 2D animated films are popular once again, as they represent an appreciation for hand-drawn artwork.

Illustration and Storytelling by Vibhav Singh

The secret recipe beyond all this is establishing a successful client-designer relationship. Vibhav’s solution — contracts. Having an idea of the kind of work you do and the way you do it helps to set boundaries for your clients so that everyone knows what to expect.



Setting terms, boundaries, and commercials, preferably in the form of a contract, he recommends that goes a long way.

VibhavSingh-9

Vibhav is still building up his portfolio with unique explorations of storytelling. When asked about what he wants to work on next, he answered, ‘I would love to work on anything that’s narrative-based, primarily book cover illustrations and zines.’

You can uncover the artistic vision of Vibhav Singh creations on his website and follow him along on his visual art pieces on Instagram.

 

And for more exciting behind-the-scenes coverage of other artists & illustrators from around the world be sure to follow Creative Gaga on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

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