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Vibrant colours, dark themes and Metal would define the artist and drummer Aaron Pinto who shares the influence of art and music on his quarantine time.

Boop. Digital illustration contributed to “Design Fights COVID” which provide food and medical supplies to stray animals

How did you cope with quarantine and how has the situation affected your art and creativity? Have you been struck with any unexpected challenge?

Aaron. I have been coping well. My home doubles as a studio and therefore my workflow is uninterpreted and just as it was before the quarantine. I created some exciting pieces, as well. This process of creative isolation has made me take a step back and analyse and refocus. The only challenge I’ve faced is maintaining my energy level since I couldn’t properly exercise.

Tarot Parrot. An imaginative wordplay on Parrot and Tarot.

Have you participated or came up with any art challenge? How you spent your quarantine time?

Aaron. I’ve participated in ‘Design Fights COVID’, an initiative by Art and Found and I’ve also partnered with a few bands to create some COVID specific creatives. Apart from that, I’m working on my apparel line and a series. This is something I’ve always wanted to do.

Can you elaborate on your contributions to ‘Design Fights COVID’?

Aaron. Design Fights COVID partnered with a few NGOs which are helping smoothen various aspects of life. As I love animals, the NGO I partnered for is ‘World for All’. It is an organisation which provides medical aid and food to stray animals.

Quarantine - Aaron Pinto
Manifest. A comment on the superficiality of people and their pursuit of online validation.

This pandemic has proven that during a crisis, people turn to art for solace. Do you think this will leave a lasting impression in the field of art?

Aaron. Whether it has created a lasting impression can only be found out in retrospect, but in general, I think people will feel a little more connected with art. Art therapy is universal, and I believe that everyone does this intentionally or otherwise.

How has quarantine impacted your livelihood?

Aaron. I believe I’m one of the lucky few to be busy with a lot of commercial work this quarantine since jobs are scarce with many brands busy taking stock of the current situation.

Quarantine - Aaron Pinto
Day off. A surreal pop take on a creature of dark taking some time off.

How do you manage to differentiate workspace from your home? Has your productivity been affected due to this?

Aaron. I assign a time for each task I’ve set out for the day. That way, I’m able to be productive and not lose my mind by just working the whole day. I also have my drumkit at home and use it to break the monotony. This was my life before quarantine as well, so very little has changed.

What are some of the projects you wish to pursue as soon as this quarantine is over? What are the projects we can look forward to from you?

Aaron. The apparel line is my top priority. I’m actively pursuing mural since I’ve always wanted to do that. I’ve also got some unreleased work in the pipeline with international bands, which will be released soon.

Squishy and Spongy. Merchandise developed for the single Squishy and Spongy by the band Primitiv.

What is the influence of music on your artworks?

Aaron. The music I listen to guides my artwork and helps me finish the piece. Conversely, I create a visual to help me produce music. Since music is always playing at home, I am continually inspired. I’m currently working on a series inspired by synthwave and metal music.

Vibrant colours and gothic themes seem to be your signature. When did you start incorporating Metal in your artwork? How did you develop/discover your style?

Aaron. If I define my work in a sentence, it would be – using bright colours for depressing themes. I’ve always had an affiliation for Metal, comics, cartoons and toys and these have a significant influence on my inking style and colours. Album art should define the aesthetics of a band, and I’m exposed to this from childhood. This, I believe, is the most significant factor for my style. Even though I’ve worked with various bands, I don’t think I’ve reached my signature style, yet.

Quarantine - Aaron Pinto

How is album art different from other types of illustrations? How do you develop an illustration for an album?

Aaron. Album art is music translated into visual form. It must represent the music, and the listener must witness the sync between the music and art. Before I commit to a band, I listen to their music, because I cannot work with a composition I don’t enjoy. I go through all the lyrics and immerse myself into their vibe. I then adapt to music and work with it. I always finish the linework first, since I believe that every artwork must look good in black and white first.

What is your advice to aspiring creative professionals?

Aaron. Find your style and own it, since there is a lot of art out there. If you are true to your voice, it will pay off in the end.

Quarantine - Aaron Pinto
Eviscerating India. Tour poster for the band Gutslit and Godless 2020 India tour.

Published in Issue 50

We all started this year anticipating many things, but nobody thought of life coming to a complete halt. The Coronavirus pandemic has forced every human to re-evaluate their attitude towards nature and life. We also have been forced to lock down in our houses. Though we are no more in the lockdown, still many unfortunate ones continue to lose their lives and livelihoods. This isolation has given many of us the time we needed to finish our long pending tasks. Some have turned to art and craft for peace and solace. While most got relaxed and enjoyed their time with family, others used the focussed time to prepare themselves for the life post lockdown. On the other hand, creative freelancers found it helpful for them to focus and produce more as their work setup usually is within their homes. So, to understand how all the creatives have handled the lockdown, we reached many who have been creating and sharing inspirational artworks during this time. So order your copy if you are looking for inspirational COVID lockdown artworks and some advice on how to handle the current slowdown more creatively!

 

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Creative Gaga - Issue 49

 

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In a time when design and artworks surround us all, the importance of doing things differently is what counts. Illustrator, Iain Macarthur from England, discovered a unique way to marry pencil and pen to create intricate patterns and lines that result in surreal outcomes.

Surreal - Iain Macarthur
Surreal - Iain Macarthur
Surreal - Iain Macarthur
Surreal - Iain Macarthur
Surreal - Iain Macarthur
Surreal - Iain Macarthur

CG: Your designs are surreal and make use of carefully crafted patterns. What would you say is your illustration style and how did you work towards achieving it?

Iain. My surreal illustration style is very diverse, sometimes it can be a combination of elegant photo-realistic drawings of wildlife animals created in organic patterns. I began drawing in this style during my college years when I was experimenting pencil with other materials such as paint, charcoal and ink. When I introduced ink into my pencil drawings I immediately became addicted to using it into my work. The reason why I was experimenting pencil with other material is that I wanted to create a unique and unusual look to my work instead of just pencil all the time. The combination works magic.

Surreal - Iain Macarthur
Surreal - Iain Macarthur
Surreal - Iain Macarthur
Surreal - Iain Macarthur
Surreal - Iain Macarthur

CG: Your designs are dark and mysterious in appeal as well. What do you generally try and communicate through your designs? Is there a story involved in your illustrations or is it merely a depiction of your imagination?

Iain. Most of the pieces I make don’t necessarily have a story behind them. I get a lot of inspiration from nature, wildlife and traditional native patterns and weave them into my work. Women also inspire me, and I enjoy drawing their eyes to make them look mysterious. When I merge the patterns into my female subjects I like to create it as a decorative element like jewellery or a headdress as I think that form works really well with the pencil drawings.

Surreal - Iain Macarthur

CG: You seem to use simple tools while crafting your designs. Tell us about what tools and techniques you use in your designing process.

Iain. I mostly use pencils and ink, usually pigment liner pens such as Staedtler pens or Uni pens. They generate really thin and delicate lines that help me draw intricate patterns.

Surreal - Iain Macarthur

CG: How has illustration evolved over the years? What other potential do you see in this design form that hasn’t been discovered yet? How do you plan on using your illustrations to enhance the user experience?

Iain. This illustration form can be used in many ways as it’s quite a decorative and presentable style in more ways than one. The style can be printed on products such as clothing, posters and skateboards and can also be used as tattoos, to name a few.

Surreal - Iain Macarthur

Published in Issue 28

This Illustration Special is best to know why and how illustration as a popular medium is taking the design world by storm! From evolution of illustrations to its place in the world today, renowned designers and illustrators like Abhishek Singh, Mukesh Singh, Archan Nair, Alicia Souza, Raj Khatri with some international talent such as Fil Dunsky from Russia, Iain Macarthur and Richard Field from UK, who live and breathe illustration, would be the right people to gain some insight from. With many more talents to explore with great insights and excellent techniques, again a fully packed issue is waiting to amaze you!

 

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Creative Gaga - Issue 49

 

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A positive approach to the lockdown and a hope for a simpler and brighter future, Meroo Seth has been creating illustrations that would instil a feeling of calmness in people.

Meroo Seth - Lockdown - Issue 50
Stay Cool, reminding herself to not worry or be harder-self

Back to her base in Lucknow, Meroo Seth appreciates the laid-back life from the hectic schedule she previously had. Working out, spending time with family and ‘sugaring things up’ by baking every week, she makes an effort to start her day early, just like many of us!

Skies, Peace, and Quiet. A gift we never asked for
Meroo Seth - Lockdown - Issue 50
Bloom. Created on the occasion of Earth day, Meroo has showcased how nature is healing and hopes for a beautiful tomorrow

Meroo took the one day at a time approach to the lockdown and has been working on freelancing projects with her partner, Nachiket. Their artworks are available on mechicodesign.com. In her spare time, she likes to convert her thought process into artwork, which can inspire her audience to stay calm and have the patience to survive the pandemic. Meroo believes in balance and hence has been working on both commercial and personal artworks, mostly on Procreate.

Confined Yet Free! Even though we were confined in our homes, many of us have seen this as an opportunity for self-improvement

Treasuring the abundant time on hand, she has been focusing on completing things which she couldn’t earlier and creating more illustrations along with it.

Meroo Seth - Lockdown - Issue 50
Beauty in Simplicity. Illustrating the simple things in life that we are now appreciate more like sunsets, fish swimming in water and flowers blooming
Meroo Seth - Lockdown - Issue 50
Socially Distant, but Together

Hoping for an authentic, simpler and value-based life where people stop the marathon towards things that do not matter much, Meroo wishes for a world where people care for nature and other human beings, post the pandemic. She thinks that people appreciate simpler things more now and strive to maintain the same after the world goes back to normal.

Home Alone. The artwork captures Meroo’s though process of staying home, being positive and hoping to the see the end of this pandemic soon

Published in Issue 50

The Creatives Under Lockdown Special! We all started this year anticipating many things, but nobody thought of life coming to a complete halt. The Coronavirus pandemic has forced every human to re-evaluate their attitude towards nature and life. We also have been forced to lock down in our houses. Though we are no more in the lockdown, still many unfortunate ones continue to lose their lives and livelihoods. This isolation has given many of us the time we needed to finish our long pending tasks. Some have turned to art and craft for peace and solace. While most got relaxed and enjoyed their time with family, others used the focussed time to prepare themselves for the life post lockdown. On the other hand, creative freelancers found it helpful for them to focus and produce more as their work setup usually is within their homes. So, to understand how all the creatives have handled the lockdown, we reached many who have been creating and sharing inspirational artworks during this time.

 

Order Your Copy!
LATEST RELEASE
CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 49

 

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We go through many interesting illustration projects each day and find them inspiring enough to be shared further. Projects which have the potential to inspire and spark multiple ideas. So, here are few selected one for this week’s illustration inspiration, enjoy!

Illustrations by Samyak Prajapati

Illustrations by Vijaya Aswani

Illustrations by Saajan

Illustrations by Petra Eriksson

Illustrations by Hricha Nilawar

Illustrations by Abhee Arts

Illustrations by Cyril Rolando

Illustrations by Luis Tamani

Illustrations by Bijay Biswaal

If you have any of your illustration project or someone else’s, which is equally inspiring for fellow creatives, then share it with us on contribute@creativegaga.com

LATEST RELEASE
CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 49

 

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We go through many interesting illustration projects each day and find them inspiring enough to be shared further. Projects which have the potential to inspire and spark multiple ideas. So, here are few selected one for this week’s illustration inspiration, enjoy!

Illustration Inspiration 09
Illustration Inspiration 09
Illustration Inspiration 09

Illustrations by Vijayakumar Arumugam

Illustrations by Dnyanesh Sawant

Set of illustrations made for “Cosmópolis” of Aire Magazine by Aldo Crusher

Illustrations by Febin Raj

Illustration Inspiration 09
Illustration Inspiration 09

Packaging for Three Taverns by Muti

Illustrations by Akshay Raghavan

Illustration Inspiration 09
Illustration Inspiration 09

Digital Watercolour by Monika Barman

Illustration Inspiration 09
Illustration Inspiration 09

Illustrations during Lockdown by Jithin Puthenpurakkal

If you have any of your illustration project or someone else’s, which is equally inspiring for fellow creatives, then share it with us on contribute@creativegaga.com

LATEST RELEASE
CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 49

 

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The magic of Indian mythology and its epic tales takes people by awe and surprise all throughout the world. They are intrigued by it in a way which makes them believers and followers of the same.

Indian Mythology

Considering Indian mythology as an ontological cosmological model, Giampaolo feels that it describes human sense in a poetic manner expressible by art.

Kamala Subramaniam’s colourful version of the Mahabharata, explaining the tragic attempt of humanity to elevate themselves from lower individual consciousness to a universal spiritual liberated condition, inspired Giampaolo to create his illustrative versions of the Mahabharata.

Indian Mythology

Before illustrating characters, Giampaolo does an intense research and study about them. He combines the understandings of the characters and the scenes from the explanations of the Mahabharat, descriptions from Bhaktivedanta and Srimad Bhagavatam’s texts and also the interpretations of a sanyasi as some of the information is purely from oral traditions.

Indian Mythology

To have a better understanding of the Indian culture and mythology, he even visited India in 2011. He spent some time at the School of Drama, New Delhi where he had the opportunity to go through the texts about history of Indian costumes. He returned back to Italy with his mind impregnated with details from the past.

Indian Mythology

Hand-Art: An Exclusivity

The difference between hand-made art and digital art is extremely similar to meeting people in actuality and meeting people over social networking sites. The coming in of digital art has not washed away the other forms of art. In the past, there has been a wide variety of expressions using various techniques and these pieces of art have been more dominant than the present day art pieces, barring a few. The beauty of the hand-made art lies in the human touch it has, which is missing from the digital art. It is exclusive in the way that one can feel the surface and texture of the hand-made painting by touching it and also feel the gestures and the strokes used by the artist to create the master piece.

Indian Mythology
Indian Mythology

The Emotional Attachment With the Illustration

Choosing the scene to illustrate is an emotional process for Giampaolo. When reading the book, he reads it rationally while understanding the plot, the tales, the intricate relations and the feelings that the scene expresses. This helps him visualise the story in his mind simultaneously while reading. He illustrates the scene that moves him the most on an emotional front. For instance, the end of Bhishmadev Pitamah on the bed of arrows was something that Giampaolo did not wish to illustrate, but the emotional sentiment that the incident has, which explains the characteristic of a great warrior that Bhishma was, is what moved the artist and got him visualising this scene.

Indian Mythology

Art is Self-Rewarding

He is immensely submerged in a continuous cycle of art production to create works to be exhibited at the end of a cycle. At present, he is working around the idea of “order and chaos”, which starts from a chaotic distribution of colors, followed by carving figures of women, animals etc to re-establish the lost consciousness on known models to overcome the terror of the unknown. A big fan of Indian mythology, he is soon going to start illustrations on the epic story of Ramayana.

 

He believes that one always learns from their mistakes and that practice is the best teacher!

Indian Mythology
Indian Mythology
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Creative Gaga - Issue 49

 

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

Packaging for Gift Boxes Blue Tokai

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

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

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

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

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

successful packaging
Pondicherry Collection Incense.
successful packaging
Pondicherry Collection Incense.
Seasonings by Milagro

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

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

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

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

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

successful packaging
Special Incense Packs.
MasonCo Diwali Packs

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

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

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

Published in Issue 26

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

 

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It’s a digital age, one doesn’t need a subject to pose before them for hours, simply a photograph is enough. Graphic design student, Sri Harsha Andukuri takes us through a step by step guide on making a digital portrait of any famous celebrity, in this case, Hollywood’s own Scarlett Johansson.

Step 1

Fixing the Canvas and Preparing the Outline

The process of portrait begins by fixing of the canvas. This is achieved through Photoshop, where a new file is opened with an A3 size. This is followed by creating an outline of the image using a red colour, on a new layer. The colour red is selected because it highlights profiles and edges in the middle of the painting. Then, marking of highlights and shadows in a new layer using red colour and a textured brush with opacity 7% and 14%.

Step 2 

Filling Base Colour for Skin

Once the above step is completed to satisfaction, a colour palette of shades, tints and neutrals are made for the skin. A new layer is then added and a neutral colour with full opacity is used as the base colour for the body. At this point, any colour exceeding outlines is erased.

Digital Portrait of Scarlett Johansson

Step 3 

Detailing the Face

This is then followed by creating a new layer yet again, where the base colour of the eyes is filled using a brush with full opacity. Here, colours exceeding any outline are erased. Subsequently, a new layer is created for highlights, shadows and details for the eyes. The next step requires painting in highlights and shadows of the nose and other facial areas using a colour palette with a textured brush bearing 7%, 14% and 21% opacities.

Step 4 

Detailing the Lips

Following the fixed colour palette, a base colour is filled with 100% opacity first for the lips. Highlights and shadows of the lips are drawn in a new layer with a small size textured brush with 7% opacity. Using a small brush at this point enhances precision and detail.

Step 5 

Painting Rest of the Skin 

Going further down, shadows and highlights of the neck area, collarbone and chest are painted using the colour palette for the skin.  Used a textured brush of opacity 7% and 14% in a new layer.

Step 6 

Painting the Dress 

In a similar way, the base colour, shadows and highlights of the dress and its drapes are painted. Here too, a separate colour palette is fixed for this.

Step 7 

Painting the Hands 

Keeping shadows and highlights in mind, the arms are also painted in a similar way as in step 5.

Step 8 

Detailing the Hair 

The most challenging part of the portrait is a painting of the hair. The most time-consuming step; a new layer is filled with the solid base colour of hair, taken from a selected colour palette. Carefully then, hair is divided and marked into different parts according to its flow. This is followed by the creation of another new layer in which a number of strokes are drawn along the flow of hair in each and every part which is marked. A new layer over this one is then added which is used to blend all these parts using a brush with less opacity, in order to link the hair flow.

Step 9 

Fixing the Background

Finally, a new layer is added below all of these layers and filled with a solid colour. A shade of the base colour is selected, as in the palette, and is painted in a new layer to create a vignette feeling to the background. Another layer is subsequently added in which a 30% opacity gradient of black colour in multiple modes is employed. Upon completion, save the file as a jpeg and open in Adobe Lightroom where the portrait can be post edited for the desired outcome.

Published in Issue 25

Creative Gaga kicks off the year with an issue that asks the important questions, is it the web that’s leading the brands or the other way around? With 2014 witnessing an increase in brands investing in digital marketing, 2015 will only be bigger. We can say India has accepted the revolution, where more and more people are opening browsers to e-commerce, literally window shopping, and setting up shops online as well. The issue brings together renowned designers with digital experience, who discuss and throw light on the pros and cons of this change and where we possibly are headed with this in the future.

 

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