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Illustrations are potent tools of communication. If used wisely, they are capable of creating wonders, especially in the world of branding. Illustrations can profoundly impact the viewer, thus imprinting the brand in a potential customer’s mind. This aspect has edged several marketing specialists to urge upcoming brands to associate themselves with an original illustration. Read further to understand the use of illustration in branding, as explained by the Italian illustrator Monica Alletto.

Illustrations by Monica Alletto
Space Travel, 2019

The first impression is essential for forming any sort of lasting bond. When it comes to a product, this first impression is established through branding. By definition, branding is a process through which a company ascertains its identity by creating a name, design, and symbol unique to it. This vital process is bought to fruition with cleverly composed, thoughtfully drafted designs, often accompanied by gorgeous illustrations.

Illustrations by Monica Alletto
Il Miglior Riparo, 2021

It is through the use of such wonderous illustrations that Monica Alletto, a renowned illustrator from Italy, designs illustrations for brands. Born in Palermo, Sicily, Monica graduated in didactics and Pedagogy of Art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Palermo. Her habitual practice of seeking challenges and continuous self-learning resulted in her signature style where vibrant colours and soft shapes are predominant. Monica boasts a brilliant career that is divided between exhibitions, magazines, agencies and publishing houses.

Illustrations by Monica Alletto
Gira_Sola, 2019

Her illustrations are a result of her keen observation, experimentation, passion and rigorous practice. “Illustration has always been an important part of my life. It helped me communicate with others while also helping me overcome my walls of insecurities that only became higher with age. Thus, there is no defined beginning for when I started to illustrate. It has always been with me and always will be.”

Illustrations by Monica Alletto
Cover Catalogues Margò_2020/2021_ “Bali, Africa, Caribbean and Maldives”

These illustrations are not just another work of art, but a tool of communication, narrating the brand’s story and its ideals. But its function does not end there; “the illustration must also increase the product’s potential, both in terms of appearance and sales to the customer. Shapes, colours and signs must be able to communicate with each other and in turn with the product, with the sole objective of making you understand what you are sponsoring,” explains Monica.

Illustrations by Monica Alletto
Cover Catalogues Margò_2020/2021_“ Maldives”

Hence, one can simply state that communication is a highly crucial aspect of a design. While being a visual treat, the illustration must also engage with the potential consumers and enforce the brand ideals. To communicate these effectively, Monica offers three critical factors to keep in mind during the designing process, and they are, “The theme, the sensation to be showcased and the audience Once these three factors are defined, the chances of success in the production phase will be higher. I want to add a fourth factor, which in my opinion, should never be missing. It is ‘the unexpected’. This factor leaves the possibility of inserting something at random, which might have seemed wrong initially, but can work up to your advantage if analysed and implemented correctly,” elucidated the artist.

Cover Catalogues Margò_2020/2021_ “Greece”

But these factors hardly scratch the surface. To successfully narrate and reflect the brand, the illustrator must first know the brand and product. “It is necessary to talk with those who work closely with the product, enquire its origin, the target audience and possible changes in its future. Understanding the history of the brand is also crucial. These will ensure that the illustration increases the product’s appeal, mirror the brand’s history and hint at innovation.”

BioSicilia soft drinks - Bibite Polara, 2019

Alletto’s signature style is a minimalistic illustration, sketched with simple shapes and a vibrant colour palette. These illustrations deliver a clear message in the simplest form. “These minimal artworks arise from the most complex thoughts. After a thorough analysis of the theme and rigorous brainstorming, a beautiful idea is born. Once all the superfluous things are taken away, the idea is clear and simple,” comments Alletto.

The idea is then implemented through cleverly composed art pieces consisting of basic shapes. “An illustration in its simplest form carries with it a very clear message, even as it leaves some room for personal interpretation. A message becomes apparent only when it is understandable to as many people as possible. Hence, the more universal the form, the higher the read.” The artist further explains their composition process, “A composition works if the elements find their balance and provide a coherent overall picture.

But finding the perfect balance between elements is not immediate. I draw series of drafts; this will take me to the final work. I start with the sketches of all the illustration’s crucial elements and work with them, like a puzzle, until I find the perfect balance for that illustration.”

Monica’s passion for art is profound and asks young artists to let their passion guide them. “When you create something, be it for yourself or a client, your love for what you do should motivate your work. Your passion for your work will help you excel in your field, help you stand out and remain fresh and current. Your art is your mirror; it reflects you. So, always be sincere, and you will learn to love your work.”

Published in Issue 52

The pandemic has brought many different challenges for everyone. But educating our young ones is among the top priority. The issue focused on how design education is still possible while most of us are locked in our homes. We also interacted with illustrators and photographers such as Jasjyot Singh Hans and Anirudh Agarwal, who seem to stand firm with their uniqueness in this time of chaos. Overall this issue serves food for thought with visually stunning creativity on a single platter.

 

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Hazem Ameen breaks down the unity of his illustrations and personality through his creative process and various influences, which do not always exist in the creative sphere.

Illustrations by Hazem Ameen
Thiriyal, the bard

Wailing Merfolk

Hazem Ameen Ahsan is a freelance artist from Kerala whose work largely focuses on character art and narrative illustrations. Going by the tag “caninebrush”, a moniker he came up with when he learned that prehistoric people used canine teeth to carve drawings into rock, Hazem discovered digital art through the work of Izzy Medrano (a concept artist who worked on the God of War game series) and realised that being an illustrator was a viable career choice that balanced all his interests.

Illustrations by Hazem Ameen
Kali, the dancer

Illustrations by Hazem Ameen
Al Manaat, goddess of Fate and Destiny

Looking at Hazem’s gallery of illustrations, all the pieces are rooted in fantasy or mythology with a mystical folk vibe that immediately transports the viewer to a world of creatures and magic with a promise of adventure. On asking him to describe his personal art style, he says, “Every artist has an art style, and it usually is the result of all their collective influences and visual inspirations. I could not explain why my art looks the way it does anymore that can explain what makes me myself.” He does mention that his approach to each project is based on timelines, and a faster method may give rise to a “new style” just due to the circumstances.

A Cave Shrine

Illustrations by Hazem Ameen

While he draws inspiration from other artists, art forms, and video games, the larger sources are books, both fiction and non-fiction. It comes as no surprise when he claims to be influenced by history, mythology, and religion while creating his digital art/ illustrations. As an artist, being obsessive about something that isn’t art is a great way to find a well of inspiration. Aesthetically, fantasy literature such as Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones has inspired Hazem to create his own worlds through his own cultural sphere, which bridges his interests, giving him a unique voice when contributing to the genre.

Illustrations by Hazem Ameen
Padayani, the truth-teller



Illustrations by Hazem Ameen
Al Uzza, goddess of Lust and War

A huge fan of the ideation phase, Hazem visualises his concepts before putting pen to paper to help with any creative blocks. He is a line-drawing centred artist who sketches the entire concept before approaching colour and details, always using any references to help the project flourish. His art career includes working on RPG tabletop games for companies like Paizo, Petersen Games, Chaosium, and Creative Assembly; an online game titled “Vainglory”; and the 3DTotal book series.

Al Laat, goddess of Wisdom and Strategy

A bond in the sea

Hazem holds great appreciation and hopes for the concept art industry in India. While there is always room for growth, he is confident that with the accessibility of art resources today, many Indian artists will use their heritage and distinctiveness in today’s vast global art market to stand out. Only half-joking, the effects of the pandemic had not changed his routine much as “artists have been social- distancing from others long before Covid”. He went on to say, “This pandemic, though terrible for many of those unfortunate, has helped me focus and finish a lot of work, get some jobs and even set up a personal studio.”

Illustrations by Hazem Ameen
The Grower

Zaba the flute player

We threw a bit of a curveball question to Hazem, where if aliens invaded and he could only save the world through art – who would he choose to be by his side? He drafted his artist friend (Aniruddha Khanwelkar), who he claims represents the human condition and his mentor, Even Mehl Amundsen who guided Hazem’s journey as an artist. It goes to show that when it’s all said and done, the support of a community and a guide will always be valuable.

Illustrations by Hazem Ameen
Odin, the Alfather

Mermaids of the Reef

Hazem is excited to explore and experiment with different storytelling methods within books, graphic novels, video games, and animated films in the future. We can safely say that we are excited to see more of his fantasy world-building and riveting characters in the days to come.

The Yanuk Priest

Birker and the gang

Published in Issue 52

The pandemic has brought many different challenges for everyone. But educating our young ones is among the top priority. The issue focused on how design education is still possible while most of us are locked in our homes. We also interacted with illustrators and photographers such as Jasjyot Singh Hans and Anirudh Agarwal, who seem to stand firm with their uniqueness in this time of chaos. Overall this issue serves food for thought with visually stunning creativity on a single platter.

 


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We go through many interesting design/ 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 design inspiration, enjoy!

Illustration by Naveen Selvanathan
Illustration by Naveen Selvanathan
Illustration by Naveen Selvanathan
Illustration by Naveen Selvanathan

Illustrations by Naveen Selvanathan

Illustration by Priya Mistry
Illustration by Priya Mistry
Illustration by Priya Mistry

Illustrations by Priya Mistry

Illustrations by Marly Gallardo

Illustrations by Yamini



Digital Illustrations by Smitesh Mistry

Digital Illustrations by Temi Coker

Illustrations by Varun Nair

If you have any of your design/ illustration project or someone else’s, which is equally inspiring for fellow creatives, then share it with us at Contribute@CreativeGaga.com

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Illustrator, Siddhi Ranade, takes us through his thought process and the key aspects that goes into the tale-telling through his illustrations/art. He, thereby, goes on to illuminate the various facets, such as geometry, colour and the nature of the subject; how they contribute to his work, and also why design needs to be time relevant in constantly modifying times.

Siddhi Ranade - tale-telling
STILL A DEBT TO PAY.

Siddhi Ranade - tale-telling
HIDING THE OTHER
HALF. COLOURS.

Every Tool has a Crucial Role.

Geometry, patterns, and symmetry are assets that enhance a certain piece of work. They add to the simplicity and alignment of the illustration. It enables one with various combinations during the execution, Siddhi feels. ‘Line’, though, is the dominating factor for him to get to that exact line that expresses the true meaning of the illustration/art. The ‘Colours’ are next which help him add a mood to it in a more dramatic way that further dominates the existence of the artwork produced.

THE WAIT – THE EXPRESSION.
STROKES.



Siddhi Ranade - tale-telling
SURYATRI.

Colour Speaks More Than Words.

When Siddhi does portraits, he usually chooses to derive the colours from the life and experiences of his subjects. Through a brief exchange with the individual, he gets a tone of the colours from the way they talk and behave. “It’s all an entire palette performing in front of me,” he says, “All I have to do is just adjust it a little, and give justice to what I produce with respect to the subject. The colour gives individuality to the expression and the forms, narrating the best message of it.

THE DAY BEFORE
YESTERDAY. DUO.

Siddhi Ranade - tale-telling
KNOWING–UNKNOWING.
TALK TO ME.

Each Subject Varies as a Personality.

We all are made of nature. Every person is made of his own grid of life and experiences, embedded with thoughts. These various moods inspire Siddhi. As an illustrator, he likes to access this inner core and explore more of it. At times, he finds it hard, as the thoughts are a lot different than portraying the person; it is challenging to reflect him or her in the same way. While graphically redesigning the individual, the aspects of reality and the second nature he/she plays as an illustration/art need to be balanced with care. Tackling this becomes more of what he loves to do. That can be done in colours and textures, which add more to the subject.

Siddhi Ranade - tale-telling
BELLADONNA – NEVER
BETRAY A BEAUTIFUL LADY.



Siddhi Ranade - tale-telling
ABHINAYA – THE
EXPRESSION.
STROKES.

Time Renews the Visual Tale.

Almost everything can be graphically illustrated and redesigned, but there is a need to reach to all those complex and tangled up expressions of real life that can be solved and enhanced in a minimalistic way. With a healthy visual bank, so as to find reference to the various aspects of life, as also to innovate, it is an integral part of a designer’s life to modify and update as the industry needs. Hence, changing the visual output is the need of time. The content remains the same, though the expression and the visual impact changes, which is the exciting and beautiful part of tale-telling.

Siddhi Ranade - tale-telling
A CLOSED DOOR,
AN OPEN WINDOW.
MIDNIGHT

Published in Issue 38

With 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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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 Carees Soap

Packaging for Carees Soap

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.

Packaging for Popular Essentials Flours

Packaging for Popular Essentials Flours

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 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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How artist/ illustrator Jasjyot Singh Hans tries to shift the public’s perception about beauty and fashion through his illustrations.

CG. Could you please tell me about your educational qualifications?

Jasjyot. I studied Animation Film Design at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad and then did an MFA in Illustration Practice at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland.

CG. How and when did you come up with the idea of becoming an artist and fashion illustrator?

Jasjyot. I’ve been drawing ever since I was a kid, I can’t seem to recall a time I wasn’t. At the age of seven, I wanted to become a ‘3D Cartoon Animator’ even though I had little idea about what it actually entailed.

LOVER 2 LOVER

Everyone in my family humoured my interest in art, but my parents supported me through every step. They enrolled me in summer classes at the National Gallery of Modern Art, where I would roam in the exhibition halls for hours! It was there that I saw paintings of Amrita Sher-Gil and the minimal graphic work of Jamini Roy that remain my art-loves and influences even today. I was always interested in fashion and accessorising my characters (usually women), which adorned the back of all my notebooks. When my mum used to flip through them, she saw tonnes of illustrations of women in bikinis. She’d say, ‘wow they have amazing legs!’ At that time I knew I wanted to incorporate my interest in fashion into my work as an illustrator/ artist.

CG. Why did you choose to become an illustrator?

Jasjyot. After working on a small film project at NID, I realised that though I loved telling stories and animation, it probably wasn’t for me, especially in a full-time capacity. The idea of working on a variety of shorter projects involving different art styles, subjects and clients seemed invigorating to me and illustration felt like the right path.



CG. What does your daily routine look like?

Jasjyot. I wish my routine was more idealistic, sadly this will have to suffice. At the least, I hope it inspires people to do better! I sleep late, so I wake up late. I run to my Moka pot and pour myself some coffee before I can do/ recognise/ register anything. I usually take about an hour to calibrate and look through a list of continuing projects that I need to make progress on. I put on some music and make my way to the shower, think of what I want to eat for lunch, then watch a little something while I eat. Then I try to catch up on my emails and work for about 4 to 5 hours. After a short walk around the neighbourhood in the evening, I plan dinner and work a bit more depending on deadlines/ work schedule and work into the night. Some nights (read: most nights) are definitely spent binging TV series and snacking at odd hours.

Illustrations by Jasjyot Singh Hans
V R FAMILY. Tribute to queers in quarantine; supporting, listening and taking care of each other as well as their beloved breathing plant friends!

CG. What were the challenges you faced for reaching where you are today?

Jasjyot. I think anyone starting out in this industry face similar challenges: getting a foot in the door, managing work for finance vs passion, and most of all, getting to a place in your practice where both of them align as closely as they can. When I moved to the United States, it was pretty stressful to find work as a freelancer right after graduation. So in a way, I had to start from scratch, but in hindsight, I spent too long trying to create work that felt current. I got the best advice from the fantastic Marcos Chin to just create work around subjects that I like and the projects will follow.

Illustrations by Jasjyot Singh Hans
Stretching and dressing up at home

It sounds wild when bills need to be paid, but it worked out. I still struggle with getting work regularly, but that’s the life I chose as a freelance illustrator!

CG. What is the process or style that you follow to make an illustration?

Jasjyot. It’s pretty basic, read and re-read the brief, write down keywords of ideas that need to be conveyed and scribble out visual metaphors/ compositions that convey it successfully. The next step is to make a series of roughs, refine all areas that I find difficult in this stage, ink, colour, send! For my personal work, this process is a lot more easy and free, I usually think of a mood or a body posture or an article of clothing and centre everything around that.

Illustrations by Jasjyot Singh Hans
Stretch

CG. Who or what is your muse?

Jasjyot. The women I’ve known in my life are my muse. They represent everything I lack as a person and hence become my source of power through what I illustrate.

CG. What role have online platforms and social media played in your work?

Jasjyot. In the “simpler days”, I started putting work out on Blogspot and built a small community of people there. When Instagram blew up, I was consistent in putting my work out and that really helped my work get more attention and recognition. I was able to network with people in different places, which felt great. But over time, social media has kind of morphed into something a lot more insidious and we all walked right into its trap. People starting out in the industry measure success by people’s social media following and connect it to their self-worth which can be dangerous. So while I obviously still continue to put my work out pretty regularly, I feel less pressure putting in a certain kind of work or getting attention from a group of people.

NIGHTMARE XXVII

CG. While teaching in Baltimore are you able to fulfil your dreams?

Jasjyot. We’re constantly in the process of chasing the dangling (imaginary) carrot! I try to juggle a lot of different things like fashion, editorial, publishing, comics, zine-making, printmaking, gallery work and murals within my practice as an illustrator. I think teaching is just an extension of my practice.

CG. What according to you is your best creation?

Jasjyot. I am too hard on myself to think anything is my best creation. It’s important to not be complacent!



CG. With the declining freedom of speech, freedom of sexuality and religious tolerance across the world, as an artist does it affect your work?

Jasjyot. I think it makes me go harder on things that I want to advocate for within and outside my illustrations, of course, that’s an idealistic answer. I understand people don’t always feel safe putting themselves out there in a capacity to attract bigoted views on their work and sometimes even putting their lives at risk. But this is the time for people to create more work around identities under threat and I do strive to put myself out there more honestly and Fearlessly.

NIGHTMARE XXIV

CG. Does the country you live in influence your work?

Jasjyot. I think one’s surroundings/ circumstance always finds a way into the work, whether it is a reaction that is a direct inspiration or escapist.

CG. Do your fashion clients request adjustments to the drawings to project what their ideal woman is like? If yes, do you make those changes or do you explain Yourself?

Jasjyot. It used to happen all the time, which was obviously frustrating. But of late, I think everyone that has reached out trusts that I understand their brand and will create something that best showcases their product.

CG. As an artist, how easy or difficult is it to channel your personal experience or emotions in your work?

Jasjyot. It is difficult, taxing and at times draining too, but I think that’s what makes the work more powerful, as it comes from a true place with the human connection.



CG. As an artist, how easy or difficult is it to channel your personal experience or emotions in your work?

Jasjyot. It is difficult, taxing and at times draining too, but I think that’s what makes the work more powerful, as it comes from a true place with the human connection.

CG. What is the motto behind starting the #BadaBehtarHai hashtag on Instagram?

Jasjyot. I started it just as a cheeky thing. Usually, the phrase is used in the context of masculinity and within it, Eg: the phallus. So I thought it would be cool to subvert from that and shift the conversation to a more inclusive, body-positive and femme space.

CG. Given your passion for fashion illustration, which collection were you recently drawn to and why?

Jasjyot. The Area SS2021 Couture collection was everything my senses (and the dated idea of couture) needed.

CG. Do you think the conversation around body image, sexuality and self-love are Progressing?

Jasjyot. Yes, they are, but bigger bodies aren’t nearly as normalised as they ought to be by now. In the past, characters with bigger bodies were one-dimensional and were used purely as comic relief. Even now, bigger characters are written into the media in a tokenistic way, never in a way that makes fatness seem like… just a thing. That’s probably why illustrations around these ideas from independent artists are important, and I’m happy to continue being part of this conversation.



CG. Most of your sketches are of women and you have very few sketches of men. Is there a particular reason?

Jasjyot. As gay boys, we often tend to bond with the experience of women around us because what is advertised as the male experience feels inadequate and toxic. This is why we are fascinated by women because they get to dress up in fantastical clothing and be unabashedly feminine: all things we wish we can someday do freely.

CG. What is one thing that you really look forward to doing someday in your career?

Jasjyot. Work on something big with Miuccia Prada.

Illustrations by Jasjyot Singh Hans
NIGHTMARE XIV

CG. What are you working on next?

Jasjyot. I’m currently working on writing for my graphic memoir with Levine Querido, which has been quite exciting and challenging. I’m also working on some fun character illustrations for a wallpaper design which will be installed at the Taj St. James Court, London. I’m also teaching a senior class at Towson University in Baltimore.

Apart from that, I’m continuing my ongoing series: #ManSmutMonday and NIGHTMARE on social media, and planning on working on some t-shirt designs this year!