Siddhant Jumde weaves a story through with each textured caricature he creates while balancing the reality of his creations with a sense of humour.
Siddhant is an illustrator and caricature artist who is inspired by his family and what he grew up watching on the telly. Find out more about his creative process as he answers the burning questions regarding his creative process.
CG. When compelled you to pursue being an illustrator and cartoonist as a career?
Siddhant. When I was a kid I used to watch Disney cartoons which had a huge influence on me. Even though I still watch cartoons and animated movies. Eventually, I started drawing on the papers and walls of my house. My mother plays an important role in this. She has a good command of Rangoli, which gave me the knowledge of lines and how it works as a structure for any art. When I got admission to Sir JJ Institute of Applied Arts, where I chose illustration as a subject to specialize in, I used to go to events as a caricature artist. This helped me to build my observation skills. I studied the artwork styles from the Mad Magazine itself. That gave me a perspective to draw things differently.
I follow The great Balasaheb Thackeray’s cartoons, Rajsaheb Thackeray’s cartoons. They inspire me a lot. Their work shows me the weight of lines and the character designs of political personalities. I was seeking an opportunity to show my art skills and wanted to establish myself in the market. So that’s the time I got an opportunity to work with Hindustan times as an illustrator and cartoonist. And now I am working in the India Today group as a Chief illustrator. I think these masters have made me jump into this beautiful profession.
CG. What does the creative process behind creating a story based character look like?
Siddhant. Well, I do lots of scribbles for a story(like every artist does). First of all, I get the stories from the editorial team and then the fun part begins. It’s an exercise for me to experiment with the characters or the situations. I do options for a story then I get the inputs, suggestions to make the artwork beautiful and appealing. It’s like teamwork that nurtures me to bring out good results.
Earlier I used to draw on paper then I scanned it, transferred it to photoshop and then with the help of Pentablet the rendering part started. And now I work on an iPad Pro which saves a lot. There are the rough pencil drawings with the rough executions which goes to the approval. Then I have to decide which art style will look perfect with the particular story. So I keep trying and searching for references which motivates me to develop a style for that story.
I do ask my colleagues, my seniors, my mentor Nilanjan Das(Group Creative Editor) whether the character, the idea, the visual look okay or not. It’s an interesting part of my journey where I learn the different aspects, like how others see your art. That improves you better according to me. These things help me to develop the character or visual for any story. So once it gets approved then the most exciting part starts i.e. the inking & rendering.
CG. What sparked the creation of textured caricatures?
Siddhant. As I said, I am a fan of Disney Animation. And now there are many animation Studios with their unique style, also I search and follow many artists and their art styles. I somehow try to capture their mind, like how they develop these amazing artworks. I started seeing the softness in every charm just. Earlier I was distorting them differently but somehow I felt that the character must attract the audience or the reader, they just adore them at least in caricatures.
Whenever I develop a political personality I make sure that they look cute and lovable. I don’t want to make them ugly or make them look bad(people don’t like the ugly versions of themselves). So I understood the requirements and mixed all these things to develop these textured characters. Making style is an Accidental part. I was not sure about the style I am working with but once I started creating it, I experimented with it, looking at these Pixar, Disney, DreamWorks movies helps me to develop it. It’s like going with the flow.
CG. What do you hope to communicate through creating caricatures of political leaders for the India Today Magazine?
Siddhant. I believe India Today has allowed me to explore and expand my work in front of readers. My job is to deliver beautiful work with some addition of cuteness and humour in it without disturbing the image of politicians. Whether the story is positive or negative, the character must look cute. As I said, I create caricatures according to the story. It’s like the transformation of words into visuals.
CG. How does sketching the faces of characters aid in relieving stress?
Siddhant. For me and every artist, it’s a boon. Sometimes you capture the features, sometimes it is difficult. It acts like a stress buster somehow if you captured it quickly or easily. Or you have to keep struggling with the prominent features. But yes, it is an exercise for your brain. It gives you happiness once you get the character perfect while drawing.
As an artist we(artists) look at the people differently. We are just studying their faces, expressions etc. I keep on thinking about the faces and bone structure etc. And then drawing them on my iPad. It keeps my brain functioning properly.
CG. How do you conceive the idea for a concept for an illustration?
Siddhant. When I get the story I started searching for the words which helps me to draw the small thumbnails of it. Once I got the required thumbnails, I combined them into a single piece of art. And based on more options. Then it goes for approval. After that If my seniors think that there must be some addition to it then they give me the inputs.
Considering all the info and inputs I get, I started modifying the visual to look appealing to the readers. As I said to get the best result, we must discuss our visions with seniors or colleagues. And keep them asking until they get bored. For any creative mind, this is mandatory according to me.
CG. How does the process for creating illustration art for a digital Magazine differ from the process of developing art for a newspaper?
Siddhant. Yes, there is a difference in the process for both platforms. In magazines, we usually get time to work. But for a newspaper, there is a limitation of time. Because the stories are fresh and it’s going for printing today for tomorrow, hence we get less time to work minutely on artworks.
Magazines are published weekly or monthly, so you get a lot of time yet you can experiment with styles also. Earlier for newspaper, I tried a fixed style just to deliver it on time. It’s like a quick job. Now for the magazine, I get enough time to experiment with the styles also.
CG. As you play with textures and styles throughout your artistic creations, how do you ensure the texture and style matches the objective of the outlet you are creating for?
Siddhant. Well, that depends upon the brief. I have to decide which style looks good for that particular story. While doing scribbles I can judge how the final artwork will look. Sometimes it gets tough for me to visualize, so I redo it. It must look convincing to me. If I am getting stuck, I search for inspiration.
CG. What do you hope to relay to spectators of your art through the cover illustrations for India Today and Reader’s Digest?
Siddhant. Basically to give the information about the story. Visuals can tell so many things without mentioning any word. I like to tell the base of the story or the scenario in a funny way to the readers. Creating cover illustrations gives me the freedom to put the vision in front of them. At the end of the day, a reader should smile, laugh looking at the visual. My motive is to give a good visual treat to the audience/readers.
CG. What is the difference between geometrical caricatures and textured caricatures?
Siddhant. Geometrical caricatures are flat vector drawings. It includes different shapes like triangles, circles, rectangles etc. Textured caricatures are more like 3D drawings or 2D drawings where you can play with the dimensions(light, shadows, mid-tones).
CG. How do you imagine the different characters that can be a part of a story before you start illustrating them?
Siddhant. Well as an artist I must say that if you want to develop a character you must see yourself like that character and try to act like it. I have to observe my facial expressions. It helps me to visualize the character. I still follow Disney artists theory. I observe lots of people and their behaviour while travelling. I observe faces around me. Also, the practice makes me sure about the character while drawing.
I make lots of rough sketches, watch Jim Carrey movies, acts, old animated series, cartoons before going for the final approach. It’s a warm-up for me. There are so many tutorials available which helps to motivate me. That’s how I imagine different characters. All credit goes to these masters and their masterpieces.