Each illustration or work of design is a new process and a new insight. From the wide variety of design work that Creative Gaga feature each year, at the end of the year we take a moment to acknowledge all of them by highlighting top 10 featured Illustrators of 2017. Here we go.

Featured Illustrator - Nithin Rao Kumblekar

1. Nithin Rao Kumblekar

Nithin Rao Kumblekar is not only an illustrator but also an Art Director and Concept Artist who has illustrated for and brands such as OLX, Century Ply, and the likes, apart from having worked on a vast range of projects. In this assignment, conceived and executed for AVP, a pet food company catering to the likes of household dogs and cats. He represents a direct connection between these adored domestic companions and their very beloved treats, thus portraying the animals directly interacting with AVP in a fun, colourful and real-like animated setting.

More Project Illustrations are here

Featured Illustrator - Mukesh Singh

2. Mukesh Singh

Khyber Nights is a life-like and realistic story of survival, love and loss. Based on the unruly frontier surrounding the Khyber Pass during the Soviet war with Afghanistan in the late 80’s. This cover art for the intense tale was created by Marvel artist, Mukesh Singh, in an effort to summarise a gripping narrative that is about sisterhood and brotherhood winning over the politics of war. Using a strong sense of lighting and character expressions, he does indeed capture the tale in the frame.

Mukesh’s more illustrations are here

happiness-Lavanya Naidu

3. Lavanya Naidu

A graduate of the National Institute of Design, Lavanya Naidu is an Animator and Illustrator. Her style of work is a representation and expression of focusing on producing work that is personally challenging and cherished, rather than just going about creating ‘what is required as per the brief’. She uses a very fun and lively colour scheme that is both vibrant and subtle, very much like the characters, environments, settings, and characters she chooses to portray.

Featured Article:

Induce Happiness with Your Work!

Create Your Style

4. Bhaskar Rac

Bhaskar Rac is a self-employed Concept and 3D artist. A graduate of Delhi College of Art (Applied Art), he works extensively in character development, 3D sculpting, and the likes. As someone who trusts in honing one’s own style, instead of trying to imitate fashionable cult or style, nurturing and developing refreshing ideas is his primary intention. Here, he simply starts off with initial sketches, further gathering all the related references, structuring, line drawings and then rendering. Likewise, he finds a balance between minimalism and amplification through colours, emotions, lines, contours and the likes in order to capture the main essence of the subject.

5. Anna Dittmann

Graduating from Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia,  Anna Dittmann is a freelance digital illustrator who tries to evoke different emotions through her portraits. Here, using subtle facets with natural fundamentals, she manages to capture the emotions of the viewer, thus mainly tapping into and drawing their attention to it. Gaining insight and motivation from movement and raw shapes by blending nonfigurative conceptual and innate elements, she created this soothing piece through an amalgamation of fictional and realistic elements. Using pastels, watercolours, and oils here, she tries to capture an impulsiveness in the artwork.

Ancient Future

6. Omar Gilani

From Peshawar, Pakistan, Omar Gilani is a Double-Masters in Robotics from Washington DC and has an eye for discovering the modern in the ancient, something that is purely a matter of enhanced or evolved vision. And, so, his desire to renew the old and transform what is considered obsolete or irrelevant into the opposition stems from his work, ‘Desret Warrior Aunty’. He predominantly uses lighting to determine the initial composition of a piece. Importantly, dividing the canvas into simple black and white shapes to see if all the various aspects are harmonious helps him achieve the final piece which is full of colour and life-like vibrancy.

Siddhi Ranade - tale-telling

7. Siddhi Ranade

With a Commercial Arts from L. S. Raheja School of Arts, Mumbai, Siddhi Ranade trusts that geometry, colour and the subject are crucial features. As someone who feels that design needs to be time relevant in constantly modifying times, he pays attention to every tool that he uses in the making of his work. Over here, for example, geometry, pattern, and proportion in symmetry are not just advantageous but the very fundamentals. ‘Line’, for example, is the primary factor to achieve without any compromise. Colours finally add a mood to it in a more theatrical and impressive way that further dictates or overpowers the final piece.

8. Juan Casini

Juan Casini is a designer of multiple disciplines who experiments and works through various mediums. He trusts that ‘nature is art in its purest form’, and thus takes a lot of inspiration from it, thereby representing elements of nature through a lot of his designs. For example, over here, he tries to create a powerful and stimulating experience for the audience. In an effort to keep the level of expression rather intense, he goes on to add multiple layers of detail while experimenting with the colour palette. What that helps him achieve is that, no matter what the product is about, the eyes of the viewer can be positively held by the artwork.

Featured Article:

Living the Nomad life

9. Rohan Dahotre

Rohan Dahotre is an illustrator who feels strongly about nature and gains inspiration from the beauty of it. The core of his work lies in making the complexities of nature simple – for example, turning complex organic forms into simple shapes. Experimenting with pictures from the wild – mainly animals – and giving them a new visual representation and overall look, he tries to display the real beauty that resides within the amazing bounty of forest animals, all so that people learn to appreciate and better treat and respect them and their habitat.

Indian thelas

10. Ranganath Krishnamani

Ranganath Krishnamani is a designer specialising in Illustration, User Experience and Art Direction. This piece of artwork is a personal or self-initiated project through which he finds connection with his own origin in the south Indian city of Bangalore in Karnataka, India. Through the means of this series, he intends to portray some of the most interesting and intriguing selling-carts from across the Indian subcontinent. The basic idea stems from his nostalgic memories of him running out onto the street upon recognising the arrival of assorted carts and their bearings, something commonly found through most of India.

The Mahabharata has been told and depicted in various forms and formats. However, Freelance Illustrator and Concept Artist, Mukesh Singh, never felt satisfied and believed there was more to the story. In Graphic India’s project 18 Days, he illustrates the characters and their stories in a whole new light.

Jayadrath and Duryodhan

CG: Your artwork is a tribute to India’s rich mythology and culture. What gravitated you towards the subject of Mahabharata? As an illustrator, how do you relate to the story and the characters? How is it different from other projects that you’ve worked on?

MS: “Whatever is here is found elsewhere. But what is not here, is nowhere else”. This is the Mahabharata. It is the epic of epics, one that can be told again and again, generation after generation and still ring true. For all of their vain glorious powers, all the warriors, kings and queens are human, susceptible to the species’ frailties. Each character is a story in itself and the epic beautifully traces their lives from birth to eventual death. Read it with an expansive view of the affairs of men and Gods or choose your favourite character and walk with them as they make their way through life. Whoever you are, you will find something in the book to relate to and make of it what you will. At a personal level, compared to other projects, it was different in the sense that while I was already familiar with every major character it was also an opportunity to revisit them. But this time I was not part of the audience. I found myself set loose in a familiar world where I could not just wonder the what ifs, but also act upon my convictions.

The Mahabharata
Enter Man God

CG: Before you could manifest the story in your own style, how did you study the script and understand the storyline? Was it as simple as reading a book, or like a writer? Did you spend some time living in India and soaking in the environment?

MS: I was born in India and have stayed here my entire life. When it comes to Mahabharata, every Indian is familiar with it. I grew up, like most kids do, reading illustrated storybooks based on the epic as well following comic book version published by Amar Chitra Katha. Not just that, my father played a major role by narrating anecdotes from the scripture. This was then followed by television series, that gave 2D character form a 3D appeal. They had become real and have remained so ever since.

The Mahabharata
Markandeya Oracle Entrance

CG: You have given the Mahabharata a twist of your own. How do you describe your style? What was it that you experimented with and changed around? What remained the same?

MS: The modern audience has a keen and sophisticated understanding of the narrative design. They are beneficiaries of an accelerated volution of the storytelling process that started with the invention of the printing press and refined further with each succeeding generation of newer forms of communication mediums. Combine this with their familiarity with modern technology and it isn’t difficult to sell the idea of a hyper advanced civilization of a bygone era that could communicate across vast distances or wield destructive weapons embedded in something as small as an arrow head. I also trust their evolved sense of understanding to familiarize themselves quickly with an unfamiliar cast of characters.

If we shift our gaze from the core USP of Mahabharata, which is of course its multi-layered characters, to its fascinating world of highly evolved technology, it isn’t difficult to envision its larger than life aura. While other interpretations of this timeless epic have done enormous justice to its characters, few, if any, have looked beyond them to its setting, its environment, its grandeur, its scale, its theatre stage where the lives of its players played themselves out. I had remained dissatisfied with earlier visual interpretations of the Mahabharata world. Armed with these inferences, I immersed myself with world building of 18 Days. Some images I had carried for a long time in my head, some suggested themselves based on Grant Morrison’s scripts, the writer of 18 Days. It also helped that I had spent a lot of time with its characters, through the works of others and my own interpretation of their psyche. In 18 Days the characters have remained the same, at least as I see them. Their outwards appearances though have changed. I wanted the audience of today to identify and accept not just the character’s inner selves but their outer ones too, which are external manifestations of their inner selves.

Arjun Invokes War godes

CG: If you look through India’s depiction of the Mahabharata, it appears more colourful and vibrant. Any specific reason why you chose to work with dark shades and hues? What is the overall feeling you wish to create through your designs? 

MS: Impending doom perhaps? For all of their boasts and chest thumping, the characters meet their maker in the end. Some believed that they will survive the war. So they go all out heroic, in their quest to leave their mark on what they know will be an immortal event, this 18-day war. At the end, it was a pyrrhic victory for the Pandavs. Arjun questions the war in the beginning and Yudhistir in the end. What has changed?

Bhem Beserk

CG: This one’s fairly straightforward; how you do manage to make violence look so beautiful? What features and characteristics do you need to balance with to make your artwork come across that way?

MS: Ah! I don’t know how to respond to that. Violence can never be beautiful. If it appears beautiful, it is only during its build-up phase, when primal anticipation overwhelms the senses. The aftermath is always ugly. A mundane analysis suggests few things. Maybe the ornate designs in the drawings coupled with composition choices give it that sense of beauty. It also helps that the art itself isn’t hyper realistic. The line art based style may also have something to do with the pleasing appearance of the images. Or perhaps it is because I knew the inevitable fate of each character. I gave them their moments of glory.

Andhaka -Pimple

CG: No doubt people are smitten by India’s roots in history and culture. So after the Mahabharata, what’s next? In what other ways do you wish to explore Indian culture and mythology?

MS: As of now I am taking a break from stories based on Indian mythology and working on other things. But the intervening hiatus may be good. If I come back, I will hopefully have some new perspective. That is for the future though. We will cross the bridge when we come to it.

Bhem acepts Duryodhan’s challenge

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!


Order Your Copy!

Pin It on Pinterest