Delightful animation and stories with a good sense of humour is what describes Sonia Tiwari’s art the best! Be it visual design, coding or working towards improving the system of early education, she has done it all.
A Visual Designer with abundant experience gathered from places all over the world, Sonia Tiwari, creates animation and stories that attract the audience and makes them ponder. Adding a touch of humour, a pop of colour and loads of detail to her creation, gives her work an edge, as she always strives to create enjoyable and relative content for her audience. Combining her creativity with sectors of early education, Sonia is currently working towards designing products for children to boost their learning experience.
CG. How would you describe yourself or your work in one sentence? Tell us how this journey began for you.
Sonia. I’m a creative storyteller with a sense of humour who likes to draw cute things. I’ve always been a maker and as a kid, I collected ‘potentially craft-able’ broken stuff to paint over them. I’m from Rajasthan, so I have a cultural connection with bold colours but I owe my sense of humour to Indore, whereas Happy Valley has given my art the opportunity to become a part of Learning Sciences Research.
CG. How do you start developing a character or a design? Please tell us about your thought process.
Sonia. Before designing I try to interview the characters and the more details I know, the better an image shows up in my mind. Like for the cover of Creative Gaga, our theme was ‘Designing for kid’s education’ – I was thinking about how kids draw with their heart, so I drew a pencil with a heart carved out, that serves as a library, and letters and numbers growing from the trees representing increasing knowledge.
Another good way to design characters is to build from the people we know, because it not only allows us to draw details of their facial features, but also their personality.
CG. Which software and products do you use for your art?
Sonia. I use Adobe Creative Suite, and mostly vectorized my sketches using Adobe Illustrator and add subtle animations using After Effects.
CG. Please tell us more about how you’re integrating early education in your work. What is the entire program about?
Sonia. I’m currently pursuing a PhD in Learning, Design, and Technology (LDT) from Penn State University, USA. Some of our recent work explores educational themes such as using digital technologies to support education in and out of school, and everyday knowledge sharing in social network environments. For my own research projects, I integrate educational media and design educational toys/games/books to facilitate learning with a ‘Maker’ spirit. I also design activities for Maker-faires, by designing e-textile crafts for attendees with no background in electronics and helping them sew simple circuits using conductive thread controllers through illustrated instructions.
CG. Being a mom, how important is it for you to create content that kids understand and enjoy? Does your child inspire you while developing characters?
Sonia. Many times I come across topics that don’t seem to have any unconventional resources to facilitate learning, and I realised that I have the skills to address those gaps. I often joke that my son is ‘Test Subject 1’ because as a Learning Scientist I work with children a lot, and having the ‘luxury’ of being with a child right at home has definitely been an advantage. I understand his friends’, parents, teachers’ and his perspective – something that was hard to comprehend when I was inexperienced.
CG. Please tell us about your favourite work of yourself and why.
Sonia. My favourite work is the one I create for my family out of pure love. I enjoyed making a pillow toy for my son in memory of my uncle. I designed the caricature in Adobe Illustrator, printed it on canvas fabric to sew together a pillow.
CG. Whose work do you look up to and why?
Sonia. I love the sense of humour in the work of NYC based artist Loryn Brantz! Two of the characters she designed are my all-time favourite – The Feminist Baby and The Good Advice Cupcake. I always have a great day looking at Loryn’s cartoons, Polish artist Pawel Jonca and Christy Mitchell’s Photography.
CG. Any words of advice for youngsters who would want to pursue design?
Sonia. Use the right tool for the right task and name layers for the sake of your team’s sanity! Invest in software licenses and expand your exposure. I never miss the chance to visit an art gallery or take a look at art magazines. By defining what exactly we like about others’ design – we give ourselves pointers for our own work.
Published in Issue 46
Designing for Kids Special! We all design for different audiences and always keep trying to figure out what they would need and how will they react to our designs? But, one audience who is the youngest of all and most difficult to predict is ‘Kids’. So, to get more clarity, we focused on animation design, an extensively used medium to influence these young ones. We interviewed and feature experts opinion from the industry leaders such as Suresh Eriyat, Dhimant Vyas and Vaibhav Kumaresh to ponder on the use of animation for early education. Our cover designer, Sonia Tiwari, an animator, and visual designer, shared her thoughts on ‘How to make learning fun again’. While Suresh Eriyat emphasises on using animation as an effective medium for education, on the other hand, Dhimant Vyas and Vaibhav gave advice on how to make content for the young ones.
Order Your Copy!