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The real world is rich in experiences. But the one created by our imagination has greater possibilities. Inspired by the latter, Ishan Trivedi lets his brush loose when he goes on a fantasy drive to create captivating and surprising works.

Imagination
Happy New Year 2020
The Witch

At times, things that don’t exist inspire you the most.

Artists inspired by fantasy usually create a world of their own through their work. It is like the window to the soul and mind. If one wants to create realistic art then photography is the best manifestation of the real world. But beauty lies in showing people what they have never seen before, or rather something they have never even imagined.

Imagination
A pop-up book of adbenture of Hindu's blue God Krishna
Imagination
A pop-up book of adbenture of Hindu's blue God Krishna

It’s about crossing the horizons of imagination each time to discover something untouched and unseen. Artists are lucky today, in that, they don’t belong to the Renaissance, Realism, Romanticism or Classicism era. Now is the era of experimentation.

Ganesha and Mooshak
Ganesha and Mooshak
Ganesha and Mooshak

Imagination has no rules.

Ever wonder why most of us are amazed at a child’s imagination? That’s because it is unrestricted and free, because it follows no rules. In other words, it doesn’t go through a reality check. Same works for a true artist. Because imagination takes you where no one has gone before, it is a strong base that an artist can use to take his work beyond the ordinary.

Imagination
Imagination
Imagination

Imagination has no rules.

Ever wonder why most of us are amazed at a child’s imagination? That’s because it is unrestricted and free, because it follows no rules. In other words, it doesn’t go through a reality check. Same works for a true artist. Because imagination takes you where no one has gone before, it is a strong base that an artist can use to take his work beyond the ordinary.

Imagination
Imagination
Raja & Maharaja's Character Designs

Imagination is something very personal and one can’t design according to the point of view of the audience. Successful art works the other way around. The art must be such that it gives the audience a totally new perspective.

Illustration for a book about Krishna from Scholastic
Illustration for a book about Krishna from Scholastic
Illustration for a book about Krishna from Scholastic

Where there is a character, there is a story.

When you imagine a character, you imagine it in a particular setting and context. Knowing the concept is important as it brings out the right characterisation. How else will you know who is the villain or the hero? Hence, story and character are never mutually exclusive; they are both present to complete each other .

Nimboda (A Magical Tale of India) - A Picture Book
Nimboda (A Magical Tale of India) - A Picture Book
Nimboda (A Magical Tale of India) - A Picture Book

Colours have a language of their own.

We may not realize it too often, but colours have been communicating with us for a long time. The ‘Tiranga’, for example, where each colour stands for something to make the flag meaningful. Colours have natural associations and psychological symbolism. The fact is that people feel comfortable when colours remind them of similar things. Like a shade of blue triggers associations with the sky and a psychological sense of calm and tranquility.

Illustration for 'The Enchanted Prince'
Illustration for 'The Enchanted Prince'

Owing to such importance that colours have for people, successful design requires an awareness of how and why colours communicate meanings. The point is, colours have acquired the ability to define any mood or contrast. Hence, a good sense of colour is important because it helps to define art physically in terms of shade, saturation, hue, tint etc. by giving it a deeper setting.

Illustration for 'The Enchanted Prince'

Light defines form and texture.

Otherwise, how do we know the difference between metal and glass? That’s why, lighting and shading is an important tool for artists to give definition to objects and bring the differences out. Sometimes, the colours of light and shade help create an illusion too. Such a treatment also gives an overall mystical appeal to the work, making it look dreamy and fantasy-like.

Illustration for 'The Enchanted Prince'

Beauty is the best experience for the senses.

No doubt, an idea is very important for making any painting, sculpture or illustration. However, aesthetics is also as important. Because it is the perfect kind of knowledge that senses can experience. It is what people first take notice of. In order to captivate the audience, an artist must beautifully present its final work. For that, an artist must ensure a lot many things. There must be a sense of balance, keeping in mind the proportions, colour combinations and arrangement of elements that give art its final aesthetic appeal.

Imagination

Published in Issue 05

With some of the best illustrators to political cartoonists, this issue covered independent Indian Design language.

 

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Character designer, illustrator and storyboard artist, Ritaban Das, takes s through his own style of telling stories through illustrations in a single frame style of designing. He introduces his perspective that guides his ideas and also shares his process.

Single Frame
Mummy ka Scratcher
Single Frame
Team Dank. Personal work depicting a rather artistic team spirit.
Single Frame
Sketching with friends. Personal work showing aliens as company while sketching.
Single Frame
Kung Fu Singh
Single Frame
Together. Just a piece of commissioned work for my friend, depicting the funny side of companionship.

CG. What are the particular advantages and challenges of telling stories in a single frame?

Ritaban. Illustration or design is a visual communication medium. It is important to challenge yourself with a different perspective, scale and how your subjects interact with one another. When sketching, I produce numerous roughs or loose drawings which later make into more developed sketches. I then decide on a final composition. The most critical element is really an activity of the subject. The figure is usually doing something and caught before it happens or just after. The other elements are supporting artefacts. Whatever I draw, I think of it as a clue or a breadcrumb that helps understand the complete story and message. It’s up to the reader to put it all together and solve the riddle

Single Frame
Indian Warrior. For a monthly Facebook character design challenge. The topic was "Warrior".
Soccer Dad

Single Frame
Clown. Personal work, inspired by Eli Roth's film of same name.
Single Frame
Two Detectives cover artwork. For the unfinished graphic novel I was working upon with my brother.

CG. What are the essential designing tools and software you use for such an approach and how do you decide on what kind of a role they play in your work?

Ritaban. I usually make the design part in Photoshop, from scratch to end, and I work in Storyboard pro for storyboard. Tools can make your work easy or even open the avenues to do it faster, but it’s based on how good your design sense, storytelling abilities and drawings are. These are the most basic fundamentals to create anything.

Merry Christmas. Old commissioned work created during the Christmas season.
Two Detectives. A promotional poster for the unfinished graphic novel I was creating with my brother.

Komorebi Poster
Single Frame
YUWA. For Art Exhibition last year, collaborating with the NGO Yuwa that empowers young girls,.

CG. What aspects do you particularly give attention to in your work to ensure effective communication through your illustrations?

Ritaban. I start by trying to understand the character, his/her background, history as well as his/her place in the story. Research helps at this stage since it’s so important to understand the world you’re creating before jumping into it Next, I’ll do a series of drawings where I figure out the characters shapes and attitude; I try to just draw the first thing that comes to mind, knowing that I’ll be changing it later. All the while, I’m searching for a new or interesting take on the character. After I’ve done a few rough thumbnails, I decide on the one that has the most appealing silhouette, shape proportions and that best describes the character. I then start to flesh out the character and begin to add details, keeping in mind any specific traits described in the script or story.

Single Frame
A promotional fan poster for the most anticipated boxing match in the history between McGregor and Mayweather.
Heavy Dudes

Single Frame
Odd Socialites # 1. The first installment of a small comic strip project with my writer friend.
Single Frame
Red Necks. Personal work showing the not so friendly folk in town.

CG. How do you describe your process and goal of designing?

Ritaban. Being a Character Designer and Illustrator, most of my work is very much character driven, blended with humour and very graphical too. I always try to convey some sort of stories through each and every character or Illustration I make I like to play with various shapes and silhouettes and usually keep things simple. The character design process is, in a way, a combination of different things. I ask myself ‘Who am I drawing?’ What is his/her personality?’ I look at the work of influential artist sometimes to get some ideas or even start from a drawing I like and translate it into my style. Then, trying to forget those influences, I often start from scratch with a basic shape such as the face as it determines the rest of the character for me, then the body (this can be a circle, oval or even a pear shape – it all depends on the personality of the character I want to draw)

Single Frame
Battle of the Beasts. UFC 223 fan poster for the main fight between Ferguson and Khabib.
Single Frame
Inked! Personal work depicting a tattoo artist working his craft on the devil.
The Anarchist
Scary guy with skill
Issue-42-Cover

Published in Issue 42

Every designer wish to be independent and willing to jump into the word of freelance but most of them unaware of the fundamental challenges of the initial phase. So, we dedicated this issue to freelancers and interviewed some established and talented designers to dig deep for the expert advice. Kevin Roodhorst on the other hand, an experienced freelancer from Amsterdam, has recently shifted to be a full-timer with an Agency says “Freelancing is not all roses!” and shared the best way to survive as a freelancer! So, whether you are a freelancer or planning to be one, this issue is a must-read. Go ahead and order your copy here or subscribe to not miss any future issues!

 

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It’s interesting how all of us grow up with individual memories and experiences. It’s fascinating how transforming these memories to stories can create opportunities of telling unique tales that can emotionally connect to a universal audience. Animation filmmaker Balasubramanian explores his own memories and maps them to create engaging visuals and films.

KING SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. As the ruler
MYSTERIOUS SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. In his mystic world

Everybody is Somebody

All of us grow up in a certain environment, surrounded by visuals, which are unique in their own right. For an artist and storyteller, it’s imperative to go back to these memories to find figment of characters and stories. Everyone’s upbringing defines the visuals, mood, emotion, choice of colour, lighting etc. that one works with. One should be aware of it. After all, it’s always an emotional turmoil and an urge to communicate that makes one a creator. Be true to these feelings and you’ll end up creating engaging stories that will connect and speak to the audience.

RELIGIOUS SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. Performing a tantric ritual

The Story is the Key

The process of narration can begin with a story, or a character, or justa few visuals. Any which way, it all boils down to one core story which is what you are working on. And this depends on a lot of factors. Who are you talking to? Which cultural mindset do they adhere to? What is the lifestyle and belief set they dwell in? And many more such questions that need to be answered before you take it forward. Next up, the story gives way to the elements of the craft – design, look-&-feel, camera angles, colours, lights etc. The key is to keep your story simple. If struck right, it will never fail to hit the audience and move them from within.

Ideation for an Illustration
WARRIOR SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. The fearless warrior

For Your Eyes Firstly

A film is primarily a visual medium. Therefore, it makes sense to pay extra attention to what you are sketching. The visuals should be appealing enough to keep the audience glued and be attentive to the narration. While the story dictates the visuals, it is usually the choice of colours that define the mood. And to top it, use a careful arrangement of lights to heighten the drama and movement of the frame.

THOUGHTFUL SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. Glimpse of his incredible brain
FIGHTING SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. The magnificent warrior

Normal is Boring

There is no fun in being normal. As filmmakers, our job is to blow up proportions of a character or a story that turns it into dramatic, engaging and moving. Exaggerating characters and elements is, therefore, one of the most prominent tools. Caricaturing is an age-old phenomenon. Therefore, the idea of exaggeration brings with it lots of challenges and opportunities at the same time.

POWERFUL SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. Displaying supernatural power
FURIOUS SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. The indestructible force

Hold on to Your Thought

There are umpteen visuals, sounds and incidents happening around you that hold seeds of stories. Keep your eyes, ears and mind open and grasp everything that you can. You never know what is going to strike you, when and where. And once you have got the thought, hold on to it. Spend time with that streak of an idea and develop it into something that becomes a part of yourself, in a true and honest manner. That’s how you become a storyteller that’s uniquely you. Hit upon an idea, form a story and then leave it to your instincts to do the rest.

RIDING SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. On an incredible journey

Published in Issue 13

Coming from a country of stories and storytellers, Indian animation professionals are sitting on a gold reserve. Yet, we are miles behind the Western world. We spoke to few leading names to find out the reason and understand the Indian animator’s sensibilities and practices The house unanimously opined that we need to develop more original ideas and also create exclusive stories for animation, rather than going the other way round…

 

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