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Annada Menon
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It is important to be motivated and be inspired as an illustration. Annada N. Menon shares some of the tried and tested way to keep creating and growing.

Illustration is one of the most expressive and experimental modes of design and/or art. As an illustrator myself I find it a medium to not just communicate a story of my own life but of others as well. There are times though that I am not able to do so or worry about how I will stretch my career as an illustrator over the next 30-40 years. If you have symptoms of sweaty palms, procrastination, clients who want you to work for exposure syndrome, competition and a shelf full of empty sketchbooks.

First, let me share a few things I did to motivate myself and hope these simple steps hopefully can help.

The most important thing, take it slow. There tends to be a point due to the influence of social media where most artists want to get famous too quickly. And also want to mint money within a month of making the decision to become an illustrator. Well it definitely doesn’t work that way. Mostly reduce their shelf life and the will to learn or experiment with techniques to execute work.

Motivated - Illustration by Annada Menon

So take sometime, every artist makes their mark if the process consists of patience and positivity. If you feel you can’t find your own way, join a studio, learn the tricks from a professional and discover yourself. You can also collaborate with fellow freelance illustrators.

Next, get inspired but don’t copy. I have observed that people tend to feel the need to follow market trends. Never churn your creative juices on something you don’t sympathise or empathise with.

For client work, stand your ground always on providing only original work. If it’s inspired from somebody’s work credit them if you post it on social media. Don’t obtain professional or personal gains through another person’s idea. The art world is chaotic already and you don’t need to throw in a copied work into the mix. The joy of creating something of your own makes your heart swell with joy and helps you move forward always.

Freelance - Annada Menon

This is one of my favorite points also something I am trying myself to achieve is to be versatile. I feel in the market today the biggest element that creates chaos or confusion is an artist wanting to find his/her own style. Finding your own style has its one pro that is you can turn your work into a unique language and you get recognised for it.

The con is it restricts you. One may become too comfortable with it. So indulge yourself in art books, movies etc to inspire yourself and constantly experiment with mediums to create an inventory of content and styles.

Know your worth. This is a climb of time and patience. Being offered too less for a project or nothing at all brings an artist down the most. As a freelancer, this is the most challenging and stressful part to figure out. Don’t shy away from getting help. Ask fellow artists on how to go about charging a client.

The guidance is a great push towards you ultimately landing a project of your choice and exclusive of bargains. Just keep this in mind, materials to execute your work digitally or traditionally have to be bought or maintained. Let’s keep general bills mind as well. Though it is a push towards making money but it’s a basic mode of motivation for any human.

Also, don’t forget to follow artists. I use to be slightly demotivated or envious of successful illustrators. I found a healthy way around this on how to get motivated by their art. My explanation here is purely based on the brilliance of their work and not on how many followers they garner in a month.

Freelance - Annada Menon

First, I look out for their process. How many hours they spend on their work. The materials they use and most importantly how they use it. Always watch videos of artists who inspire you. You tend to get a glimpse of their workspace. They create an environment that complements their nature of work. That is something even I have put to use and developed a small safe haven of my own to work within.

Finally, I would like to say, just be passionate and bold of what you do for yourself or for others to see. The field of illustration can get intimidating but its not impossible to make a mark. Hopefully these words were encouraging to help someone take a step closer to being original, experiment and practice in those empty dusty sketchbooks stacked away for months 🙂

Motivated - Illustration by Annada Menon

Published in Issue 48

A Freelancer’s Life in India! Every day, with a dream of ‘Being Your Boss,’ many creative professionals jump into the pool of freelancing. But many are not well prepared for the life of the freelancer, which brings many challenges along with benefits. So to explore further, we interviewed many freelance illustrators and designers to get answers to the question you should ask before taking the final call of becoming your boss!

 

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In an exclusive interview with Creative Gaga, storyboard artist Sachin Tiwari has given tips and shared his insights about creating a storyboard.

Storyboarding
Storyboarding

CG. What was your inspiration to choose the field of animation as your career?

Sachin. Growing up watching animated series like He-man, Barba-papa and many others. Seeing the characters perform various actions like talk, laugh move and dance always fascinated me. I wondered how it all works. Loving to draw, I would copy those characters in my sketchbook or even on any surface where I could draw, and eventually it took-up as a profession by undergoing a formal training from a reputed animation production house. This marked the start of my professional journey as an Animation artist.

Storyboarding
Storyboarding
Storyboarding

CG. What is a storyboard and what is it’s importance in a project? What are the different fields where story boards are essential?

Sachin. Storyboard is a shot by shot sequence of any written script represented visually using graphics or illustrations. It explains how the video will unfold shot by shot or look like on screen just like a comic book. It is very important for a video/visual-based project to have a proper storyboard of the script being produced.

Storyboarding
Storyboarding

In our everyday lives, sometime we have to draw a rough sketch to explain our point of view to make it easy to understand. Similarly storybord is like a road-map to visualise something which otherwise is not easily understood only through written words of the script.

Visuals make people understand the whole thing better. Thus, a storyboard undoubtedly plays a significant role in video production when a director needs to make the production staff understand his vision and show how exactly the product is going to be mapped out.

Storyboarding

These days many industries, apart from the animation sector, such as advertisement, live-action films, business explainers, television production etc., use storyboarding for their productions. The art of storyboarding is a powerful tool to help communicate ideas, and when used properly it helps to avoid common mistakes like a broken storyline, mis-matched dialogue and playback timing issues and keeps the whole team aware of what is to be done.

CG. As stories are integral part of storyboarding. But how critical are the characters of the story?

Sachin. Our sense of curiosity engages us to see what will happen next. Stories capture attention and we are hardwired to respond to that. An artist while drawing the storyboard, aims at creating visuals that convey the right message and the storyline and are relatable too, by the people. For this, a character is must to imbue the emotions. A story/plot is always designed or said to give a message, but without a character or protagonist, it is not possible to create any storyboard.

CG. What are the different kinds of projects that you take up and how do you decide upon the concept of creating a storyline for your projects?

Sachin. Majority of the projects I work on are story-driven cartoon film productions which are either episodic or full-length films. To start a project, one needs to understand about a few things like references, layout, framing, layering and lastly finishing. Although boarding is a team-based activity and anyone can contribute, but in today’s scenario storyboarding artists have to create and complete a storyboard, more or less, individually and have it approved by the directors.

CG. What are the different mediums that you use for creating story-boards?

Sachin. I personally don’t find myself dependent on any particular medium to create a storyboard. Choosing the medium should be result oriented, whether you use pencil paper, or any kind of computer-based software. In general, I use a paper and a pencil to create rough basic thumbnails. They’re pretty much scribbled for my reference. When satisfied with my scribbled drawings, I start creating them digitally with Adobe Flash. After translating the thumbnails into fine drawings, I then add the sound to set the storyline and timings for the final output.

CG. Time frames are an essential requirement for any creative project. How does time framing make a difference to the final outcome? And how do you balance?

Sachin. Yes, time frames are always there, and I try to adhere to them as much as possible but not at the cost of compromising the quality of work. I pass on the final work to the client only after being satisfied with the desired quality. I don’t prefer taking up projects with unrealistic time frames or where it is difficult to provide satisfactory results.

CG. What are the important factors to be kept in mind while storyboarding for a project?

Sachin. I work as a freelance boarding artist. Freelance means that you don’t always have work but the upside of working freelance is that no two projects are the same. There is ample variety and it is exciting to work on animation projects of different styles.

But still there are some important factors or a checklist, which remain same for every project and should be kept in mind, like:

 

+ Have I read the whole script?


+ Do I know the storyline?


+ How am I going to execute the scene?


+ Do I know the essence of the scene?


+ Do I have the proper material such as character sheets, prop sheets, backgrounds, audio etc.?


+ Do I have proper references?


+ Is my scene in-sync with the style of the animation required and flow of the episode?


+ Are characters matching with the layouts’ perspective?


+ Do I know where to minimize my efforts without affecting the quality?


+ Am I doing something to make the simple scenes better?


+ Am I planning according to the time deadline?

Issue 45

Published in Issue 45

When celebrations are all around for the new year, everyone is curious about what this new year will bring. So, the rounds of looking back to the past year and trying to predict the new one starts. We started the same exploration through this issue by reaching various experts for their take on the trends for their respective fields. So, go ahead.

 

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