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The human brain is a fantastic library of images. The more you watch the world around you, the more it gets enriched. All one needs to do is to observe every detail around very closely, suggests animation filmmaker-illustrator Vajra Pancharia. He discusses pointers that help him create engaging visuals.

Cave birdy
Dojo Training Centre
Concept illustration for a game
28 days later after infection

How you see is what you draw.

You derive your mood and emotions from your surroundings. That’s how each element works for you. For instance, nature, for almost all of us is always beautiful and serene. So while painting landscapes and environments you tend to bring out spatial and ethereal feel in them. Of course, the concept plays a great part in determining the details. Similarly, many a times, the surroundings push your emotions to an extreme. That’s when your characters become dark and edgy.


The story decides the character.

The heart of the story should be the soul of the character. While the story acts like a container, the character is the content. They both work hand in hand to drive the narrative. Above all, aesthetics and clarity matters a lot. They complement each other if you feel the core of the story and bring the small nuances from it visually to the characters. A small gesture, which is appealing, can tell the entire story effectively.

Interior Sketch

Perspective is your camera on paper.

The world around us is in a 3D space. But we tell our stories through a 2D medium, like paper. That’s why one needs to use few tools to aid the narrative. The most important of them is perspective. It makes viewers’ attention focus towards a certain area in an artwork. Visually, perspective can be used to enhance storytelling, adding more dynamism to some parts. It can also mellow down certain areas to give importance to others. If used wisely, perspective can surely do a good job of conveying an idea.

Naseerudin Shah
Happy holi

Colours make your stories move.

Colours are the most dynamic part of an artwork. In the real world, they change so quickly that capturing the mood becomes quite challenging for an artist. One needs to learn colour behaviour and understand how it affects the viewer. The best way to go about understanding it is to paint from real life with traditional mediums. This increases your visual sense and helps you choose the right colours which can be later applied on the digital medium.

Relate to exaggerate.

You get best ideas for your character from the surroundings. First identify who, your neighbour, maid, postman, bus conductor, or people in a mall, resembles your character best. Then spot the characteristics, both in behaviour and appearance, which make them what they are. These are the qualities that can bring out the emotions. A good way to understand these features is to enact them out in front of the mirror. That way, you are able to absorb these qualities and translate them into your designs.

Visual development for a game level
Environment Concept

Be open and observant.

There is a storehouse of positive energy that surrounds us. It manifests itself through characters, images, stories and every element of nature. You need to keep your eyes and mind open to grab all of it. Ideas, imagination, aesthetics, colours, forms and everything else that make your visuals are born out of this energy. It is the key factor that gets translated into your visuals. Everything else is incidental.

Visual development for a game level
Forest Design

Published in Issue 15

In this issue, we invited leading Gaming professionals to share their inspirations along with their suggestions to improve the Gaming Art in India. Featuring some of the big names of Gaming Art likeVinay Vikram Singh, Sandeep Menon and Neeraj Menon along with International renowned Russian studio, ‘Grafit Studio‘ and many more talented creatives.


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Whether a mystery is intriguing or not depends a lot on how you tell it. “Abstract ideas, when combined with the correct medium, give rise to captivating artworks” says illustrator Saloni Sinha. She shares some secrets on how to attain the idea-medium sync.

Saptan Stories, Illustrative Story

Saptan Stories, Illustrative Story

It’s a no chicken or egg analogy.

The idea comes first. Period. The medium gives a vent to portray the context like in ‘Skating Glory’, an installation made for NID Bangalore’s annual fest. For this artwork, illustrations using poster paints were made on corrugated sheets which were later cut into skateboard shape so as to give it a fun and raw college-like look.

Skating Glory

Saptan Stories, Illustrative Story

Saptan Stories, Illustrative Story

At times, the medium participates in the idea as in the case of the glass etched illustration ‘Evolve’. The creature that is depicted is embedded rather than staying in its free form, implying the translucency of the creature’s existence.


Cornucopia, Event Poster

Mix it up to sort it out.

Mixed media works best when it comes to abstraction of ideas. The traditional style of inking, when later coloured digitally, helps give the artwork a modern philosophical look. The idea in ‘Escapism’ is all about observing, guarding and the dilation of these when observed from a different perspective. And the digital aspect, like the hazy boundaries and the surreal surroundings, help dramatise the theme.


Amogh Symphony - IV, Album cover art

YSP - Chaos // Despair, Album cover

A mix is also noticeable in ‘Droid in Process’ that has an illustration against a digitally created futuristic background, giving it a unique appeal.

Silver Tears - Ensnared, Album cover

While working with mixed media, it’s important to not let the medium disrupt your idea. The medium should enhance the thought. Like in ‘Profanity’, digital tones of light and dark are used to showcase the power of the illustrated dark lord.


Eastern Ghats Wildlife Society, Branding and Educational Posters

Colour code the thoughts.

Though colour patterns vary from medium to medium, the basic fact remains that colours are selected keeping in mind the mood of the context. The saturated ones suggest vigour and powerful ideas as in ‘Bloom’. The creature’s bright green dress gives a vive of purity and harmonistic perspective of nature. Her bright red hair gives the feeling of passion and joyousness that nature has to offer.

Bloom, depicts
the comfort and the
bloom of the nature

On the other hand the dull colours talk about the subtleness or the illusive nature of the idea. ‘The Grand Escape’ stays in the grey zone to highlight the underlying theme. The artwork suggests the collision of thoughts in an abstract way which leads to the breakfree of a mind that then spreads into a different zone.

The Grand Escape

Practo, UI/UX

Symbolisms, metaphors and analogies are also mediums.

Abstraction involves disguising plane visions. The illustrated mechanical hand of Frankenstein in ‘Bring Me to Life’ depicts the conscious idea of destruction by our own. But the twist in observation here is that the posture of the hand is not threatening in any sense, rather it is playful. The ugly mechanical hand tries to explore the beauty of the butterfly in a way he isn’t aware of, as he was never taught the love behind his creation. The underlying thought, is that the ugliness we are born with doesn’t traverse if the love and care doesn’t.

Bring Me to Life

In ‘Tangles of Insanity’, the creature, its lustrous outgrowths and the dark background can be compared to the mind and mood of the artist who spreads the brushes rhythmically on to the canvas, creating a dilemma for itself and plunging into the dark corners of the mind in order to deviate from the general consciousness.

‘Not Just Another Pill’ uses the analogy of the effects of drugs. The random outburst of mixed feelings out of the node and the hand symbolises, it’s about how you take the pill and adapt it in your life. Metaphorically, it’s the feel good factor of a thought or an idea incepted in the human mind.

Not Just Another Pill

Jeepers Creepers - In Constant State of Crisis, EP cover

Published in Issue 14

Digital Art Special! We dedicated this issue to Digital Art where we explored the connection between our dreams and imagination and how the flexibility of technology can be used to document that. In his exclusive article, Android Jones explains the broader perspective of digital art. Featuring Ankur Singh Patar, Archan Nair, Harshvardhan Kadam and Aamina Shazi Arora, every article discusses how each of them has an individual way of working and yet they all look at life beyond the obvious to appreciate it’s beauty.


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Visual Design

Here Sonia Tiwari explains the importance of Visual Design in Children’s Education and how every successful learning tool has been created using strong visual design aesthetics.

et’s make learning fun for children!” has almost become a cliche for our generation of educators, children’s book authors, toy and game designers, children’s TV producers and anyone remotely related to children’s education. We cannot ignore the role of a strong visual design in creating any of the modern day learning tools, whether they are early learning apps like abcmouse.com, khanacademy.org/kids or educational toy robots like Cubetto, Dash & Dot, Botley or BeeBot.

From baby years, children are exposed to educational toys and games that heavily rely on cute characters, stimulating colours, patterns and textures for tactile learning. As children grow older, their learning expands to more mediums besides toys and into educational board games, puzzles, video games, television, online streaming services and many more. At school, they come across interactive learning games, or good old charts and posters on the walls of the classrooms.

They’re surrounded by beautifully illustrated educational children’s books at home and school. They belong to a generation where several startups and established companies are trying to design new and more effective educational products for children and several Learning Scientists are attempting to understand how learning occurs in different settings.

Guidelines for Visual Designers in the Children’s Education Space:

• Understand Curriculum and Context

Are your designs representing a topic in isolation or in a broader context of a curriculum? You might want to maintain a common design language for the entire curriculum around a topic, to support continuity/correlation visually.

• Understand Visual Memory

In an educational environment, Visual Memory consists of pictures, symbols, numbers, letters, and words. As designers, the more we rely on design elements that can be “memorable” for the target audience, the better it can support the subsequent educational content to be recalled later.

• Consider what counts as Developmentally Appropriate

The Age-range of the audience, their developmental milestones, complexity of visual information they can easily comprehend.

• Consider Situativity

Where will your educational designs be situated? What are the surrounding cultures, trends, locations, demographics etc. Are there certain design styles that may appeal to this audience?

• Consider the Gestalt Principles

Make sure the visuals are clear and denote the meanings you wish to communicate as an educator. Gestalt principles are a nice, quick way to review instructional art/educational illustrations for any “applied” meanings.

Published in Issue 46

Designing for Kids! 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. This issue is full of veterans advice and a lot of inspirations throughout for every creative soul.


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