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Vivek Mandrekar takes us through his journey of illustrating digital movie posters effectively. In the process, he also shares his own illustrating journey and insights gained behind the reel.

Posters by Vivek Mandrekar

CG. What’s the story behind choosing movies specifically as your avenue?

Vivek: First and foremost, it was an obsession with watching all kinds of movies that led me to see movie posters on a theatre lobby, lamppost, street-side wall, video store, newspaper or in a film journal. The artwork on them, especially the Hollywood ones, intrigued me. It gave an essence of what the movie would be before watching it. Then recreating and drawing the visual from posters became an interest. Be it Shah Rukh Khan from “Baazigar,” Jim Carrey from “The Mask,” Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone from any of their movies or even a “Jurassic Park” logo. I did not know, however, this interest would lead me to become a full-time movie poster artist. So, yes, life has been kind.

Posters by Vivek Mandrekar

CG. As a digital artist in this genre, how do you perceive the film poster painters and process of the previous era and, thus also, how are client expectations different today from then?

Vivek: Huge Respect! To all the veteran poster artists of that era. I was privileged enough to meet and learn from them. God bless them all. The process is the same till now. The only things which have changed are the medium, technology, time, involvement of more minds and interference. Those days, a poster artist was given creative freedom. These days, everyone knows everything except the artist working on it. But I can’t help it, so I’m going with the flow and doing my best job around it for a living.

CG. How did your design journey start and how did you carry it forward through any related education, learning processes, practice and experiences?

Vivek: It started with my father, Late Shri. Arvind Mandrekar, who was a fine artist and illustrator for Amar Chitra Katha. So my upbringing in art and inspirations were from him and also my drawing teachers, Beena Godambe miss and Rajesh Rumade sir, who guided me in my school days. Presently, I have been learning under the guidance of a well known fine artist and teacher, Shri. Suresh Bhosale sir. Post the 90’s a digital era in designing started, of which movie posters were part. It had everything from a Title Design, Image Manipulation to Colour Grading done digitally.

Posters by Vivek Mandrekar

Somewhere, the childhood interest in movie posters created a curiosity that pushed me to learn the tools of the trade. But, in those days, there was limited access to tutorials, the internet and online courses. Thankfully, a god-sent friend of mine, Dinesh Narayanan, a master digital artist in entertainment art, gave me advanced training in Adobe Photoshop, which was the tool for creating movie posters. But, afterwards, due to personal circumstances, I could not afford to join art school or take formal education in it. I started working at an early age in the movie poster industry, which wasn’t easy at the beginning. I did odd jobs for survival. Humiliation; insults from senior artists in the field; failure and rejections came with it. But if I look back on these now, there was a silver lining. These experiences have been my education and learnings which led me to follow my dream.

CG. What’s your progression of taking artwork from understanding the brief to executing the final result?

Vivek: It starts with the reading of a script. Then, grounded on that, concept sketches and mood boards are created with various options. After approval and revisions, a photoshoot is directed based on the concept sketches. Post the photoshoot, the actual magic starts, where the final execution of the poster starts shaping up.

Posters by Vivek Mandrekar

CG. Which films or related works would you consider your best and could you please elaborate on the process they involved?

Vivek: Not yet. Long way to go! The journey has just started. But what gave me recognition and a foothold in the industry was my work on the movie, “Thugs of Hindostan.” Especially the illustrated Imax poster, which got me appreciation from my inspiration and legendary movie poster artist, Paul Shipper sir. What more could I ask!

CG. What features or nuances do you need to pay attention to in your artwork so as to engage today’s audience?

Vivek: Aesthetics, balance, composition, typography, mood and, above all, storytelling are the required features for any movie poster. Movie posters have the power to hold viewers’ attention and tell a story within seconds. Condensing a 2-3 hour movie in a single image is not as easy as it seems.

CG. Can you name some of the artists and illustrators who inspire you and what about their works draws your attention?

Vivek: There are so many in various art forms but some of them I look up to and still learn from in poster art are Diwakar Karkare, Eswar, Yashwant Parab, Drew Struzan, Paul Shipper, Steven Chorney, Bob Peak, Bill Gold, John Alvin, James Goodridge, Mark Westermoe, Rory Kurtz, Steeve Reeves, Akiko Stehrenberger and some of my contemporaries, Raj Khatri, Tuney John, Vinci Raj.

Photographers like Abhitabh Kame, Gautam Rajadhyaksha, Rico Torres. Typography artists such as Kamal Shedge, Jignesh Pancholi, Sandeep Bobade, Thom Schillinger. Illustrators include Bal Thackeray, Vikas Sabnis, Raj Thackeray, Pundalik Vaze, C.M. Vitankar, Deelip Khomane, Mort Drucker, Norman Rockwell, Frank McCarthy, Sam Spratt, Jason Seiler.

Posters by Vivek Mandrekar

CG. What kind of projects interest you and is there any particular kind of work you are looking for?

Vivek: Every kind of project interests me as long as there is creative freedom. Currently, I am more inclined towards doing illustration-based movie posters.

CG. Do you have any other areas of interest as an illustrator and artist?

Vivek: I have been experimenting, learning and achieving traditional medium techniques in my digital paintings, which has given me a different avenue to explore – the other side of my interest and calling, apart from movie poster art. Thanks to the arrival of Wacom Tablet and Balaji Waghmare, an artist and friend who taught me to use it. Also, Sheridan J, whose tutorials helped me learn digital painting art.

CG. What do you think the future holds for poster designing?

Vivek: In the past ten years, poster designing got much more attention, thanks to the exposure on social media platforms. But on the other hand, due to the dying print culture, consumption has shifted to digital thumbnails and video content. Agencies and artists are now just a small part of this industry. Hence, evolving and adapting according to the trends are the only ways to reach success.

Posters by Vivek Mandrekar

CG. What skills do you think the upcoming poster designers need to have in order to be in tune with these anticipated changes in the field and how can filmmakers contribute to taking the art genre in a better direction?

Vivek: Patience, observation, being honest with your work, and constantly learning are the only skills required, rest follows. Don’t get attracted to the glamorous side of the industry. Be focused and dedicated to your craft! Everything will arrive at the right time.


Filmmakers can contribute by being more respectful towards the art of poster designing and help it become an asset.

Vivek_Feature - Amitabh Bachchan
Creative Gaga - Issue 55


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With the stakes of digital art soaring high in the market, have a look at some of the best Indian digital artists and get-going to be one!

Wanting to give life to your imagination? What are you waiting for! This is just the right time to start out and the right environment to be inspired from!


Be it replicating an image of a famous personality or creating other-worldly characters, anything and everything is possible with digital art using a simple pen-tab and digital software.


Follow these brilliant Indian Digital Artists and hop onto a journey of unplanned surprises and master-piece outcomes!

Indian digital Artists

1. Aashit Singh

Aashit Singh is a Mumbai-based visionary artist specialising in creating visual representations of the intangible and other-worldly imagery. He feels that realism in psychedelic art is important to be able to relate to these psychedelic visions. Read the detailed article on Constructing Psychedelic Experience! featuring Aashit’s deep insights.


Indian digital Artists

2. Ankur Patar

Ankur Patar, a national and international award winner, has had over 13 years of experience in the advertising industry. Accredited with being chosen as one of the best digital artists of India in 2012, he has brands like Adidas, Nike, Adobe and the likes associating him for years.


His recent collaboration with Adobe to recreate lost masterpieces got him into the limelight once again. He was one of the only 4 digital artists chosen from throughout the world to recreate paintings using only Adobe stock imagery. Ankur also shared how does Digital Art help to exceed your imagination!


Indian digital Artists

3. Archan Nair

A firm believer of creating what the heart says, Archan shifted from being a fashion major and an entrepreneur to a self-taught digital and visual artist and illustrator specialising in mixed media and digital art. He is now a Germany-based independent Indian Digital Artist with cultural roots from India. Archan calls this artwork as Psymbionic – a digital Illustration of human and the subtler elements of being human.


Indian digital Artists

4. Jithin Roda

Jithin Roda is a freelance concept artist and illustrator based in Kerala. His passion for art got him specializing in a wide spectrum of the illustration world like pre-visualisation, concept designing, cover designing and illustrating for posters and topics in general.


Realism - Indian digital Artists

5. Medha Srivastava

Attracted towards art depicting metaphors and thought-provoking subjects, Medha, previously a gaming artist has been fascinated by conceptualisation, ideation and realism. Concepts and character building have always aligned with the intent of her artwork.


Starting out with simple digital illustrations, she eventually moved on to the world of concept art. Social issues contribute to a major part of her inspirations. To be true to her style of art, which she defines as realistic with a tint of stylisation and conceptualisation, she picks up on things she sees in her vicinity like shapes, colours, patterns and textures for the visual representation of her digital masterpieces. She insists on thoughtfully mixing Realism with Conceptualisation.


Mahabharata - Indian digital Artists

6. Mukesh Singh

Mahabharata, the epic of epics, can be told and retold time and again, still feeling fresh and young to the receptor. Dissatisfied with the earlier visual representations of the Mahabharata, Mukesh Singh took on a journey to explore the characters of this epic through his own style of digital art and with the aim of wanting the audience of today to not just identify and accept the character’s inner selves but their outer ones too, which are external manifestations of their inner selves.

Characters - Nikhil Shinde

7. Nikhil Shinde

Nikhil Shinde, an Indian digital illustrator feels that creating a character is similar to assembling the pieces of a puzzle together. He puts in his heart, mind and soul to create out-of-the-box characters and gives them a twist in a way which takes the audience by surprise!


Indian digital Artists

8. Nithin Rao Kumblekar

Starting out in his career as an art director in an advertising agency in 2005 and having gained some experience in the field, Nithin decided to freelance as an illustrator from the year 2010, with a focus on commercial illustrations. Since then there has been no looking back and he has brands like IBM, Lenovo, Brittania, Idea cellular and alike as part of his clientele.


He has also collaborated with global advertising agencies like Saldo Disegni Italy, Kassett Norway, JWT Delhi and Bangalore, Leo Burnett Mumbai, Saatchi & Saatchi Bangalore, etc creating pieces of digital art to be used by them for their promotions and in other areas.


Illustrations - Indian digital Artists

9. Pavan Rajurkar

Pavan Rajurkar, a young Mumbai-based freelance illustrator believes that traditional and digital art compliment and complete each other. In spite of being in the digital era, he feels that the mind is directly connected to the hand and a hand-drawn doodle is the strongest way to brainstorm, leading to an idea.


Pavan has worked for numerous reputed advertisement agencies and was also featured in Lürzer’s Archive’s 200 Best Illustrators worldwide in 2016.



10. Pratima Unde

Accepting the challenge to create a unique beauty, Pratima Unde leaves no stone unturned to explore her subject of illustration. Specialising in expressing human emotions, she highlights these in her digital portraits through a particular technique called Giggling.


Focusing on subjects which are shy, she spends days with them sitting face to face, expressing the unexpressed, only to discover something new every day. This portrait is of a Joyous Rajasthani, as she likes to call it.


Digital art by Rahul Arora

11. Rahul Arora

Rahul Arora is a Mumbai based freelance digital illustrator. Believing in the fact that versatility plays a massive role in the life of an artist, his spectrum of working typologies in the field of design is pretty wide, varying from illustrating for advertising to character designing, story-boarding, environment designing and comic books illustrations.


Keeping his clients in the centre of any project, Rahul feels that the designer is responsible for conveying the idea of the client through the creation of styles matching the needs of the clients; thus the style of the designer is a reflection of the clients’ sensibility and vision!


Indian digital Artists

12. Raj Khatri

Raj Khatri is a Mumbai-based movie buff, visual designer and a digital artist who believes and lives by the fact that experimentation is the key to self-discovery. This thought has helped him create some brilliant movie posters and other artwork, only using the medium of digital art.


Having had more than a decade of an experience in various sectors of the field of design like websites, social media, flash animations, TV series, films and many more, he now heads the creative team at an entertainment design studio known as Marching Arts.


Corona Lockdown Illustration by Ranganath Krishnamani

13. Ranganath Krishnamani

Ranganathan Krishnamani is a free-thinker, an obsessive doodler and has a soft corner for architecture. An illustrator driven by passion, he feels that self-developed style is what contributes to the uniqueness of an artist.


With a keen eye for observation and a distinct point of view, Ranganathan captures and expresses the unique stories of simple everyday life through his own developed style of minute detailing in his digital illustrations.


Key is to Enjoy the Process and Improvise at Every Level

14. Seerow Unni

Believing that the core idea of an artwork is to convey the message to its readers, Seerow Unni, a digital illustrator says that every artwork should be considered as a scene of a movie, as it helps in adding the missing elements, thus adding life and giving depth to the scene. Fun and witty humour are the key elements to grab peoples’ attention.


To be a part of the community, it is important to keep oneself updated with the latest trends and happenings of the digital design market. He feels that this year the trend is shifting to from complexity and elaborations to minimalism. He says the key is to enjoy the process and improvise at every level.


Characters Shreya Shetty

15. Shreya Shetty

Balancing fantasy and realism, Shreya Shetty creates characters dictating a sense of otherworldliness, yet being anatomically and functionally viable. Following certain thumb rules like relating the character to its environment and keeping the background subtle, she has mastered the art of creating original, believable fantasy characters on a digital screen.


She believes that the right expressions and poise can create a memorable moment that will stick with the audience even after the story is over.


freelancer - Indian digital Artists

16. Sri Priyatham

Earning his very first commission by turning his bedroom into a studio during his student days motivated and inspired Sri Priyatham to transform his love and passion for illustration into his profession. To have a free-flowing lifestyle and working on his own terms and conditions, he chose to work as a freelance illustrator creating digital art pieces.


The social platform of Facebook helped him communicate and promote his artwork and get commissioned. The reach of other social platforms like Instagram, Reddit and Imgur worked wonders for him to get in touch with a global clientele from the continents of America, Europe and Australia.


Traveling - Sukanto Debnath

17. Sukanto Debnath

With an experience of living in changing surroundings and different cultures, Sukanto Debnath, a Hungary-based Indian digital artist explores human behaviour and body language through his extensively detailed yet sketchy illustrations.


He believes that travelling and exposure to various folk arts and cultures open up an artist’s mind to think beyond the usual, thus resulting in mature design. The global artist has created this digital painting called ‘People in Groups’ where he expresses the facial features of Hungarian locals and their body language.


Uday Mohite - Lockdown

18. Uday Mohite

Uday Mohite is a digital-caricature specialist and paints characters believing them to be a piece of art! He does a deep research to understand the features that define and describe the subject of his digital illustration and then exaggerates certain components like colours or characteristic features to start a conversation with the viewer.


19. Vishnu

With an impeccable passion for drawing and sketching, Vishnu tries to achieve perfection in all of his artworks. With only an experience of a short span of 5 years in the world of art, he has mastered the skills and techniques of digital art in his own way, developing his own personal style.


To be the perfectionist he wishes to be, Vishnu puts his mind, body and soul into his work to achieve an intricate level of detailing, which is visible in all his sketches.



20. Vivek Mandrekar

Currently working as the chief creative designer for movie posters under the banner of Yash Raj Films, Vivek Mandrekar has come a long way from being just a self-taught artist to mastering the art of creating posters for the film industry.


Face expressions tell stories and Vivek has captured these different stories of many great legends of the Indian film industry through his digital paintings. One such famous artwork is that of the Bollywood star, Mr Amitabh Bachchan, created using Adobe Photoshop and Wacom pen-tablet.

Creative Gaga - Issue 55