Time Machine: Going into Ancient Future

Ancient Future
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Finding the modern in the ancient is a matter of vision and desire, to renew the old in such a way that is thoroughly transformed in not only its form and look, but its very fibre and perception. That is what illustrator Omar Gilani prefers to do through his rather fascinating interpretations.

Ancient Future
Desert Warrior Aunty.
Ancient Future

CG. Your range of work bears contemporariness as a trend that seemingly defines or represents your style. What inspired this concept and what is your idea behind it?

Oman. I wanted to show what I want to see (more like giving a perspective into one’s outlook, interpretations, and perceptions). Science fiction or fantasy typically falls into very western tropes, and the subcontinent is usually ignored in those regards. That was frustrating, for me – that no one was depicting how this region may look in the future, and so I decided to give it a shot in my spare time just for fun.

Ancient Future
Pindi Boyz.

CG. What impact or effect do you intend this ‘contemporary’ or ‘modern’ element to have upon your audience?

Oman. I just wanted to show that it is possible to create such kind of visuals and interpretations through such representations of everyday objects, many-a-times easily taken for granted. If anyone can look at my work and feel motivated to do something outside the box for themselves, I’d consider that a huge win for myself.

Ancient Future
Sitaar Player.

CG. What inspires you as subjects for your depictions?

Oman. Just everyday things I see around me inspires me as subjects, and I easily find them worthy enough to take shape as depictions. We have a pretty rich culture and ancient history, and to wonder, visualise, interpret and finally depict how that would evolve – or not – in the next hundred to two hundred years is a rather interesting and exciting task.

Ancient Future
The Bounty Hunter.

Ancient Future

CG. What role does lighting have in your illustrations, and how do you approach and apply it?

Oman. Lighting has a rather significant role in any realistic illustration. I use lighting to determine the initial composition of a piece. Dividing the canvas into simple black and white shapes to see if all the various aspects are harmonious, helps me do that. The lighting in the shot helps guide at this step, and it does go on further to play a huge role throughout the development of the piece as a whole.

Ancient Future
Smog City.

CG. How do you conceptualise what you depict?

Oman. I have a fair bit of back-story for the world I’m depicting, and so it is a matter of combining a certain scenario with that back-story. Artistic elements like colours and lighting play a role in conceptualising, composing and finally executing a shot to create the final image. I approach it as thinking I’m creating a screenshot from a movie.


Ancient Future
Inner City Tourists.

CG. What kind of improvisations or changes would you like to intend to bring about in your style?

Oman. I’m learning to work with 3D these days, and it’s already hugely improving my flow of work. An essential change that I would like to make is to just get better at showing what’s in my head i.e. depict more clearly and precisely the image that is conceived in the mind, such that it is represented effectively on canvas. Although it must be noted, that is a lifelong, constantly ongoing and evolving journey.

Ancient Future
Ancient Future

Published in Issue 38

With this issue, we try to explore different views from many well-known studio owners and senior designers. While Anthony Lopez of Lopez Design shared tips on what a studio looks for in a designer, Mohar Ray from Codesign highlights the key aspects that play a significant role and make the difference in whether you are hired or not as a promising designer. Also, this issue has an insightful article on ‘Branding with reason and love’ from Itu Chaudhuri, founder ICD (Itu Chaudhuri Design) along with Siddhi Ranade, explaining his tools of story telling through his unique style of illustrations. This issue is a must read for a talented graduate to a branding expert. Order you copy and enjoy reading it!


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We are a bunch of enthusiastic creatives, designers and writers, who are committed to bringing forth the hidden Indian Design talent with an unbiased and unique approach to design.