Drawer of quirky, colourful stuff.
Incorrigible daydreamer, crazy about desserts, laughs a lot, thinks of herself as a modern-day Alice (in Wonderland).
An all-or-nothing person.
Why are you an Illustrator?
All through a timeline that included a Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Electronics, an IT job, a course in animation, learning graphic design through self-study and some half-baked ventures, there was one thing I kept coming back to – illustration. So, illustration it is!
Did you attend school for fine art or design?
No, I learnt through self-study – books, free online tutorials, blogs etc. Not having a degree in any of the art-related fields, held me back mentally when I started out. Now I see it as an advantage, because I’ve realized that I have never been cut out for any kind of classroom learning. So I have been able to do things my way – be it learning or creating.
You have a distinct style of illustration. How long did it take you to develop your style?
If I do have a distinct style (I am not sure if I do), I made no effort to develop it. I just drew. But since the last year or so, after I started putting up my work online, I’ve been seeing my thought processes and my work in a new light altogether.
Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
Growing up, my mother and her never-say-die attitude have had a huge impact on me. Also, in recent years, I’ve been influenced a great deal by Hugh Macleod or rather, his cartoons. His work says so much in so few words – it has made a huge impact on all aspects of my life.
Who was the most influential personality on your career in Illustrations?
I would have to say Gemma Correll, an illustrator of illustrations from Norwich, UK.
Her illustrations are so witty and brilliant. The tiniest of elements/characters in her work have so much personality – it’s hard not to love them. Also, the amount of work she has accomplished is simply amazing.
Have you worked for advertising campaigns? When did you start freelancing?
No, I haven’t. I started freelancing in August 2010.
Are many advertising agencies getting illustrations made these days? Do you work more with agencies or publishers?
As of now, I’ve worked mainly with individuals, startups and small teams. So far, I like that approach.
Was there any time when you wanted to quit Illustrations?
Not at all, but there are times when I wish I had more time to work on self-initiated projects, in addition to implementing the ideas of others.
Have you considered turning your illustrations into toys?
Not really, not as of now.
Any other Indian Illustrators who you admire?
I am still discovering so many wonderful ones every week, I am yet to pick a favourite.
But I really like the work done by Pencil Sauce Studio.
Do you have any favorite fellow illustrators or resources relating to your fields?
That list could well turn out to be never-ending. But, as I said, Gemma Correll is my favourite illustrator. Other illustrators whose work I love are Chris Leavens, Gaia Bordicchia and Melanie Matthews.
You have such a wide experience as a top working professional. What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals? Would you advise them to take on Illustration as a career option? Is it paying well enough?
Based on my personal experience, this is what I’ve to say:
• Keep at it because it’s what you love to do best.
• Be ready for a lot of hard work – not just in working on your craft, but also
in promoting it just as actively.
• Create the perfect personal space (physically and mentally), where the world cannot reach you. This makes a huge impact on your thought process and creativity.
• Remember you have a life “offline”.
As for telling people about illustration as a career option, I would say that depends on the strength of one’s interest in it and personal priorities. Finances are always a tricky thing in a creative, subjective field like this. But if it’s a labour of love, nothing else really matters.
Practically speaking, one can always take up a temporary job till one finds a strong foothold in the industry.
Tell us something of your personal projects (The Fiction Project etc)
In December 2010, I discovered a bunch of colourful drawings on someone’s Facebook wall. They were part of The Sketchbook Project 2011. I was instantly interested in participating. Unfortunately, the deadline for that was over and I ended up participating in The Fiction Project instead. It was a fun, highly satisfying creative experience. Here is a link to my notebook from that project.
This year, I finally got to participate in The Sketchbook Project. The digitized version of my notebook should be available on my website soon.
What is your dream project?
My dream project is one that involves a blank sheet of paper, a theme as a starting point and a free hand. The Sketchbook Project and The Fiction Project have been all that and more.
Who would you like to take out for dinner?
J. K. Rowling
What’s on your iPod?
Mainly oldies (both English and Hindi) and a few favourite new tracks that keep changing.
Mac or PC?