Annushka is a Visual Communication graduate from Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore. Her passion lies in concocting fantastical stories and illustrating them. She likes citrusy smells, tin boxes and fat dogs. She does not really like bad breath, too much red and messy rooms.
Why are you an Illustrator?
Since I was a kid I enjoyed reading books which had these gorgeous pictures. Since then I began drawing all the stories I read or made up. Going to college gave introduced me to the world of illustration. What I like most about it is that I can put down the most bizarre, personal or vague thoughts and it would actually make sense to somebody even across the globe!
Did you attend school for fine art or design?
Yes, I attended and graduated from Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore.
Tell us something about your Oh Nari So Sanskari project…
Oh Nari, So Sanskari! is a satirical take on stories of women from the great Indian epic Mahabharata. The zine sheds light on challenges that 21st century Indian women face, by placing Kunti, Gandhari and Draupadi in a modern context. On re-visiting the stories from the epic, I realized, although dynamic and capable, the women in the story were always shown dependent on the men in their lives. Being an Indian woman myself, there was a pressing need for accurate representation of the characters as aware, vocal, and opinionated. Using references from feminist history, pop culture and media, the zine comments upon stereotypes that have surrounded Indian women from time immemorial. I would want the reader to be left questioning the roles and expectations of our culturally rooted society.
You have a distinct style of illustration. How long did it take you to develop your style?
My style always changes and adapts to the project I’m working on. So I wouldn’t say it has developed as yet, I’m still in the learning stage.
Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
My first role model was my sister, She was always inclined to the arts and I think initially I got into it because I wanted to be just like her! Books by Dr. Seuss and Roald Dahl were my favourite. I loved the poems and whimsical illustrations in them.
Who was the most influential personality on your career in Illustrations?
There have been so many illustrators and artists who have inspired me, but like I said I think it began with my sister and also my mum who used to paint miniatures at the time.
What made you decide to become a freelance illustrator? When did you start freelancing? Do you illustrate for advertising?
I began taking up freelance projects in my second year of Grad school. I think it helped me understand better my work, deal with clients, and create a professional work ethic. I have not illustrated for advertising as yet, but I’d love to in the future.
Are many advertising agencies getting illustrations made these days? Do you work more with agencies or publishers?
Yes I do notice advertising agencies approaching illustrators for work and together they produce some lovely work. I have worked primarily with design studios and companies so far.
Was there any time when you wanted to quit Illustrations?
Have you considered turning your illustrations into toys?
I hadn’t so far, but now I want to!
Any other Indian Illustrators who you admire?
I absolutely love Smriti Chaudhary, Sameer Kulavoor, Lavanya Naidu, Alicia Souza, Kaveri Gopalakrishnan, Jasjyot Singh Hans to name a few. Their work inspires me every day.
Do you have any favorite fellow illustrators or resources relating to your fields?
Rae Zachariah, Priya Dali, Pearl Dsouza are some of the super talented illustrators from my college whose work I am very jealous of.
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?
I am still very new to freelance illustration and have a long way to go. The only advice I would give is one that I follow and has helped me thus far. If you genuinely want to do it, you should no matter what. It isn’t easy and it may not pay that well in the start, but if you keep at it and be sure to put yourself out there, it gets easier with time.
Whats your dream project?
I’d love to create a travel journal of a country and be paid for it haha.
Mac or PC?
Mac is my love.
Who would you like to take out for dinner?
Pablo Picasso and Antoni Gaudi.
What’s on your iPod?
Currently a lot of Parekh & Singh, Prateek Kuhad, Anoushka Shankar and of course the ever present Coke studio and dhinchak Bollywood.