Balaji is the Founder of Atma Studios which is a full-services branding studio that
practices Artistic Branding©. He is also the person behind the famous Quirky Invites, an ever
growing collection of quirky wedding invites which are a fusion of Indian art forms and modern
Why are you an Illustrator?
I love doing new things everyday. I would never lead a life in which I do the same things
everyday. So being an illustrator gives me an opportunity to do things differently every day.
Did you attend school for Fine Arts or Design?
I am a self-taught illustrator and I learnt by doing and out of interest.
You have a distinct style of illustration. How long did it take you to develop your style?
My interest towards the native Indian and International art forms led me into a journey of
self-learning and experimentation. That is evident from our design works.
Tell us something about your wedding card illustration focus. How did that come
I founded Atma Studios which is a full services branding studio. We were getting a lot of
wedding invite projects from individuals who wanted a one of a kind wedding invite design.
As I was the one who was doing the wedding invites, it was a strategic move to make weddinginvites as a brand under ‘SCD Balaji’ and do only invite projects in the same. Atma Studios. focusses on brand identities and SCD Balaji is a brand dedicated to wedding invites.
Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
I am a big fan of cartoons and video games. While others were interested in the game play, I was
keen in the characters and their movements. I always wanted to create such characters that
brings joy and happiness.
Who was the most influential personality on your career in Illustrations?
I would not say one. When it comes to illustration, everyday is a learning in itself. I am
constantly impressed by the works of Alicia Souza, Parvati Pillai and Shiv Shilo Suleman
What made you decide to become a freelance illustrator? When did you start
freelancing? Do you illustrate for advertising?
I work on all projects under the brand Atma Studios
Are many advertising agencies getting illustrations made these days? Do you work
more with agencies or publishers?
We do work with agencies and publishers on certain projects that demands a high end
treatment and design.
Was there any time when you wanted to quit Illustrations?
There has never been a time like that and I am sure there will not be a time like that in the
Have you considered turning your illustrations into toys?
We haven’t turned them into toys but we have converted that into branded merchandise under
the name “ Lat Lakar” . You can check out some of the collections here.
Any other Indian Illustrators who you admire?
As I mentioned earlier, the three artists inspire me differently. I admire Alicia Souza’s ability of
producing content everyday. Parvati’s works are lively and emotional. I love the Fearless
campaign of Shiv Silo Sulaiman.
Do you have any favorite fellow illustrators or resources relating to your fields?
Same as above
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?
One advice for young and aspiring professionals is to care less about the likes or shares of their
works. Social recognition should not craved upon. To master an art form, it takes more than a
few years and these initial likes and feedback from common people may make them happy but it
will limit their creative potential.
They should be ready to invest years of time and they should also be open to taking some risks.
They should also take guidance from mentors which is missing a lot lately. Talented
professionals name their price and earn in lakhs every month and it all boils down to the
What’s your dream project?
I have always been fascinated by the beauty of Thirukkural. The immense truths of our life are
exhibited wonderfully in couplets. I would like to illustrate each and every Thirukkural.
Mac or PC?
Who would you like to take out for dinner?
My family - wife and kids. No one else. 🙂
What’s on your iPod?
Game of Thrones OST
What’s your Twitter Handle?