Interviews

Uttam Sinha : Graphic Designer

Introduction – “I want to be the best graphic designer in the world.” “I want to win every award that exists, from Cannes to D&AD.” “I want to be the next big thing.” Well, if you think all this matter to Uttam Sinha, you’ll be disappointed. Here’s a guy with no such ambitions. All he wants to do in life is to bring smile in people’s faces, with his work, or without it. His mantra in life is very simple: create work that’s loved by all.

Why are you a Graphic Designer?
Honestly, I never desired to be a graphic designer. It all started with the doodling on he back pages of school notebooks, and gradually one thing led to the other. Frankly, I still don’t consider myself as a graphic designer. I am more engrossed in the work I do, rather than the designation people give.

Did you attend school for fine art or design?
I did my bachelors from College of Art, New Delhi.

You have a distinct style of Design. How long did it take you to develop your style?
I don’t know the exact time. Although, I feel it’s still in the developing process.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
Well, I am from an army background. Ironically, I am the first person from my family who got into this profession, or probably in art. So, I had no clue of whom to follow as role models. Having said that, I was greatly inspired by R K Laxman.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in graphic design?
There are a lot of them. Difficult to pick one.

When did you start freelancing?
I started working in my college days. They were small assignments, but also a great respite, when you know that most of the time you are broke.

Was there any time when you wanted to quit graphic design?
Perhaps you should ask me this question thirty years from now.

Are many advertising agencies hiring graphic designers? Do you work more with agencies or publishers?
Well, I believe that more than graphic designers, today advertising need thinkers. Regarding the last question, I am more associated with agencies.

Do you have clients who give you steady work or do you advertise for new clients often?
None.

Any other Indian graphic designers who you admire?
Sameer Kulavoor.

What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals? Would you advise them to take on graphic design as a career option?
It’s too early for me to start giving advice, but I feel it’s very important to enjoy the work you are doing. And be truthful to it.

Do you think Clients are opening up to keeping aside a decent respectable budget for design work? Do you think clients are understanding that they need to invest in Design as a communication tool and also to cut the clutter, and that good design comes at a price?
No, it will take time. But I am patient enough.

Mac or PC?
Mac

Who would you like to take out for dinner?
A girl with a good sense of humor.

What’s on your iPod?
I don’t have one.

 

 

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Kumar Suryavanshi : Interview

 

Kumar Suryavanshi is Creative Professional at Interface FCB Ulka Group, Mumbai.

Writer, poet, lyricist, adman, storyteller and a hard-core biryani lover . . . Kumar is a great mix of the creative and the marketing. A strategic planner before he moved to creative, he is a friend to many of his clients and a great motivator to his team. He has won many awards and accolades for his outstanding work. He is a versatile talent and has worked in Pepsi, Interpub, Rediffusion Everest Brand Solutions, Leo Burnett, and is currently with the Interface FCB Ulka Group. His journey from marketing to advertising is truly an inspirational story for many young minds who want to follow their passion against all the odds.
Why are you into Advertising?
Because I love writing and believe in creation more than following the line.
Did you attend school for fine art or design or Communications?
I am still attending the school called ‘LIFE’. I personally don’t believe in any school that can teach you how to communicate your ideas. To some extent in Art, it is required because you need a certain kind of skill set and a sound knowledge of tools but for writing, either you have it or you don’t have. Period.

Tell us about your recent work campaign?
My recent campaign is for the Mahindra commercial range. It was a superb experience working on it.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
My role model is and always will be my mother; she has been a great support and a great friend. I have inherited the fighting spirit from her. Whatever I am, big or small, it is all because of her and her immense belief in me.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in Advertising?
Though I have never worked with them but I always look up to Piyush Pandey and R. Balki.
There are some people who really inspired me and contributed to build my career . . . Dilip Chabria, Rashida Patel, Padmakumar, Nitesh Tiwari, Rajesh Mani, Rupesh Kashyap and my friend Nikhil Mehrotra.

Tell us something about the Interface work environment.
The work environment is very comfortable. People are nice and believe in teamwork.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Life.

How do you think Advertising should move into a new age with severely segmented media, short attention spans and declining print and TV viewership amongst the young?
Advertising is not something that you can restrict to any age. We are in the business of communication and over time, communication has changed its medium and it will change continuously. We need to know the pulse of the newer generation and understand their language and needs. We need to upgrade our skills to new media and match the demand of communication without losing the power of content. The new generation is digital and it is happily overtaking print and TV. So I feel it is just a matter of upgrading to new media.

Tell us about your first job in Advertising.
My first job in Advertising was at Interpub. It was a superb encounter in my life.
After I did my MBA I was placed in one of the big MNC beverages companies. I worked there as a Brand Manager for almost a year but I always wanted to write and do something creative. So one day I just left that job and started looking for a foothold in my dream profession. I went to many ad agencies but all of them said I would be a better planner than a creative because of my qualification and experience. But I was adamant and finally I landed at Interpub where Mr. Dilip Chabria (Ex- CEO Interpub ) interviewed me and told me to take a planner plus servicing job at first and then if I prove myself, he said he would help me get into creative. I proved my worth sooner than later. However, by the time I could ask him for a transfer into creative, he resigned.
After that I got a planning job at Everest Brand Solutions, and after seeing my proactive work Paddy (Padmakumar ex- NCD Everest Brand Solutions) took me into the creative department and thereafter I never looked back.

What do you think of the state of Print advertising right now? At least here in India, the released work is most often too sad.
Nowadays, it is in a bad state but as I mentioned before it is not because of lack of interest in print but because brands are getting a much bigger platform in digital and other innovative media. However, there is good work still happening in print.

Do you think brands whose advertising wins awards, do well in the market?
To some extent I believe in it. I feel that if you create work, which will create awareness in the market and move customers and influence their buying decision, then it will definitely win the janta and jury at the same time. And that is what I call award winning work.

What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals?
Follow your heart; listen to your gut. Always believe in yourself and work hard. Success will follow.

Do not let your career depend on any person and place. Remember, if you work for clients, you will keep solving their difficulties. But if you work for brands, you will always create opportunities for them.

Your dream project?
Creating opportunities for brand India.

Your upcoming campaigns, if you can talk about it?
There are many, but they are still taking shape.

Who would you like to take out for dinner?
Most definitely my wife.

What’s on your Mac or PC?
A Royal Enfield pic.

 

 

Sujoy Roy: Interview with a Senior Creative Director

Sujoy joined advertising because it allowed him to go to work in his cargo shorts. He is convinced that Superman exists. Has a couple of imaginary friends. And echoes Christopher Nolan’s belief that an idea is the most resilient parasite in the world. 

11 years in the industry. 11 years at Ogilvy. 2 offices in India. And an expat stint at Ogilvy Sri Lanka has collectively increased his insatiable appetite for great work and ideas beyond boundaries. He has a Cannes lion and an Ad fest Gold along with credits at the London International Festival, Young Guns and World Press Awards. If he is on leave, you’ll find him fishing for talent as a visiting faculty at media institutes or creating curious Bong and Chinese concoctions at his father’s restaurant in Kolkata.

Why are you into Advertising?
Because I hate wearing a tie and absolutely despise formal trousers.

Did you attend school for fine art or design or Communications?
No. I learnt how to use alphabets to form words and sentences in school. And heading the Students Union as General Secretary of Presidency College, Kolkata, taught me everything I needed to know about management.

Tell us about your recent work campaign?
We have recently rolled out a campaign for Kwiknic, a nicotine gum from ITC and pulled off a charming poster on Hot Wheels.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
Yes. My dad is my hero. I have inherited his energy and passion. And my bosses Sumanto Chattopahyay and Zenobia Pithawalla are the reason why I have reached where I have. Without them I would have ended up as just another anonymous summer trainee at Ogilvy Mumbai.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in Advertising?
Piyush Pandey.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
By observing my 19-month-old son. He is the most creative person I know.

Tell us something about Ogilvy and Mather, Kolkata work environment.
Well, we’re a tight nucleus as a team. There are no cubicles. Its just one big floor full of loud and boisterous people jamming together to create meaningful work. And we hate to introduce ourselves as colleagues.

Tell us about your first job in Advertising.
I started with Ogilvy Mumbai. When the office was at Lower Parel. It was that Alice in Wonderland feeling. Distinct. Heady. And mind-boggling. I mean, Piyush Pandey walking up and down the isles of the Creative Department. That rabbit hole was the most colourful one I have ever seen.

What do you think of the state of Print advertising right now? At least here in India, the released work is most often too sad.
Good print advertising still works like magic. You just need to change the lens on it. I think the static work on the web is very similar to print advertising. Print, I guess, is evolving.

Do you think brands whose advertising wins awards, do well in the market?
Ab-so-lute-ly. Advertising that’s effective is creative. Look at Dove ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ and Dumb ways to die.

What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals?
Build a book that you’d like to place next to you in your grave.

Your dream project?
I would love to write an animation film for my son and get Pixar to do it.

Your upcoming campaigns, if you can talk about it :)
That wouldn’t be wise, right?

Who would you like to take out for dinner?
My wife, Sharmishtha. I can’t remember the last time we went out for dinner. We are the proud parents of a toddler, you see.

What’s on your iPod?
I don’t own one.

Mac or PC?
Mac.

 

 

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Shashank Nimkar : Interview with a graphic designer / animator

Shashank Nimkar has just graduated from Symbiosis Institute of Design, Pune. Major in animation film design. Having a deep interest in craft since his childhood has inspired him to specialize in the technique of stop-motion animation. Nature, he believes is his biggest inspiration.

“I have been a craft lover ever since I can remember. The traditional method of creating something with hands, having various materials spread around, getting hands dirty with glue and the will to see something productive and innovative coming up keeps me going.”

Why are you a Graphic Designer?
I have been creating things since my school days just for my creative-satisfaction and today I get paid for that. What else could be better. Living my dream.

Did you attend school for fine art or design?
Yes, I have just completed my B Des. studies from Symbiosis Institute of Design, Pune.

You have a distinct style of Design. How long did it take you to develop your style?
I have always been fond of tactile creations than virtual ones. The most challenging factor about such creations is that there is no ‘ctrl+Z’, and you can actually feel what you are creating. I started doing paper quilling six years back from now, after I completed my 10th grade. Soon I started making hand crafted illustrations(and products) that can be used for print and digital campaigns.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
I have always been open to any source of inspiration and learning, hence, I consider anyone who is passionate about work and creates an admiring work as my role model.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in graphic design?
Considering my quilling work Yulia Brodskaya has been a major inspiration in terms of medium, though her style is very different than how I use quilling.

When did you start freelancing?
Majority of my projects are self-initiated. Since this medium is new in India, plus I am trying to do something unconventional in that medium; I first make creations that I can relate to then I make them public for people to imagine what all can be done with this medium.
I did something similar when I started out, back in first year during college’s annual festival in 2011. I made 65 unique designs of my signature Finger Buddies based on which I started freelancing and today clients approach me for such customized finger buddies for their brand or people buy it for themselves or as gifts.

Was there any time when you wanted to quit graphic design?
As long as I am doing craft, NO WAY. I have never been bored or tired of it. When I get into the phase of serious working I don’t even realise that I have been working for 6-8 hours continuously.

Tell us something about your stop-motion work…
To be honest, I had no clue what animation is all about when I opted for the course. I just saw it as an opportunity to keep doing craft. Seeing my craft coming to life in animation was a feeling of immense joy and inspiration, it was no more a static piece of art to be place in a showcase. Since I love exploring mediums, till now I have made four stop-motion short films as a part of academics and each of them uses a very different medium. And they all have been nominated at various film festivals.

Are many advertising agencies hiring graphic designers? Do you work more with agencies or publishers?
I do not have much experience with that. I have just started collaborating with clients. I work with anyone who knows the value of the work and understands how much efforts are put into it, even if the client is an individual and not a brand.

Do you have clients who give you steady work or do you advertise for new clients often?
I have just started to build my relations with clients so cannot say anything for now.

Any other Indian graphic designers who you admire?
I do not have any names in particular but I keep looking for good inspiring work every now and then.

What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals? Would you advise them to take on graphic design as a career option?
As of now I am one of those. But for those who are thinking about choosing a career and/or want to take their skills/hobbies into serious profession, I would just say that if you can’t live without art you should not live without it. Do what makes you happy and live your dream. And keep observing around, we are midst inspiration and opportunities.

Do you think Clients are opening up to keeping aside a decent respectable budget for design work? Do you think clients are understanding that they need to invest in Design as a communication tool and also to cut the clutter, and that good design comes at a price?
Yes, as many clients I have worked for they all have an understanding about the impact of design and the efforts put into making it. Also, they valued it well in terms of budget.

Mac or PC?
Frankly, doesn’t make much difference to me. Majority of my work is tactile.

Who would you like to take out for dinner?
Ummm… It’s a secret :P (just kidding, no such plans for now)

What’s on your iPod?
Complete Bollywood collection, from 90s to the latest. I am a big bollywood fan, Shuddh filmy. :D

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Shovona Karmakar : In conversation with a Photographer / Artist

 

A Fine art Graduate from Kala Bhawan, Vishwabharti University, Shantiniketan and with a Foundation in Design from MIT Pune, She has well practiced in the visual media Specifically in Photography along Textile design and Graphic print. She has mixed up her sensibilities quite depicted in her Concepts,Food,Portraits and Cinemagraphs….

Along being a photographer she has worked as a Digital Artist in Wacom India, an internship with Vogue India, Documenter for Tata Tanishq and others…

She believes in an endless ongoing process to evolve and expand her capabilities as an artist and being ..

 

Why are you a photographer?
Photography and trying to make a living out of it, I personally feel is a mere play of my destiny .. which I guess had planned for me.. I was always into sketching and painting since childhood.. and after I gave up the plan to go for Indian Civil Service, I was planning for Animation and though I got through a design college.. I left to pursue for traditional painting. as I wanted to make something more personal.. but gradually I felt for a camera and digital illustration and art.. and finally after all those trials and errors of making life worth.. I found this medium of making Visuals..called photography..

I come from a family where parents give up their dreams to let their children live theirs.. it was a mere surprise for me to find my dad into photography in his 20′s and 30′s with a agfa click 4 film point and shoot camera.. and my mom being a self taught classical singer and dancer.. I guess I got their genes which helps me think creative and make it large every next day..

Do you remember any decisive moment when you felt ‘I want to be a photographer’?
Coming to the plan of being a photographer.. was one of the most interesting evolution I can ever think can happen with me or anybody.. bored of the very outdated techniques taught in my art college.. I brought a digital camera.. and while then I came across the idea of 365 project , I thought to do something but with a personal touch.. I just randomly planned to do a 365 self portrait which I named DESI INSIDE.. PARDESI OUTSIDE.. clicking myself for one complete year .. and shared it over various social media platform and it so happened.. that people started following me and I got the niche to move on with it … Then a life turning factor came.. and I believe self blessed to have it… Ritam Banerjee, an internationally known photographer .. saw my work and gave me an opportunity to come down to Mumbai..and helped me to see the industry in more practical terms..sure his guidance all these years has helped to make various logistics involved become easy to deal with.. He still plays an important role to help me become a better Photographer both Personally and Professionally…

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
I belong to an industrial community where being an Engineer or Doctor is meant important in life.. anything else is a taboo.. my parents wanted me to pursue any of the above as they were aware how to go about it.. but they were at the same time very supportive about what I want to be and where my interest belongs.. Beside my Dad and my mentor… being an art history student ..I came across and studied various national and international artist from various mediums like painting to graphic print to sculpture… understanding the way they lived their creative life, struggles and how they came up with what they came up is important in terms of understanding its own evolution..

Who was the most influential personality on your career in photography?
I somewhere felt free and got the gut to think differently when I came across one of the best photographers internationally ,Erik Almas.. his personal struggle for 20 years to get his big break into this industry still give me the Lift when I feel Blue.. sure his works amazes people.. but his personal struggles is something amazes me above all..

How has photography changed over the course of the last couple of decades? Is execution/art direction more important than it used to be?
To be honest I am just a starter into this industry.. still having those baby steps.. But if u ask me to talk about it.. Photography in India.. has changed since the Camera companies has started marketing it immensely and the reasonable prices have made it reachable to every individual now..Sure Having it digital is the biggest Revolution into this field.. Though the positive aspect I feel.. is the Respect now as a Professional Photographer gets, but still indians has to understand the good work from the bad.. as every one is becoming a photographer its giving a tough fight for the one who deserves.. as in India.. involved Logistic Quantity Dominates over Quality..

What do you think of the current state of Print Advertising photography in India? Is it at par with the work done worldwide?
India is Growing.. the evolution of internet has made the world small.. coming aware of whats happening abroad is not a surprising factor anymore.. Sure Indian Creative industry concerns more over Quantity than Quality, few Indian photographers have proved they are at par with international standards.. Still a lot of awareness about the Quality has to be done in creative Institutes and other.
I don’t feel we lack anything.. If one is given a freedom of expression… taking care what the concept demands.. sure We can give a tough competition to the west.

Where do you get your inspiration?
WWW.GOOGLE.COM

How did you get focussed so much on food photography?
I am a big foodie… as I lost 20 kgs during my well admired project of 365 self portrait, I became quite a health conscious person.. As I live alone and i spent my quality time beside my working table ..is in kitchen.. trying to come out with something healthy and simple, Thanks to my dietician.. :D .. so being a photographer .. trying a hand over this topic was not a surprise.. it again helped me to share what I like with people. Initially I remained terrible with it.. but gradually as I studied others work, I started coming up with decent images.. enough to call clients like restaurants and cooking hobbyist to photograph and document their product respectively…

Cinemagraphs are still a new medium. How did you start creating them?
Cinemagraphs, or living photographs is something will force you to see things differently.. Came across these simple GIFS while I was Googling..researched about the technicalities involved.. and gradually I started observing these Frames with mere actions in my day to day life..

My very first cinemagraph was about two carpenters working in their factory…

Initially you don’t get whats happening .. but as you start shaping the image to a living image.. it just becomes an immortal movement…

Though this medium has some restrains.. but above all.. its sometimes somewhere speaks more than a photographs and I like that factor.. the production of a seamless cinema graphs has its own challenge which one can come out with proper planning..

Was there any time when you wanted to quit photography?
Well I have just started.. so this question doesn’t imply on me now.. but for sure.. creating visuals is something I guess I will not get bored off.. not so soon I guess.. as I keep on trying to incorporate other mediums to make it larger than what it remains.. and yes making a living out of it.. requires a lot of patience and input in-terms of hard-work and lots of homework to make clients believe what you are capable off.. which is sometimes frustrating..

Any current work in Indian Advertising that you find exciting? Especially Print?
There are many whom I admire and get inspired a lot from.. Old is gold.. Nirma.. Lijjat papad and latest Vodaphone and Fevicol are some which are anytime amusing.. I admire the Indian Flavour Amul Print Advertisment has carried all the way all these years..

Whats your dream project?
Talking about dreams projects.. I will like to say SURPRISE projects.. :D.. my first 365 self portrait 2010-2011, project which I just started randomly was a Surprise for me… that I did..then last year.. I planned to discover Chattisgarh, India and it surprised me with its beauty.. discovered some amazing landscapes to getting an unexpected entry to open coal mines.. going all the way 150feet deep down the earth and discovering the FIRE OVER WATER factor and then the portrait session of Coal Employees.. coming from various part of INDIA working harmoniously keeping aside all the cultural and religious differences aside.. was quite an learning experience for me
Presently I am doing my second 365 days.. :)

looking forward for more surprise projects which will help me discover myself…. :D

Who would you want to spend a dinner with?
Back home with my family..

Whats on your iPod?
Though I carry a transcend as it fitted my budget over IPOD.. I love to have those pop music and instrumental.. forcing me tap my feet and rock on hard…

Mac or PC?
I started with a PC.. but now I find self addicted to Mac :D

 

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Alabhya Vaibhav : Interview with an advertising creative

AlabhyaVaibhav is Associate Creative Director (Copy) at O&M, Mumbai. He has 10 years of experience in advertising across Automobile, Mobile Phones, Home Appliances, Notebooks, FMCG, OTC, Personal Care, Telecom, IT, Paint, Aviation, Tourism, GEC, Retail, Apparels, Hospitality, Corporate and Health & Lifestyle categories.

Why are you into Advertising?
Because I love writing TV ads.

Did you attend school for fine art or design or Communications?
I studied advertising at MICA in 2003.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
Amitabh Bachchan as Shehanshah.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in Advertising?
Sanjay Menon ECD at Mudra in 2008. I was looking for my first break in a top ad agency when Sanjay interviewed me. He went through all the ideas and we started brainstorming as to how to take them forward in other mediums. The interview went on for almost an hour and I was chosen to be a member of a creative team I am so proud to be part of. Sanjay is the kind of senior every youngster needs early in life. His passion for work was infectious and inspiring. His attention to detail, self-confidence, and presentation skills there was so much I learned from him.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
From society, from people around me and news.

Tell us something about Ogilvy and Mather, Mumbai work environment.
I am in the company of people who have done the ad campaigns I look up to for inspiration. And all these people are so humble, so focussed. It is awesome.

Tell us about your first job in Advertising.
At MICA all I wrote was TVC scripts and everywhere people would ask for press ads. I had none. At UshakKaal, a creative boutique in New Delhi I was interviewed by Mr. Raj Hiremath, the M.D. of the ad agency. He read my scripts and liked all of them. That’s how I got my first job.

Do you think brands whose advertising wins awards, do well in the market?
Of course. After all only good campaigns win awards.

What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals?
Your work is your recommendation letter.

Your upcoming campaigns, if you can talk about it :)
Approve toh hone do: P

Who would you like to take out for dinner?
Vidisha Srivastava, she is an actress.

What’s on your Mac or PC?
A quote by Ayn Rand as wallpaper: “A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.”

 

 





 

 

 

 

 

Sreoshi Sinha : In conversation with an illustrator

Sreoshi is an Illustrator, Graphic designer and Photographer. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Andhra University and a Master’s degree in Illustration and Animation from Coventry University, UK. She loves listening to music, doodling and spending time with her family. Her work can be found on her blog.

Why are you an Illustrator?
I started drawing when I was around 3 years old. I wanted to study Fine arts but I drifted towards Architecture and I enjoyed it thoroughly. But through Architecture, I realized that my forte was making illustrations and hence I decided to pursue my passion, and that lead me to UK for my Master’s.

Did you attend school for fine art or design?
I studied B.Arch from Andhra University and MA Illustration and Animation from Coventry University, United Kingdom.

You have a distinct style of illustration. How long did it take you to develop your style?
Throughout my UK stint I got the opportunity to experiment with different medium, be it photography, animation soft wares, digital painting, water colors etc. I spent a lot of time sketching and drawing spontaneously. Through this experience I developed and enhanced my style.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
My role models were my books. I used to spend a lot of time reading comics (which I still do), like Tintin, The Phantom, Asterix and Obelix and more recently The Sandman and Fables. Also the illustrations in the children’s story books (illustrated by Russian artists like Rojankovsky) and Amarchitra Katha were my definite source of inspiration.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in Illustrations?
Well, my career as an Illustrator has just about started. The most influential people in my life would be my parents who supported my decision to shift from architecture to illustration and encouraged me to follow my passion.

What made you decide to become a freelance illustrator? When did you start freelancing? Do you illustrate for advertising?
There are very few studios in India which specialize primarily in Illustration. So, freelancing was the next option. I presently work as the Creative Head of a startup company based in Gurgaon called ‘Once Upon a Time’ and whenever there is scope I try and incorporate illustrations into the projects. I have illustrated and created graphics for merchandising, posters, info graphics, communication material, social media, blogs etc. I have designed creatives for Kempinski Delhi, Biz Diva, The Pint Room etc. and also my work has been featured in the Business World.

Are many advertising agencies getting illustrations made these days? Do you work more with agencies or publishers?
There are many advertising agencies and publication houses which require Illustrations services. But basically it depends on your style. If you are lucky then they’d be willing to experiment! In my experience, publication houses are less willing to deviate and try something new. I certainly hope I can work with studios or publication houses which are open to experimentation in the future.

Was there any time when you wanted to quit Illustrations?
I knew it would be tough to make a career out of illustration and there were times when I had doubts but I knew I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else. So I stuck to it and so far so good!

Have you considered turning your illustrations into toys?
I’d love to turn my illustration into toys! They have been printed on IPad and IPhone covers, cushions, mugs and T Shirts, badges, so far. And I’ve used my illustrations in animations. So I hope I can get to turn them into toys soon.

Any other Indian Illustrators who you admire?
I love Mario Miranda’s work. His illustrations are so local, spontaneous and true. And they also have their distinct personality! I admire and relate to these qualities as an artist and illustrator.

Do you have any favorite fellow illustrators or resources relating to your fields?
I follow the blogs of illustrators, designers and writers like Sam Kieth (Trout-a-verse), Dave Mckean, Neil Gaiman, Free People, Blue Bird Vintage etc. I like reading their blogs either because I relate to their design sensibilities or I am just a big fan of their work!

Your dream project?
My dream project would to around the world and document my experiences in the form of illustrations and then compile them in the form of a book.

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 hope in ten years’ time I can happily proclaim to have ‘wide experience as a top working professional’.
As a budding illustrator and graphic designer, I have been lucky to have got the opportunity to work on some interesting projects for some good companies. I would advise anyone interested in taking up illustration as their career to learn the craft from a good art/design school and keep at it.
Self-initiated projects are also a must do!

Mac or PC?
I’m comfortable with both but I prefer the PC.

Who would you like to take out for dinner?
My boyfriend!

What’s on your iPod?
I’m never without The Beatles, U2 and John Mayer. Though right now, I’m listening to Kaki King and Harold Budd.

POster1 Photocolor PaintingAlcohol self initiated project Almora

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Manish Kinger : Interview with a copywriter

Manish Kinger or Bomber, as he is fondly known in the corridors of Grey (Delhi), considers himself to be an accidental writer/ad man. A compulsive reader, an incorrigible blogger and an unapologetic Facebook addict, Kinger likes to keep it simple— he reads, he writes, and advertising happens as a consequence. When not dissecting creative briefs and fishing insights, Kinger runs a book club in Gurgaon (Gurgaon Book Club) and is currently working on creating a platform that will redefine the art of storytelling.

Why are you into Advertising?
I did not choose advertising, it chose me. I was a below average Engineer who hopped from one job to the other until he finally ran out of hopptions. Joblessness for over six months, Blogging (ranting/venting) for another three, one thing lead to the other, and I got my first advertising offer. But now, almost five years down the line, I’ve surrendered to the fact that there’s nothing else in the world that I would rather do. Or can do. I am a writer; I have made my peace with it. I enjoy being woken up by a thought and the urge to pen it down. Or not being able to sleep for the same reason. Or not wanting to, because of an unfinished expression.I am in advertising because of its dynamic character.Today you think you have got a hang of it, and tomorrow, there’s something absolutely new waiting to mock at your face. Every day you learn something new. Every day, you do something new. I don’t know of any profession on the face of this Earth that comes close to the madness, chaos, or excitement of advertising.

Did you attend school for fine art or design or Communications?
NO. I have a degree in Engineering (Electronics and Communications).

Tell us about your recent work campaign?
I have just moved out of Grey. And right now, I’m just focusing on enjoying my break (reading, writing, waiting for award results) before I join anywhere.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
I take a lot of strength from my mother. Besides being a surprisingly powerful woman, she’s also the most sorted, sensible and intelligent force around me. How she has an understanding of things that are so beyond her sphere of existence or how she breaks every mould of a typical Punjabi housewife by being a typical Punjabi housewife; in some strange way, its things like these that keep me grounded.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in Advertising?
I’ve let myself get influenced by a lot of things, still do. As far as personalities go, I think Viral Pandya has a lot to do with this restlessness that has evolved in me. During my early days, I had the opportunity of working very closely with him;in a matter of months, I saw him claim Cannes, The One Show and whatever it was out there. I think that did something to me, stir up a hunger somewhere, and made me proactive. As a writer, I am a great admirer of Sabu Paul’s work, and his attitude. I think he’s undoubtedly the most nonchalant, no nonsense ad man. And an extremely secure one at that.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Every day we are exposed to an incomprehensible amount of content. And it’s changing at equally incomprehensible speed. I like to be in the center of all this content. And I try to keep my eyes on everything. From a well-written status update to an award winning long copy, everything inspires me. But most importantly, I keep the reasonably good work that I have done in the past, around me;it motivates me to do better.

Tell us about your first job in Advertising.
Though I had worked before but I would consider my stint at Noah’s Ark Creative to be my first job in ADVERTISING. It was a small design house with Viral Pandya as a Creative Consultant. Not a conventional ad-place setup, it had a very comfortable, cozy vibe to it. Limited clients, limited resources, work would get done, and more often than not, there’ll be time to kill at hand. But the best part was, every ad magazine that you can imagine was within reach. In a span of almost a year, I went through all the editions of Luerzer’s Archive, and by the end of it, I was determined to get inside it. Two years later, I did (1/2013 edition).

What do you think of the state of Print advertising right now? At least 
here in India, the released work is most often too sad.
I think print advertising is recovering. Or so, I would like to believe. But I’ve seen some amazing stuff in the recent past, and from around here. There are agencies out there that dread the mediocre tag. They want to be known for their print. And they’re pretty damn good at it. Agencies like Taproot for instance; Bang In the Middle is another example. These guys have craft. I don’t know who handles the business for Roush (men’s shoes), but whoever it is, knows how to write.

Do you think brands whose advertising wins awards, do well in the market?
It’s the approach that is the key player in this argument. I have been a part of conversations where scams were organized,and insights were concocted with the intention to make it look otherwise. You’d be surprised to know how quickly brand becomes an invisible commodity in these discussions. Though they win awards, this seldom helps the brand in the market. On the contrary, there are times when you see creative completely smitten by the brand they create/work on. They want to nurture it, make it fantastic, they want everybody to love it the way they do. And with great honesty, they are able to communicate that. This product sells, and wins awards too (Coke, Volkswagen, Vodafone). Two different conversations, two different results.

What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals?
I believe the aspiring creative professionals are an aware lot. They read forums, follow Ogilvy and Bernbach, they know the inside stories and are well-connected too. They understand that advertising is not one of the highest paying professions, not even close. Hence, I’m going to assume that they want to be in it, for the love of it. That being said, this love requires investment, and lot of reassurance, more than they can imagine.
From the inside, it’s a business of validation. We are a competitive, impatient and an insecure bunch. From those who have it all to those who want to have it all,one way or the other, we all seek validation. So the moment you make a mistake there are chances that the world will know of it, and when you do something great, someone will take credit for it (not that frequently, but this happens). Every mistake would seem like a failure, and since it’s a business of ideas, you will fail a lot. These are the moments when that love will begin to fizzle. And this is when you’ll have make a choice—shake yourself of all this negative weight and move the effon or join the overpopulated league of cribbing sorry faces (the ‘advertising sucks’ brigade )orwalk out. But if you really want to be here, you would realize that gaining/regaining focus is almost as easy as losing it. With time, if you manage to find your ground and try to extract something useful out of everything (there always will be something), eventually you will improve (a lot), your ideas will see the light of the day, your work will get their attention, and you will have that delicious creative satisfaction. Without having to kiss anybody’s ass.

Your dream project?
For as long as I remember, I’ve seen myself telling me, “I wish I had done/written this” on several occasions. The ‘P& G Thank You Mom’ commercial was one such episode. It gave me Goosebumps, and anything that does that to you, is beyond exceptional. There’s an indigo ad, ‘reading inspires kids’,which had me in tears. I still remember watching it time and again, and getting overwhelmed every single time. My dream project is to create something that does ‘this’ to people.

Your upcoming campaigns, if you can talk about it :)
I’m currently creating a platform for readers/writers where user generated content will move between two parallel streams. Essentially, a unique story telling experience. I’m planning to use my break to set it up completely, and hopefully it’ll go live, soon enough.

Who would you like to take out for dinner?
The girl that I’m attached to.Because I love her a lot. And I’m equally scared of her.

What’s on your iPod?
Beatles, Lana Del Rey, Adele, and everything Bollywood.

Mac or PC?
PC

 

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Rahul Singh : Interview with a Designer/Illustrator

Rahul Singh Ydav has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Media and he is currently working as an Designer/Illustrator at HB Design, Mumbai. Besides this he has started his own venture OZO apparel which supports Hip Hop culture and Street art.

Why are you into Advertising?
I always wanted to satisfy my hunger for creativity but I didn’t know which path to follow. It became more concrete when I took admission to BMM and specialized in advertising.

Did you attend school for fine art or design or Communications?
No, whatever I have learnt till now and whatever have been learning all these years is because of a wondrous thing called INTERNET. I started learning stuff from sites namely psd.tuts.com , photoshoplady.com, youtube and many others.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
When I started designing, few of my friends helped me a lot. They were masters in their own right, I really look up to them. Another artist whom I have admired for his individuality and spirit is Banksy.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in Advertising?
There are many actually but the most influential personality in my career is my friend Sajid Wajid Shaikh.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Inspiration is the most important part to keep you going in advertising and for my daily dose I prefer to surf on sites like behance.com, illustration served.comand ffffound.com.

Tell us something about the freelance work environment. We know lots of creatives would love to go freelance…
There are some creatives who are big on independence and love to work on their own terms. Though the income maybe uncertain i think freedom is very essential to the creative process. The market for freelance creatives is also very good but its the uncertainty and instability which may be bad.

What do you think of the state of Print advertising right now. At least here in India, the released work is most often too sad?
I think india is doing really well in print media and its going to do much better in future.

Do you think brands who’s advertising wins awards, do well in the market?
No, not entirely. Awards serve a completely different purpose. Creating brand awareness and making the brand a success among consumers are the two most important goals of any advertiser. Award winning ads may not always strike a chord with the masses. It can either make advertisers work very hard or it could result in them straying from their goals if they focus too much on awards.

What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals?
I advice them to start early and chalk out a plan that they wish to follow. creative professionals should constantly up their game and update their skills. The most important thing is to develop a style of their own because they have to stand out and put something of their own on the table.
If you can dream of what you want in your life then you can achieve it too.

What’s your dream project?
There are many concepts going on in my mind but one of the best concept I would love to work on is illustration of all the gods coming back on earth and how the world would react. Ill name the project “Return Of Gods”.

Where do you see yourself in 15 years?
I see myself having developed my own venture OZO into a big recognisable name that promotes Hip hop culture. It will have joined the ranks of major brands that identify itself with hip hop. I also see myself working as an artist having honed my skills to perfection, because art is something I will never quit.

Who would you like to take out for dinner?
My lovely girlfriend.

What’s on your iPod?
I don’t have one. but on my player i listen to breakbeats, nu metal and hip hop tracks.

Mac or PC?
I am actually ok with both of them but ill rather prefer Mac over PC.

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Li-Anne Dias : In conversation with an artist

Li-Anne Dias is an artist and illustrator. She grew up in Mumbai, and Graduated from Sir J.J School of Art
Classic stories and scenes from urban life are her favourite subjects. She likes experimenting with various media
and aims at achieving a blend of fine art and illustration in her work. View her website here.

Why are you an Illustrator?
My interest has always been in creating images and responding to stories through my work.
Besides, I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember but it’s not that it comes easy.
I have just begun to find a niche for myself as an illustrator.

Did you attend school for fine art or design?
Yes. I graduated from Sir J.J. School of Fine Art with a Degree in Painting.

You have a distinct style of illustration. How long did it take you to develop your style?
I still don’t believe that I have a definitive style but I definitely feel like I’m on my way to one.
I also think the ability to change your style from one to project to the next is essential.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
There have been many role models. I look up to Ganesh Pyne for his exemplary use of line and form, and international artists like Joan Miro, Max Ernst and Francis Berry.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in Illustrations?
There are many people who influenced me to take up Illustration as a career.
One of my first art instructors, Mr. Narendra Pavaskar, and my professors at Art College helped me most in discovering my ability to Illustrate.

What made you decide to become a freelance illustrator? When did you start freelancing? Do you illustrate for advertising?
You have the opportunity and the freedom to choose your work.
It is a luxury to be able to select the projects you work on.

Are many advertising agencies getting illustrations made these days? Do you work more with agencies or publishers?
Yes, there is an inclination towards the use of hand-drawn illustrations in advertising these days.
Some of the most inspiring, and award-winning campaigns of today involve the use of illustration in some way or the other.

I’m working on a few personal projects that I wish to publish soon.

Was there any time when you wanted to quit Illustrations?
No. But there have been difficult times when I decide to take a break and explore new media.
I have been experimenting a lot lately with traditional print-making techniques.

Have you considered turning your illustrations into toys?
Of course. I have always been drawn to the idea of executing my art in unconventional media.

Any other Indian Illustrators who you admire?
I find the work of Mario Miranda and Deelip Khomane very inspiring.

Do you have any favorite fellow illustrators or resources relating to your fields?
Tasneem Amiruddin is a friend, and a wonderful illustrator. I think her style of illustration is both highly experimental and unique.

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?
Enjoy what you do, to the extent that it is a pleasure to go beyond the call of duty. Everyone gets rejection along the way, but you have to keep going.
Illustration is a great career prospect as long as you’re extremely passionate about it, but you need to have self-discipline to pull through.

Whats your dream project?
To write and illustrate my own graphic novel.

Mac or PC?
Both. They are only tools.

Who would you like to take out for dinner?
My dad.

What’s on your iPod?
Young the Giant, Porcupine Tree and a few other artists.

 

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