Karan Singh is an illustrator from Sydney, Australia currently working and living in New York City. His eclectic style has seen him work with a diverse group of clients and initiate a number of self-initiated projects.
Why are you an Illustrator?
Because it makes me happy!
Did you attend school for fine art or design?
Kind of. The degree I studied had more of a focus on interaction design, so anything from designing websites to immersive installations. I was introduced to Illustrator and Photoshop at uni and fell in love. I spent a lot of my spare time teaching myself to use them and haven’t looked back since.
Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
Not particularly, though I’d say my parents were really encouraging when I left high school and emphasized that I should do something that made me happy and not to necessarily pursue a pay cheque.
Who was the most influential personality on your career in Illustrations?
I got involved in an online art community called Deviant Art that fostered my love of illustration. As a result of this I joined Depthcore, an international art collective of artists who I got to collaborate with in order to develop my work. More specifically, I’d say Romanian illustrator, Matei Apostolescu, a friend I met through Deviant Art, inspired me a lot by encouraging me to push my work and freestyle more. Another person is Jeremy Somers, a Sydney based creative, who took me on as an intern while I was at uni. We become friends and he turned into a bit of a mentor for me especially when it came to the business side of design, which I was completely oblivious to.
Are many advertising agencies getting illustrations made these days? Do you work more with agencies or publishers?
It’s about even; most of my recent work has come from ad agencies but in the past I’ve done a lot of editorial illustrations. Sometimes it’s a mix where illustrations are combined with photography too which can be a lot of fun.
Was there any time when you wanted to quit Illustrations?
Not really. If anything, I want to pursue other creative fields on top of illustration whether writing or music or object design. I’m really interested in lots of different fields and think being called a “Creative” would be cooler.
Have you considered turning your illustrations into toys?
I have a bit of an obsession with vinyl toys. I’ve drawn on a couple of blank toys but that’s about as far as I’ve taken it. The thought has crossed my mind but I’d say I’m still more of a fan.
Any other Indian Illustrators who you admire?
Delhi based illustrator, Archan Nair, a good friend and an inspiring individual.
What made you decide to become a freelance illustrator? When did you start freelancing?
I started freelancing in 2009. It was something I always wanted to do and I learnt a lot of valuable lessons and got to meet some amazing people. In 2011 I was recruited by illustration agency Vault49 in New York where I’ve been since. It’s been a really good experience at Vault and as a result has allowed me to be a bit more selective about which freelance jobs I take on.
Do you have any favourite fellow illustrators or resources relating to your fields?
None specifically, but I’m always in awe of illustrators from Scandinavia and Japan. Their styles are always so fresh and interesting.
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’d say that being happy is really important. Life’s too short to be doing something you don’t like.
Tell us something about Pig Bimpin.
I’d always wanted to dabble in writing and I created Pig Bimpin to explore this a bit. It’s basically a blog where I interview a bunch of really inspiring and creative people and get to take some photos of them too.
Tell us something of your personal projects.
My favourite and most painful personal project was my Daily Quickie project where I created an illustration every weekday for a year. I gave myself an hour or so each day to create something just for myself. I did a spin off on the project where I did an illustration marathon for the Cancer Council in Australia. I created 12 illustrations in 12 hours. Prints were sold and all the money raised was donated, it was a really special experience.
What is your dream project?
I’d love to illustrate for a cook book.
Who would you like to take out for dinner?
All my friends who are sprinkled all over the world, in one place at the same time. That would be great.
What’s on your iPod?
It’s snowing in New York right now so I’m listening to Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue.
Mac or PC?