Rajaram Rajendran, runs a Bangalore based tiny film production studio called Eleven Elements, where he makes films, and does digital image production. He consults on interactive and app design, runs occasional free workshops on designing for the digital medium, digital filmmaking and matte painting. He also clicks some photos sometimes, writes an article here and there and makes some music.
Why are you an Illustrator?
I’ve been making random images since 2004, but never knew what to call it. Then i started visiting Deviant Art sometime in 2008, and suddenly a whole world of Digital Art opened up. Because of the kind of work I saw there then, I got super inspired, started messing with more digital illustrations and some photo manips, and from there it kinda kicked on, as I kept learning.
Did you attend school for fine art or design?
No. But we have the internet.
You have a distinct style of illustration. How long did it take you to develop your style?
Quite a while in fact. When I started off I had absolutely no clue what i was doing. With digital, you know, if you keep messing with the software enough, something or the other that looks interesting will come up. I feel the trick is to be aware and push past that phase, till you’re able to create what you visualize. Sooner or later, some kind of pattern or a style will kick in.
Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
Oh yeah. I was a big fan of 2Advanced. Also Fantasy Interactive, 247 studios, Joshua Davis, Gmunk, North Kingdom, Group 94 and a whole bunch of others.
Who was the most influential personality on your career in Illustrations?
There were so many, i really can’t list out. But Ingo Ramin of 247 media studios comes to mind first. His work kind of made me understand the word ‘detail’.
Do you take workshops on designing on Digital medium.
Yes I do. Not a hell lot so far, but i want to find the time to do that a lot more this year. We have a lot of talent around in print design, and it really is super easy for print designers to move to digital / app design.
What made you decide to become a freelance illustrator? When did you start freelancing? Do you illustrate for advertising? Are many advertising agencies getting illustrations made these days? Do you work more with agencies or publishers?
Somewhere around 2005-2006. I also worked in a company for a year or so during then. The only ‘proper’ job I ever had. From then on it’s been mostly freelance/small studio set-ups/learning and working at the same time.
I do illustrate for advertising, not too much till now though. Films take up most of my time. When I do, I work with agencies, yes. I prefer, I guess just like everyone else, working with agencies/clients who make it personal. Who put themselves into the work they do.
Was there any time when you wanted to quit Illustrations?
Nope. Never. Digital illustrations are my best way to experiment with new colors, learn new techniques, learn more on composition or typography, you know, the basics. You can never learn that enough.
Have you considered turning your illustrations into graphic novels?
Not yet. Plus, i don’t think i’m that good at it to confidently create a graphic novel.
Any other Indian Illustrators who you admire?
Deepu Sasikumar. Brilliant style, and quite humble about it. I really like George Mathen’s work too.
Do you have any favourite fellow illustrators or resources relating to your fields?
Behance to see the best creatives going on around the world. Deviant Art has great resources. Abduzeedo is a fantastic resource for everything. Greyscale Gorilla for 3D, Video Copilot for Aftereffects and Motion Design, FFFFFound or Devour or even Pinterest, for inspiration.
Tell us something about Eleven Elements.
Eleven Elements has always been my personal portfolio/experimental work site. In 2011, i kinda registered it and started working with that name. It’s just me, my computer and a studio / room really, with real talented people collaborating on a project basis. We do films and digital image production.
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?
Ha ha, I don’t know about ‘top working professional’. Well, start with something you’re really interested in. Be good at it enough to walk into a place and accept responsibility for the output. And don’t stop learning. Observe. Do not worry about the money in the beginning, if you put out good work, honestly, the money will follow.
Who would you like to take out for dinner?
Anyone who’s interesting enough to have a conversation. Since i’m not.
What’s on your iPod?
Apparat, James Blake, A A Bondy, Thom Yorke, Fink, Bob Dylan, The XX, Four Tet, Johnny Cash, Madras, Led Zep, Sulk Station, Cake, Sigur Ros, Leonard Cohen, and a hell lot of others. I mean, don’t you think iTunes’ India pricing is fabulous?
Mac or PC?