Ritaban Das : In A Chat With An Illustrator

Hey, I’m Ritaban Das, an illustrator/ storyboard artist/ character designer based in Mumbai, working in Animation and Gaming industry for past 8 years.
I draw, drink a lot of coffee and make music too.

Why are you an Illustrator?
Well I’ve been drawing as long as I remember and I’m always very passionate about it. I sucked at studies to be very honest with you and my parents knew that very well. I remember spending most of my time with a box of chalk and slate which was gifted to me by my father. Like every other child, I also loved to sketch my favourite cartoons. I usually sketched these animated characters on the back pages of all my notebooks and also my classmates’ notebooks. In fact, I was well-known amongst my seniors for my sketches.That’s the only thing I was good at it and I follow it blindly.

Did you attend school for fine art or design?
Nope. I only did a one year diploma course of 2D animation from Kolkata and then started working in a studio here in Mumbai so didn’t get a chance to enroll myself in any art or design college.

You have a distinct style of illustration. How long did it take you to develop your style?
It took me alot of time to come up with my own style. Finding your own style of work is a necessary for every illustrator or designer. After making thousands of bad drawings now I’ve come up with a style where people can say “Oh that’s Ritaban’s work!!” Most of my work is very much character driven blend with humour and very much graphical. I always try to convey some sort of stories through each and every character or Illustration I make. I like to play with various shapes and silhouettes and usually keep things simple.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
I’m an ardent fan Of Satyajit Ray’s work. He was the true definition of “jack of all trade”. I used to collect all his books, his own published magazine called “Sandesh” where he used to write and illustrate himself, his movies. His work played a big role in my childhood( and still now) to get inspired and of course to choose a creative profession.

Think about a person you truly admire in whatever field Whom you choose as your hero says more about you than about that person. We tend to admire certain people because we see something of ourselves in them. We like to think that what they do and how they do it reflects what we would do if given the chance. Choose lots of heroes. You can still be you, but when you use their success to spur you to try things you normally wouldn’t, you can be an even better you. And maybe you will be a hero to someone else someday.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in Illustrations?
My first ever studio job was in Animagic Studios where we were working on a tele feature film for Cartoon Network back in 2009. I had worked with the Director of the studio and the legendary Indian Animator Chetan Sharma and I got hugely inspired by his work. He’s my first mentor in this profession. He’s one of the most prolific,focused, dedicated artist I’ve ever seen in my 8 years of this career. He’s a one man army and someone every artist should look up to.

Was there any time when you wanted to quit Illustrations?

Have you considered turning your characters into toys?
I’ve given it a thought plenty of times but still haven’t materialized anything. I think this would be super cool.​

Any other Indian Illustrators who you admire?
There are definitely couple of’em. The first name came in my mind was One of my close senior and an amazingly talented artist Korak Bhaumik. We use to hang out, draw, discuss things. He’s BRILLIANT! I really really like Anand Radhakrishnan’s work too. He’s a powerhouse.

I also follow Sameer Kulavoor, Sajid Wajid Shaikh, Abhishek Singh’s work.

Do you have any favorite fellow illustrators or resources relating to your fields?
Ohh man, there are too many actually. It’s a toughest job to list it out. I absolutely love “Creature box” designs (I think they are INSANE!!). Also I really go crazy about Sergi Brosa, Nicolas Marlet, Brett Bean, Miki Montello, Tyler Carter, Matias Hannecke, Sean Galloway, Michael Bills, Ryan David Jones, Wouter Tulp, Edwin Rhemrev, Cory Loftis, Skottie Young, Armand Serrano, Dan Seddon, Frank Stockton, Headless Production’s work.
Where Concept art is concerned I really dig SIXMOREVODKA, Massive Black, Calum Alexander Watt, Carlo Arellano, Eytan Zana, Anthony Jones, Vince Proce, Android Jones, Gilles Ketting, Michael Kutsche, Shreya Shetty’s work!

I know I missed a lot of people’s names but these are artist who came to my mind. They are the best!!

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?
Every industry has it’s ups and downs, you have to make a life of your own. All I can say is absorb all aspects of the world that surrounds you, observe, learn, and practice. Pursue what fascinates and inspires you and the bi-product will become what equips you to produce above and beyond for your career.

Whats your dream project?

1. To make an animated music video.
2. To illustrate a whole graphic novel.

Mac or PC?

Who would you like to take out for dinner?
My mom..may be? Also I have a sets of people whom I hang out mostly so yeah, them.

What’s on your iPod?
“Steps” EP by Handsome Ghost.
“Gun Shy” LP by Matt Wertz.
“Emperor of Sand” LP by Mastodon.
“Drift” LP by ERRA.
“III” LP by Great Good Fine Ok.

Whats your Twitter Handle?
I’m not at all active on Twitter but I only handle it.

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