Shikha Nambiar is an illustrator/artist based out of Pune and Bangalore. She started her career as a corporate lawyer, before she answered her inner calling of pursuing art and design. She is passionate about illustration, hand-lettering, typography and snail-mail. She loves to make postcards and send them to people around the world. Her work is inspired by her travels, culinary exploits and everyday experiences. In 2015, she started Sunny Skies Starry Eyes as a humble attempt to keep snail mail alive through postcards and it has now developed into a range of illustrated products that provide doses of happiness and wisdom.
She considers herself to be fortunate to wake up each day and do what she loves doing – creating art. Through her art, she hopes to touch people’s lives in different ways by making them pause and reflect, inspiring a few and most importantly, making them smile.
Why are you an Illustrator?
I don’t think I cold see myself as anything else. I’ve always loved to draw and I’m so fortunate to have been able to make a living from it. I feel grateful that drawing is my job and sometimes it really feels too good to be true. Also, Illustration is my favourite medium to communicate anything and everything I feel.
Did you attend school for fine art or design?
I attended Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore, where I studied visual communication design for 2 years.
You have a distinct style of illustration. How long did it take you to develop your style?
It’s taken me a couple of years I’d say. There hasn’t been a conscious effort to create a distinct style. Once you keep drawing, a style emerges by itself.
Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
My grandmother and dad were both into art. Their paintings were all over our house when I was growing up and I’d admire them and hope to be as good when I grew up. I guess the right genes trickled down after all ! My boss Deirdre was also a great role model and she always made me strive to do my best.
Who was the most influential personality on your career in Illustrations?
I can’t say there was any one in particular. I follow a lot of illustrators and artists on Instagram and their work is a constant inspiration boost.
What made you decide to become a freelance illustrator? When did you start freelancing? Do you illustrate for advertising?
I started freelancing right after Srishti. I decided to carefully choose projects that would interest me deeply. I worked on many branding/packaging projects in the start but eventually realised that illustration was my passion. I slowly started taking on more illustration projects and finally started my own brand in 2015.
Are many advertising agencies getting illustrations made these days? Do you work more with agencies or publishers?
I think illustration plays a very important role in advertising and you can see some great work all around. In my case, I have worked with publishers more than advertising agencies.
Was there any time when you wanted to quit Illustrations?
Never. I think I will do this as long as my faculties are intact.
Have you considered turning your illustrations into a book?
I have made few of my illustrations into mini-books. There is the Bangalore Illustrated Guide. Another one is Things That Make Me Smile and I’m soon going to launch the Illustrated ABC of Creatures book.
Any other Indian Illustrators who you admire?
There are too many. The top few that come to mind are Sameer Kulavoor, Priya Kurian and Jasjyot Singh Hans. They are all a huge inspiration.
Do you have any favorite fellow illustrators or resources relating to your fields?
I take a lot of classes on Skillshare and it’s helped me learn a lot of new things I can use in my work. Creative Pep Talk is another great website for creative inspiration and advice.
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?
Illustration is a great career option and if you put in you best and have a consistent online presence, it does pay well. These are a few things I’ve learnt over the years: know your industry and appreciate the work of your peers, do more than what is expected of you and work really hard. It’s also important to keep improving your skills and try new things. And lastly, make creating a habit. Draw something every single day. Even if you have a full-time job, start your own side projects.
Whats your dream project?
I’d love to travel all across India and create a unique travel guide of sorts.
Mac or PC?
Who would you like to take out for dinner?
I’d love to take Lisa Congdon, Julia Rothman and Adam Kurtz out for dinner and pick their brains. They are such an inspiration to artists all over the word.
What’s on your iPod?
The Lumineers, Papon, Prateek Kuhad and Coldplay
Whats your Twitter Handle?