Sonali is an illustrator, photographer and graphic designer based in Bangalore. She goes by the alias; Dangercat.
Why are you a Graphic Designer?
I was inclined to the arts from a very early age. As an only child, drawing was something I did to keep my mind occupied. I kept journals where I would document what I learnt in school, wrote down lyrics of songs I was listening to, even made detailed accounts of school trips through photography and drawing. I added leaves and feathers and other things along the way to the pages and soon found myself focusing on the layout of the page itself. I remember enjoying drawing, painting, writing, taking photographs and filling up those pages so much; I didn’t ever want to do anything else.
Did you attend school for fine art or design?
Yes I did, College of fine arts Bangalore. It wasn’t the best of courses, but it did give me a lot of time to wander off and explore different mediums, I went on to study photography at Light and Life Academy in Ooty.
You have a distinct style of Design. How long did it take you to develop your style?
I don’t know about a distinct style, there are definitely recurring themes, and a certain amount of detail, but I don’t feel just one emotion when it comes to drawing. Sometimes my work is dark; sometimes it’s happy and bursting with colour, other times its very minimal. It really depends on the project and medium I’m working with. Developing a style never really ends. One has to keep growing. So far, it has taken me a couple of years to arrive at what I’m doing now.
Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
Not one particular person really. I come from a fairly creative family; everyone had a role to play at some point.
Who was the most influential personality on your career in graphic design?
I haven’t met that person yet.
When did you start freelancing?
Two years ago. It seemed like the only way to go, to really do what I love.
Was there any time when you wanted to quit graphic design?
No. Never quit, but by the end of college I was leaning more towards photography, which I ended up studying further. Then something strange happened, all that knowledge I gained in photography, I started applying to illustration. I wasn’t able to have complete control over all the elements in a photograph, but I realized I did with illustration and design.
Are many advertising agencies hiring graphic designers? Do you work more with agencies or publishers?
I work with start-ups and publishers; I haven’t done much advertising work. I like working with individuals; musicians, writers, entrepreneurs etc. The more collaborative it is, the better the end result.
Do you have clients who give you steady work or do you advertise for new clients often?
A little bit of both, one has to put out work they like to do in order to get more work.
Any other Indian graphic designers who you admire?
There are quite a few I like and whose work I follow, but I admire the work of graphic novel artist, George Mathen (Appupen). His sense of composition, attention to detail and story telling is out of this world.
What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals? Would you advise them to take on graphic design as a career option?
I don’t have any advice to give really; I’m only just figuring things out myself. I think art and design only ever work when you’re true to yourself, so don’t try and fit into some strange version of what you “think” you “should” be doing. Follow your instincts. This field has no rulebook. Yes, this is a good career option, but it’s not for the faint hearted 🙂 The satisfaction of creating something from scratch and watching it go into the world, is pretty awesome.
Do you think Clients are opening up to keeping aside a decent respectable budget for design work? Do you think clients understand 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?
Sometimes yes and sometimes definitely no! I think it is changing though. A lot of people understand how important design will be to their business, band or book and they are also beginning to understand the creative process, hence a lot of them do put a decent budget aside for it. Some just don’t get it, and that’s fine. I try my best to stay away from that, the kind of work that comes out of situations where the client isn’t collaborative, usually isn’t work worth doing.
Mac or PC?
Who would you like to take out for dinner?
Oh that’s a long list. It’ll probably include a physicist, an archeologist, a deep-sea diver, Dali, an astronaut, the remaining members of Led Zeppelin and maybe a large animal; dinner in the company of a well-behaved mountain lion would be fun 🙂
What’s on your iPod?
Right now? Alice in Chains- The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here. In general? Everything from sludge, heavy metal, rock, blues, alternative, classical, rap, reggae, dub-step and on and on… except pop and trance, those two I can’t get my head around.
Whats your Twitter Handle?
I don’t have one, but I am @danger.cat on instagram.