Subhodeep Mukherjee lives in Mumbai with his wife Nandita and a 6 yrs old son Ayandeep and works as a full time illustrator and graphic artist on different National and International projects since quite some time.
“I am an advertising and retail professional, brought up in an industrial town called Rupnarayanpur 300 km away from Kolkata in Bengal and eventually settled down here in Mumbai after my MFA studies at Baroda MSU Fine Arts Faculty In the initial stages of my Mumbai days I was working in a reputed school called Kandivli Childrens Academy as a drawing teacher and use to stay with my cousin Rahul who had been a great support for me till date.
In my journey of life I have found such several great well-wishers and patrons on whose confidence I have left my school job and joined industry and eventually after being in the industry for so many years left it too because of getting inspiration from great Souls and ace industry professionals like Rashmi bansal, Gangadhran Menon sir , Ambar chakravarty, Raja sinha. To name a few from the long list , who were always confident about my illustration and Fine art skill. Because of their inspiration today I got the courage to work as an independent illustrator and pure art with confidence.”
Illustration always gives a goose bump to me…basically I am an artist. I enjoy illustrating carttoning and drawing.
when I was a kid I use to make portraits of all my near and dear ones and then gradually developed the skill of realistic drawing …then different styles eventually. I feel illustration is a wonderful medium, a pure art form through which one can convey his thoughts and in a very distinctive manner and it looks aesthetically pleasing.
Photographs can bring beautiful moods when shot through an honest attempt. but a well done illustration of the same place or object can give a completely fresh and indigenous look. More over illustration is my passion and I want to explore different nuances of it.
It has a very big global market too. With the advent of digital market, demand of illustrations for sites, game design, character design, E-learning. Digital books are growing day by day.
Interestingly agencies where I have joined there also I use to do lot of illustrations for ad campaigns. Freelance illustration projects which I started along side by side with my job bought me plenty of appreciation so all these factors inspired me to become an independent illustrator lately .and creative directors always hunts for different styles I think that has a good side. I got to explore different kind of styles for that quest.
Did you attend school for fine art or design?
Yes I did my B,fine from Visvabharati University’s Kalabhavan at Shantiniketan in painting then did my MFA from Baroda Maharaja Sayajirao university in Art history and Aesthetics.
You have a distinct style of illustration. How long did it take you to develop your style?
I believe I don’t have a distinct style of illustration. I have done numerous kind of styles from realistic to semi realistic to cartoons to caricatures for different projects . but yes I like to draw in hand first and then digitally color it on Photoshop .in some projects I do directly illustrations on adobe illustrator .i like dot pen illustration also. I don’t use cintique or tablet. i can use the mouse just like a pen and I am comfortable with that .
Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
Yeh! Plenty .i grew up seeing the marvelous illustrations of Satyajit Ray the great director in his books on” Feluda”.I loved his crisp style..
Bengal has produced some great illustrators whose work use to mesmerize me in a famous children fortnightly magazine “Anadamela” like Subroto gangopadhyah, Bimol das, Krishnendu chaki,Debashis deb , Great maestros like Bikash bhattacharya in the famous novel “Dekhi nai fire” had done some wonderful work.
And later in my Shantiniketan days I came across works of Abanindranath tagore ,Binode bihari ‘i am still a fan of great illustrators like Herge, I like all the Marvle commics ,DC comics illustrators ..Frank miller is my favorite among them …it’s a huge list . .even I get inspired by some contemporary young illustrators too.
Who was the most influential personality on your career in Illustrations?
Many people have helped me discover my own inner ability as an illustrator .it has been a long run …but long back it was the great maestro Anant Pai the father of Indian comics have understood my ability and gave me a chance to work for tinkle .he had been a great influence in building up my career as an illustrator, he taught me many things about illustration and comics .
What made you decide to become a freelance illustrator? When did you start freelancing? Do you illustrate for advertising?
When I started getting appreciation and money from my freelance projects then I decided to become an illustrator full time.i started freelancing 5 years back.some could be seen on my Artwanted portfolio. but started getting good works since couple of years. yes I did many illustration for ad campaigns those are published also and are in my Behance portfolio too.
Are many advertising agencies getting illustrations made these days? Do you work more with agencies or publishers?
Yes creative directors always give lot of space for illustration work. It is always there, because it is something unique and fresh idea. Big agencies like taproot and many more promotes advertising illustrations. Plethora of illustrations are being seen in global advertising also. Illustration based ads have own many accolades worldwide.
I work with all, be it advertising or publication or digital whatever drives me to work on. Even I like design retailing props and exhibition stalls… in my own way.
Was there any time when you wanted to quit Illustrations?
Never… it’s my life!
Have you considered turning your illustrations into toys?
Not thought about it, but its an interesting perspective to look at. I want to try my hands on clay modeling also. That interests me lot.
Any other Indian Illustrators who you admire?
See I get attracted to good illustration… cant name all but I admire Dilip Khomane, yes im a big fan of Dilip Khomane, want to meet him one day. Bombay Duck design’s Sameer Kulavoor and Legend Mario Miranda are my favorites.
Do you have any favorite fellow illustrators or resources relating to your fields?
There are many. The list will be long for this space.
Have you ever worked in an advertising agency?
I was with the field of advertising media and retail for more than 12 years prior to these .
worked with mostly all kind of industries like in comics, magazines, publications, media, hard core retail, visual merchandising and of course advertising in different positions as graphics artist, illustrator visual merchandising deputy manager. In advertising I worked as a Senior Art Director, Senior Art Partner, later on as a Creative Director and Senior Creative Director too.
I have worked for Futuregroup, Steve & Barrys the American apparel giant, in agencies like Rediffusion Y&R, Bates 141, Leo Burnett Orchard and publications like Jam Mag and India book house for Tinkle comics.
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?
Yes certainly… once you build up your name you can earn well. I won’t say I chose to become illustrator for huge money but yes earlier I had rejected big projects for my tight advertising life but now the projects which I am taking up will give me good money since I am getting plenty of time to concentrate on large projects and also being working in this market a while now… and when you provide good quality product no harm asking for good money its always worth because illustration is highly skillful and meticulous job. It is a individual skill. People are paying for your specialized skill, for your talent.
For newcomers I would say if you believe you have “the skill” and grit in you then you can prosper no matter whatever hurdles come on your way. It’s the skill and understanding what matters.
Whats your dream project?
My dream is to create an animation film, with my own characters and to create my own comics with characters created by me.
Mac or PC?
Mac and PC both are good but the real thrill is in pen or pencil and paper ..
I like the direct connect between my hand and brain… energy comes straight from paper!
Who would you like to take out for dinner?
My wife and kid .
What’s on your iPod?
I don’t have one but prefer all kind of music.
Whats your Twitter Handle?
I don’t have a twitter handle.