Sumedha Sah is a self taught artist and illustrator and hails from the beautiful hill station of Nainital. Having completed her Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from MIT Manipal, She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Sustainable Architecture from CEPT University in Ahmedabad. Her artwork is inspired by mundane life experiences, her travels and her innate love for nature. She enjoys spending time with her pets, 3 dogs and a cat. As well as travelling to the unexplored parts of the world.
Some of her clients include, The National Geographic Traveller Magazine India, TED x India and Full Circle Publishing based out of Delhi.
Why are you an Illustrator?
I draw because it gives me immense joy. I draw for this simple reason everyday. With a sketchbook and a box of travel watercolours, I doodle and create. I find inspiration in the happenings of everyday. I strongly believe in the simple joys and know that many of our lives go by, doing things for the head rather than the heart. My sketchbooks are a way to document my life and record the thoughts that cloud my mind on certain days. On others they are a mirror to what I feel.
Did you attend school for fine art or design?
I am currently pursuing my Masters in Sustainable Architecture. I am an Architect by profession and a self taught artist.
You have a distinct style of illustration. How long did it take you to develop your style?
I draw with a fountain pen (Lamy) and use of lot of dots and dashes in my artworks. The fact that I am not a trained artist, I consider this as my main strength as I have come to evolve my own style over a period of 2 years.
Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
When I was young, my Mother was my biggest strength; I admired her in every way. Even though she is not here with me now, I feel her presence everyday. That gives me immense strength.
Who was the most influential personality on your career in Illustrations?
My sister, Preetika has been pillar of support for me. She is a graphic designer by profession with a background in Fine arts, over the years she has been my best critique and guide. I’ve learnt a lot from her. Another dear friend who’s always been there by my side is Kartikeya. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be what I am today. My family has also played a major role in making me an artist. Their undying trust gave me new confidence in myself.
What made you decide to become a freelance illustrator? When did you start freelancing? Do you illustrate for advertising?
Freelancing just happened for me by chance. On the advice of one of my friends I created a blog of my artwork. That’s how I got noticed and work started pouring in. I have done from commissioned Paintings, illustrated booklets, and tattoo design to Wedding invites. I started freelancing about a year ago; I haven’t yet got a chance to work for advertising.
Are many advertising agencies getting illustrations made these days? Do you work more with agencies or publishers
I’ve seen lots of projects that have been going on where illustrators are involved in advertising. I have worked for a publishing house as a freelance illustrator at one point of time.
Was there any time when you wanted to quit Illustrations?
For me Doodling has become a regular habit, It’s always at the back of my mind. It’s something I have to do everyday. Such a thought for me, will be like for a musician not to play or a performer not to act. Its in my nature, It will never change.
Have you considered turning your illustrations into toys?
Not until now, But now that I think about it, It sounds like fun!
Any other Indian Illustrators who you admire?
I really admire the works of Prashant Miranda, his style and ability to draw just anything is astonishing. Maheswari Janarthanan is another illustrator that I really love. She is just excellent with her little beings and colour palette. She’s got a real talent.
Do you have any favorite fellow illustrators or resources relating to your fields?
Malota , Yelena Bryksenkova from New England , Geninne Zaltkis from Mexico city and Oana Befort from Romania are a few all time favourites of mine. As for resources I refer to a lot of books for inspiration. ‘An illustrated life ‘by Danny Gregory featuring private diaries of some of the world’s best illustrators is my favourite book.
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?
To have an open mind and heart for inspiration and to create with joy is an advice I’d give to new artists. The most important thing is to find happiness in your work, never do anything for money, if you do it with your heart and soul, Money will surely follow. If it doesn’t make you happy; it’s not the thing for you, I believe.
In India, Illustration is slowly being recognised at an important art form, since it can be used as multiple things, be it advertising, books, invites, maps and even magazine art works, the possibilities with this kind of art form are endless. It is definitely a wonderful career choice and if you are a hard worker, it does pay well.
Mac or PC?
Since I am a traditional illustrator and work by hand, it hardly matters what computer I use. Although it’s a PC that I own right now, changing to a Mac in the near future wouldn’t hurt that much I guess!
Who would you like to take out for dinner?
I would like a combination of my most admired artists in the world. The Exceptional Author Ernest Hemingway for the simple truth in his words, Members of the Swedish band called Koop, because they make some fantastic music, and my most favourite painter of all time, Gustav Klimt, for the magic he created on the canvas. I think with a group like that, it would be a more than ‘memorable ‘dinner with some lovely conversations and great music.
What’s on your iPod?
I am a big fan of this band called Florence and the Machines, they make wonderful music apart from that I have Bonobo, Thievery corporation, Karsh Kale, Amit Trivedi, Goldspot, Radiohead, Fink ,Coldplay, Porcupine tree, Koop and the good old Pearl Jam.
To get in touch with Sumedha, reach her blog here.