Archana Sreenivasan : Illustrator

Archana Sreenivasan illustrates for magazines, picture books, comics and lifestyle products. She enjoys exploring new styles and techniques, and has illustrated for Puffin, Scholastic, Red Turtle, Karadi Tales, Katha, Manta Ray Comics, Forbes Life magazine, and The Mint newspaper. She likes cats, traveling, exploring the great outdoors, bird-watching, and doodling in cafes. She lives in Bengaluru.

Her illustration blog is here. 

Why are you an Illustrator?
I love to draw. Plus, illustration is a wonderful combination of visual communication & self-expression, design & art, which is a space I enjoy working in very much.

Did you attend school for fine art or design?
Yes. I did my BFA at Chitrakala Parishath, Bangalore, and did a Post Graduate Diploma in Animation at NID, Ahmedabad.

You have a distinct style of illustration. How long did it take you to develop your style?
I’m not sure I have a distinct style. In fact, I enjoy trying different styles. If there is indeed a distinct style, I didn’t specifically spend time trying to develop it.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
Growing up, I always looked up to my older sister, and her friendship and unconditional support has helped me follow my heart, and do what I love to do.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in Illustrations?
Perhaps it was my boss, mentor, and a dear friend, from my very first job. He taught me (and terrorized me) to pay attention to little details to commit myself fully to any job that I undertake.

What made you decide to become a freelance illustrator? When did you start freelancing? Do you illustrate for advertising?
Illustration studios or full-time positions for illustrators aren’t much of an option in India, so freelance was the alternative. I’ve been freelancing full-time from 2011. I’ve been working mostly with publishing houses so far. I haven’t done many projects with ad agencies, although I’ve been wanting to explore that.

Are many advertising agencies getting illustrations made these days? Do you work more with agencies or publishers?
I do see illustrations being used quite widely in ads, but as I said before, I’ve been working more with publishing houses than ad agencies.

Was there any time when you wanted to quit Illustrations?
I think I will continue to draw always, because its what comes naturally, but there have been times when I’ve considered taking on/have taken on other kinds of employment, due to financial pressures.

Have you considered turning your illustrations into toys?
Not really, although I’ve worked on some projects where I had to design characters intended to be made into toys/dolls.

Any other Indian Illustrators who you admire?
Quite a few. Topping the list is Prabha Mallya. I also admire illustrations by Sameer Kulavoor, Priya Kuriyan, and Ajanta Guhathakurta.

Do you have any favorite fellow illustrators or resources relating to your fields?
The internet is my go-to place for discovering exciting illustration resources. Pia Meenakshi aka Gumani, a fellow illustrator, maintains an art material review blog called I find her blog very interesting and useful.
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?
A career in illustration usually isn’t a very well paying one. I suppose that’s something one has to be aware of before deciding to commit to a career in illustration. But many people do supplement their income by also doing design projects in either Graphic Design or Animation, which fetch better fees. I’d say a career in illustration is best suited to those who really love the work, because it involves being lost long hours in doing what you love, but forgoing the securities offered by a steady job is probably not a comfortable choice for everyone.

Mac or PC?

Who would you like to take out for dinner?
If I could’ve, probably Dr. Salim Ali, or Kenneth Anderson, or Jim Corbett.

What’s on your iPod?
I don’t have one. I listen to random stuff on Grooveshark.barbet