Abhinaya Sudharsanam : In Conversation With An Artist

Abhinaya is a freelance illustrator and designer who loves problem solving through visuals. She’s extremely passionate about brightening up people’s lives through joyful works and also equally enjoys teaching and learning continuously. She also likes having an occasional sweet treat or two. Or ten.

Why are you an Illustrator?
I love creating. Being an illustrator allows me to experiment and have fun on a daily basis. I found the world of illustration only in my 20s after working in a different field, and I’m so glad to be doing what I thoroughly enjoy.

Did you attend school for fine art or design?
I din’t attend an art school but I learnt everything related to art, design and business side of creative industry through an online program – Artpreneur Program

You have a distinct style of illustration. How long did it take you to develop your style?
I try to create in different styles as much as possible based on projects and their applications. Indian art and colors have a huge influence on the works I create, so this probably reflects in most of the visuals irrespective of the art style.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
I’ve looked up to many strong women as I grew up, but havent had anyone from the creative industry.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in Illustrations?
Most certainly my mentor Mr SCD Balaji.

What made you decide to become a freelance illustrator? When did you start freelancing? Do you illustrate for advertising?
I love the flexibility that freelancing offers in terms of choice of work hours and variety of projects. For example, currently my work hours are focussed towards teaching,working on commissions that excite me and personal projects inbetween. I started freelancing about 5 years ago and I’m fairly certain that I’m never going back from this. Creating communicative visuals for advertising is definitely in the radar.

Are many advertising agencies getting illustrations made these days? Do you work more with agencies or publishers?
I predominantly work with publishers and independent entrepreneurs as I’m mostly focused working on children’s books and products but I’m always open to working with agencies as well. We see a lot of creative visuals being used in the advertising industry more than ever before, so the scope is limitless.

Was there any time when you wanted to quit Illustrations?
Absolutely not. Illustrating is like being in my element, so whenever there’s external chaos, it helps to get into a calmer state of mind and be in the flow. Once you find your element, it’ll be impossible to not do it:)
Sure,there were times when I was a bit overwhelmed or doubted my choice of making it my full time career, but that was just the initial couple of years. Once I got the understanding of how to make things work, the doubts vanished.

I love the way you have transferred some of your art into objects like Wooden Plates (The Orissa Pattachitra Illustrations, for example). Can you share more such work?
Thank you! I love seeing artworks on products that we can physically touch and feel. It adds personality to the space we live in. I enjoy every opportunity to make print design – be it for wall arts, decorative plates, magazines, books, invites, fabrics or any other merchandise.

Any other Indian Illustrators who you admire?
I absolutely adore the works of Keshav (@krishnafortoday), Abhishek Singh(@abhiart), Chaaya & Sandhya Prabhat, Sanjay Patel, Ranganath Krishnamani, Ishan Trivedi and so many other wonderful artists. I also look up to and learn so much from traditional Indian Folk artists.

Do you have any favorite fellow illustrators or resources relating to your fields?
I love the community we have here at the Artpreneur Program and all my favorite fellow illustrators are from here. You may check out their works in Behance or Instagram @artpreneurprogram and there’s a wealth of resources being shared as well, ranging from drawing basics to exploring different Indian and International art forms. I’ve seen absolute amateurs turn into professional illustrators learning from here.

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?
These are some of the pointers I’d tell my younger self so I’d share the same with aspiring creatives as well.
1.Get clarity in why you’re in this field.
2.Keep upgrading your skills (I believe this will be a natural progression when you’re passionate about your career).
3.Know the value of your time.
4.Seek answers for your questions and take help whenever required. People are generally kind and generous.
5.Help other creatives and share knowledge in whichever way possible – easiest way to grow yourself and others.
I’d definitely insist on taking up Illustration as a full time career option if that’s your calling, given the wide range of opportunities and the overall scope of the field. Do not shy away from exploring and it does pay well over time – Consistency is the key. The more consistently and consciously you take up projects that align with your values, the easier it’ll get in the long run.

Whats your dream project?
There are so many! Most of them focus on taking Indian art to the Global community in different ways. We have so much to share with the world, so every project that enables this, will be part of my “dream project list”.

Mac or PC?

Who would you like to take out for dinner?
My partner for sure! Especially now that it has become a luxury after having a child:)

What’s on your iPod? Spotify?
I occasionally listen to creative industry related Podcasts and 90’s music. I prefer to work in silence, so the list is minimal.

Whats your Twitter Handle? Instagram?
Both are @ColorTickle

Abhinaya Sudharsanam
Abhinaya Sudharsanam
Abhinaya Sudharsanam
Abhinaya Sudharsanam
Abhinaya Sudharsanam
Abhinaya Sudharsanam
Abhinaya Sudharsanam
Abhinaya Sudharsanam
Abhinaya Sudharsanam
Abhinaya Sudharsanam
Mock up poster frame in children room,kids room,nursery mockup,blue wall,3d rendering
Abhinaya Sudharsanam
Abhinaya Sudharsanam
Abhinaya Sudharsanam
Abhinaya Sudharsanam

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