Shruti Kulkarni : Illustration

Shruti is originally from Nashik, a place known for its delicious wines and spiritual travels. Tucked away in the lap of nature, Shruti’s birthplace has given her a strong respect for the natural world. She is a voracious reader and movie watcher who is passionate about tales and her artistic endeavors.

Shruti is an incessant wanderer who discovers beauty in the well-known areas of her city. Equipped with a sketchbook, she seizes momentous occasions, converting them into enduring recollections via her artistic expression. She enjoys being creative all the time and detests being inactive.
She started her artistic career with conventional mediums like paints and pencils on paper. She would decorate and make colorful rangolis for festivals, bringing her artistic flair to the festivities.

Beyond her artistic endeavors, Shruti cherishes the company of friends. Whether it’s cooking a meal together or letting loose on the dance floor, she finds joy in shared experiences.

Why are you an Illustrator?
It was the enchantment I discovered in comics like Champak and Chandoba that inspired me to become an illustrator. Those fascinating drawings kindled a burning curiosity within me. Then, my mind took off, propelled by my father’s stories from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. I started converting such epic tales into my own visual language in order to record the close relationship I developed with the storytelling and illustration industries. I’m inspired by more than just stories, though; everything around me is vibrant! Because I’m an astute observer, the colour of my environment permeates my work, resulting in a singular reflection of my experiences.

Did you attend school for fine art or design?
My formal education took a different route – a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce, but Art was my true calling. After completing my degree, I enrolled in a 2-year Art Teacher Diploma program. This program reignited my love for art and provided valuable skills. To further hone my craft, I joined Vanarsena Studios as an apprentice. This apprenticeship not only allowed me to upskill myself but also was promoted to become a mentor for the new coming students.

You have a distinct style of illustration. How long did it take you todevelop your style?
I try to explore different styles of art, as my work needs me to be flexible. Although I would not ensure that I have a particular fixated style of illustration, but I am very fascinated with capturing live moments. I like to draw people live, doing their daily chores. Besides this, I love Indian art forms, be it on paper or as sculptures on temples. As you must have noticed in my portfolio, I had also designed a deck of cards insipid by the Odisha Pattachitra, which was displayed in the “URJA” exhibition.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
My mother and my maternal grandfather serve as my role models because they are both incredibly artistic. Their work inspired me as a child, and they welcomed my passion for painting, which led me to pursue illustrations as a career.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in Illustrations?
My father has been the most influential and supportive person in my life. He has always been my pillar of support and has grinned through all of my episodes. He has been there for me since the start of my artistic career. He gave me the inspiration to become a storyteller since he ensured that my early years were vividly filled with a variety of tales and their respective realms. In this trip, my friends have also had a significant impact.

What made you decide to become a freelance illustrator? When did you start freelancing? Do you illustrate for advertising?
I started my career as a freelance illustrator during the lockdown, where I got the opportunity to work with a children’s book publishing house. This was my first big break. I like freelancing as I get the freedom to express my artwork with different stories for different clients. I also illustrate for advertising.

Are many advertising agencies getting illustrations made these days? Do you work more with agencies or publishers?
Visual artform has become a major part of each and every sector, advertising being one. I have mainly worked with publishing houses, but I am open to exploring more and try out new opportunities.

Was there any time when you wanted to quit Illustrations?
Yes. Sometimes the pressure is too great and my motivation wanes.
However, I normally take a self-care break during this time. I go from traditional practice on paper to digital art if I feel too heated up about it, and vice versa. My passion for this art form helps me keep myself motivated through the blues.

Have you considered turning your illustrations into toys? Or Graphic Novels?
ans:In the future, surely I would love to publish my own graphic novel or a line of comics.

Any other Indian Illustrators who you admire?
Among the illustrators I respect are Aditya Chari, Joyeeta, Duttaraj Kamath, and Dee for drawings. These are only a handful of the countless exceptionally gifted illustrators in our nation. I hold a particular place in my heart for legends like Raja Ravi Varma and Amrita Shergill.

Do you have any favorite fellow illustrators or resources relating to your fields?
ans:In the plethora of resources, I love the websites called Artwod, Skillshare, Proco,schoolism and artists like Marco Bucci, Bobby Chiu who share their knowledge on YouTube as well as on Discord. These resources are a gem for artists like me who constantly try to upskill themselves and strive to do better.

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 be honest, this profession is not as easy as it might look. Like other career paths, the career of an illustrator is also filled with ups and downs, with a lot of hurdles. In terms of income, I would not like to make a comment on it as I, myself am figuring this career out as a freelancer. However, I would never discourage someone from pursuing this. It is a whole different universe with its own struggles, and everybody needs to figure their own pathway out here. But as a community, it’s huge and very welcoming, just like other creative careers.

Whats your dream project?
My dream project is something I have already mentioned above, the deck of cards. I’d like to finish it and bring it to the world, where people can own my art piece. Besides this, launching a series of my own graphic novels/ comics which would cater to different age groups.

Mac or PC?
I feel at ease with both. If I had to work on a tablet, though, I would select an iPad; otherwise, I would choose a PC.

Who would you like to take out for dinner?
I really want to have dinner with Yuko Shimizu. Her ethereal and evocative illustrations are incredibly inspiring, and I’d love to hear more about her creative process and the stories behind her work. Her illustrations often tackle thought-provoking subjects like race, gender, and cultural identity.
What makes her a particularly interesting dinner companion is her unique artistic journey. Shimizu didn’t pursue illustration until later in life. After working in the corporate world for over a decade, she took a leap of faith and went back to school for art. This experience adds a layer of resilience and perseverance to her story, which could be an inspiration for many.

What’s on your iPod? Spotify?
Being a crazy anime fan, you will always find me vibing on tracks from Naruto or Demon Slayer. Besides these two, I listen to a lot of Lofi, as it helps me concentrate while working.

Whats your Twitter Handle? Instagram?
Behance :
Instagram: @drush_kala

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