Tell us about yourself Hello! I am an Illustrator, Graphic Designer and Photographer, presently based in Bangalore, India. I studied Architecture for my Bachelors and then drifted to Graphic Designing. I enjoy making graphics and illustrations, whether it’s for creating a brand’s identity, communication material for social media, websites and blogs or merchandising.
Presently, I’m working as an Environmental Graphic Designer, essentially designing murals and space graphics, in M Moser Associates which is based in Bangalore.
M Moser specialises in creating effective workplace environments; designing and delivering office interiors, architecture, corporate campuses, and R&D facilities.
Why are you an Illustrator? How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and interesting career?
I started drawing when I was around 3 years old. I wanted to study Fine arts but I drifted towards Architecture and I enjoyed it thoroughly. But through Architecture, I realized that my forte was making illustrations and hence I decided to pursue my passion, and that lead me to UK for my Master’s.
Did you attend school for fine art or design?
I studied B.Arch from Andhra University and MA Illustration and Animation from Coventry University, United Kingdom.
You have a distinct style of illustration. How long did it take you to develop your style?
Throughout my UK stint I got the opportunity to experiment with different medium, be it photography, animation soft wares, digital painting, water colors etc. I spent a lot of time sketching and drawing spontaneously. Through this experience I developed and enhanced my style.
Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
My role models were my books. I used to spend a lot of time reading comics (which I still do), like Tintin, The Phantom, Asterix and Obelix and more recently The Sandman and Fables. Also the illustrations in the children’s story books (illustrated by Russian artists like Rojankovsky) and Amarchitra Katha were my definite source of inspiration.
Who was the most influential personality on your career in Illustrations?
Well, my career as an Illustrator has just about started. The most influential people in my life would be my parents who supported my decision to shift from architecture to illustration and encouraged me to follow my passion.
What made you decide to become a freelance illustrator? When did you start freelancing? Do you illustrate for advertising?
There are very few studios in India which specialize primarily in Illustration. So, freelancing was the next option. I have worked as the Creative Head of a startup company based in Gurgaon called ‘Once Upon a Time’ and whenever there is scope I try and incorporate illustrations into the projects. I have illustrated and created graphics for merchandising, posters, info graphics, communication material, social media, blogs etc. I have designed creatives for Kempinski Delhi, Biz Diva, The Pint Room etc. and also my work has been featured in the Business World.
Are many advertising agencies getting illustrations made these days? Do you work more with agencies or publishers?
There are many advertising agencies and publication houses which require Illustrations services. But basically it depends on your style. If you are lucky then they’d be willing to experiment! In my experience, publication houses are less willing to deviate and try something new. I certainly hope I can work with studios or publication houses which are open to experimentation in the future.
Was there any time when you wanted to quit Illustrations?
I knew it would be tough to make a career out of illustration and there were times when I had doubts but I knew I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else. So I stuck to it and so far so good!
Have you considered turning your illustrations into toys?
I’d love to turn my illustration into toys! They have been printed on IPad and IPhone covers, cushions, mugs and T Shirts, badges, so far. And I’ve used my illustrations in animations. So I hope I can get to turn them into toys soon.
Any other Indian Illustrators who you admire?
I love Mario Miranda’s work. His illustrations are so local, spontaneous and true. And they also have their distinct personality! I admire and relate to these qualities as an artist and illustrator.
Do you have any favorite fellow illustrators or resources relating to your fields?
I follow the blogs of illustrators, designers and writers like Sam Kieth (Trout-a-verse), Dave Mckean, Neil Gaiman, Free People, Blue Bird Vintage etc. I like reading their blogs either because I relate to their design sensibilities or I am just a big fan of their work!
Your dream project?
My dream project would to around the world and document my experiences in the form of illustrations and then compile them in the form of a 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?
I hope in ten years’ time I can happily proclaim to have ‘wide experience as a top working professional’.
As a budding illustrator and graphic designer, I have been lucky to have got the opportunity to work on some interesting projects for some good companies. I would advise anyone interested in taking up illustration as their career to learn the craft from a good art/design school and keep at it.
Self-initiated projects are also a must do!