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Interview with Rohit Chari, Red Canvas Studios

Interview with Rohit Chari, Red Canvas Studios

An interview with Rohit Chari, illustrator, artist, and the Founder of Red Canvas Studios.

Born and brought up in Goa, Rohit Chari is an illustrator, artist, and artpreneur who runs Red Canvas Studios, a venture he started in 2016. In this creative studio, ideas come to life in art on different canvases such as walls, frames, and memories. 

Rohit started playing around with sketches early in his school days where he’d draw, doodle, and soon enrolled into a full-time fine arts course where he learned traditional art forms and techniques in a formal setup. Today Rohit caters to special art commissions where he draws beautiful caricatures, paints on walls, has his line of merchandise; in short, he’s found his passion and made a living out of it. 

In this interviews, Parth interviewed Rohit, where they talk and explore the world of being an artist, an entrepreneur, and suggestions for the fellow community of artists and creators.

Story of your first customer? 

Well, the first few projects were majorly for friends, and I did them for free. But the first paid project came to me instead as a surprise. I had made a digital caricature for a photographer friend, and I think after minutes of it posting, it went viral in our little friend circle. 

Everyone wanted to know who made this caricature, and there I was flooded with requests, most of them free, but some of them translated into orders, and that’s how I kickstarted my Freelance career as a Digital Caricature artist. 

Freelancing and the early challenges 

Underpricing and not being able to strike that early balance where I get quality clients who pay decently. I think the first few paid projects, I was underpaid, but then I guess that’s all a learning process. 

When I realized I was charging lesser, I decided to increase my prices, but then the clients stopped coming in. With time, I reached a sweet spot where the clients are comfortable, which allows me to be satisfied. I think the sweet spot of pricing your art “just right” can be determined only by talking to customers, and this process takes time. 

How do you explain Digital Art to your customers?

I was introduced to digital art years after graduating with a degree in Art, so I am very empathetic to my customers when I explain to them about Digital Art or Digital caricatures to help them understand and appreciate the process of creation. 

Many people think making caricatures digitally is when the artist uses some apps or simply traces it, but that’s not how it works. Usually, when I encounter clients who do not know much about Digital Art, or the creation process, I educate them first about this art form because this helps set the expectations right and makes the process of creation and approval smoother. 

I walk my customers through the process, share the work in progress pictures with them, answer their queries before starting work; I think this has many advantages, and the client’s chances of negotiating to go down significantly.

 

How do you price your digital caricatures? 

I decide the cost of my caricatures based on the combination of the following factors, and a lot of times, if the order is to required urgently, there’s an added cost. 

    1. The number of characters – A lot of my customers think that the price of caricature quoted can include as many human figures, but that’s not how it works. Therefore one of the criteria for deciding the price is the number of people/characters drawn.

       

    2. The caricature style – Is it the Realistic Caricature or Flat(2D) Caricature? It takes me more time to work on the realistic caricature. Therefore this one is charged higher.

       

    3. Background – Clients often demand unique backgrounds, such as the Eiffel tower, or the Taj Mahal, or other requests, and to accommodate such requests, I charge extra.

      In India, it’s a little tough to find clients who will not negotiate and respect the price you quote, but it’s so much easier with foreign clients, and I can charge them higher too. 

Drawing a celebrity caricature vs. Drawing for customers 

With celebrities, I have the freedom to experiment, exaggerate, and let my creative juices flow, but I have to be very careful with client projects. People want to look cute but not funny. 

I think there’s a nice balance, where I get paid for the commissioned work I do and the time I have left after such projects; I experiment, play around with colors, strokes, and let my ideas flow without being constricted by the client’s expectations. 

(Rohit has created fan art versions of famous Netflix TV shows like – Money Heist, Scared Games, etc.)

 

Wall Murals vs. Digital Caricatures 

I like both forms of art – Making digital caricatures and murals, both of their unique charm, and I thoroughly enjoy working on both mediums. 

Still, the outcome of completing a mural is much more gratifying than a caricature, primarily because of the heavy hard work required to create a mural. 

First, we prepare a design based on the input given by the client and then get the digital design approved; post this, the digital design is transposed to the wall. This process from idea to execution takes 3-4 days, or more, depending on the size of the wall. But I love working on murals. I usually start early and work in sprints to finish it as per the agreed timelines. 

When the project is big, I collaborate with other artists, and it’s fun working on such projects.

How do you feel when people compare your work with other artists? 

I’ll be honest, early in my career, I’d get offended easily and react, saying, “if you like their work, go buy from them,” but now I try to explain to them the reason for the difference and explain to them my art process. 

Other Hobbies? Skateboarding? 

Well, I love to skateboard, and I represented my state in Skateboarding back in the days, and I think I found a lot of artists from the skateboarding community. Skateboards are usually hand-painted, uniquely communicating what the owner wishes to with colors and visuals. 

I’ve got many gigs because of the community, and I think having a hobby is an excellent release to your creative juices, but in a different environment.

Future Aspirations

I aspire to work with more prominent brands where my skills are tested. I meet fellow creators, and I learn and grow while doing so. I have worked with some very famous brands in the past, and I look forward to working with more brands as I grow as an artist. 

Advice to fellow artists in the community 

Digital art is comparatively easy when you are tracing it, but I would strongly recommend against it. Try to draw it manually instead of tracing, and it’ll help you in the longer run. 

If you want to draw caricatures, don’t immediately jump into drawing caricatures. Start by drawing portraits; it’ll help you understand the human face anatomy better. Once you’ve mastered that part, it’s easier to play around with human facial features to make fun caricatures. 

Closing Notes

Rohit concludes the interview by saying, “I would just say, support all the artists, because this is a small business we are into, but when the audience supports us, we can prosper. And I would request you to respect the artists, try to understand them, and value their efforts.”

Deciphering Doodles with Sumouli Dutta

Deciphering Doodles with Sumouli Dutta

Deciphering Doodles with Sumouli Dutta - Meet the mastermind behind "Woode Doodle Designs" Sumouli Dutta, Illustrator 20th May,2019 Sumouli Dutta is a self-taught illustrator and a visual artist  based in Kolkata who throws light on the stereotypes prevalent in our...

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Interview with Caricature artist – Sri Priyatham

Interview with Caricature artist – Sri Priyatham

Interview with caricature artist – Sri Priyatham

Sri Priyatham, Caricature artist

15th July, 2019


Sri Priyatham is a caricature artist based in Hyderabad who makes awe-inspiring quirky caricatures. He likes to play around with realism and exaggeration to create his own unique style of art. Having worked with brands like Netflix, he has been greatly appreciated both by the art community and the common public alike.

He also conducts workshops with the aim to increase awareness about caricatures  and motivate more people to take it up as a hobby/career.

How would you define art? 

I don’t have a specific definition as such. As a kid, I used to draw for fun, but eventually, it became my escape where I could rediscover myself.

I have been drawing since I was around 5-6 years old.I enrolled in an art school later, but it was just to fine tune my skills rather than learning something from scratch. I’d like to think of myself as a formally trained self-taught artist.

How do you strike a balance between reality and exaggeration?

The caricature is a style of drawing a figure that is blown out of proportions. It depends on the artist to follow a certain style, a few try to detach completely from the reality to make a comical caricature, while few go for a tinge of realism in it.

I fall in the second category. I find realistic textures fascinating and I would say I that I have got an eye for detail, which helps me bring out the intricacies required for the detailing.

What’s the most common issue you face, as a caricature artist?

Most people don’t receive caricatures that well, but the scenario is changing slowly and steadily. When people see a caricature of a celebrity or politician they find it amusing, but when it comes to a caricature of themselves, they are a bit biased.

I receive a lot of customization requests, most of them are like ‘can you make me look cuter’ or ‘can you tone down a couple of shades’. I think self-acceptance is crucial before getting a caricature done. *laughs*

How does it feel to be selected as the only Indian caricature artist to work with Netflix on the Stranger Things illustration?

 I felt privileged to have been selected. The process wasn’t that complex as they were expecting artists to draw the gist of an entire episode in a single drawing. The goal was to have people relate to the episode just by looking at the artwork.

They came across my Instagram profile and concluded that I would a good fit for the task. They used my style of rendering for the Episode 5 from the Season 2. The best part about this project was that I was given complete creative freedom, this is something every artist hopes and wishes from his clients. 

What can one expect from your workshops?

The main intent of a workshop is not to learn something by the end of the day, rather it is to introduce one to a particular art form. It is about getting an idea of what caricatures are and how to perceive them, it’s not possible to learn something completely within a few workshops, so I generally try to simplify the process. 

Even if a single person from the participants likes the art form and continues practicing it, it is an achievement for me. The goal is to encourage people to take up art as a hobby or maybe even as a career. In the end, we need more people who are aware of the art form, who appreciate the artwork and are willing to buy it.

Could you tell us about your podcast, “What the art”?

It was slow in the beginning, it took me some time to gather my thoughts and compile them. Around 4-5 months down the lane, ‘What the Art’ took shape with the support of Aditya, a fellow charcoal artist, and a couple of collaborators – one being Gokul from MyCopie and the other being Keshav who is a Chennai based YouTube cartoonist.

Having professionals from diverse fields gave a four-point perspective that helped to structure the podcast well.

If not art, what would be your career choice?

Although art is my only field of expertise, screenwriting and film making have always fascinated me. I would have loved to try something in those fields if not for art.

Have you ever hit the rock-bottom? If yes, how did you get back on your feet?

As freelancers, we’re prone to hit rock bottom more often than others, but we can not stay that way for long. In such situations, we need to hustle, change things a little bit and stay positive. Something which I personally do is get my stuff together and try not to panic. I try to focus on working on new portfolios which might pave way for new opportunities.

What quality should every aspiring artist have?
Certain qualities that all the budding artist should develop are staying committed and remaining consistent.

What are your thoughts on Stoned Santa?

The art scenario in India, currently, is an agent-based system, where agencies refer the artist for work based on their expertise, thereby acting as an interface which connects artists to the art consumers. And the thing I love about Stoned Santa is the way they are working to bridge the gap making it easier for artists.

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Doodling his way through life – Meet Arosh Thevadatil a.k.a ‘Doodle Muni’

Doodling his way through life – Meet Arosh Thevadatil a.k.a ‘Doodle Muni’

Interview with Arosh Thevadatil

Doodling his way through life – Meet Arosh Thevadatil a.k.a 

‘Doodle Muni’

Arosh Thevadtail, Illustrator and Doodler.

16th May, 2019

What started off as rough scribbling done on the last sheets of notebooks, has evolved into an art form by itself and a medium of self expression – Doodles. Researchers have even deciphered the reasons behind different types of doodles we do. With gaining popularity for doodles, imagination is the only limit.

Arosh Thevadathil, popularly known as Doodlemuni is an illustrator from God’s own country, Kerala.  His creative doodles on everyday life, couples, famous personalities and social issues have brought attention from across the country. He believes that an artist can instil emotions among people through his artwork, and continues to do the same.

Arosh came up with the name ‘Doodlemuni’, as he wanted to depict himself as a serious guy who scribbles humorous snippets. He wanted to add a ‘Desi touch’ to the name, to make it attractive.

Having been good at art right from childhood, he has won several awards in national level competitions. He learnt the basics for different types of art from Mr Vishnu Namboodiri and went ahead to get a degree in Fine Arts from RLV College.

His work is characterized by its wit; it’s packed with strange symbols, cute little characters and humorous scenes. He works on traditional and digital mediums, as the situation demands. He uses Photoshop, Illustrator and Coral Painter, to make adorable doodles.

Touching people’s Heart through Art

Even though he was born and brought up in Kerala, he understood the real beauty and culture of the place only when he moved out. Many of his artworks are based on the culture and places of  Kerala. “I approach my artwork from a detached standpoint”, says Arosh.

When Kerala was deluged by the heavy rains, Arosh was in Bangalore, and spent several sleepless nights horrified by the visuals he saw on TV. He arranged for materials to be sent to the disaster relief camps, and did a special tribute to the unsung heroes who risked their lives to save others.

Among those works, the one that received maximum attention was the rescue of the pregnant woman on a helicopter. “Seeing that work, Commander Vijay Varma, the man who undertook the mission, called me and wished me personally. I consider that the highest recognition that my work has ever received”, he says.

All about the Funcher shop

Having worked in Ogilvy, he got a lot of recognition from big corporates. Tired of having to follow guidelines, he longed to do something creative on his own without any limitations.

Suresh Ramakrishnan and him, having shared the common vision, vibe and passion for creating art, started their own venture “The Funcher Shop”. Just like how Puncture shop fills air, The Funcher shop fills happiness. They have numerous products like T-shirts, mugs, bags, clocks, based on various themes surrounding riders, Malayalis, Bengalis, Bangalore, movie themes.., 

“I don’t need anything else when I immerse myself in art”.

He believes that criticisms shape up a person’s career and make them strong. He works on his ideas and style based on the feedback he receives.

According to him, every project is a dream project. Nonetheless, he wishes to learn about Bangalore and make artworks on it.

On being asked if he has hit the rock bottom, he says. “There was a number of instances where I felt like my hands were tied and I would never get back on my feet. But, if you are diligent and are determined, you can always come back stronger and better from any hopeless situation”.

He views art as his life. His art is a result of his emotions, whether sadness or happiness.

“I don’t need anything else when I immerse myself in art”, he says.

When asked if he wants to travel back in time to the future or past, he says, “As there were a number of things I could not do in my past due to certain circumstances. I’ll certainly return and correct my mistakes if given the chance”.

Biggest pet peeve? “For each artwork, artists do a lot of research, refer to different works and make multiple scribbles. We ponder over and analyse it before composing the piece on canvas. Just when the work is about to get completed, a person who knows nothing about the effort put in and one who has no artistic eye comes along asking for changes on behalf of the client. It is a menace when they interfere in the artistic process”.

“An artist can conquer the whole world through his art”.

His advice to the budding artists is to never give up.He also feels that social media validation does not define anyone as an artist.

“An artist can conquer the whole world through his art. An artist can make people happy, sad, thoughtful etc. Above all, the artist himself can find joy in his art and share it with society. So even if no one notices you at first, there will come a time when they will accept, love and celebrate you”, he says.

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The Serious Art of Caricatures with Prasad Bhat

The Serious Art of Caricatures with Prasad Bhat

Interview with Prasad Bhat

The serious art of Caricatures : Prasad Bhat on Caricatures, Graphicurry, Comedy and more.

Prasad Bhat, Founder of Graphicurry

16th May, 2019

Prasad Bhat is the mastermind behind Graphicurry, a caricature specialist and an illustrator based in Bangalore. His quirky caricatures have brought him global appreciation. Like every other Indian kid, Prasad Bhat studied Engineering and struggled to get a job after his graduation. On realizing that engineering was not his cup of tea, he started his own design studio turned art store, Graphicurry.

Prasad never fails to bring a smile on your face, whether through his caricatures or comedy. His skills have attracted some of the coolest clients such as Amazon Prime, Disney and MARVEL. His artwork is original, authentic and witty.

Here are excerpts from when we caught up with Prasad Bhat for a quick interview and a dozen laughs.

What’s the story behind Graphicurry?

“Art and food are two of my most favourite things, hence the name ‘Graphicurry’! Luckily, the URL name was easily available”.

“Graphicurry started off in 2013 as a logo and designing company for corporates, and eventually evolved into a personalized caricature store. Today, we have over a hundred varieties of caricatures and merchandise of famous TV shows, movies, and artists”.

What made you take up an off-beat career and start Graphicurry, having studied engineering?

“I graduated with a score of 75% in engineering. I was over qualified for Call centres and under qualified for IT Companies. While I was desperately looking for a job, my girlfriend suggested that I pursue art seriously. I began to learn various digital tools. 6 years have passed, and here we are. Graphicurry has over a hundred personalized caricatures and merchandise”.

One of your prominent works includes Vector art. What made you pursue it?

“There are so many artists out there who have access to the same tools as I do. I’ve always wanted to have a unique style when it comes to art in order to stand out from the rest. That’s the main reason I started drawing vectors. Plus, I really enjoy drawing them”.

“I sometimes feel like a low-key plastic surgeon”.

How do you manage to get the right balance between realism and exaggeration in your artwork?

“I prefer keeping my art minimal over intricate detailing. Honestly speaking, people don’t like their features to be exaggerated. Everybody wants to look better. So, I only focus on making my clients look cuter”. *chuckles*

As you make customized caricatures, you might have come across various customization requests. What’s the most common request that you get?

“Make my wife look beautiful”. I’ve heard this so many times. I sometimes feel like a low-key plastic surgeon. I wish people could accept themselves and others as they are. I’m a brutally honest person; I would trip at requests like this. Thankfully, my wife, Deepthi takes care of all the client communications and makes my life easier”.

Caricature of  F.R.I.E.N.D.S illustrated by Prasad Bhat.

“That’s when I realized that I had travelled so far to get to the point where my favourite thing had to be recreated by me”.

Any current projects you can talk about? What was your biggest project until now?

I had my ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ moment when Disney asked to draw Mickey in my style to celebrate Mickey’s 90th Birthday! That’s when I realized that I had travelled so far to get to the point where my favourite thing had to be recreated by me”.

“Currently, I’m excited to be working on a few projects for Hotstar, which is upping its presence on the online media industry”.

Being an artist, what’s your biggest pet peeve?

“Most of the orders I get are for gifting purposes. Few clients provide hazy images for reference. This is my biggest pet peeve”.

How do you think the digital age has helped artists?

“I’m truly blessed to have digital aid. I have a competitive advantage over others as I was among of the first few artists to start digital caricatures in India. Most of the caricature artists who did not adapt to the technological changes, are still struggling. Technology has introduced us to unlimited possibilities. It’s up to us to make the best use of it”.

 

“All artists have a shelf life. I’m ready to face life as it comes”.

Could you tell us about your “Evolution” series?

“The evolution series focused on famous celebrities such as Leo, Matt Damon, Tom Hanks, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robin Williams and others. It was a tribute to all the amazing roles they’ve played so far. I also worked on a project where Ranbir Kapoor evolves into Sanjay Dutt. The idea is to keep the face unaltered and change other details such as the outfit, attire and expressions”.

What inspired you to start stand up comedy? Where can we see Prasad Bhat in the years to come, as a comedian?

“Even I’m not sure why I started doing comedy. I think I like to suffer and be broke. Jokes apart, I love making people smile and I wanted to do that professionally. Recently, I performed in Mumbai for a huge crowd, the video of which will be releasing soon. Other than that, I attend 2-3 open mics every week. It is tiring to run an art store and pursue comedy. But, I’m getting there”.

Prasad Bhat in one of his Stand-up comedy sets.

You have made some amazing caricatures of various Sitcoms. Which is your favourite sitcom of all time?

“Seinfeld is my all time favourite. It’s think that it’s the best show ever and everyone should watch it! Each character has its own charm that makes the show so special”.

Have you ever hit the rock-bottom? Tell us about it.
“I had hit the rock-bottom after my graduation which made me start Graphicurry. Since I’ve already been there, I don’t fear it anymore. All artists have a shelf life. So, I’m ready to face life as it comes. On the other hand, even if I get a lot of money and fame, I won’t let it get into my head. I like to keep myself grounded”.

“If you wake up with a burning desire in you to achieve something, you must follow it”.

Do you plan on taking up workshops?

“No, that’s my last resort. I’m not a big fan of teaching because I’m very impatient. If everybody stops buying from me, then I’ll give it a thought”.

Being a popular artist, demands you to have a constant social media presence. How do you cope up with this?

“I have to constantly post engaging content for my audience. I can’t post whatever I like, it has to be trending. Right now, there’s Game of Thrones fever everywhere. So, few of my posts are based on that”.

They say that art can reduce stress and promote relaxation. Do you agree with this?

“To a certain extent, art is therapeutic. It might seem fun drawing all day. But trust me, it isn’t. It is a lot of work and requires patience”.

Lastly, do you have any tips or advice for the budding digital artists?

“Don’t Do it”. *laughs*
“I’m just kidding. I usually don’t advise others much. It’s easy for me to ask others to pursue art. But, there are other factors one must consider like financial security and emotional support. To be an artist in India, it takes something more than just talent or hard work. It takes a thick skin. Hard-work is overrated. Unless you have a huge inheritance, or become an overnight sensation, it’s really hard to get financial returns”.

“Nonetheless, if you wake up with a burning desire to achieve something, you must follow it. I also believe that if your parents support you, you’d get too comfortable and become lazy. The magic happens only when you step out of your comfort zone. So, I think all the parents should kick their kids out of the house after they grow up “.

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