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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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Meet Sameera Maruvada – The creator of ‘Salt and Sambar’

Meet Sameera Maruvada – The creator of ‘Salt and Sambar’

Meet Sameera Maruvada, the creator of ‘Salt & Sambar’

Sameera Maruvada is a freelance illustrator based in Visakhapatnam who turned pastime doodling into her career. She is also the creator of a web-comic series called “Salt and Sambar”  through which she aims to spread awareness on different social issues in a humorous way with a bit of cultural touch.

She aims to inspire young artists to pursue their passion for art through her Youtube channel – Saminspire , which has over 3.8 million views.

Read on more to find out about Sameera’s artistic journey.

Were you inclined towards art, right from your childhood or did you develop the passion over the years?

Drawing is something that came naturally to me. Ever since I was a kid I have been engrossed in drawing and coloring. I used to love participating in art competitions, I also used to win a lot of them. This did not change even after I grew up.

How did you start cartooning? What made you pursue it?

Initially, I never had cartooning on my mind. I used to mostly experiment with oil pastels, and I’ve been creating YouTube videos for the past five years. 

After completing my interior designing course, I was extremely clueless about what to do next and that’s when I started drawing comics. I have always drawn cute characters for greeting cards, and I love storytelling. So, comics were the perfect mix of both.

Many of your comics are in Telugu. How have the audience reactions been?

When I started creating comics in Telugu, the primary reason was not to promote my culture or language, but it was mostly because I could express certain feelings only in my mother tongue. Adding on to it, certain phrases sound good only in a particular language.

When  I started making comics in Telugu, I never expected many people to understand it. However, many Telugu-speaking-people from different parts of the world could relate to it and I’m glad I could make them feel home. 

How did you come up with the name “ Salt and Sambar”?

I always wanted to give a south Indian touch to the name of the comic series. I initially thought of calling it “Idli & Sambar”, but that name was already taken. That’s when “Salt & Sambar” struck me.

There’s a phrase from a famous Telugu movie called “Aha Naa-Pellanta” which inspired me to choose this name.

Are you a full-time artist? If yes, how has the journey been?

Yes, I am a full-time artist. I take up freelance projects, conduct workshops and also have a youtube channel where I teach simple drawings with oil pastels, DIY art and crafts and the basics of coloring.

Although being a freelancer is definitely not easy, if you work hard enough it’s as good as any other profession.

Where do you derive inspiration for your comics from?

Most of my comics are based on real-life experiences. There are certain messages that I want to spread through my comics. For instance, I want to show how students are pressurised into taking IIT-JEE or similar entrance tests, and how girls are expected to marry after a certain age.

I try to address these social issues in a humorous way, with a cultural touch.

Who are some of the artists whom you look up to?

These are some of my personal favorites – Rohan Chakravarty, Alicia Souza, Bill Watterson, Foxtrot, Sarah Andersen and Marloesdevee.

What are the problems that you face as a freelancer, and how do you think viewers can help?

I strongly feel that in India, freelancers are undermined. Nobody views art as a lucrative career choice. This mindset must change.

When it comes to supporting artists, people can support artists on this website called ‘Patreon’. Again, this is a very unfamiliar concept in India. People are charged a nominal amount every month to support their favourite artists. In return, you will be given exclusive rewards, like newsletters, early updates, merchandise and more. This helps the artists to not depend entirely on freelance projects for their income and helps them focus more on creating original art.

What advice would you give to the budding artists?

No one should pursue what they don’t like just because they are being pressured by their friends, family or society. 

I wish that by looking at artists like us, they should realize that art as a profession isn’t less than any other, and if you are persistent you will do great. 

Even if you have to take up a day job to make your ends meet, you should always make time for doing what you love, and never let go of the passion.

Thoughts about Stoned Santa?

Helping artists get recognized and helping them reach many people is a wonderful idea. I really hope that Stoned Santa does well in the future.

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Meet the creator of Green Humour, Rohan Charkravarty

Meet the creator of Green Humour, Rohan Charkravarty

A comical twist to the wild –An interview with the creator of Green Humour

Rohan Chakravarty, the creator of Green Humoura comic series on wildlife conservation and awareness is a brilliant cartoonist and an illustrator. His comic strips are not only published in The Hindu, Mid-day, Round Glass and many other wildlife journals, but they are also extremely popular on Instagram.

From the polar bears of the Arctic, koalas of Australia to tigers of India, he spreads awareness on a wide range of wildlife species through humorous cartoons.

A dentist by education, Rohan transformed himself into an artist. Either way, his work puts a smile on our faces through hilarious, yet thought-provoking comics.

He says that no awards or accolades are more valuable than the actual impact that his comics have on his viewers. 

Read more to find out about his journey.

When did you start making comics? How did you decide to pursue it?

Ever since I was a kid, I have been in the habit of drawing and cartooning. It is only after I made the mistake of choosing dentistry that I realized that it wasn’t my calling. Soon after, I worked at various media houses and animation studios for a few years. The experience of creating custom artwork for my clients helped me not only sustain myself as a full-time cartoonist, but also gave me deep insight into the world of design.

It’s been over 10 years since I started making comics, and 7 years since my work started getting published in the Print media, and I do not regret any of it.

Why did you choose wildlife as the central theme for your comics series – “Green Humour”?

Wildlife has been something that has fascinated me throughout my life. I was on a trip to one of the National Parks when I saw a wild tigress and I remember I was captivated by this beautiful majestic sight, that’s when I found my calling. I thought why not combine the two elements – Art and Wildlife, and “Green Humour” was born.

For someone like you whose comics are based on wildlife? How important is traveling?

Although I do not travel much as I’m conscious of the carbon footprint that is associated with it, certain projects demand my visit to the place, especially when I have to create illustrated maps of sanctuaries and parks.

However, I would definitely recommend traveling to artists. Personal experiences and first-hand information are incomparable with any other secondary source of information. 

Have you seen every bird or animal which are illustrated in your comic series?

I have drawn a lot of animals that I haven’t seen or probably will never see. I derive inspiration from books or watching documentaries mostly.

Lately, you’ve also done a couple of comics on political satire? How have the responses been?

Certain issues had to be addressed. Many supported and liked the comics, while others started trolling. I would call it “Destructive Criticism”. After a point, you learn how not to pay heed to such trolls, you could say that it helps one in anger management.

Would you like to explore other verticals in comics apart from wildlife?

I have created comics on various themes in the past. But, I am not sure if I can do a good job at those. For now, I will continue making comics on wildlife.

What can one expect from the Art workshops you organize?  

They’re basic cartooning workshops in which  I guide participants through the process of creating comics, from drawing characters, capturing expressions to compiling all the elements to make complete sense which could help you create a comic strip.

Could you name some artists you look up to?

Well, this could take some time. But, here are some on top of my mind – Gary Larson, Bill Watterson, Patrick McDonnell. When it comes to Indian ArtistsR K  Laxman and Maya Kamath are some of my favorites. 

If you were to go back in time and change a decision what would it be?

Although I’ve no regrets as such, I think I should have explored the internet better. I see a lot of young artists creating content regularly and posting them. For someone like me who is excessively dependent on Print Media, the Internet is challenging. Sometimes, I feel like I have a generation gap with the new artists.

How do you think artists and freelancers have been affected by the pandemic? How do you think people can support them?

Artists and small businesses have definitely been affected big time. Many artists like me are dependent on Print Media, but due to the pandemic the print industry has taken a major hit and is running short of Ad money, hence there might be layoffs; NGOs that collaborate with artists are lacking funds at the moment; Book launches and releases have been postponed for months together.

I think this is the time when you can grow your business online. Learning how to monetize digital consumption of art is a very important skill to learn. Companies like Stoned Santa should play an important role in helping the artists to enable the same.

Answering the latter question, people can support fellow artists through Online patronages.

Lastly, what advice would you give to the budding artists?
“The best advice I can offer to budding cartoonists including myself, is to never let that child with a taste for nasty and offensive humour die within them”.

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Meet Saloni Patel, an illustrator, designer and a cartoonist.

Meet Saloni Patel, an illustrator, designer and a cartoonist.

Meet Saloni Patel, an Illustrator, Designer and a Cartoonist

Saloni Patel is an Illustrator, Designer and a Cartoonist who goes by the name of “Moody Moo” on Instagram and has close to 54k followers. Her Illustrations revolve around her daily life, her favorite TV show characters, and the adventures of her pet dog, making her designs quirky and exclusive. 

Saloni aims to spreads positivity through her colourful illustrations with soul-stirring quotes.

Although she completed her Bachelors in management studies, she went on to pursue her passion and completed her MA in graphic designing from the United Kingdom. Although it was not an easy choice, she says, “Nothing worth having ever comes easy.”

Here are some excerpts from when we caught up with her for a quick chat.

How do you perceive art?
Art can mean differently to everyone. I view art as a form of self expression.

Why the name “moodyymoo”?

‘Moody’ because I am a moody person and ‘Moo’ because I’ve always been a chubby child. Thus! It’s just a silly name that I coined.

Your Illustrations are quirky, yet send a very strong message. What inspires you to do these?

I draw inspiration from my personal experiences – something I witness or read, daily routine, mood swings, Simba – my pup or pretty much anything that I find to be intriguing.

To what extent does your pet have an impact on your art?

He keeps my vibrations high, which is very important for creative juices to flow and the things that he does definitely give me content for my work/comics.

How have criticisms helped you shape your career?

Mindless criticism has never helped, but constructive criticisism is always welcomed and has definitely helped me reflect on my drawing style, and improve.

How has your perception of seeing things changed after illustrating for such a long time?

Over the years, I have developed a keen eye for details. I no longer just view things as they are, but I’ve learned to observe any person or thing astutely.

How do you deal with a creative block?

Taking a break from work definitely helps when you’re having a creative block. I beat myself over it for a bit and then, I watch something inspiring; take a nap; have a snack and get back to what I do best – Creating Art. 

Many of your illustrations are based on TV shows. If you were to be a character of a TV show, which one and why would that be?

I really find Sheldon Cooper very fascinating and quirky. I adore his character and would love to be him.

Why? Because I want to know what it would like to live with an OCD and have a brilliant mind with eidetic memory. 

If you were to learn a new art-form, which one would it be?

I want to try learning pole dancing or aerial Yoga!

Lastly, what advice would you give for the upcoming artists?

Nothing worth having comes easy. You’ve got to be patient, diligent and open to learning new techniques. Stay up to date with latest trends, softwares & tools. Be nice to people – your fellow artists, your clients, your community, your followers and haters even (be nice by ignoring the haters).

Learn the tricks of the trade because social media is a great platform to promote your work. Have faith and don’t lose hope even if  initially you don’t get projects. With passion and determination, you’ll get there, slowly but surely .

Most importantly: Create, create and create – every single day. That’s the only way you’ll get there!

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Meet Anjali Mehta

Meet Anjali Mehta

Meet Anjali Mehta

Using illustrations as a mode of education and spreading ideas and issues ranging from animal endangerment, body positivity, women’s rights, feminism and breaking the stereotypical bars of society’s perception of men and women, Anjali Mehta creates energetic, bright, bold with confident mark-making art while most of them celebrate modern femininity in a way that has captured the attention of many.

Now let’s hear, what she has to say about her journey as an illustrator.

 

Art can be perceived differently by different people. How do you perceive art?

 As a necessity to survive and a catalyst for change. 

Your Illustrations are so adorable, yet send a very strong message. What inspires you to do these?

Yes, I was doing my MA this year and I used to attend lectures by different artists every week, which inspired me to question my practice and think about – “what my art is doing?” and “what I want my art to do?”. Once I gave that thought I realized I just don’t want to make pretty things I want to add meaning to it, so it can help empower someone or spread a message. Since then, I’m working around that.

Can you run us through your thought process while brainstorming for artistic inspirations?

Its a very long process for me, but now its a part of life rather than a brainstorming session. I usually take mental images of my musings and things I’m reading, sometimes I take notes on my phone of things I like to draw on. Then mostly on my own, my brain comes up with images and compositions of what I can do with the images and inspirations I’ve observed to create something new. The ideas come to me at random times, so it’s important to keep taking notes whenever you can. 

As an artist, what is the most asked question to you?

The most common ones are ”what is your inspiration?” Or “what is your art about?”.

How have criticisms helped you shape your career?

They are a very important part of your artistic practice. If something doesn’t force you to change your existing comfortable methods and try something new,(which can be scary) your practice and talents cannot go forward.

Could you tell us about your experience of working with H&M?

Oh, it was a very small gig, The person who I was in touch with, Sidharth, was a very cooperative and creatively open client. I did those drawings and he liked my work, we did a few changes according to the brand guidelines and it was done. The whole event was cool to witness because seeing your art on the H&M logo and all the other communications in-store was a good feeling!

How differently has your perception changed as an illustrator?

My observation skills have changed completely, also the way I look at things will be very different from someone who isn’t an artist. Others might feel like that’s just a bird sitting on a pole, but for us, it could be beautiful composition if observed artistically. To be honest everything around you can be made into art you just need to see it.

If you were to learn an alternate art form which one would that be?

Probably, learn to play musical instruments, preferably a violin. 

Are you ever faced with a creative block? If yes, how do you get over it?

Yes, the only way I think for me is to keep creating, don’t stop, if its not the best work you are doing, it still is leading you to your best work.

If you could go back in the past and change a decision that you made, what would it be?

That’s difficult to answer, I don’t regret doing something so strongly. On a lighter note I would have bought a bigger Ipad, the one I have is good but I realized later that the bigger one would have been better for my artwork.

What advice would you give for the upcoming artists?

That’s tough, but I’ll just say believe in your art and keep making it. It will help you in many ways. Also, don’t run after being famous on social media, those things don’t matter. 

How important is traveling for an artist? Do you seek inspiration from every place you visit?

For me, that is the most essential. Travel can teach you things which no book can. And once you see the colors, flowers, paints from a different place and a different artist, it has the power to inspire you to create something beautiful like you haven’t done or seen before.

If you were to be a character of a TV show, which one and why would that be?

I relate to half of the characters I see on TV, it’s difficult to choose one. Maybe buttercup from Powerpuff girls, cause of her attitude towards things, it’s very me or Gina from Brooklyn Nine Nine, simply because I would love to be her, haha. 

 

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Meet Jasjyot Singh Hans

Meet Jasjyot Singh Hans

Meet Jasjyot Singh Hans

What do you call an artist who catches your attention by his amazing illustrations, and then makes you contemplate through the unconventional drawings and at the same time makes your jaw drop with the striking illustrations for the fashion industry? 

Well, we know him by the name Jasjyot Singh Hans. His art has made it into journals, newspapers, clothing, walls, and hearts of the people. Here are a few insights from the conversation we had with him.

Art can be perceived differently by different people. How do you perceive art?

I think of art as an expression of one’s identity. What we draw or create is often a reflection of our own thoughts and beliefs.

Your Illustrations send a very strong message. What inspires you to do these?

I believe regardless of the final outcome, my artwork usually, revolve around themes that are quite personal to me. My work mostly expresses nostalgia and expands on ideas of body image, beauty, and identity, all of them being quite close to my heart.

Your urban depictions are beautiful. What kind of ambience do you look for the most?

I like the idea of creating something large scale much more than the work that can be seen in my sketchbook or website. There’s something really powerful to witness my work at that scale and see it spreading the message of strength and togetherness.

There are such times too when it’s just about creating something that feels playful, something that could put a smile on people’s faces. But whatever it may be, the idea usually comes together keeping the location and the canvas (wall) size in mind. 

Have you ever collaborated with an artist or a brand? If yes, How was the experience?

Yes, because as illustrators, collaboration is central to what we do. We often rely on a body of text/ context to create imagery around. The experience varies on how close the subject is to the illustrator per se, but personally, I find the process of working on varied themes in different styles very interesting and invigorating. 

How has your perception of seeing things changed after starting illustrating?

I feel like the perception of things/ subjects keeps evolving as you create more artwork. So many times I get work on subjects I know little to nothing about but through research, I’m able to expand my knowledge. This helps me in making my artwork more impactful and present it in the best possible way.

Could you tell us about your teaching experience in Baltimore?

I just finished teaching illustration for the first semester at Towson University, Baltimore. I never thought imparting what I know about the industry would bring me as much joy as it actually does. There are certain things that I don’t particularly feel comfortable with (like dealing with paperwork/ scheduling/ public speaking), and teaching has really helped me stay on top of these things.

I still have a long way to go on this journey as a teacher, but so far I’m enjoying mentoring the next generation of illustrators!

Have you ever faced a creative block? If yes, how do you get over it?

Creative blocks are part of the creative process and it’s best not to dismiss them. I usually listen to new music, read a book, sulk, watch a movie, take a nap, go out to a new neighbourhood, etc.

Most importantly, what helps me get over a creative block is drawing through it! It sounds silly, but you have to work your way out of it. It’s different for different people, but this usually works for me. 

If you could go back in the past and change a decision that you made, what would it be?

I strongly believe that my past has helped me in becoming what I am today. So I don’t think about it as a set of mistakes but something has contributed to my growth. Hence, I would not really change anything.

What advice would you give for the upcoming artists? 

Just one thing – PUT IN THE DAMN HOURS 🙂

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