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With a Pot Full of Colourful Imagination: Illustrator-Artist Sanya Jain

In conversation with Illustrator-Artist Sanya Jain, we discuss her art and creativity, learning and talent, and the space of social media.

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Sanya Jain

When you look at the colourful feed of Sanya Jain’s adorable illustrations, you can immediately spot a warm, lovely essence emanating from them. While the technicalities of her pieces are owed to her skills, this warmth in her work is most certainly drawn out of her persona. It was perhaps because of this quality of her that our conversation happened so effortlessly, as we went on from talking about one thing to another, covering her life, art, hobbies, and profession in an easy flow.

Art and Architecture

Born and raised in Jaipur, Sanya had always been inclined towards creative things, always known to love drawing and dancing. She fondly remembers the days of summer vacations, when she used to take up art classes as a kid. She recollects them for the freedom they offered, where she would get to draw and paint just for the fun of it, without any worry of being marked or corrected. It was there that she picked up the value of consistency to follow for life. I wouldn’t be too off the mark if I say this value is what has driven her growth as an artist. Especially when she has had to balance her art along with her professional priorities. 

As things kept moving ahead, Sanya decided to take up architecture for her further studies, and now has a full-time job to manage. When I ask her what made her choose this field, she reveals that it was because of how she found it a perfect blend of art, drawing and the technical aspects of it. And it is true, where Sanya is now with her skills of art is owed a lot to what she learned during the initial course of the architectural field. From understanding the basic concepts of art, about colours and materials, to photoshop- she reveals she had a lot of access to the art side of things in college. 

Credits: Instagram (Sanya Jain)

Imagine Pot and Projects

It was only in October 2020 that Sanya set up her page, ‘the imagine pot‘. It only happened after the insistence of her family and friends who had seen and admired her doodles and comics. She expanded her skill set and began doing digital illustrations for her page, as she learnt it along the way. Sanya admits how she didn’t ever imagine it to be financially viable, but just as her page picked up with her cute valentine series, she started getting inquiries for freelance work. So, she ended up doing a number of wedding invites in the beginning, and later some collaborations with brands. 

It hasn’t been a full year yet, and Sanya has had a go with a number of wonderful projects. One of her earlier projects was for a gynaecologist who wanted illustrations that were relatable to people, while another project with an NGO revolved around vaccine hesitancy. You can tell she is happy that she was a part of these projects, precisely because they allowed her to use her art and creativity as a meaningful means of serving others. 

Credits: Instagram (Sanya Jain)

Some Rest and Some Inspiration

While we talked about this, I asked her if she gets any time to make art for herself. She relates that she likes to take some time off after finishing each project to rejuvenate and relax. Like she says, “Creativity comes from a rested mind, you can’t have that creative side if you’re continuously working to come up with new ideas”. And it is only fair, since art for her has always been about the joy of creating. 

On days when she isn’t able to make that connection with a drawing, she decides to drop it and carry on with the rest of her routine. She explains how this process alone is enough to strike her with some inspiration. Sanya would be moved by something, from a song or her favourite ice-cream parlor or a person’s touch, and would end up capturing it in her illustrations. She says it herself, how in an artist all the five senses should always be open.  It’s how she put it, “Everything that connects to you, relates to you, and means to you, motivates you” and her art clearly strives on that. 

Credits: Instagram (Sanya Jain)

Of Perceptive Advices

Creative fields too, however, require pragmatism. It is not as easy to turn your passion into a profession without going over tons of realistic questions. Sanya is waiting to answer these questions first before taking the plunge into the artistic field completely. And one thing that she stresses more than ever is to have a backup plan if things go south. This realistic perspective is what she offers as a message to those looking up to follow their passion too. 

She also adds how there is no time limit to learning or creativity. It is very important to start somewhere. Begin a page, post your work, and if platforms like Instagram are too anxiety-ridden for you, then utilise other social media platforms to put out your portfolios.

Sanya very aptly describes how any craft is not ‘two plus two equals four’, it is very subjective with no one answer. This is why no one should judge their artwork by numbers of social media alone. Everyone receives your work differently. Like a new movie releasing, she says, some pieces would be a hit and some not so much. We agree on how sometimes these aspects of social media do end up confining talent. And this is why she remarks that the most important thing then is to focus on the creative part of your work, the very thing that you are good at. As she says, (and you’d want to note it down)–– “Try to figure out things for yourself on your own, don’t go by numbers or other people’s work, and definitely don’t judge yourself based on that”. 

Credits: Instagram (Sanya Jain)
Credits: Instagram (Sanya Jain)
Credits: Instagram (Sanya Jain)
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ART & CRAFT

Intricacies of Illustrating Reality with Blends of Colour: Ankita’s Art and Career

Meet Ankita, a watercolour artist who uses her medium to seamlessly capture humane impressions and expressions, as she gives us a glimpse into her life, art and expectation!

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Ankita Impressions

It is true, you can feel the fervour in the artist’s words – in the way they phrase statements when they talk about their art. You can almost hear the lessons they’re learned, the struggles they’ve overcome to reach where they stand today. You can see their eyes light up as you read the words they write when sharing bits and pieces of their artistic journey. Or at least I did, when I was reading Ankita’s interview.

Building the Base: Sketching and Colour Blocking

Growing up in a typical Indian middle-class family, Ankita’s childhood revolved around three things – “art, movies and picking up fights with my younger brother”. And we love that for her. She picked up art at a very young age. Doodling and sketching on notebooks, Ankita grew up to realize she would have to put her dreams on hold for some stability in life. Today, she is not only phenomenal with her paint and tools but she is well educated and successful
with a Master’s in International Business.

Trust The Process: Deepen the Colours

It was only during the lockdown last year that she got the chance to reconnect with her art. Before that, art was just a way she would ease the stress from her job. Now, it became a vital part of her personality.

When asked about her inspirations and motivations, Ankita mentions Nishikant Palande and his unique style of watercolour that she admires. She praises him as a teacher, explaining how he breaks the complex processes into really simple bits so that young and inexperienced artists can learn at their own pace. Ankita further mentions her family and close friends as her source of motivation, constantly showering her with love and support.

Credits: Instagram (ankitaimpressions)

“Any creative process is like meditation; it requires, if not same then, more focus, discipline, dedication and imagination and just like meditation it does not provide instant gratification it’s only with time and much effort that you see the results in both these processes.

Ankita

If you have seen Ankita’s art portfolio, you will have noticed the theme of capturing humane expressions and emotions. Her Instagram feed is an absolute eye candy, as you scroll past beautifully illustrated portraits. The detailing in all the pieces is simply immaculate. You can literally see the shine in the peoples’ eyes! So we had to ask her, does it all have a meaning? Some subliminal messaging, perhaps? Quoting her response directly she said, “Everyone has their own perception of the same art piece. If we take Da Vinci’s Monalisa as an example, when you pay close attention to the emotions expressed through her lips, the question arises – Is she smirking or is it a pasted smile to hide the inner conflict?

You see, Da Vinci understood that the unspoken poetry of emotions when expressed by the face, the eyes and the mouth will always rhyme. Hence both these parts in the painting have been deliberately left indistinct by the artist. For me? I like to leave it to the viewers to decipher the artist’s perception and come to their own conclusions.”

The online artistic community and regular people have shown nothing but love towards my work.

Anikta

While talking about her struggles and hard work, she recalls one of the most courageous things she has ever done. It was posting her art online for the first time; Showcasing it to people who weren’t her friends and families. It was fighting the voices in her head that said her work wasn’t good enough and people will ridicule her. She fought hard; she put faith in her herself and she is here today.

And to be honest, it is truly baffling to see the talent this young woman possesses.

Credits: Instagram (ankitaimpressions)

Final Finishing Touches: Highlights, Anyone?

Before parting, we asked her for some advice for young aspirants beginning their journey.

“To all upcoming artists I will say that art is a process; you only improve by making more and more of it and picking up artistic habits as time goes on. This is what will help you find your unique style. Finally, don’t be deterred by mistakes. All the failures, every piece of work that you were not content with, all of it are an integral part of the process and this will eventually lead you to find your distinct style, way of expression, your artistic voice.”

Credits: Instagram (ankitaimpressions)
Credits: Instagram (ankitaimpressions)
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If Multi-Talented Had a Name, Then It’s Vrushali!

Meet software developer and artist extraordinaire Vrushali from vrush_arts. Hers is an incredible story!

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Vrushali

The great thing about art (no matter what the world tries to say) is that art is accessible and safe for everyone. Art comes from within. It’s embedded within the code that makes all humans, truly human. You can embrace art to escape, express, emote and exist. It’s the perfect outlet. And the best part is that you get to define what it means to you. To you, art can mean anything. You can study it in school, write a dissertation on it or just lazily doodle something and be equally cherish-worthy. (even stick figures can do wonders)

As they say, it’s the feeling which matters. Our artist for today will not only make the colours pop but also your eyes.

Meet Vrushali

Vrushali was born in Dhule, Maharashtra and raised in Pune by a family of teachers. Her mother used to conduct tuition classes when she was about 2-3 years old. To keep the young Vrushali occupied her mother would draw some figures and ask her to fill them in with colours while she would teach. So from such an early age, Vrushali’s interest in art had blossomed.

When Vrushali reached primary school, she painted in competitions and won a lot of prizes. In fact, she even scored a perfect grade A in the Maharashtra State Board Art Examinations. (talk about an impressive feat!). Eventually, as she progressed in school (both academically and artistically) she picked up other crafts like quilling, Henna design, Rangoli making, singing and sculpting.

All of this while maintaining a pristine academic record is no mean feat. As high school approached, she began to lose touch with her creative side once career decisions and future prospects came into view.  She has a Bachelor’s in Engineering in Electronics and Telecommunication and is now working as (wait for it…)

A software developer in R&D!

Credits: Instagram (vrush_arts)

Style and Inspiration

Vrushali cites renaissance man Leonardo Da Vinci and post-impressionist Vincent Van Gogh as her biggest inspirations. Which is obvious to see, after all, greatness does beget greatness!  But personally, she calls herself a realist artist. One quick glance at her portfolio will make it quick for you to know that she loves nature. In her extremely exhausting and demanding job as a software developer, nature brings her peace of mind. Be it landscapes, florals, moonscapes and everything in between

When asked whether she, like many artists, has any hidden messages in her art she said-

 “I want to spread positivity and peace through my artworks. I get many comments on my post and messages like “This made my day ”, “Looking at your paintings make me feel happy”, “A great way to start a productive day”. This is my biggest achievement, I think. It feels amazing when someone gets inspired and happy through your arts and creativity.”

Truly, her art is nothing short of joyful.

Credits: Instagram (vrush_arts)

Challenges and Message

The daily 9-5 takes a heavy toll on the best of us. Vrushali’s job is hectic. So after 5 non-stop days of high performance and deadlines, creating art feels like therapy to her. Before the pandemic, it was hard to fit in a painting session in the week, but call it a silver lining & she picked up the skill again and started posting on Instagram. Her audience gradually felt strongly in love with her works. Now she even pursues high-end collaborations with some of the world’s topmost brands. Following her mother’s advice and belief in her abilities she now believes that one life is too short for all the heart wants to do!

Her message to all creative souls is this:

as my story tells you can be in one career and still continue your arts. It just takes confidence and dedication. You must be passionate about what you always wanted to do in your life. Set up a goal and try to achieve it. I want to tell beginners to continue their work no matter what the outcome is, one day you will succeed. Don’t give up and keep going on. Learn from YouTube and skillshare platforms and develop your skills. Don’t focus on numbers (followers on different social media like Instagram, Yt), Focus on your own skills. Try to create art for your own and don’t let social media affect your health. Quality really matters over quantity.”

Credits: Instagram (vrush_arts)

If you want to read another great artist‘s story here’s one

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ART & CRAFT

From Saara’s Art Desk: Endearing Portraits and Illustrations

Digital Illustrator and Artist, Saara gives a glimpse of the journey behind her artistic pursuit, her fulfillments and expectations.

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Saara Art

A freelance illustrator, Saara’s desk is always set to make the cutest, most adorable art and illustrations. With all her digital portraits smiling, emitting a colourful warmth, and her comics full of positive affirmations, Saara’s work has a very wholesome quotient driving it. With immense love for her art and what she does, Saara has always found her illustrations to be an expression of herself. And all her attempts at them being so honest and sweet says a lot about the artist herself, who is working hard and loving every part of the journey that comes her way. 

Based out of Tamil Nadu, Saara’s beginning to portraits happened with drawing sketches of her friends to gift them and make their special days a little more special. After the end of her college, the start of new life came with a number of failures and stress for her. However, amidst all this, art remained her sole rescue. Doodling and journaling to find a sense of calm, Saara ended up taking art more seriously, becoming more inclined towards getting better at it.  

Credits: Instagram (Saara)

And so it was only in 2019 that the self-taught artist created her Instagram page to practice, display and perfect her work. With not a lot of resources available to her at the start, it was Youtube and Instagram plus her consistent practicing that taught her a lot. Saara admits, however, especially as she navigates the medium of digital art, that she still has plenty left to learn. Slowly, as her presence built up in the freelance space, she got her first client. Ever since then, Saara has been proud of how she’s had the chance to learn art, earn by it and also invest that into learning new and better skills, through different courses and classes. 

One striking thing about her approach is this clarity with which Saara has assessed the field of art, as a hobby and a vocation. While she understands her love for art is enough to create for herself, when it comes to pursuing it as a career she needs an expansive skillset. And that is what she is determined to work for and learn– making an art-school out of her previous works, and lessons out of her mistakes.

Very astutely pointing out the dodgy advice of ‘never giving up’, Saara corrects it and reminds it’s more about ‘not giving up easily’. The only thing that should remain the same throughout all your experiences should be your choice to put in your hundred percent effort in all of them. That’s one outlook Saara held on to throughout all her successes and failures alike. And the latter always ended up giving room to move on to something else. Had Saara not faced her share of failures, she wouldn’t have found the chance to do illustrations. It does require a little patience, but you do eventually find out what’s best for you. Like Saara believes she has for herself!

Credits: Instagram (Saara)
Credits: Instagram (Saara)
Credits: Instagram (Saara)
Credits: Instagram (Saara)
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Painting Dreams with Graphic Designer Mahalaksmi Anantharaman

There’s no dream too small or too big, as is proven by ace visual designer Mahalakshmi Anantharaman

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Mahalakshmi Anantharaman

Imagine that you just saw someone display extraordinary measures of talent in front of you. I bet I can accurately guess the kinds of emotions it will stir up. First, there’ll be an electrifying wave of energy to start something new; to learn a new art form or hone an existing skill. But once a few moments pass, a totally different kind of emotion sets in—despondency. “Ah, what’s the point. I’m too old now”, “I’ll never be as good as them”, “I never studied this in school”, “It’s just going to be another colossal waste of money”, “I just wasn’t BORN with it”. 

This needs to change!

And we might just have the perfect story to start that change. 

Mahalakshmi Anantharaman is a graphic designer from Chennai whose talent speaks before her. Limitless, free and evocative is how one will surely feel after just one glance at her portfolio. And nostalgic too, certainly. She’s weaved her love for Ghibli movies, the introvert lifestyle and fan-arts into a beautiful tapestry. She often goes with the alias—Miss Blob Brush. And when we said limitless, we meant it. From typography to monochromes to watercolours or a digital reimagining of Starry Night, it seems there is no style she isn’t adept at. At Freshworks inc she was granted the ‘Exceptional Individual Performance Q2, 2020’ title!

But would you believe me if I told you that she’s actually graduated as a Computer Engineer!👀

Credits: Instagram (Mahalakshmi Anantharaman)

The Early Days

Mahalakshmi was always an artsy person but unfortunately designing and art still isn’t given the respect it deserves as a legitimate and rewarding profession. She had to struggle a lot in trying to convince her parents that Software Engineering and Medicine aren’t the only way to succeed in life. During this time, she went through a period of great emotional turbulence. She kept comparing herself and let her originality falter. Doubt had crept in.

But the hope persevered.

The Turning point

While in her third year of pursuing a Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering from Meenakshi College, Chennai she decided to pursue graphic design full-time. She reached out to some well-known designers from institutes like IIT and NID, while she developed these networks she also prepared to give exams for some of the best design institutes in the country. But couldn’t clear them. But because she ventured out and met seasoned designers and artists, she learnt the tricks of the trade from them.

After gaining enough confidence, she started applying for industry roles as a designer and worked with a local startup called Flintobox Learning Solutions. After a year and a half, she became one of the top SaaS visual designers in Chennai! (Talk about growth!)

Currently, she works at Freshworks Inc. as a visual designer and is working hard to try new software, gain new inspirations, and use art as a medium to leave an impact in this world!

Credits: Instagram (Mahalakshmi Anantharaman)

Style

Like many illustrators and people across India, Mahalakshmi is a huge fan of Miyazaki movies and Anime. Spearheads like Kyoto Animations and Makoto Shinkai have spawned a new generation of designers who look at the world differently. Mahalakshmi herself says that she got inspired by the strong women of Ghibli movies to pursue her dreams.

And speaking of having a style, Mahalakshmi says that it’s really not mandatory to have one. Especially in the nascent stages of one’s career. Her advice to all aspirants is to keep looking for different inspirations and be as limitless & unique as you can be!

Credits: Instagram (Mahalakshmi Anantharaman)

A Message of Hope From Mahalakshmi

For the young soul who wants to pursue their dream/ passion, especially from India:

“Do strongly believe that someday in the future, you will have a platform to showcase your work and speak up for the soul who has a dream like yours. You can change the mindset of Indian families who put their child’s personal life over their career growth. Trust in yourself that you get an opportunity to change this for the better good and help budding aspirants fight for who they wish to be, irrespective of the pressure from their families. And to the Indian parents there, please do believe in your child’s support.”

So, the next time you feel like trying something but doubt starts grounding its flags; take a leaf from Mahalakshmi’s book and give it your best shot! After all, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!

For another inspiring story of a self-taught graphic designer check this out! 

Credits: Instagram (Mahalakshmi Anantharaman)
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ART & CRAFT

Authenticity in the Age of Trends: Dipti Patel’s Illustrations

Fashion designer and illustrator, Dipti Patel gives glimpses of the ins and outs of her professional field and the many mantras that have helped her navigate it better.

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Dipti Patel

The space of freelancing for digital artists and illustrators is a pool of popular talent. Part of building your brand image within this space then is to run after authenticity, to create things in a style that can define you, that you can claim. Such has been the approach of Dipti Patel too. Fashion designer and illustrator, Dipti Patel has been part of this field for a long time now and since the very beginning, her mantra has been to let her creativity run free of popular social media trends. 

Currently based out of Ahmedabad, Dipti always had an inclination for fashion silhouettes, the colours, patterns, fabric. After completing school, she took that interest ahead by majoring in design and entering the same industry on the work front Having worked with brands like Myntra and Aditya Birla Fashions as a fashion designer for over 8 years, Dipti’s move into illustration was based on a fluke. 

Back then, working in corporate, she would only get time to focus on her art only on the weekends. She started her Instagram page in 2016 with no plans or intentions, and while she would post different kinds of works, doodles, typography, etc, it was her fashion illustrations that would always garner more viewership than others. Perhaps, it was because this genre of illustration was new and more appealing for the space then. Once the audience for it was built up, she started getting requests for artworks for couples, wedding invites being one kind, and in time Dipti took a turn to it full and proper. Now, with her page running with a following of more than 37k and her own website too, from a weekend illustrator, she has taken up the illustration-art business as a full-time occupation. 

Credits: Instagram (Dipti Patel)

And one of the reasons why she is happier with this change is because everything that she is doing now is her own, has her name etched onto it. And fuelling her entire motivation to continue working is the fact that people appreciate and come to her for her art and creativity. Her clients value her work as much as she does and that is what sustains her artistic endeavors professionally. In this same light, her favourite part of being an illustrator is being able to give back to her clients by giving life to their vision. Apart from getting to interact with lovely people, good conversations to understand the work they want, it is turning their imagination into a tangible creation the most joyful of all things for Dipti.

Working independently is not easy or effortless as some would have you believe. This understanding came early to Dipti, who respects her work, the field, and her clients in all measures. Initially started on a freelance basis, Dipti has successfully converted her passion into a full-time profession. The professional approach to her work has resulted in highly organised schedules and plans, while she makes sure that all the parties involved in her projects get their due and nobody’s time is wasted. This organised base is also the foundation of her creative process too, surprisingly. It begins with jotting down the raw inspiration of ideas and later scrutinizing them to choose and pick apart to then going on to create her drafts. 

Credits: Instagram (Dipti Patel)

With her jam-packed days following clienteles and commissioned works, she makes sure to create as many artworks as she can, with all their experimentation and explorations, whenever her workload allows her that liberty. And she is happy with maintaining this balance (with all their fluctuations) because that’s the part and parcel of the profession. Where she is now is what the old her aspired for, so Dipti feels there’s no room to complain of anything really.

With an experiential, professional insight, Dipti’s lessons and advice to beginners in the field come with legitimacy. She stresses on following your own aesthetic authenticity as the first practice of creativity. And to have faith in time, because nothing ever happens overnight. Keep doing what you do, and when you stand to admire somebody else’s success, don’t overlook the progress it might have taken them to reach that position. This perspective is not only a positive approach towards appreciating others’ creativity but when learned, will be a healthy way to view your own trajectory too. 

And lastly, even as she has relied on social media for professional means, she still reminds, as she often does to herself, to not get carried away with it. Practice seeing your work away from it, in its own originality and light. And that’s how Dipti’s own work stands out too, authentic, genuine, and all her own. 

Credits: Instagram (Dipti Patel)
Credits: Instagram (Dipti Patel)
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