Thinking In Shapes.

Being an Illustrator, a habit we all innately possess is maintaining a sketchbook. Drawing things, people, environment or anything that catches our eye. The charm about sketchbooks is that it is merely an idea and what you draw inside it can be taken in any direction to form the final Illustration. As I’ve started to draw more regularly into sketchbooks with most of them being outdoor sketches, I’ve noticed a funny but interesting shift in the way I approach drawing.

Most times, either the bench I’m sitting on is too hot, or the angle at which I’m looking at something is absurd but exciting so I find myself in really challenging situations while drawing outside. But I’ve also observed  that it’s helped me look at things differently. 

I try to capture the essence of a space or object with just basic shapes and colours that best conveys a visual message. Not only does this sharpen you eye but also forms interesting compositions and narratives.

Try it the next time. I’m sure it’ll spin something interesting on paper. =)

Design Academy Workshop.

The Design Academy workshop was a 2-week long session, where students from various MA Design disciplines were selected to work on a special brief pertaining experiences for the Senior Citizen population in the UK, with each team of 5 people working on different challenges like keeping the Senior Citizens informed about physical health, crime, workplace challenges, changing society, technology etc.

The team which I was a part of was assigned to the brief that tackled changing attitudes towards ageing and prejudices.

Although a 2-week programme was a short period to tackle large scale problems such as these, it was great insight into how one can approach a problem. The research process included conducting interviews with people across the city, both young and old. These interviews helped shift perspective and even redefine the problem most of the times.

As a designer, it was enlightening to work on a problem that is ironically far from my age group and hence less relatable. It equipped us to think of a problem not just as it is, but the people who are causing it as well. One such particular insight was that workplace prejudice towards the elderly primarily included the challenges they face with technology, but their experience makes them a better judge of situations and people that could be of great value to an organisation.

This workshop help me connect to design thinking, which tells us to not just look at a problem from one angle, and that solutions can often be in the most simplest of things. But my biggest takeaway was definitely how becoming a better listener can help change a lot for good.

Object To Animation

One of our first genuinely interesting projects during the MA Illustration course was the one based on objects in the Museum of London. We were told to pick anything from a painting, artefact or even film that grabbed our interest to research and develop into a visual media of our own.

The object I selected was an art piece called ‘The London Underground’ by Timo Lehtonen.

A little bit of research about this artwork helped me discover that this drawing was made by the artist during his residency at the Museum of London inspired by the people collection, with the main objective of portraying the multicultural aspect of this city during the 17th and 18th century. 

Inspired by the elements in the drawing, I recreated a story that shows the freedom of one of the characters, supported by other elements, imagining their nature and relationship with the main subject in the drawing.

Having created a short animation called ‘Captivity to Freedom’, I’ve really enjoyed weaving a story from something that is a piece of art, for itself.

Medium Is the Message

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When I begin to draw into my sketchbook, I sometimes let elements around me or my mood be the starting point to a drawing. So this is a sketch of a frog, fleeting into a parallel universe of its own.

Although the sketch was made with no particular direction, I took to a digital medium to experiment with how it might look when given a more realistic feel to it, throwing in real textures that are true to the animal in the sketch.

These were made a few years ago, and recently as I was in one of our weekly print workshops working on lino cut techniques, we were asked to bring in sketches new or old.

I took this one to play around with it a little bit and reduce a few elements to see what might come out of it. To my surprise, it looked a lot cleaner and graphic when I chose to do so. 

With the choice of colour being minimal to match the mood of the sketch, it gave a more vibrant and playful mood to the sketch which I prefer over any of the previous versions.

My biggest takeaway from this experiment was that no matter how complex or simple a sketch, choice of medium can play an effective role in communicating a message without words and often define the visual itself.