June 6, 2012

Priya Sebastian

Priya Sebastian was working in an ad agency after graduating from art college when she came across a magazine asking for illustrators. She applied and landed the job, which involved creating cute little figures and drawings for children’s books. That, she says, was 17 years ago in the pre-internet era.At that place of work, she came across catalogues of the Bologna Book Fair and other illustration related stuff. She recalls, “It was only then in those dark ages, that I realized there was a profession such as Illustration which combined two subjects I loved most — art and literature. I then explored possibilities of studying Illustration further which took me to Australia.” She went to Queensland College of Art, Australia to do a Masters in Visual Art specializing in Illustration.

When she is about to start on a new project, she reads the story and jots down those aspects of the story that stand out. She then makes sketches which visually amplifiy a point of view or the mood or emotion pervading the story. “I think the key to creating a striking piece of work is great composition and I try a lot of permutations and combinations before arriving at one that catches my eye. I then fine-tune the drawing and mould it within my composition. I might do some coloured/ black and white roughs to work out the technique and colour compositions and then I begin the actual work. It might take about a week to ten days and sometimes more before an illustration is finished,” she reveals.

Priya says there is no one theme or motif that prevails over her work. “The theme I concentrate on changes with seasons. A few years ago, I kept drawing women’s faces, then I kept drawing the plants in my garden. It was trees that I drew for a while after which I went on to drawing buildings. Right now I’m partial to facial expressions. I guess what I am partial to depends on what I notice most in my immediate environment during a period of time,” she shares.

On the subject of illustrators who have influenced her thinking, Priya responds, “David Hughes, yesterday, today, forever. The man can really draw. His ferocious lines, the wit and wickedness he brings into his interpretations, the way he makes collage and lettering an organic part of his drawings, the individuality of his style… never ceases to amaze me.”

Priya says the blog world is a great source of inspiration for her. “There are so many truly great illustrators with amazing styles that we hardly see in our immediate world here. Some of the South American and Spanish illustrators’ works are so extraordinary they boggle the mind.”


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First published in Kyoorius Magazine 11, featuring Studio ABD, The Dzinetree, Busride Design, KA Advertising, Salt Brand Solutions, Metal Communications, Pink Elefant, Cheapsex, Happily Unmarried, Chumbak, Item Number, Jhola, Priya Sebastian, Vinay Ghodgeri, Arjun Gupte, Hemali Vadalia, Upasana Mehndiratta, Archana Sreenivasan, Jayesh Sivan, Shashank B Acharya, Edusá, Angela Gallo, Sudarshana Borgoyary, Reshidev RK, Ellen Lupton, Richard Saul Wurman, Elsie Nanjim Tina Mehta, Michael Wolff, Jonny Vulkan, Freddie Laker, Paul Bay. Not a subscriber yet? Subscribe here.

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