80+ Leading Illustrators From India Tell Us About Their Favourite Work From The Year 2015
By: Avinash Kumai on Jan 27th, 2016
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We would be lying if we told you that illustration art has not grown in India in the last few years. All thanks to social media and a boom in sectors like advertising, food and music – the list of talented work is endless. Moreover, this story grew from the need to see what illustrators in India (in no particular order) were up to. Hell, ‘what if we could ask them to pick their best illustrative work of 2015?’ Well, the end result was something we would cherish for years to come. Here, take a look! 

Sajid Wajid Shaikh
Image credit: Sajid Wajid Shaikh

Why this is his pick of 2015: "I think this was my best work of 2015, because it was a compilation of everything I learned that year. The way the hair is done, human anatomy, hidden metaphors and symbolism and the craft of stippling, which I am still working towards perfecting."

Amruta Patil
Image credit: Amruta Patil

Why this is her pick of 2015: "This one’s called Come As You Are, Or Don’t Come At All, a painting from my forthcoming graphic novel ‘Sauptik’ (Harper Collins India, expected to release in September 2016). “While Sauptik is based on the Mahabharat, I see it as being an ecological tale at its core – a book about our connection with (and estrangement from) the earth and the elements. To me, this image embodies sensuality – flowers, folds of earth, pellucid water – and playfulness. I also like the reminder that keeping aside pretentiousness and fragile ego can be a very liberating thing.”

Vikrant Shitole
Image credit: Vikrant Shitole

Why this is his pick of 2015: "This piece is based on the magnificent Costa Brava in Spain, my most memorable trip from 2015. I travelled a lot in Rome, Florence, Venice, Paris, Spain, and more. It was my dream trip to explore the world. I met different people, ate, drank, and had fun with different cultures. I find Costa Brava very beautiful and think it has the most peaceful beach in the world. This is only what I can express in words, and the rest you can see from my painting.”

Janine Shroff
Image credit: Janine Shroff

Why this is her pick of 2015: "This one’s called ‘Lesbians Riding Ponies.’ It’s a combination of a few LGBT themes and ideas and a consolidated overview of my personal life over the past two years, combined into one drawing. As with my other pieces, there are multiple small stories in each drawing that make up the whole. It took about 3-4 months to complete."

Gaurav Ogale
Image credit: Gaurav Ogale

Why this is his pick of 2015: "This cunning Moleskin Japanese album lets you wander around the bustling V Mohammed Square in the heart of Casablanca, Morocco, as it opens up its fluttering pages and unfolds a chaos of pigeons across the journal. Being a visual chronicler, I like to let people interact with my journals. It is amazing to see them mesmerized by the scale of this journal, as it slowly reveals a million pigeons page after page, leaving the viewer visually baffled and amidst fluttering conversations."

Anand Radhakrishnan
Image credit: Anand Radhakrishnan

Why this is his pick of 2015: "Black Mumba is a comic anthology of short stories, written by Ram Venkatesan, and revolves around a Mumbai policeman and how he deals with the eerie mysteries that the city throws at him. The name itself is a play on words, comparing the city to a poisonous snake. The anthology has a dark and grotesque feel to it and I thought the cover had to express that in the best way possible.”

“Out of the few rough ideas that I started off with, one being our protagonist fighting a proverbial giant malicious snake in the distance, I chose this because it was the most subtle idea. The idea of the snake coiling around his head and that dead knowing look in his eyes is what works for me in this piece. It tells the story of the protagonist most clearly. It tells me that he tolerates and keeps close to the city in spite of that fact that it is dangerous and will kill him instantly if he happens to make one small wrong move. His relationship with the city is of love and hate and fear, and it is always a mixture of these conflicting emotions, just like the rest of us who call Mumbai home.”

“I studied Rembrandt in depth for this piece because I wanted to use the painting technique of Chiaroscuro (Rembrandt was the master of this technique) where the object to be painted is lit by one light and there is a stark difference in value in the light and dark portions of that object.”

Kunal Anand
Image credit: Kunal Anand

Why this is his pick of 2015: “This one’s called Amby – a minimalist take on an Indian cult design classic re-imagined – the humble Ambassador being either reconstructed or deconstructed. I like the way the body parts and form wrap around the typography and the balance of negative space verses detailing in the composition.” Read more about the back story on the design here

Jas Charanjiva
Image credit: Jas Charanjiva

Why this is her pick of 2015: "My best illustration from 2015 was Monkey Business. I created it for Kulture Shop’s animal related theme called Urban Wildlife, which prompted us artists to think of an animal we share our urban landscape with. I draw a lot of monkeys! This time, I wanted to create monkeys that were unlike my usual style. I prefer to create art around global or local issues. I care deeply for animals and I understand there’s a problem with cheeky macaques who steal things from unsuspecting humans. They’re often a nuisance, sure, but langurs are being hired by the government and by apartment societies to scare off these macaques. I’m against animals being used to do our dirty work or any work for that matter. Who knows how some of them are treated? In this day and age, we can rely on ourselves and machines. My opinion on this macaque solution is reflected at the bottom of the poster where I say this: ‘Friday Night Fight is brought to you by the Municipal Court and the Department of Very Bad Ideas.’”

Meera Sethi
Image credit: Meera Sethi

Why this is her pick of 2015: "This is the first painting from the ‘Upping the Aunty’ series titled ‘Ramvati Aunty’ that Sethi completed in 2015. I love this one because of her badass and fierce style."

Mukesh Singh
Image credit: Mukesh Singh

Why this is his pick of 2015: "I picked this one because it is ink, like, seriously!"

Mira Malhotra
Image credit: Mira Malhotra

Why this is her pick of 2015: "This piece called Bai Bye! It is my favourite piece of 2015 as it is one of the first that has a story to tell and has some narrative value. Even though I’ve taken a fun, bright approach to it, I wanted to comment on how the typical kaamwali bai (maid) comes to all our houses and goes about her work. The specific nature of her job is that she has many employers, and is always in a rush to finish and to get to the next house. The title illustrates this well. I love creating structured illustrations that include type like the ones my favourite graphic novelist Chris Ware does."

Rachna Ravi
Image credit: Rachna Ravi

Why this is her pick of 2015: “This piece is my first work, ever been published in an anthology (The Gaysi Zine). Naturally, it holds a special place in my heart. The work is also based on personal experiences characteristic of 2015.”

Kaveri Gopalakrishnan
Image credit: Kaveri Gopalakrishnan

Why this is her pick of 2015: "This is an illustration from my mini-comic series, #NewAgeWisdomEtc a quick, personal one-or two page comics that I upload on my Instagram, and somehow a series which people over the Internet relate to. This particular one was when I took a one-and-half month sabbatical to work on an organic plantation in Coorg. I didn’t carry many art materials, had minimal cell network, and connected closely to the forest there. This is my favourite image of 2015 because it carries forward a reminder and tone for 2016: of holding close to what is important to you in everything you do."

Prabha Mallya
Image credit: Prabha Mallya

Why this is her pick of 2015: "A version of this illustration became a page from a story I wrote and illustrated, called ‘Love in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’, for the Gaysi Zine: Queer Graphic Anthology, published in 2015. It is my favourite from 2015 because I enjoyed making this one, with all its colour and movement; and the guy dancing, looks like he’s having fun, too."

Priyesh Trivedi
Image credit: Priyesh Trivedi

Why this is his pick of 2015: "This work is very close to me as it speaks, uninhibitedly, for my dislike towards the mechanized and manipulative nature of schooling that I, just like everyone else, was subject to, but at the same time, the demolition is also symbolic of breaking free from control structures of any kind that undermine individual liberties. It feels good while going through the comments on this work on my page that many others share the same feeling and wished they had done this to their schools as well."

Nithin Rao Kumblekar
Image credit: Nithin Rao Kumblekar

Why this is his pick of 2015: "This illustration depicts our traffic problems and what would a common man think while being stuck in traffic. This one is just my imagination though – ‘it would be great if we can fly above other vehicles, don’t you think?"

Lavanya Naidu
Image credit: Lavanya Naidu

Why this is her pick of 2015: "My favourite illustration of 2015 is called The Importance Of Kindness. This is one illustration I thoroughly enjoyed doing. The illustration was prepared for TEDx Bangalore; the theme, ‘All or Nothing’. We were given full freedom with the subject, and this was my interpretation. We live in a time where an act of kindness is so rare that it is almost always met with disbelief. That said, I think we need more of it. To be able to live in a world which is tolerant, more open, and where we can respect one another – after all we are different yet the same, aren’t we? Naive, yet endless hope, hence the utopic image."

Sirawon Khathing
Image credit: Sirawon Khathing

Why this is her pick of 2015: "This illustration is from the Biscoot and Rain 2015 calendar, a project that my friend Ben and I run. All our illustrations are based on North-East India. The teer/archery betting counters are common all around Shillong, Meghalaya. It is a lottery game based on numbers and arrow points. I picked this set of work as the best from the year 2015, because I loved studying and drawing little details that brought us closer to home, like the white lime marks on the wall in the picture and more."

Kritika Kushwaha
Image credit: Kritika Kushwaha

Why this is her pick of 2015: "Including wedding festivities in full blast in Delhi, a intrinsic part of our culture, the illustration is a fun play on how we still stick to our old traditions during weddings and festivities, but have still changed so much. The girl in the illustration has probably returned to her room tired from a wedding function and is now ‘Whatsapping’ her best friend about all the gossip that took place there! Cool, eh?"

Asma Kazi
Image credit: Asma Kazi

Why this is her pick of 2015: "If I had to describe the year 2015 in one word, it would be ‘magical’. For me, the year was about revisiting my creative roots (that developed illustrating Journals in Zoology class), in an attempt to better understand how my art has evolved (and is still evolving). It was also about pushing my boundaries, my creative boundaries, and more. I was commissioned by Hachette India, to create the cover art for Dark Things, a dark fantasy novel, by Sukanya Venkatraghavan. This illustration best represents the charmed year 2015 was, for me. It was an absolute pleasure, to read an early draft of the book, an otherworldly tale of the bewitching Yakshi, Ardra, and her quest to finding herself amidst the shadows and secrets that surround her. And to bring that enchantment from the tale, onto the cover too! What only made the experience more delightful was, closely working with the writer, who had a clear vision of what she wanted, and still allowed creative freedom and space for the concept to develop into its current surreal form."

Lokesh Karekar
Image credit: Lokesh Karekar

Why this is his pick of 2015: "It’s my favourite because I love bold lines and the simplicity of it."

Anirudh Sainath
Image credit: Anirudh Sainath

Why this is his pick of 2015: "This image of Aditi and Indra is my favourite from 2015. I haven't done so much detailing in any of the other artworks in 2015, but I spent nearly two months trying to make this (lots of erasing and remaking). Lastly, this is the first artwork of my current series dedicated to Lord Indra, so this piece means a lot to me."

Neelam Jahagirdar
Image credit: Neelam Jahagirdar

Why this is her pick of 2015: "I think this is the one painting which I made in early 2015 which really stuck with me the entire year, even though my painting style changed as the time went by, I wasn’t able to paint after this one because I kept working on commissions and contracts. From line art work for story books to making game graphic, I dipped my hand in everything, drawing in whichever style they’d want me to. So the year was exceptionally hard and challenging, but I learnt my lesson that money and jobs are fine, but you can’t develop your art until you paint for yourself. Now I’ve taken out some time for myself and hoping to make a ton of paintings."

Navedita Singh
Image credit: Navedita Singh

Why this is her pick of 2015: "I love this one as I really adore the song which a friend asked me to illustrate when I was doing my self-initiated project in the month of June #projectjunejingles. I was lost in the song and the flow back then."

Manmayee Desai
Image credit: Manmayee Desai

Why this is her pick of 2015: "As a freelance graphic designer and art director, I have discovered that great work is not only executed with skill, but is also backed by a unique idea. ‘EXRAY’ seems to beg a lot of questions from the people who first see it, so much more than the other work I’ve done, because it rests on a solid idea. Conversely, it’s also one of my favourite aesthetic pieces, because of the treatment and overall colour palette."

Sudeepti Tucker
Image credit: Sudeepti Tucker

Why this is her pick of 2015: "Some time in 2015, the trend of decorating beards with flowers got really popular. It had me thinking how I see faces every now and then, so mesmerising, and just begging to be adorned. And I realised if I could, I’d like to put flowers on people, in ways that are so individual to them that they become an extension of their personality. That’s how I ended up drawing these strangers, people I do not know, but find extremely beautiful. It’s my most beloved personal project till date, and I’m not nearly done with it."

Sayok Ray
Image credit: Sayok Ray

Why this is his pick of 2015: "It’s tough to pick a favorite piece from your own work, but these characters have been my childhood heroes, and also the simplicity of this artwork had a satisfying tone for me, always."

Abhinav Kafare
Image credit: Abhinav Kafare

Why this is his pick of 2015: "This door pattern I did in Bhimashankar is surrounded by bricks, which gives it a very different feel. I have painted walls before, but I got a new space in the form of this door which I loved to explore. I have used different forms in this painting like the Trishul, the third eye of Shankar, as I did it in a place like Bhimashankar."

Pavithra Dikshit
Image credit: Pavithra Dikshit

Why this is her pick of 2015: “Titled ‘Embrace Where You Come From’, this is my favourite from 2015. There is one thing to say about history and your roots, the more you embrace it, the more it becomes and enriches you. If you don’t know where you come from, how will you ever know where you can go?”

Sunil Garud
Image credit: Sunil Garud

Why this is his pick of 2015: "I love this piece simply because I enjoy doing personal work. I always feel that this was a beautiful collaboration between professional illustrator and a free artist. In this one, I used freedom as a medium on the canvas of expression – no boundaries, no brief constraints."

Aditya Vinod
Image credit: Aditya Vinod

Why this is her pick of 2015: "Before I tell you why this illustration is my favourite of 2015, you really have to know the story behind it. In 2015, I was in the US for a while and I had so much time in hand, but all my muses were back home. Nothing interested me to illustrate. But, as people say, travelling opens many doors! It did! I happened to see this lady one day, and I was so intrigued by her style I went home and made this illustration of her. She was my first foreign muse. Over the next few days, I had sketched 14 more characters based on people I met on the trip. That’s why this illustration is really special - it is the first of my foreign series, which I never thought I would make."

Medha Srivastava
Image credit: Medha Srivastava

Why this is her pick of 2015: "Though it’s difficult to say that this is my best, because I always feel my best is yet to come, I love this one. I have always followed the importance of lighting in my illustrations. The girl, depicting the shades of life, is a perfect blend of multiple emotions, various shades of moods, and duality of attitude makes it my most likeable illustration. On one hand, one can see sensuality of youthful beauty, on the other you can perceive serenity of life too – more like innocence and maturity going hand-in-hand."

Barkha Lohia
Image credit: Barkha Lohia

Why this is her pick of 2015: "I did this piece for Florence + The Machine’s US tour. I did not win, but it was fun working on it. It was the best of 2015 for me because of the emotional appeal involved. This band is my absolute favorite, and I could not let go of an opportunity to make something for them. Their music has inspired a lot my sketches. I mostly do hand-drawn illustrations, but this was done entirely digitally. So, it made for a good learning experience too."

Sahil Trivedi
Image credit: Sahil Trivedi

Why this is his pick of 2015: "I remember going for an interview at a company who were looking for a concept artist. It was my first job after graduation, and I was a bit nervous thinking that they might not like my work. When they showed me around the studio, I saw the image of a girl getting rendered in 3D on the other screen. The guy working there was referring to my drawing, and was creating a 3D model on the computer! I could not be happier. You feel productive when something you did didn’t just stop there, but kept improvising."

Saumin Suresh Patel
Image credit: Saumin Suresh Patel

Why this is his pick of 2015: “This image was created for a private collector after the person had seen my Kaamotsav Poject. The brief was to get the Kaamotsav ladies with vintage bikes. At first, I though it’s an unlikely interaction of subjects, but tried out my options. There were three images created as part of the commission and this was the last piece created. What I liked about this was the fact that even though the subjects are far and wide apart, they came and blended pretty well in this piece. Also the amount of detail I put in were exciting. So, out of all the art I created last year, I think this one tops my list for the sheerly audacious combination and the amount of fun I had illustrating it. So far, no one has seen this art work online or even offline. (this is for the first time people will get to see it).”

Rohan Jha
Image credit: Rohan Jha

Why this is his pick of 2015: "This piece called ‘Wagyu’ is my favourite from 2015. It was a project done for a beef-and-burger festival. Wagyu is the most expensive beef in the world, as the cows are given massages and beer to make their meat tender."

Malvika Asher
Image credit: Malvika Asher

Why this is her pick of 2015: "This is my best piece of work in 2015, because it was the first piece that was ever featured at the Emerge Festival that took place in Bangalore. It was a wonderful feeling to see my artwork up on a big flex, with people posing in front of it. As an independent artist, it’s wonderful when people connect with you solely because of your artwork."

Divya Singh

Why this is her pick of 2015: "This was the first page of a new diary, on many levels. There are some pieces of work that carry a person forward, (it’s like shedding skin.) This was a bit personal."

"This is a tribute to growing up, isolation, solitude and inner peace and to the fact that we’re all alone and sometimes it might seem maddening, might even feel like we’ve been flung into a void, (that we’re suspended in space just floating away) but that, ultimately, we have ourselves, our inner lives, our strengths and art, and life, and music, and so much discovery and beauty that makes one believe in fluidity and letting go. This is one of those ‘threshold’ pieces that I’ve done. It’s introspection and strength. We have ourselves if nothing else. It’s the weight of these feelings that made me put detail in this work, otherwise, I go for quick, bolder, things."

Prathima Muniyappa
Image credit: Prathima Muniyappa

Why this is her pick of 2015: "'Tetrapod Travellers’ is the story of evolution across scales, from the form realm to the formless. As a microcosm, it’s a personal itinerary of some journeys that were undertaken last year, and zoomed out to the power of 10, it is the timeless fugue that resounds through the whole universe. Did you know that sea turtles evolved from land turtles and not the other way around? I find this to be rather remarkable."

Limatola Longkumer
Image credit: Limatola Longkumer

Why this is her pick of 2015: "I picked this piece because I learned a lot about myself, as an artist, while creating this. It also taught me to be patient and opened my eyes to a whole new style to create."

Pragun Agarwal
Image credit: Pragun Agarwal

Why this is his pick of 2015: "This is an exploration that I had done inspired by different food ingredients and scents. The essence and nature of the food item was the backbone for the selection of material, paper, and the style of lettering chosen."

Priya Kuriyan
Image credit: Priya Kuriyan

Why this is her pick of 2015: "This is a spread from a children's book I illustrated for Wonderboxx called ‘How Do I Look’. I tried something new with the style of illustration here, which was unlike what I’ve done earlier; which is why I’m fond of this piece. Also, in a time when news about ecological disasters abound, it’s comforting to imagine that spaces like this can exist."

Nisha Vasudevan
Image credit: Nisha Vasudevan

Why this is her pick of 2015: “I think my favourite work of the past year is ‘Bears Dance In Space While You Sleep’ – I think it’s my best piece of work because I had a lot of fun doing it, and I did it for no other reason than that I wanted to have fun – no clients, no deadlines, no changes, nothing. I just stayed up all night drawing a bear and enjoying some alone time. I decided I wanted to do a series of ‘fake science facts’ illustrations – this was the first one of two illustration series (the shortest series in the world). I did another one called ‘Flamingoes Are Pink Because Of The Bubblegum They Eat’ shortly after, and I hope to expand it into a longer illustrated series when I find some free time. I’m particularly proud of how this one looks, but mostly, I just enjoyed the whimsical idea of a hula hooping bear in space. I guess it could also be looked at as a re-interpretation of Ursa Major/Minor. I really also wonder if The Jungle Book trailer coming out around that time had anything to do with it, and if I was listening to The Bear Necessities on loop – sounds like something I might have done for sure.”

Sadhna Prasad
Image credit: Sadhna Prasad

Why this is her pick of 2015: "This is one of my most recent works, defining the entire last year (2015). It combines all the experiences and magic of the year."

Varun Nair
Image credit: Varun Nair

Why this is his pick of 2015: "I personally feel that the Game of Thrones line-up that I designed last year was one of the works I was really happy with. It took a lot of time to study the characters from the show, and it was very rewarding to finally have the line-up ready. I had been planning this for the last couple of years, ever since I started watching the show, but I only finally managed to do it in 2015."

Karma Sirikogar
Image credit: Karma Sirikogar

Why this is her pick of 2015: "I went through several polarising emotional states while making it. It feels dark yet light, musical yet noisy, controlled and uncontrolled to me. There’s an overall balance to the image, though. I suppose I find freedom in that. There’s nothing I care more about than freedom."

Sanskar Sawant
Image credit: Sanskar Sawant

Why this is his pick of 2015: "So we are young chaps from Bombay who ride a vintage two stroke motorcycle, Yezdi (about 30 to 50 Y/O ride), and camp at beautiful places every month with a belief – ‘Take The Road Less Travelled.’ We are been keeping these beauties running since around 14 years and it was when the club was formed. Further, these boys are the best people I know, as they have seen me ripping off on the roads, taking a dump in the woods and drinking hard. This artwork is special for me, because it shows the entire sh** we all are up to when we are together, a different vibe all together – The Yezdi Joint Family.”

Tasneem Amiruddin
Image credit: Tasneem Amiruddin

Why this is her pick of 2015: "It is a piece on Alice In Wonderland for its 150th anniversary for Elle Magazine. The theme was to show ‘Alice In Indian Wonderland.’ It is my favourite piece because, firstly, Alice In Wonderland is my favourite story, and I love every bit of its strangeness. Secondly, I got to add an Indian twist to it, so I could show how crazily adventurous our everyday life really is."

Amirkhan Pathan
Image credit: Amirkhan Pathan

Why this is his pick of 2015: "The Kumbh Mela was the biggest event that happened in 2015, which was held in Nashik. I have always been fascinated by sadhus and the fair, so it was an event I just couldn’t miss. I have worked on different illustrations, but this series was different. I enjoyed working with ink as a medium. I wanted to work on sadhu artworks in different styles, and it was a good experience for me to understand their culture and lifestyle. This is one of my favourite illustration series of 2015 because it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

Aaquib Wani
Image credit: Aaquib Wani

Why this is his pick of 2015: “This was a piece commissioned to me by the new synth kid on the block, Akshay Rajpurohit’s moniker – Aqua Dominatrix. The brief was to have a Japanese woman as the one who takes the sadistic role in sadomasochistic sexual activities. I’ve always had this contentious relationship with doing commissions trying to “make other people happy,” or see their vision come to fruition. Not in this case, fortunately, thus, my pick of 2015.” 

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Kavita Nambissan
Image credit: Kavita Nambissan

Why this is her pick of 2015: "This is a lesser known piece of mine I created around September, titled ‘Possession’. I feel this is a notable piece of work for me, because it's a mark of progression in my work. I’m trying to move away from my comfort zone, mainly consisting of lines, into colours. But I’m never going to let go of lines, and this piece is my first complete effort at trying to bring the two together and I like it."

Himanshi Parmar
Image credit: Himanshi Parmar

Why this is her pick of 2015: "This is tilted ‘A Drift’. It was symbolic to me of the calm after a storm, while I was drifting along a beautiful journey as I interned at Studio Anugraha in Bombay over two months."

Pia Meenakshi
Image credit: Pia Meenakshi

Why this is her pick of 2015: "My best work for 2015 would be the mural I did by the end of the year in Goa. It was based off Kokkere Belluru, a place in Karnataka where migratory birds like the Painted Stork decide to live with and among the villagers, and they, in turn, hold the phenomenon as their heritage and protect the birds with all their effort. I loved this perfect little setting of man and nature co-existing in this tiny village. It was done for The Prison Hostel and everything about that piece was doomed from the start. It started with me miscalculating the measurements and having to literally wing the entire sketch on the wall and really struggle with piecing it together. The wall itself was also really weird and I wondered how the hell I would finish it. But by the second day the painting started piecing together and the encouragement from all the people staying at the prison was enough to get me going. I really enjoyed discussing the idea of the mural with the guests and really enjoyed the feedback I got."

"I love projects like these, which are interactive, especially when it’s in a public forum – where people are curious about art and technique and you end up getting them interested in art even by a 10-second conversation. This year’s plan is to do more large scale public works, especially since this piece was a great end to the year."

Pranita Kocharekar
Image credit: Pranita Kocharekar

Why this is her pick of 2015: "I’ve made lots of art in 2015, but I enjoyed making this one the most. I was listening to one of my favourite bands on a chilly winter evening, not knowing where my hand was going. I enjoy drawing with my hand, on paper, having no deadlines and not caring about time. When I enjoy the process of making an artwork, I hardly care about what it looks like in the end.”

Seema Kohli
Image credit: Seema Kohli

Why this is her pick of 2015: "From the Bhagwatgita-Vishvarupa series, it includes all forms of existence as a part of consciousness pervading everything animate and inanimate, social order, a generic representation of existence. It’s about rejoicing the celebration of rhythm of life in all colours and hues."

Tejashree Ingawale
Image credit: Tejashree Ingawale

Why this is her pick of 2015: "As an artist, you always keep questioning yourself. Why do you draw? Why are you an artist? And the funny thing is that the answers are all within you. Your work represents what you are. Sometimes, illustrations are not just lines and colors, but they have deeper meaning and memories behind them."

"I almost stopped doing illustration for a year, after my dad passed away in 2013. I was just not able to gather myself. I used to struggle with my thoughts, day-to-day feelings, and I kept questioning myself -- lost in my childhood memories of my father."

"And, one day, I realised how my dad had taught me to love nature when I was a kid. How innocent we both were, together and close to nature. That's when I decided to work with children, and I made this illustration – after one-and-a half years! I could finally sleep peacefully – life had come full circle."

"It’s not just an illustration, rather it's a true reflection of my father's memories which I always feel inside me, given me good vibes. That’s why this illustration will have a special place in my heart, and it's my best work of 2015."

Mc Mutton
Image credit: Mc Mutton

Why this is his pick of 2015: "This piece is close to my heart because it’s manually done (on paper), whereas most of my work and illustrations are digital. Also it merges the artwork of two bands in one (SKRAT and AWKS). Further, there is balance and symmetry, along with finer details and texts to find written in the graphic. More so, the people whom I made this for loved it as well."

Vivek Nag
Image credit: Vivek Nag

Why this is his pick of 2015: "I made this portrait of Benedict Cumberbatch in the month of March last year. This is my pick because of the huge reception it received from the online community. I was surprised and deeply humbled by all the positive response that was conveyed to me from people all over the world – definitely a memorable piece for me."

Yohan Wadia
Image credit: Yohan Wadia

Why this is his pick of 2015: "2016 has been the year of bans. There was the Porn Ban then there was the Beef Ban, and God only knows what all got banned back that year. This artwork was a spontaneous reaction to the ban that was imposed on the trading and consumption of beef. It showcases the bias the Indian society has had towards living beings that not only exists in categorising one animal as holier than the other, but goes a long way and has sunken deep into our roots since the time severe casteism and untouchability have existed. The Indian society, among many others, have been pray to the system of bias, be it social, political or even animals! I just hope I don’t feel the urge to create another artwork on a worthless ban this year again and we progress and leap towards more relevant and serious problems that exist in our society today."

Ankita Shinde
Image credit: Ankita Shinde

Why this is her pick of 2015: "The idea of the project was to think of a model as a doll, wearing the garments of 20 finalists and placing the doll on the work tables of the 20 designers. We read about all these designers’ thought process, their inspirations, researched about their collection, and put together a work-table setup for each of them that would translate their aesthetics and tried to show what their work tables would look like.”

"Rhea and I had so much fun working on this together! Also, we were working on a tight timeline. So something which would require us 3-4 weeks was completed in just 4 days of working day and night."

"This project is one of my most liked projects because of the flexibility it gave us to experiment, the opportunity to play around with different layouts, colour schemes and elements as per the aesthetics of 20 different designers. And also working on an extremely tight timeline in close collaboration with Rhea was thrilling."

Ritaban Das
Image credit: Ritaban Das

Why this is his pick of 2015: "First of all, I’m a big time fan of gore/dark/slasher films. I saw a movie called ‘Clown’ last year which, I guess, released on 2014. I instantly liked the idea and made this fan-art sort of a thing. I think I somewhat achieved that dark ambiance and the overall look-and-feel which required for the piece. Also, I got many requests for this print (did manage to send a couple of them!)."

Sonali Zohra
Image credit: Sonali Zohra

Why this is her pick of 2015: "This is an album cover illustration for Delhi-based alternative band May Island. I enjoyed drawing to their music, and mixing photography with illustration."

Pracheta Banerjee
Image credit: Pracheta Banerjee

Why this is his pick of 2015: "I personally feel that this is my best work for 2015 for the amount of brainstorming and effort it took, also it has a more eye-catchy palette than the other pieces I made. It is also the cover of a personal graphic novel I am making – Silence.

"This is about an extremely disturbed man, who keeps on hallucinating and confuses his dreams with reality. The artwork is titled ‘Mass Destruction’. Throughout history, there has been innumerable ways to bring upon destruction. While I could illustrate a few, there is a completely different universe that has been illustrated here, which is not logically possible – this is the world inside his mind, which is under demolition."

Divya Tak
Image credit: Divya Tak

Why this is her pick of 2015: "I like making cute artwork. I love it when an illustration can tell a story, and this one, does it perfectly and minimally."

Manvee Singh
Image credit: Manvee Singh

Why this is her pick of 2015: "Though my portfolio was big with all wall art and painting projects, all of them were customised as per client specifications. Till now, my expressions were restricted and I wanted to let it fly freely. I realised I don’t have a personal collection, something that shows who I am completely. So, I decided to make a series of paintings without knowing if it will be accepted or appreciated by people. Further, I decided to make a portrait, something that comes most naturally to me – big eyes, flowers in hair, bold colours, and a contrast black and white character. This painting speaks to me better than words! I have named it Fearless. This painting was the first in the series, and it was more of a trial, that’s why it’s close to my heart."

Rakesh Nanda
Image credit: Rakesh Nanda

Why this is his pick of 2015: "I guess this was the very first time I drew something that I felt deserved the word ‘beautiful’. This is unlike my other drawings and when it was done, I felt rather proud of having been able to capture ‘innocence’ so honestly with such few lines. I would say I was lucky."

Broti Bhattacharya
Image credit: Broti Bhattacharya

Why this is his pick of 2015: "Title ‘Phono Sapiens’, this one takes a jab at the transformative power of phones. As our phones get smarter, we get dumber, I think. We stagger down streets, our heads bowed as if in prayer, glued to our phones. We are connected with the world, but not with the person next to us. We are the Phono Sapiens. This is my favourite work of 2015, because I got to explore a completely new style, away from his regular styles. The project was more art-based than a commercial design project, and it was quite challenging to figure out tessellations of human forms and fitting them together."

Varsha Vijayan
Image credit: Varsha Vijayan

Why this is her pick of 2015: “Well, I’d say I’m quite fond of my portrait of Michonne from The Walking Dead. She’s such an intense and powerful character, and I’m glad that I was able to bring that out in the painting. I also did struggle to get the likeness right so all in all I’m happy it turned out good.”

Poornima Sukumar
Image credit: Poornima Sukumar

Why this is her pick of 2015: “Although it was difficult to choose, this is my most favourite work of the year 2015 because of the beautiful life-changing experiences I’ve had, the beautiful people I’ve met, the gorgeous places I’ve travelled to, absolutely blessed. It was a pool of moonburst and stardust.”

Gaurav Basu
Image credit: Gaurav Basu

Why this is his pick of 2015: "I would like to pick the Inner Sanctum album art for this one. The whole process took a year, in terms of planning, ideas and trying to visually represent the lyrics through symbolisms."

Xi Lu
Image credit: Fabled.

Why this is his pick of 2015: "It was one of my first commissions ever. Lead me along a direction I would otherwise never take – doing portraits. It was done in a short time while sitting in the office on cheap a pamphlet paper with the least amount of materials. Clearly, I was in an altered state of mind as the style is something quite different, I presume, from my other work."

Svabhu Kohli
Image credit: Svabhu Kohli

Why this is his pick of 2015: "Before creating this piece, I wanted to evolve and adapt a new sense of aesthetic, composition and colour palette that could uplift my style and come together to bring a sense of energy thriving within our oceans. I usually start with an idea, but this piece happened to flow naturally and this style continued to follow in my further artworks."

Saloni Sinha
Image credit: Saloni Sinha

Why this is her pick of 2015: "I picked this one, called Afloat, because I relate turtles flying to the new conscious, which is also a slight metaphor of the human intellect to leave their material nature and spread wings into the outer realm."

Sahil Mehta
Image credit: Sahil Mehta

Why this is his pick of 2015: “This is my favourite piece from 2015 because it sort of painted itself.”

Parvati Pillai
Image credit: Parvati Pillai

Why this is her pick of 2015: "The illustration above is one of my favourite from last year. It may not be the best that I have done, but it is very close to my heart, because sometimes, it is the little things that matter, I suppose."

Sherina Siraj
Image credit: Sherina Siraj

Why this is her pick of 2015: "The couple were shy, nervous and happy all at the same time, and trying to capture that was the best memory of 2015, illustration-wise."

Samidha Gunjal
Image credit: Samidha Gunjal

Why this is her pick of 2015: "‘In Silent Conversation with my wandering Imagination’ was the second drawing of this drawing series. There are few ideas/elements that always linger in my mind, and I feel a deep urge to draw them on paper. Drawing my mind in the form of visuals is the only way to free those ideas stuffed in my head.  Nature is been the essence of all my recent artworks and includes symbolic use of trees, lotus, tiger, fishes, free flowing water, birds, pomegranates, etc. The drawings are very simple, speaking for themselves, where viewers can have their own interpretations about the story narrated."

Madhuvanthi Mohan
Image credit: Madhuvanthi Mohan

Why this is her pick of 2015: “I’ve painted two giant murals (one 30 x 19ft one 70 x 10ft) this year, but this illustration I made in June while I was home in Bangalore for three months is special to me.”

“While I’m a social person and love meeting new people and travelling, as a freelance artist and illustrator sometimes I just need some ‘cave mode’ to get the work done. For me this means staying in, getting into the groove of work, being with my thoughts, organising and putting things down, listening to podcasts and sometimes working nights.”

"There’s some amount of guilt attached to this mode though. Explaining why you can’t go out to friends and family when they ask during times when you’re in the groove of things can be difficult. But showing them this illustration has helped people understand a little more those periods where I have to cave mode to get the work done."

"I just spent a month and a half freelancing in Kohima, Nagaland and had a week or two of cave mode during that time. It was easy to explain my method of working with this illustration, and my homestay owner Nino and I took turns having the cave-mode postcard up on our room doors and getting work done."

Revati Anand
Image credit: Revati Anand

Why this is her pick of 2015: "This particular artwork is close to me. It represents chaos and calm in a balanced manner according to me, something that I relate to personally. Talking about technique, the artwork started off as a mono-print, layer upon layer of colour and texture, and I then worked on the piece digitally."

Vrushali Somavanshi
Image credit: Vrushali Somavanshi

Why this is her pick of 2015: “With feelings so elaborate and words so concise

Watching the sun set in someone else’s eyes

The meeting of scarlet lips and breaking of intimate ties

Another memory etched for the mind to exorcize”

"This illustration was a part of many that I did for a project. I have illustrated a poem I wrote a long time ago. It’s about two people who see the world through different filters and are in love, but their differences tear them apart. It’s about one person trying to end it and the other trying to mend it. I chose this as my best for 2015 because, obviously, it’s close to my heart and it felt good to visually express what I felt."

Chitra Chandrashekhar
Image credit: Chitra Chandrashekhar

Why this is her pick of 2015: "This work was pro bono, for an open-source visual story repository that any school or child can use to weave more stories with. It feels great to contribute freely towards a platform that’s free for all to use because creativity is meant to be free especially when used for a noble cause like the one that Storyweaver has begun. I feel like a rebel of the mainstream where creativity is guarded within the confines of copyrights and patents."

Kriti Monga
Image credit: Kriti Monga

Why this is her pick of 2015: "This is from an on-going project that Turmeric Design is working on. Namaha Healthcare is a specialty woman’s hospital and healthcare brand that promises not only the highest quality of medical care and services, but also a passionate focus on warmth, more thoughtful patient experiences, building long-term relationships and trust. To evoke those ideas, one of the strategic approaches we took, was creating three large master-illustrations as a secondary visual identity for the brand.”

"The three illustrations represent three key values of the brand: ‘Nature as mother’ represents down-to-earth honesty and nurturing, ‘Medicine and Healing’ explores the intersection of science and art through the awe-inspiring structures and functions of the human body, ‘Relationships and family’ evokes the threads of continuity, cycles of life and relationships that women firmly hold together."

“These illustrations have been used extensively in all brand applications: from print material, to signage elements, to the cafe and space graphic installations, to create a cohesive language, and thoughtful interaction for the visitor.”

Malvika Bhandary
Image credit: Malvika Bhandary

Why this is his pick of 2015: "When something is ‘designed’ or ‘illustrated’, a relative amount of thought and exploration goes into the process and, therefore, it is hard for me to choose a particular piece. That said, if I had to choose one piece in 2015 it would have to be ‘The World Is My oyster’. I have learnt over the years there are no limitations or boundaries in life and the world truly is my oyster. I believe design is extremely powerful and defines me as a person in a strong sense. Being able to share my thoughts through my work gives me immense satisfaction."

Divya George
Image credit: Divya George

Why this is her pick of 2015: "This one’s called the ‘Elephant Summer.’ I think this is my favourite piece because I liked the way the lines, colours and characters turned out, and I really enjoyed drawing and painting it, too."

Kruttika Susarla
Image credit: Kruttika Susarla

Why this is her pick of 2015: “This is an illustration I made for the Juice magazine’s (by Jabong) illustrator feature. The theme for that particular issue was 'The influence and impact of social media on the artist’. This is personally, the most satisfying piece of illustration I worked on last year, because it was a theme that I could relate to and surprisingly saw that many other artists related to when I (ironically enough) shared it on social media. For any artist/illustrator, the most satisfying part of putting their work out there is when people can relate to it for the idea/thought behind it without having to explain it and that is exactly what this piece of work did for me.”

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Avinash Kumai
Avinash is a dreamer, a music connoisseur and is constantly seeking new things that catch his fancy. Enjoys the silence of his one-bedroom-apartment and loves cooking alone. He prefers genres like rock and blues, and is obsessed with what an instrument can do if it's in the right hands. His all time favourite jams are Comfortably Numb and...   Read more
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