101 Female Illustrators From India Whose Work Will Leave You Speechless: Part II
By: Avinash Kumai on Mar 8th, 2016
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When we showcased the woman illustrators story last year, we had only one objective in mind – to bridge the gap between women and art in India. There are many path-breaking female artists in this country, but they are not celebrated enough, (but neither are male illustrators, but we will keep that discussion for some other time). And, since today is Woman’s Day – a day where we celebrate woman from all over the world, we could not think of  a better time to celebrate woman and art together. In this story we look at 101 more woman illustrators (in no particular order) that are breaking barriers in the illustrative art genre.   

Manjula Padmanabhan
Image credit: Manjula Padmanabhan

When you are as well-known as Padmanabhan – a playwright, journalist, comic strip artist, and children's book author, you have to tread carefully. She has etched hundreds of illustrations for Tulika Books and published art-work and strips for the newspaper before it was considered trendy. Her drawings are vivid and will make us miss the classic style of cartooning, using them as tools of satire and everything in between. Further, if you have read the comic strip, Suki (which I discovered recently) you will agree that she deserves a place on this list.

Ratna Moriniaux Rege
Image credit: Ratna Moriniaux Rege

Painting has always been Rege’s passion. Her childhood friends still remember her as a little girl, never too far away from her pencil and drawing book. Later, to no one’s surprise, she ended up with a degree in applied arts from the JJ School of Arts, Mumbai. After working for some years as a graphic designer and art director in advertising (in Mumbai), she went to France on an exchange programme, and eventually ended up marrying and settling down in the country.

For many years, she was heading an art workshop in a centre for physically challenged adults. Teaching and sharing her knowledge of art with them helped her realize the power of painting and the extent to which it could influence one's emotions. For a few years now, Rege has been working as a freelance artist, regularly participating in exhibitions and promoting art and handicrafts locally with other artisans too.

“Women are in the centre of most of my works – liberated and strong, dreamy or peaceful, they are always women of character,” she points out with a smile. Adding, “I also love illustrating for children – imagination has no limits where they are concerned,” she says. Rege has also published books in India and France, as well. One of them, ‘One Night In The Sunderbans’, talks about ecology… another one of her favourite themes. 

“People have also pointed out that my illustrations show a mixture of different cultures. My characters may be European, African and many more, but the features, the expressions and the colours I use, show the strong influence of my Indian culture. My aim is to evoke positive feelings in the viewer,” Rege concludes.

Sangeetha Kadur
Image credit: Sangeetha Kadur

If you love or aspire to be a wildlife illustrator, look no further than Kadur. Her art explores the mysteries of the natural world through the medium of vivid illustrations. Her wildlife artwork has been nominated in the BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year in 2009 and 2012. She has spearheads GreenScraps, a nature journaling workshop. Through this initiative, she hopes to inspire a new generation of passionate nature artists.

Kalyani Ganapathy
Image credit: Kalyani Ganapathy

Believe it or not, Ganapathy is one of those people who actually woke up one morning, shed her graphic designer avatar, walked into an art shop, bought a bag full of material and started drawing. Her illustrations are stories about friends, strangers and herself. In the near future, she hopes to be a writer and illustrator with a little bit of whimsy. She is currently working on her book.

Kadambari Misra
Image credit: Kadambari Misra

Misra has some cutting edge work, perhaps because she has made her career working with eclectic companies across the globe. She also spent her time consulting with some of the biggest publishing houses in the country like Penguin, Harper Collins and more. Her body of work is filled with things that surround us; people, animala, insects… you name it! But it’s what they do on paper that’s interesting. All her characters own their space, always! The bold use of colours (most of) makes her work a viewing pleasure. She heads an art firm called Drongo.

Maya Ramaswamy
Image credit: Maya Ramaswamy

The artistic insights of this wildlife illustrator was formed at an early age. She remembers wild gardens everywhere she lived when she was young. Since her parents never asked her what she was up to in her free time, she was forever running into wild creatures around her. There was no such thing as a TV. When it comes to her style she uses a realistic one. “Children in India are losing touch with the natural world at an alarming rate. In deliberately keeping my style close to nature, I hope I can excite their interest in the wilderness heritage of this amazing subcontinent.” states Ramaswamy.

Roshnee Desai
Image credit: Roshnee Desai

Desai has been obsessed with colours and graphic art for as long as she can remember. But, as a child, she didn’t even know that this could be a profession. However, when she switched over from science to mass media, her art and ideas stood out and that’s when she realized that this was her calling. And your style, please? “I think while art is a piece of self-expression, it also gives people permission to look at the world differently, to question norms, inspire mass movements and to make changes. I think my style is all about the ideas I want to communicate, and the layers of metaphors that a single idea can evoke. There is a detailed and clear storyline behind each piece which I want to be communicated clearly to the audiences. And this line of thought becomes my style, rather than a particular crafting technique, colours or illustration hand style." Currently, her topics have been woman-related because of the projects she has been working on.

Deshna Mehta
Image credit: Deshna Mehta

Mehta is in the art circuit because of many things, her love for crayons (as a child), the freedom to explore culture, religion and philosophy by the medium of design (as a student in academic environments), the potential that design has to make a difference to the lives of many in the real world if used sensitively, contextually and with responsibility (at work).

And how is your style different from other illustrators in India? “I am unable to address this question from a ‘style’ perspective as the visual that manifests when I draw emanates from an intuitive and meditative space more often than not,” she clarifies. Further “The aesthetic that emerges is more a by-product and subjective to analyse in comparison with other artists or illustrators. The drawings I do have barely been commissioned. I do them to unwind. Sometimes they find a contextual relevance for a client or a basic of a graphic form, but much later. Mostly they remain in the pages of my diary and each of them is reflective for me personally of having been in a particular moment physically and in thought when I revisit it."

Mehta’s drawings are intuitive and pattern-like characterised by a lot of repetition. A single unit repeats itself to form a larger whole. She likes to internalize philosophical ideas and then reflect upon them as she draws. The drawings however do not justify or necessarily portray that idea to a viewer. Further, she enjoys using grids as the substructures and undercurrents in her drawings. 

Divya Suvarna
Image credit: Divya Suvarna

Suvarna, like many artists likes to experiment with a lot of styles and techniques simply because she cannot stick to a single style. She believes that everything must be tried to broaden ones horizons. “I particularly like drawing human beings in various styles and their emotions. I also like abstract and psychedelic works that relate to the natural world (mostly in black and white) and fantasy… a lot of fantasy,” she points out laughing.

She was always good at art as a child, but considered it like any other subject during school. She used to watch a lot of cartoons and read comics like every other kid, but at that age it was just a means of entertainment. Things changed as time went by “When I was 13, I saw an anime (You're Under Arrest) which made me an avid anime-lover and something clicked in me. I realised and strongly felt that I could create and build worlds with my art. It was then that I decided I wanted to make art a career choice,” she recalls. And thank god for that!

Swetha Kanithi
Image credit: Swetha Kanithi

Chennai-based illustrator Kanithi believes that style is something that comes to every artist naturally and that’s what keeps one unique. There is nothing she has worked on consciously. But as far as her body of work is concerned, the colours she uses are specific to the subject and she always wants to maintain a sense of darkness to them. Her style, “I’m highly influenced by subjects pertaining to nature, space and this timeless, mysterious entity named ‘the universe’. Even Anthropology interests me a lot, although I haven’t consciously brought it into my work as yet,” she clarifies.

Vaishnavi Ravi
Image credit: Vaishnavi Ravi

Ravi started off by doing miniature designing work in college. Considering she had a lot of free time during her summer break she decided to learn more and eventually developed a liking for working on Photoshop. She started off by making minimalist posters, while researching more techniques, before she knew it, she was designing most of her works.

Her art is based on pop culture, music has also been an inspiration. “I have no particular style as such, but I like to experiment with things around me."

Deepa Balsavar

It’s one thing to be an illustrator and it’s another to be a writer/illustrator. We somehow feel that if you are the latter you have complete control over what you want to achieve artistically. Look at Balsavar's work and you will understand the relationship between illustration and writing and how they can help bring about a change in the readers psyche. He artwork is simple, but possess a sense of vibrancy.

Asma Kazi
Image credit: Asma Kazi

"There was no dramatic ‘Ah-ha! Moment’, or light bulbs of inspiration going 'ding', as I decided to get into art. One day, (five years ago), I just started sketching digitally, the digital sketches evolved into illustrations on paper, the illustrations evolved into delightful many-layered mixed media works on canvas, and then some more. I just slipped into the role, of being an artist – like it was always meant to be,” Kazi says. 

Somewhere along the road, the patrons emerged, some absolutely wonderful people, who loved her art (actor/director Joseph Gordon-Levitt for HitRECord is one of them), and have since consistently invested in her art, with their precious time and money. Every time someone buys some art, every word of encouragement, supports a dream and makes it real, and she is grateful for all the amazing people she has connected (and reconnected) with, through her art. It keeps her inspired to do better, every day.

“Many of my pieces of art have grown to have complex personalities of their own. They have been evolving year after year, as I add new detail to it, sometimes new layers of paint, an abstract collage sometimes, or just a mesh of zentangles other times,” she clarifies. “It’s like building a new story over a story, the result of which is paintings rich with emotion and texture."

Her work at first glance is a happy assemblage of abstract imaginary ecosystems, peacocks, butterflies and brightly hued faces. The colours are vibrant, giving one the impression of festivity and of being in a carnival. The work however is also symbolic in nature, revolving around themes of chaos, the feminine, metamorphosis, duality, the fantastical, birth and decay. “It is influenced by tales from my childhood, and inspirations drawn from following the breadcrumb trail of the ever enchanted in the everyday,” enthuses Kazi. 

Nimisha Saikia
Image credit: Nimisha Saikia

“I remember myself as a seven-year old with an uncanny tendency to hoard stationary items like pens, sketch pens, pastels etc. There is nothing more entrancing than getting lost in a riot of colours and textures,” Saikia writes on her Behance page. A graduate from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, feels like she has a knack for storytelling. We also found out that her characters are never alone, they try to seek things like love and bonding.

Nancy Raj
Image credit: Pencilpaperkaapi

Chennai-based illustrator Raj kills when it comes to portraying everyday situations. We all have been through these situations sometime in our lives. There are lines of humour and a visual story in itself.

Malvika Tewari
Image credit: Malvika Tewari

Tewari is an artist and designer based in Bangalore. All her artwork is similar to director Tim Burton’s features – artsy, dark, funny and fulfilling. When she is not working, you will find her avoiding food-stains on her keyboard, running into furniture, writing poetry in the bathroom and performing dramatic monologues to stray dogs.

Arushi Sethi

Illustration art for Sethi, began at the back of her books, rotting toilets in schools where she would go to play football, and in and around stacks of newspapers in her house. An inspiring environment ideally never existed for Sethi; “I tried to create it along the way by meeting people who I could draw and learn alongside,” she says. That was probably what inspired her to feed my head. “What intrigues me the most is that every artist irrespective of their medium cuts opens a chunk of their mind. This chunk engages us all in this unspoken dialogue. My faith in design gets reassured as I see more people are trying to engage in this very dialogue and interpret it their own way. The idea is to keep the feed coming.” Her illustrations have a dark vibe to them.

Amrai Dua
Image credit: Amrai Dua

Dua has always been a Frieda Kahlo fan. Gradually, Dali’s moustache took over her place in her heart! "Ever since I was a child, I enjoyed getting my hands dirty with paints. My parents very well knew I had bats in my belfry, so they encouraged me to go ahead with art and explore the world of madness," she clarifies laughing. The day she got that green signal, she submersed into deep musings burning the midnight oil not just trying, but actually giving vent to some precious strokes.

Sadly, she had a fire breakout in her studio last year where she lost everything. "The striving for spiritual perspective started forcing me to look inwards and question how I may realize my fullest spiritual potential," she tells us. This is how she developed her unique style of doodling where she always attempts to reveal the inward – seeking quality of Indian art. In it's creative freedom, Dua’s doodles have a vital message and she certainly believes that every stroke has got a hidden story.

Ria Rajan
Image credit: Ria Rajan

Rajan’s maternal grandfather was an artist and she grew up watching him draw was fascinated by his rendition of famous paintings. It was something she did, along with reading, playing games, skating and climbing trees. She didn’t take it too seriously. As she was finishing school, she flirted with the ideas of being a lawyer or a criminal psychologist (don’t ask why!) while keeping her childhood dream of being an air hostess who traveled the world, alive all along. Nonetheless, she made collages, worked on drawings filled with angst and wrote prose. Post school, she enrolled for philosophy at MCC (Chennai) and did that for a year. This is when her best friend at National Institute Of Design (NID) gave her the ‘art’ cooties. That following summer, she got through Srishti School Of Design, and she really loved it, the rest just followed.

Could you tell us about your style please? we ask, “I don't have one particular style. I like to experiment and play with materials, and create visuals using multiple techniques which include drawings, text, posters, murals and installations,” she points out. Colour, composition, shapes, patterns, lines, form a common thread in her work. Further, things like travel, sunsets, adventures, landscapes, city scapes, night skies, street art and money plants are some of the things she fancies. "A lot of my personal work is about capturing fleeting moments in time and all about the ‘feeling’. I’m curious about how different surroundings effect what I create and finally learning how to trust my own process," concludes Rajan. 

Pia Alizé Hazarika
Image credit: Pia Alizé Hazarika

Art has always been pretty cut and dry for Hazarika. “There really never was anything else,” she remembers. Drawing since she was three, since her aunt worked in the art department of an advertising firm, she’d bring work home, and Hazarika would sit on the floor while she worked and scribble on all the waste paper. "I drew all through high school, and then when it was time for college, the choice was pretty obvious. Working with comic books although, that happened sometime around 16, because let's face it – they’re amazing. And luckily my job profile’s evolved into being able to work on a lot of them," illustrates Hazarika. How is your style different from other illustrators in India – themes and ideas you like to work on? “Is it? I mean, I’m sure it is –to be honest, I just really don't know how. This is not an easy question to answer. My work was a lot of black and whites, and colour is a recent development. Also, I seem to bounce around between hand-drawn and digital art a lot, though I prefer the former.”

As far as themes and ideas go she likes to work with anything with people in it because she has an obsessive love for anatomy. “I love stories. Anything in narrative form - i guess that's why I went into comic books because I'm really in love with the process of creating one,” replies Hazarika. 

Vijaya Aswani
Image credit: Vijaya Aswani

Had a rough day and need something to unwind? Don’t worry, Aswani’s illustrations with help you achieve that in seconds. Plus, we also like the fact that all her creations are fun, happy and cheerful, just like her (Aswani, correct us if we are wrong!).

Ankita Trivedi
Image credit: Ankita Trivedi

Trivedi has been drawing since childhood, but she discovered her style only when she made an artwork for a friend’s music project a few years back. “I never stopped making art from that day onwards,” she tells us. “So, I would say, music inspired me to become an artist.”

She loves working with geometrical shapes and forms. To her, seeing one shape merge with the other, makes her feel good. “I spend more time in detailing. I love how a simple shape can convert into a complex piece of art. And that is what makes my style different from others,” Trivedi clarifies.

Niharika Singh
Image credit: Niharika Singh

“I grew up drawing, painting and being your everyday happy, hyper kid. After studying microbiology for a year, I decided that I would not be happy pursuing it further. I cleared my entrance for College of Art, Delhi and have been exploring ever since,” says Singh. Adding, “My style is different because of the themes my illustrations are based on. My work is supposed to make you feel ‘kiddish’ or childish. With all the expression they use when they try to talk to someone and the excitement,” she clarifies.

Smriti Choudhary
Image credit: Smriti Choudhary

When you work with artists like DJ Nucleya you automatically become the ‘illustrator rani’ of the Indian art scene. Like the colour pink her work is up-beat, and etched with perfection. In her free time she loves playing around with videos, chopping and mashing them up to her favourite genre of music.

Malvika Jay
Image credit: Malvika Jay

Jay was about four years old, when she discovered she could express herself better on paper, and preferred pencils over toys – thanks to her loving family who saw that and have been encouraging her ever since. “The journey has been unstoppable since then,” she says.

Adding, “I have seen myself with art in different stage of my life. I see it playing a huge in the evolution of my soul and my family’s too. Without the support of my loved ones, I could have never taken it further, though.  Art to me is freedom; here I get to express my visions of the world. Art to me is a way of life. Looking back for almost 20 years, I’d say that art has given more meaning to my life.” And how is your style different from other illustrators in India? “The evolution of art in India is remarkable. For me, my visions symbolise 13 dimensions (awakening). It’s a fantastic subject matter – metaphysical and dimensional. I focus on bright or highly contrasting colours. The visions often expressed on paper are off extreme depth of detail or stylisation of surrealistic subject matter,” illustrates Jay. Her future projects may involve a lot of organic colours inspired from her travels, photography, food and friends. “Like I said, I express my visions on paper... and art is my tool. I also have a few live painting performances in sync with music in the near future,” she concludes. 

Shweta Malhotra
Image credit: Shweta Malhotra

“I have always loved drawing and adored art ever since I was a kid. So when it came to choosing what I wanted to do, after high school, applied art was an easy choice,” recalls Malhotra. Her overall design aesthetic and style of work is minimal, bold, geometric and graphic – ‘a response to the maximalist visual language prevalent in India’ – as she puts it. “I try to strip down a visual element off its details to its most basic form, yet maintaining its essence,” enthuses Malhotra.

Niloufer Wadia
Image credit: Niloufer Wadia

This Pune-based illustrator has dabbled from everything to children’s books, food, book covers – the list is endless. Her drawings have the detail down to the T. Her style also changes from subject to subject, which is interesting to see.

Shreya Shetty
Image credit: Shreya Shetty

Based in LA, Shetty’s work will take you by surprise. And she has worked in films (as a concept artist) films like Life Of Pi, The Seventh Son, Home so the word good is only an understatement. She shifts from genres like fantasy, sci-fi, horror and art that is considered cute. People who think ‘women can’t draw on dark themes’ should definitely check her out. There is a sense of wonder in her work – with the use of bold colours, vivid backgrounds and strong mythical concepts. 

Malavika PC
Image credit: Malavika PC

Yes, yes she is a well-known illustrator, but not only is she an illustrator, but is also an actor, story-teller and an RJ (listen to her conversation with veteran singer Usha Uthup if you can). We know she does other artistic things too, but we are not aware of it! Coming back to her style, it includes a lot of clouds, sky and nature also textures, detailing, humour and patterns.

Shikha Nambiar
Image credit: Shikha Nambiar

As a wise man once said “We all have two lives. The second one starts when we realize that we only have one.” Nambiar realized what that meant, only after being a lawyer for eight years. “I decided to take the leap of faith and join a design school to pursue my creative dreams. I realised that I wanted to do something that would make me want to wake up every morning and look forward to the day ahead. Today, I am fortunate that I can do what I truly love doing – art.” she enthuses. She remembers spending her early years travelling all across India, owing to her defence background. Living in different parts of the country shaped Nambiar’s thinking and has given her different perspectives on life and people. “I believe that, as a result, my artistic style has an exploratory and evolving style. I’m inspired by my travels, culinary exploits, music, visual experiences and social exchanges,” she declares. Adding, “I prefer working with my hands. My work is simplistic in nature and contains a sense of wonder.” Nambiar is passionate about hand-lettering and tries to include some aspects of it in all her work.

Garima Shukla
Image credit: Garima Shukla

Shukla, like many artists, takes art a little more seriously, and has decided to grow old as an artist and wants her life to be full of fun and interesting things. Most of her illustrations have little elements related to her life, like her love for food, travel, art, anger, happiness, fun and many more. “I have etched a few characters like a girl (who I believe is me), a guy, a dog, birds and much more, which I frequently use in different situations and try to imagine how they would behave,” she says. Her work consists mostly of doodles made up of messy/imperfect lines.  She also focuses on trying to bring out the feeling she wants to convey more than the technicalities of drawing. “I aim to draw the funnier side of even the most serious things, because that keeps me happy!

Mounica Tata
Image credit: Mounica Tata

Tata like any good artist loves telling stories and drawing, of course! Doodling/illustrating was the only way she could bring these two loves’ of her life together. Which is why she decided to take up illustrating as a freelance artist. “I think what makes Doodleodrama stand out is the fact that so many people can relate to my work. I draw inspiration from the assorted bull**** that life throws at me (us) every day. I love working on expressions, and life tragedies, and a general expectation verses reality of day to day life,” she tells us.

Jalpa Shah
Image credit: Jalpa Shah

“Since childhood I have always been fascinated by cartoons and developed an eye for creativity in school. As a kid I was exposed to many things which reflect in my illustrations and the typographic pieces I create,” states Shah. Her art is inspired by her surroundings, people, random words, and conversations in day-to-day life. Her illustrations comprise of bold, quirky art forms, shapes, and colours. Every piece she creates is different and most of her work has witty, bold humour, but her style rather depends on the subject she works on.

Tejashree Ingawale
Image credit: Tejashree Ingawale

For Ingawale, art has never been a career goal. It’s simply something that runs in her veins, something that defines her before she can define it. “It’s not like I woke up one morning and decided that I wanted to be an artist. More like, I wake up every morning and know that if If I was not an artist, I could never possibly breathe. Art is as important to me as breathing. Essential, natural and it keeps me alive,” she proudly states.

She also believes that her style is different because it’s an extension of her, and not a measured decision. And she thinks that it holds true for all the other wonderful illustrators everywhere. “I wouldn’t define style by the colours and strokes I use, but more by who I am and how I feel. With that said the overarching theme of almost all my illustrations are children and nature. Both these subjects are close to my heart.”

Aditi Dash
Image credit: Aditi Dash

“I was always inclined towards the creative aspect of things, but my decision to study art and design was a spontaneous one,” replies Dash.

Although she had given all the engineering exams like BITSAT, IIT and more, after high school, she was certain that it wasn’t what she wanted to pursue. She impulsively considered applying to art school and her growth on a personal as well as professional level has been tremendous, since then. “Also, what better way to survive capitalism than doing what you enjoy,” responds Dash laughing. 

“What I sincerely feel about style; and many illustrators might agree with me, is that it’s something to be constantly challenged and explored. I don’t believe in finding a comfort zone and working only within its boundaries. As an illustrator, I'd like to be able to continually challenge my abilities and traverse through the vast possibilities this field of expression has, to offer. Unique ideas on the other hand, add a lot of value to the artwork. Personally, I currently enjoy experimenting with vibrant colour techniques to make the ordinary seem distinctive,” reflects Dash. 

Tanya Daniel Eden
Image credit: Tanya Daniel Eden

Mumbai-based illustrator Eden grew up reading storybooks and comics with fun coloured illustrations, specifically The Ladybird series, Tintin , Asterix and Obelix, Archie, Tinkle and much more. Those illustrations made her imagine that the story lives in her head, which is when Eden started drawing things that caught her fancy. Art as she puts it ‘was her only friend.’ Fast-forwarding to 2016, she is now a successful illustrator making a name for herself with her distinct body of work. After her degree in applied arts, she went on exploring styles, tools, mediums, concepts and ideas and also met dedicated artist along the way. “My work and personality are two different things, more like an alter ego. Art is something I can rely on profoundly, my pillar of strength that I abide by. There are other things I want to pursue in life, but my conscience lies in art alone,” she points out.

Eden tries to stay away from the general norms and adores the surrealistic approach. Her style is bold and functional, never fretting to draw whatever thought comes to mind no matter how obscene, dark or twisted it is, as long as people get her message, she is okay. Further, her personal art work is mostly subjective to humans and their desires, deep emotions, curiosity, anxiety and feelings. “I tend to make the ‘ugly’ look good – always! My illustrations portray sour reality and bizarre facts. I also love to add humour and quirk to them, I have also noticed that I do tend to leave people in doubt and confusion, or just let them have a good laugh because life isn’t so simple and sweet.

Marina D’vaz
Image credit: Marina D’vaz

D’vaz is the founder of Picadoodledoo, a platform for hand drawn art, digital posters and collectibles of popular television, films and music personalities and characters. Her work is unlike any pop-culture artist you have ever seen before.

Preetika Sah
Image credit: Preetika Sah

“Art found me at a very young age,” starts Preetika. “It almost came naturally to me. My family’s continuous support and encouragement gave me the independence and passion to pursue art as a profession.” She loves the minimalist approach to art and design. Her style keeps evolving and now she is at a stage where she would like to take it to another level. “My travels across Europe and Asia and interactions with people of varied cultures have made me rethink about my roots and what I have done on my part to sustain it,” she clarifies. In the future, she would like to revive the lost art and craft of slowly diminishing cultures, creating links between the personality of places and people.

Sumedha Sah
Image credit: Sumedha Sah

Sah’s interest in art is a result of many forces acting together – Her family, her childhood and her education. “I come from an artistically rich background; we are a family of photographers, mountaineers, artists and seasoned travellers,” she states, adding, “A medal in a sport or a successful trek was always given more appreciation than school grades.

We grew up in Nainital, with our family cottage surrounded by acres of thick forest and rich biodiversity. Naturally, the Deodars and Oak tree forests formed our playground and taught me to observe and relate to the beautiful environs. Lastly, my education as an architect, with a specialization in sustainable architecture – I could have never become an artist without being an architect. Both subjects deal with the idea of creation and the pursuit of beauty, and there exists an inherent connection between them,” she elaborates.  

Her work is a combination of art and design while taking inspiration from her interest in the subject of sustainability. She is keenly interested in the transformation of the relationship between man and nature. “Almost all of my art is an expression for discovering the poetry that exists in the fabric of the life of a being and its connection with the environment. I am mostly a traditional artist. I love to work with my hands. Watercolours and ink are my favourite mediums. I also love to scribble in small sketchbooks that I always have by my side,” signs of Sha. She loves a bit of surrealism and humour in her work too. 

Garima Gupta

Gupta’s illustrative work is visual yet, but the idea behind them is what stands out picking out pieces and linking them to things that pester the current times. Also, birds – she is practically mad about them. 

Tanya Gijy
Image credit: Tanya Gijy

Gijy’s doodles really entertain – like seriously, give he anything, props, people, animals and she will make something out of it. Looking at her work, we feel that art just does not have to be complicated; the idea needs to be great. Good going, Gijy. 

Jezreel Nathan
Image credit: Jezreel Nathan

Nathan has a bit of everything in her body of work – illustrations, animations, B&Ws, you name it. She gives pop culture the edge it needs.

Neethi Goldhawk
Image credit: Neethi Goldhawk

“Growing up, my father would draw pictures of fruits and characters and tell me stories,” Goldhawk starts off. “I remember my first drawing assignment in school that left me scratching my chin for the whole weekend. This is when he shared a small bunch of images he had collected of R.K. Laxman’s crows (Laxman was fond of crows and loved drawing them. In his words, it is a very intelligent bird and has tremendous character; in fact, the common crow is a very uncommon bird.) So I ended up drawing a lot of crows that weekend! My father always knew when I needed a nudge, and that’s exactly how I got into design school. Today, I’m really glad to have taken it up professionally,” she reminisces.   

Goldhawk’s always had a penchant for the quirky and the strange. She has dabbled in a lot of different styles, which only helped her refine what she does. Currently, she is working on few series, of which the most distinct one is called People With Plants. “It’s very neo, with colours and compositions that make it unique,” she highlights. She also does a lot of GIFs, mostly to add character to her illustrations.

Mohini Mukherjee
Image credit: Mohini Mukherjee

Portraying humour is one, but showing it with grace is another and Mukherjee’s idea on humour (through blurbs and art) is strangely interesting. She picks up on things and trends around her pretty quickly. (Read Hipsters Don't Lie to know more). 

Yashasvi Mathis
Image credit: Yashasvi Mathis

Mathis’ works have an unusual character to them; and they would easily stand out among other illustrators in India. The creations have various layers to them talking about things like sexuality, sorrow and much more.

Aarti Shinde
Image credit: Aarti Shinde

What inspired you to take up art as a profession? “Although I’m a designer in it true sense, but I’ll tell you the most cliché answer – it began from school,” laughs Shinde. “However, I used to fail art classes, and I loved science and I aced those subjects. My favourite part was drawing those text bookish diagrams – from delicate cell structures to furnaces. I would even illustrate for other students who wanted their books to be neat, sometimes even during exams –Indian students at their finest behaviour,” says Shinde sighing. And how is your style different from other illustrators in India? I’m not entirely sure, because with each mood/idea my style shifts. I can scribble shabbily and I can render neat and detailed drawings. It’s always thought driven, so my drawings are drawn the way they are to convey a certain tone. One quality I can pinpoint is that I don’t draw cartoony/cutesy stuff (death to hello kitty),” she points out with an evil grin!  

She has always had a fascination for documenting her dreams though. “I’ve been doing it since I was 9. I don’t write them down as I used to when I was a kid/teenager anymore, but since drawing is one skill set, I’m super glad to have developed along the way I want to start capturing those elements through my drawings,” ends Shinde.

Hanisha Tirumalasetty
Image credit: Hanisha Tirumalasetty

Artist and architect, who dabbles with traditional and mixed media artwork, doodles and tiny chubby cartoons. Feels like art to her is a way to break free, perhaps?  

Mitali Panganti
Image credit: Mitali Panganti

Panganti is an animator and illustrator from Pune, and is sharp when it comes to illustrating things like comedy and sarcasm. She is a devil when it comes to details too.

Dann Rei
Image credit: Dann Rei

We would like to call her the lady with the crazy cool anime – enough writing. Please check her out! 

Danica Da Silva Pereir
Image credit: Danica Da Silva Pereir

Pereira works shows that whatever is in your psyche comes out in the things that you love. Her illustrations are all about breaking barriers and doing what you love to do – with a bit of humour, of course.

Shruti Jalgaonkar
Image credit: Shruti Jalgaonkar

Jalgaonkar is all about the cute! Her illustrations are usually centered around women who are happy, free and content. 

Sharanya Kunnath
Image credit: Sharanya Kunnath

Meet Kunnath, an illustrator and graphic designer. During her course at Arts University Bournemouth (AUB, UK), she developed a consistent illustrative style and visual language, but she still experimenting and widening her visual vocabulary. She is interested in spirituality, and the concept of non-duality, and a lot of her works centres around the same themes. 

Rutuja Patil
Image credit: Rutuja Patil

Patil’s mom inspired her to take up art as a professional. Though nor she or she were aware of the possibilities/opportunities in this field then. Inspiration came from various things, especial magazines and comic strips in the newspapers, and animation on the television,” she tells us. Ms Patil is all about rapid sketchy strokes combined with bold patches of colours in the composition or sometimes its blend of colours and then drawing over it to give the fine details. Most of the time, her style varies depending on the project and she always keeps experimenting.

Roma Rupani
Image credit: Roma Rupani

We loved all of her designs, but we were fond of her sketches on fashion and objects from day-to-day lives. If creating brand images is what you are after than we reckon you follow her!

Sahiba Madan
Image credit: Sahiba Madan

Ever since childhood, Madan has been fascinated by spaces. It’s incredible how the same volume of space could be perceived so differently by different people. After studying architecture for five years and working as an architect for two years, she realised that design is so vast, that you cannot limit yourself to a specific field; around then is when she realised that her interests lie in the details. “As architects, we are trained to design every single aspect of every space, which is probably the reason I am currently taking on graphic and product design projects, full time through my handle, KalakaariHaath,” she responds.

“I’ve always been fascinated by how culturally rich we are as a country. The kind of density and cultural diversity that exists in India is unparalleled. As a designer I’ve always been inspired by the traditional heritage of the country. Unlike the recent trends, I’ve enjoyed the traditional ways of design. My efforts have always been to try and bridge the gap between the traditional and contemporary, in a way to make design practices that existed more relevant in a context of today. The skilled hands, is an exploration of architecture, graphic design and illustration. The designs and creative are inspired from traditional hand crafts of India among many other things. Emphasis on use of the hand as a medium of expression is the underlying attribute that contributes character to my work,” she clarifies. 

Swati Addanki
Image credit: Swati Addanki

Addanki has the charm and the skill to me the usual look unusual. Scenes from everyday life come to life like a dream. Further, her use of specific colour and shade like pink and blue on white backgrounds make the subject even more appealing. 

Sharon Jacob
Image credit: Sharon Jacob

Archies, Marvel/DC comics and anime inspired her to take up animation, which eventually turned into a career in illustration. Further, she really liked the idea that she could make a living from drawing cartoons. “My personal work is influenced by what is going on around me and I try to give some life and emotion to the characters I draw, also the themes and ideas I like to work on range from cute character illustration and comics based on slice of life situations, to using sarcasm to question the norm. If my artwork can do so little as to brighten up somebody's day, then my job is done,” says Jacob with a smile. 

Lipi Gupta
Image credit: Lipi Gupta

Gupta’s characters come out of a comic book! Her illustrations will inspire you to sit down with a paper and pencil. The bold use of colours, complex storylines achieve smoothly with female and male characters that save the day.

Anisha Shankar

Cartoons and comics were what inspired Shankar to turn to art. "Growing up I managed to draw more from emotions, books, music, conversations, the people and environments I was in, and a constant need to express it all through my distorted perception and filters," she recalls. Adding, "I’d like to think my art is slightly darker, yet almost childish take on the subjects I’m exposed to," states Shankar. Her works span from bizarre to cute and everything in between. 

Sandhya Prabhat
Image credit: Sandhya Prabhat

"While I’ve been drawing since a young age, I honestly did not know that this would help me make a living one day. Drawing has always helped me express myself, better than speaking or writing. Circumstance and luck have been in my favour, and the people around me have been extremely generous and encouraging. I am grateful that I am able to do what I love, for work," she reflects happily.  

But, she still doubts if she has one particular style; "I work with various digital and traditional media and on themes that are quite random. I like wordplay and I like literature and I enjoy coupling these with drawing. Professionally, I try to develop a look that goes with the project usually, and quite enjoy this process. While I am not consciously working on developing a visual style, I am thrilled naturally, whenever someone recognizes my work, even without my telling them that it is mine," she boldly clarifies. 

Priyanka Tampi
Image credit: Priyanka Tampi

Learning Economics inspired Tampi to take up art as a profession, strange, but yes! "After my stint with Economics, I realised how unfit and uninterested I was at having to sit behind a desk and do paperwork all day, unless it involved doodling all over said paper. I have been drawing ever since I can remember and could not imagine doing anything else and I can honestly say that I’ve tried," illustrates Tampi.

And your style? "I do not have a fixed style. It usually changes to better suit the idea. Most illustrators I’ve come across are very vibrant or may have a touch of traditional Indian styles in their work. My work is the exact opposite. The colours I use are mostly muted or just plain black and white.”

She likes to personify emotions and abstract concepts, and sometimes her themes are based on her understanding of society and its people.

Anushka Kalro
Image credit: Anushka Kalro

We believe that ever good artist has an interesting back story and Kalro’s is definitely one of them. Her perception of art was through lot of yellow Staedtler pencils he father brought when she was child. Her brother came along much later, so she was a fairly lonely child up until the age of seven. Roald Dahl’s writing and Quentin Blake’s illustration occupied most of her my time. That, and the ‘incessant need to draw in monochrome’ she tells us. “I went to The Valley School in Bangalore, and my art teacher, Nalini Jayaram, spotted my love for thin black lines really early,” she recalls. “She gave me a black pen before I was allowed to write with one in my regular classes. She would abandon me in the bamboo grove for hours so I could play with lines in nature.”

Her obsession with food and nature and monochrome are the things that make her art unique. She adores details. "I don’t shy away from hours of continuous black lines on a clean white piece of paper," she says. Adding, "I was around 13 when I knew I wanted to pursue art as a career. That and math! So then I thought, maybe architecture. But something in my gut said ‘illustration’." Four years later while graduating from Srishti School of Design, Kalro was writing and illustrating Khaata Rahe Mera Dil – her unpublished happy project that merged her love for food, Bollywood, and monochromatic illustration! 

Sadhna Prasad
Image credit: Sadhna Prasad

The realisation of what Prasad does and how her work develops is something she realised recently. She tells us that she took up this profession initially because she loved to draw and paint and knew that this was something that interested her deeply. "Recently, I have grown as an artist who reflects and ceases to interest people in the world I create," she feels.

Her work is reflective. "I think this not only makes me different, but also all the other illustrators. We all draw from our own dreams, memories and experiences. I am at such a comfort level with myself, I just reflect my thoughts visually, without any inhibitions and that makes me distinct," states Prasad. 

Abhigna Bararia
Image credit: Abhigna Bararia

Bararia has have always been inclined to art for as long as she can remember. Her biology books were the neatest during her school days! “I don’t remember a conscious day as to when I decided I would do an art course, but due to my strong inclination towards the subject, I knew I wanted to learn more about this discipline, and find a path that would allow me to take this up as a profession,” remembers Bararia.

“The main theme for Bararia’s artwork revolves around ‘feelings’. "For me, art helps the negative to transform into positive. I am always encouraged to make the viewer feel something when he/she is looking at it. I mostly do symmetrical intricate art with a lot of detail and (a little) chaos and my subjects are usually insects, birds, peacocks, flowers and more. I think this makes my style different from other illustrators across India."

Seher Malik
Image credit: Seher Malik

"Creating characters, personalities, and stories is my passion and I’m not too bad at it, in fact, I’m brilliant and I’m not humble, and to be in a place where I can do what I love without experiencing financial woes, mostly, is a brilliant convenience," reflects Malik with a bit of tongue-in-cheek humour. "Many illustrators are drifting away from the preconceived notions of ‘beautiful’ or ‘pretty’ in their portrayal of people, and now tend to show extreme deformities or things wrongfully considered ‘flaws’ or ‘taboo’. These subjects are prevalent and must be addressed,” she says. But she tend to portray what she observe day-in-and-day-out (with a twist), that is where the difference sets in. She believes that nobody (including her) fits into society’s unrealistic box of ‘perfect’, seeking perfection in so-called imperfection strikes her fancy. 

Tara Maria
Image credit: Tara Maria

“I think I loved how art just makes things better and the idea that you could see something and understand so much from it, just by the colours and shapes and in some cases words, in others, just the lack of words was so interesting,” Maria reflects. "Some of my favourite work has been created for my family and friends based on things they love and those ideas and skills have fed into my actual work, so I think that’s an important part of how I discovered that art could really make a difference and I wanted to spend my life trying to do just that."

A lot of her work has been with a mix of illustration and photography and she loves creating patterns, which are a mix of objects, colours and mediums. She also tries to use both mediums in her everyday life and adds parts of her life to her work using food and things around her as fodder for her artistic endeavours.

Shefali Desai
Image credit: Shefali Desai

Being a daydreamer even as kid; academics never interested her, except for literature and history, which really grabbed Desai’s attention. In 8th grade she came across Shakespeare and suddenly she had this fascination of drawing out the characters from The Merchant of Venice, and her love for drawing just grew and has stuck with here ever since.  

“During my journey in college, I was exposed to numerous art eras and exceptional artists like Salvador Dali, M.C. Escher which brought in a great deal of inspiration to develop my own style, fusing surrealism from Dali, and the amazing details from Escher,” remembers Desai. “I started creating intricate line art, infused with a lot of details. My obsession for details was only growing. I feel details add a lot of life to any artwork and these details make all the difference on how art is perceived. Majority of my work is black and white, just how life is like the ying and yang. I believe there is so much a black and white image can do which a coloured one cannot, I guess, this is what sets me apart.”

Professionally, Desai can adapt to any theme based on the brief. "I’ve worked on a range of illustrations based on nature, typography, animals, sometimes even superheroes.” She believes that she is a thinker, and that reflects strongly in her artwork, filling them with illustrations that have a lot of soul. The themes, on the other hand, are subconsciously related to how she feels. They usually consist of female characters, mermaids and angels in solitude, lost in another world. “I get intrigued by surreal concepts, like Alice In Wonderland, for instance, or The Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy. Projects, which fuel my creativity, are the ones I find most challenging, and I’m always on a prowl for grasping everything, that comes my way.”

Swati Banerjee
Image credit: Swati Banerjee

Banerjee’s illustrators are eye-catching and question the current status quo. Use of bold lines and deep shades, give the work more depth. 

Koyal Chengappa
Image credit: Koyal Chengappa

Art for Chengappa was nothing as romantic as inspiration; she was always inclined to it. When she was in fourth grade, she recalls telling her parents she wanted to go to art school. She has never been that kid who was confused about what he/she wanted to do.

"I think my style has a lot of mixed media, I love sketching detailed things with a ballpoint pen, usually human faces, and it’s a constant process of combining hand-done elements with vectors and bits of photographs to communicate the idea or thought. Now I’m trying to experiment with different mediums like stitching and other materials. I’ve always loved seamless collages. I adore working with the human body and gender, my work is definitely introspective and conceptual,” she tells us. 

Tanvee Nabar
Image credit: Tanvee Nabar

It seems like Nabar has more or less works on everything that an illustrator can think about. Her looks wears different shoes depending on what she is working at that moment. 

Goda Anirudh Raghavan
Image credit: Goda Anirudh Raghavan

Goda lost her mother to cancer a couple of years ago and that left a permanent void in her life, a sense of realisation that life is short and uncertain and a resolve that she will not mourn her loss, but try and spread as much happiness as she can. This led her to realise a talent that Goda hadn’t taken seriously since childhood and that brought about the creation of Pickles & Lota in October 2013. A lawyer by profession, Goda started by illustrating humor in the misconceived monotonous lives of a lawyer, in the form of cartoons Since then, (in addition to the hand drawn comic strips on lawyers), she have branched out into illustrating simple situations in day-to-day lives. Contributing to her inspiration is my adorable five-year-old beagle. "My passion for art runs concurrently with my passion for law, and I attempt to balance both professions," reflects Goda. 

She believes that the easiest way to interest a reader is to bring out the obvious in a situation that is often lost in our hurried lifestyles using minimal images and words. "I illustrate anything and everything I see. Consequently, through my two cartoon characters Pickles & Lota, my style of illustration focuses on simple yet expressive images bringing out humour, inspiration and wisdom. In addition to this, I also focus on creating cartoons for and on lawyers and also convert them into merchandise to adorn their desks, offices and homes. I believe that this combination of minimalist art in the life of a common man and art for lawyers makes me different from other illustrators in India," voices Goda.   

Sadhvi Jawa
Image credit: Sadhvi Jawa

“When I look back, I remember always working with a material – stitching clothes from waste fabric for my dolls, collecting pebbles to play vernacular games, stitching leaves together with twigs to make vessels and play house-house, I understood the world by engaging in such imitations. All these art activities helped me make sense of the world we lived in. There was no choice that had to be made. Art has been the way of life, it continues to be,” remembers Jawa. An image is a language that does not require words. It is a universal language similarly her style of illustration changes with the nature of the project. She mostly captures day to day events of life as a way to keep moments alive. Stories with no words inspire her the most. At times, style of the illustration emerges with the moods and the set-up of the story, the other times conscious choice is made to experiment with certain kinds of medium and materials to understand its potential to depict an emotion, mood, a moment, thought, observation and more. 

Bhavani S Kumar
Image credit: Bhavani S Kumar

Kumar doesn’t remember the exact moment when she knew she would be going in direction where art lay, but she was heavily influenced by the world of Disney as a child. She also loved the time she spent playing video games and reading comic books. She would draw out illustrations or come up with sequential art and stories based on things she absorbed at a pretty young age. “It wasn’t hard from that early stage to kind of realise I’d be happy pursuing something in the creative field, I guess,” Kumar points out.  

When it comes to her style, she wouldn’t say she has a completely established style as yet since she feels her skill and direction keeps evolving – Sometimes drawing out things aiming to be as realistic as possible and sometimes the illustrations are stylised to bubble-gum-like colours. She is most comfortable with traditional drawing and digital painting, but she does like working around 2D animation too. “I think there are a lot of really talented artists out there right now and I wouldn’t know how to explain how unique my work is compared to the rest at this point,” she clarifies. Personally, she loves working around sequential art in any form – creating storyboards for stories, collaborating with other artists or animators, or drawing up visuals and concept work for game quest campaigns with friends are some things she likes to work on.

Shweta Pai
Image credit: Shweta Pai

Pai feels deeply about nature, this is the reason why her works associate closely with it taking inspirations from things like plants and the things that surround us. 

Deepti Ramakrishnan
Image credit: Deepti Ramakrishnan

“Art has always been a key part of my life, I always knew that this was what I wanted to pursue,” Ramakrishnan says. “Fortunately in my school we had art as a subject so it helped my passion for the subject grow. Most people see art as a hobby; I always saw it as a way of life. It helped me deal with different situations, it helped me express my emotions without having to use words and most of all, it taught me patience and discipline.”

She is still trying to figure out a style of her own, and she loves doing intricate work. Currently, Ramakrishnan is interested in the theme of shared human experiences and has recently created a book that talks about that subject.

Rathee Ramani Iyer
Image credit: Rathee Ramani Iyer

Iyer’s work is etched deeply in the psychedelic genre. Dark shades like red, black and green mix together to paint a surreal picture. 

Neelima Prasanna Aryan
Image credit: Neelima Prasanna Aryan

Aryan is a little bit of a wannabe gypsy, and she started her career working with film festivals such as Experimenta and the International Film Festival of Kerala. She has been working with India Foundation for the Arts since late 2010. Further, her art is not for the light hearted or the narrow minded for they are mostly loud, about women, large bodies and queer love. If you are nice to her and don’t mind requesting, she may even croon for you a bit! (we did not say that, she did!)

Megha Vishwanath
Image credit: Megha Vishwanath

All of Vishwanath’s works are lined with happiness and a sense of joy. Further, the detail in the picture makes the doodle worthwhile. 

Alagu Chockalingam

Chockalingam loves the smell of print, the excitement of the web and joy of opening good packaging, and loves typography and everything to do with it. Apart from that she likes to spend time wandering around the city and seeing new things every day. She loves to bake, to eat, to read and to drink too much tea. Her illustrations are an extension of all the above. 

Nupur Panemanglor
Image credit: Nupur Panemanglor

Like other artist’s people and daily objects forms the centre point for Panemanglor’s art (especially women). They are well etched and give a sense of vibrancy. 

Joanna Davala
Image credit: Joanna Davala

Davala’s art is about freedom and escape and the way she sees the world and the things around her. Her works are mostly in colour. 

Surasti Puri
Image credit: Surasti Puri

Puri was always interested in the creative field as it was something about the fantasy that appealed to her from reading to drawing. Her family and their interests further encouraged her to enter the field. “I feel my illustrations always stem from a thought and an idea, that I might have seen or read and then I formulate it as a piece of work either illustration or digital art. It’s important for it to have a story, even if it is not apparent at first. In India I feel my work combines this abstract storytelling with simple imagery and combines my interests in botanical and literary fields,” clarifies Puri. 

Rucha Dhayarkar
Image credit: Rucha Dhayarkar

Nature is the binding theme for this Bangalore-based illustrator, and everything that surrounds it. Her works is striking, yet have a subtle sense to them.

Aarti Karwayun
Image credit: Aarti Karwayun

Karwayun studied art and bachelors in fine arts, but post college, she went ahead and took up a corporate job as a visual merchandiser. While it got her to travel, learnt to value time and deadlines, made her independent financially and otherwise too, she realised somehow she wasn’t in love with her job and work. “The year 2012 was when I official quit my job to follow that I could say was my calling or something I always was meant to do and be,” she recalls

To paint for the love of art, this gives her immense joy and untiring energy. She can sit and paint for hours and not be bored or done. She wake up every day, even on ‘Mondays’ filled with enthusiasm and in deep love for her work, she fills us in.

Stories of her fine art work are centered on women as she sees them as an infinite source of love, passion, divine energy, always seeking freedom and expression.

Pearl D’Souza
Image credit: Pearl D’Souza

From a young age D’Souza’s parents were able to identify that she was a visual person. Since her textbooks and notebooks were covered with drawings of things she saw or imagined, they encouraged her to draw all the time and bought her tons of art materials. Since her mother is an artist, that aided in the process too, watching her draw. Growing up in an environment that supported her ‘hobby’ helped her realise that this is something she could turn into more than just a hobby. She also feels like no artwork can be 100% original. “We are artists, draw from things we see, read, or even just hear about. We draw from the past, the present and the future. I believe that there is always a space where peoples work, however different, overlap,” she says.  

Her work is playful imaginative. She enjoys using monochrome themes and letting the viewer fill in the colours. “Detail is something I pay close attention too, and feel that it’s the detail that holds a work up and makes it what it is. I also like to play with juxtapositions – organic and inorganic forms, or static and dynamic images. I also love the causal space that a journal provides. She carries her journal with her all the time. It’s like an on-going conversation she has with herself.

Nirupama Vishwanath
Image credit: Nirupama Vishwanath

Vishwanath’s doodles will tickle your funny bone for sure. With that said she has some serious works of art in their, too. Right from her Inktober sketches to wedding cards you will find everything – in a nutshell, she is a pop-culture diva and her work revolves around that. 

Tanya Singh
Image credit: Tanya Singh

There is nothing Singh can’t do (or that’s what we thought after looking at her body of work). There is things ranging from cute to bizarre, her surreal works are like none you have seen before.  

Pallavi Agarwal
Image credit: Pallavi Agarwal

"I have always believed that one’s life should be such that it can be made into an interesting book. There should be enough and more learning, some insane new experiences, experiments, lots of adventures, risks and of course a little bit of magic in every chapter," she writes on her Behance page no wonder she digs the mythology genre.  

Shaizia Jifri Manekshaw
Image credit: Shaizia Jifri Manekshaw

Manekshaw is an illustrator like no other, why you ask? First off she is a drama teacher, then a full time mother, then a photographer, and also a puppeteer. Further, she has run a shop, a restaurant and guesthouse, raced in an autorickshaw rally, worked in an event management firm, made advertisement films, worked as a model, acted on stage and even sold life insurance policies for some time. No wonder her work/illustrations are full of life lined with human experiences.

Gitanjali Sukumar
Image credit: Gitanjali Sukumar

“I’ve been an artist in my own way almost all my life, starting with my experimentation with crayons, and moving onto watercolour, oil and acrylic paints. I also do have a few mixed media ones that I’ve done and enjoyed it,” recalls Sukumar. She liked life drawing, and she also does a fair bit based on nature. “My art has been taking an interesting shape in the recent years, and I’m happy with the direction its heading. I am open to learning new methods, so new types of art will possibly keep popping up from me,” she says. 

Varsha Chakkera
Image credit: Varsha Chakkera

Seen an Indian draw anime-inspired doodles in India – not just draw, but add her own interpretations and own it? Here we give you Varsha Chakkera. She is the real doodle ninja – and she will stand up even! Her character study is on a whole new leve, too. Take a look at her Behance page and you will know what we mean!

Fatema Master
Image credit: Fatema Master

An architect by profession and doodler by passion, art has always been an essential part of Master’s upbringing, but it got the upper hand only when she decided to take up architecture as her career. Along with the regular designing skills, architecture even opened the doors to immense travelling, and it was during these travels when she first put her hands to doodling. Everywhere she travelled, Master tried to sketch things that would help her relate to its people, culture, landscapes and of course it’s architecture. “The idea was to sketch everything in a way that the memory of it is rooted deep into my system , with no way to exit,” she says.

The need to draw, sketch, and doodle on any running thought is constant and more than that it’s therapeutic. Her workspace would be almost anything – pencil on table tops, marker on a napkin, ink on a torn receipt, bus tickets and sometimes if lucky, a sketchbook, too. And it’s done habitually — while on hold, in a meeting, during a boring class, or while one should be ideally sleeping. These doodles on varied canvas are my memory box; where every thought- good or bad, is turned to a doodle.

She doesn’t know how different her style is than other illustrators of India, in fact she hasn’t really thought of her art ‘having a style’. “And I sought of like that, because it doesn’t restrict me on doing one kind of an art or doing it in a one particular way. In fact, someone recently asked me, ‘Is it that you illustrate only in blue, because the name of you blog is ‘’The Blue Ink?’ All I could tell her is that my art is not restricted by any colour, medium or for say a theme too, I do like blue, but I wouldn’t mind painting in red or yellow, too! I like to call these doodles of mine, my essays without words – a space where the form of the essays keep changing depending on the things that have inspired me to draw them,” she clarifies with a smile. 

Juhi Prasad
Image credit: Juhi Prasad

Prasad has always believed in the power of art and its significance and slowly as she explores it, her belief on it has become stronger with more explanations. Though she is also a landscape architect, being an artist has always been a part of her life. Further, she draws because it makes her believe in the love of being alive and having a consciousness, an opinion, a thought. It does something to her, stirs her emotionally and intellectually.

“I truly believe that art is everywhere, so for beginners, having an open mind to my surroundings helps me a lot,” Prasad clarifies. “I also feel, every thought can be brought to life with the means of visuals. So I draw everything that I think or observe instead of writing about it. One of my professors in architecture study had always talked about the power of One Image. One Image is an idea of bringing together multiple thoughts into one integrated picture. This left a great impact on my style of drawing. Though I used to draw always, but with the intention of One Image I began to make illustrations, drawings, maps, paintings and more, and fell in love with this idea. I am always fascinated by places (natural or manmade) and people which have become major themes for my illustrations. I had read that creativity comes through you and not from you, though it is with you, it belongs not to you,” she closes. She feels that inspirations and beliefs is what makes one artist different from the other.

Hemali Vadalia
Image credit: Hemali Vadalia

Vadalia started off as a Computer Engineer working with an IT company as a programmer, but her love for art and animation made her change her stream from IT to animation and there was no looking back. She then pursed her dream with a Masters in animation and film design; this is where she was introduced to the works of old masters. This interest made her travel to Italy for her art education and study of classical realism at ateliers in Florence. During her ten-month stay in Florence, she not only got the opportunity to travel and visit the museums, but also got to see the old masters’ original artwork up close.

"The training I received helped me broaden my understanding of life. It has made me yearn for more; yearn to understand life, art and cultures. I hope I get the opportunity to study more of it all. I also hope the work I do gives me the opportunity to fulfil this desire of mine. I hope I get to travel, meet new people, learn and collaborate with them to create something which will show a mix of cultures and the great heritage that we all come from. I want to make memories,” writes Vadalia in her blog. 

Sara Joseph
Image credit: Sara Joseph

Like many illustrators, Joseph too has a thing for animal and nature, her work is deeply rooted in that ever we see around us. She is all about peeling the layers. 

Maanvi Kapur
Image credit: Maanvi Kapur

Kapur’s works are dark, and tries to capture the essence of the moment. It’s not how it looks, but how she feels when she is creating them. 

Aparajitha Vaasudev
Image credit: Aparajitha Vaasudev

Vaasudev’s work explores aspects of human existence and how they are informed by the sum total of the experiences of the individual. She endeavours to capture and represent certain truths in their relation to human psychology. She is interested in studying the behavior of human beings with regard to the worlds they live in. "I use various techniques and media to bring out the intangibility, malleability, fluxive and, particularly, the visual nature of memory, and to represent the coalescence of different pieces of knowledge. I have attempted to reflect on the experience of remembering, like when I come across veiled or completely inaccessible memories, or memories coming to me in fragments, through the techniques of tearing, layering, hiding and revealing. The use of found images in my work is my study of the fictive and malleable nature of memory, together with the ability to create associations that familiarise the visual with something that has been experienced,” states Vaasudev. 

Nandita Dhindsa
Image credit: Nandita Dhindsa

Like the ying and yang, Dhindsa works also follow the black and white path. Through art she seeks the true meaning of life. Her themes are grim and have a strong message to deliver. 

Rajasee Ray
Image credit: Rajasee Ray

Ray loves stories in any form – experiencing them, creating them, and putting them together in various different media – art, video, sound, words, performance, web design and development. Her works are multi-faceted with great attention given to things like story line and depth. 

Neha Rawat Battish
Image credit: Neha Rawat Battish

Her doodles are like a love story come true – human relations shown through illustratives in the best possible way. Her works reminded us of the film Up!  

Ivy Mukherjee
Image credit: Ivy Mukherjee

She is one of the top, on the list of emerging artists. Her sketches are bold and striking and they glare at the viewer with rawness, not of technique but of the spirit and the message they convey. “Whether they stare ferociously at the viewer, or float peacefully in their pages, eyes closed, my characters interrupt the most cursory glance. I am keenly fascinated with human beings and portray them in a nuanced manner that stirs the eye,” she tells us. 

 

 

We have had so much fun and learnt so much while discovering the works of 202 talented female artists from India (Between our last post and this on, its 202 women artists so far) and we are nowhere close to done. With the amount of talent this country has, we believed we have just scratched the surface. Which of these illustrators were your favourites? Any names we have missed. Let us know in the comments below.

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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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