June 12, 2012

Garima Gupta

“In the words of Sir Calvin and Lord Hobbes, you can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet,” says illustrator Garima Gupta,when prodded about her creative process, adding, “One has to often trick the mind into other lands, transmogrify and engage in all sorts of outlandish behavior. The faucet is still most likely quite tricky to operate. In the past few years, my agenda has not been to start plumbing or reinvent the faucet but to get amazed by its workings. Sometimes the faucet just gargles up a lot of ideas, that’s a good time. I keep these ideas stored in little books, on bits of paper, or whatever comes close. It’s the hunt for these scraps that usually is another task in itself. But I try and store them well and safe and use them later to execute on dry days.”

On days when the faucet acts up and time is limited,she says she tries and feeds birds, in the hope that some good luck will come her way. “It’s a miracle how that works. I guess when you are not thinking of work, that’s when it happens. So it’s crucial to get away. And of course come back too,” she adds.

Garima specialized in Animation Film Design at NID, Ahmedabad. She believes she has always been an illustrator and says her grandmother dug out some evidence for this claim. She says, “She brought out something
I had drawn in a letter to her dated 1990, illustrating how I will buy her the kind of bindis that would look good on her. I guess that convinced me that I would be a horrible engineer or doctor for that matter. I have drawn (and was allowed to draw) in math books while pretending to study, on walls while pretending to play hide and seek, on answer sheets (I am not joking — my English teacher would always encourage me to draw on my answer sheets
 — the only reason I got a +5 was for good ‘imagination’). I went on to pick up fine arts for my high school subjects, so I drew more. This included – plants that sat on table tops for days, girls who couldn’t stay still for seconds, imaginary people, cows, buildings, everything.

On her creative process, she elaborates, “On the work table, its fairly simple. It’s just
a lot and lot of head space, used paper and pencil. The love for the idea drives me. The idea is essential, it’s the source of energy for all that is going around in the head.”

She likes Oliver Jeffers’ work. “He has some great ideas and he coughs them up in a very effortless manner. His work is simple and charming, he’s not trying to be someone he’s not. A lot of his picture books have the kind of stories that would hit a child and an adult alike, it’s the idea, the feeling that’s more prominent. His books ‘Lost and Found’, ‘The Great Paper caper’ and ‘Heart and the Bottle’ are something I would read out to myself on a dull night. They just hit it right and fine. Illustration is more of design and less of art, it’s not always an elaborate exhibition of an illustrator’s skill but more about how effectively he/she communicates the feelings through scribbles.”

“In the words of Sir Calvin and Lord Hobbes,you can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet,” says illustrator Garima Gupta, when prodded about her creative process, adding, “One has to often trick the mind into other lands, transmogrify and engage in all sorts of outlandish behavior. The faucet is still most likely quite tricky to operate. In the past few years, my agenda has not been to start plumbing or reinvent the faucet but to get amazed by its workings. Sometimes the faucet just gargles up a lot of ideas, that’s a good time. I keep these ideas stored in little books, on bits of paper, or whatever comes close. It’s the hunt for these scraps that usually is another task in itself. But I try and store them well and safe and use them later to execute on dry days.”

On days when the faucet acts up and time is limited, she says she tries and feeds birds, in the hope that some good luck will come her way. “It’s a miracle how that works. I guess when you are not thinking of work, that’s when it happens. So it’s crucial to get away. And of course come back too,” she adds.

Garima specialized in Animation Film Design at NID, Ahmedabad. She believes she has always been an illustrator and says her grandmother dug out some evidence for this claim. She says, “She brought out something 
I had drawn in a letter to her dated 1990, illustrating how I will buy her the kind of bindis that would look good on her. I guess that convinced me that I would be a horrible engineer or doctor for that matter. I have drawn (and was allowed to draw) in math books while pretending to study, on walls while pretending.

Is there any particular theme that she is partial to? She answers, “I guess my first choice is always people, not because they are the nicest thing that happened to this planet but because they are so strange and complicated, there is something always wrong with them. That is what a character is, its flaws make it so interesting and you want to know more. To illustrate dilemmas, angst, agony, sadness is any day more involving than drawing buildings, not that there is anything wrong with that. Having said that, I do draw birds a lot, I’m just plain mad about them, maybe that’s why.”

Where does she go for her daily inspirations? She responds, “My balcony. I like it when I see a new bird picking twigs to make a nest in the most obscure corner. Its peek-a-boo time for me, who stays where. Inspiration is when you can feel happy, not necessarily when you see something and want to draw it out exactly. I like my plants, I know a new tomato bud from the one I saw yesterday, I know the sun birds by where they fly from, the street dogs by who is who and how each of their ears curl. I like it when a pigeon sees me from the corner of its eye and decides its still going to go ahead and drink water from the broken pot. Smaller joys are the most inspiring.”

garimagupta.net

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First published in Kyoorius Magazine 12, featuring Sky Design, Design Orb, Studio Tjeerd, JWT, Wieden Kennedy, Ideas@Work, Abhijit Kalan, Alicia Souza, Anvita Jain, Garima Gupta, Nithin Rao Kumnlekar, Rahul Gaikwad, Rebecca Chew, Saurabh Kumar, Taaneya Balaji, Ratna Ramanathan, Adobe India, Tarabooks, Latika Khosla, Ruchita Mahadok, Harsh Purohit, Michael Wolff, and Shagun Singh. Not a subscriber yet? Subscribe here.

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