July 24, 2014

Sketchnotes: Kalyani Ganapathy

By Anusha Narayanan

Kalyani Ganapathy likes telling stories through her sketches, heralding the title of a ‘visual story teller’ on her website, describing herself as a person “who actually woke up one morning, got out of my graphic designer avatar, walked into an art shop, bought a bag full of material and started drawing.” Kalyani is an illustrator, who graduated in graphic design and advertising, but gave it up for pursuing a life in illustration. She traded her big city life for a small town one, in her hometown in the Nilgiris, from where she illustrates, designs books and book jackets for adults and children. She is a voracious reader and a “believer in fiction” as she calls herself. Sharing her musings, she says, “I usually pick up my sketchbook when I have millions of thoughts running in my head, when I want to preserve a special memory, or when I have nothing else to do and have the urge to just sit at my desk and paint.”

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Kalyani’s work exhibits a vividness in colors and bold expression, the surreal themes usually supported by a short composition on her website. The details are embedded into objects speckled across the fairytale-like backgrounds painted on textured paper, or canvas using varied mediums but it all begins with her doodles. She says she relies on, “Imagination, 0.7mm clutch pencil, eraser, poster colors and Indian ink”, for her sketches. “When I doodle for work it’s usually my clutch pencil and old sheets of one sided printed paper. I just draw thumbnails.” During the entire process, and upon completion, the maximum she gets close to using digital is for scanning and cropping her finished handmade artwork.

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Some of the recurring themes in her sketchbook are the ones that revolve around holidays, food, nature and people stories. “So many times, that I remember the weirdest things people say, that I am witty, that I can paint so much more than I envisioned. I think that’s the nice part about maintaining a sketchbook with more or less finished art.” Responding to a query on her artistic influences she point out that she tries not to be influenced by anyone when it comes to her sketchbook. “It’s impossible to draw without outside influences in this day and age. Everyone knows everyone’s work.”

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In the process of creating illustrations for commissioned projects, often there are ideas and doodles that are lost in transformation. Comparing this process with her self-initiated work, Kalyani elaborates, “While making a book there are often other people involved, to be specific the publishing house and quite often they have something specific in mind. When I work on a self initiated project my process is more fluid and progresses from writing down random thoughts on paper, to daydreaming, to drawing and then using the various elements in the artwork to write a story.” Her swirling dabs of the paintbrush and the contrasts of her flowing stories intrigue any onlooker, proving her claims of being a daydreamer as true.

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1 Comment

  1. Puneet Rakheja

    07.25.2014

    Reply

    This is fantastic. Thanks for sharing and thanks to Kalyani for the vivid musings.

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