August 21, 2014

Sketchnotes: Kaveri Gopalakrishnan

By Anusha Narayanan

Travelling like a gypsy and threading stories all along, Kaveri Gopalakrishnan – a graduate in Animation Film Design from NID, Ahmedabad – has lived in her world of imagination as a state of normalcy, since her childhood. “I used to document the things people did or said, ever since I started drawing as a toddler. This probably makes me an obsessively curious person; curious about other people and their quirks, which I still am”, she says. She started keeping a ‘thoughtbook’, a visual diary, as a teenager, writing down experiences, anecdotes, lyrics of songs and words from her favorite poems, accompanying them with small sketches and doodles emphasizing on the expressions and gestures to convey the message.


She continued the habit, giving her the chance to remember all those incidents when she glances through these books. These sketchbooks have also helped her realize that her childhood fascinations are what have stuck with her till date. “I like themes of inside jokes, and bringing out the quirks that make each person in the world a ‘character’. Animals and the natural world figure largely in my work, because they’re so much better than people. This is probably how I see the world.” She also documents her odd ‘fashion’ choices as a freelancer on a daily-outfit section on her blog.


For her artwork she uses Tan color Cretacolor or Derwant pencilsPentel Brushpen and a Winsor Newton mini-watercolor set, putting it in her cloth pouch which she keeps with her during work, travel and at home, drawing in cafes, trains and park benches. She usually ideates in her sketchbook and uses Photoshop for finishing, using few layers in her digitally edited files, making an acrylic-looking image rather than one with noticeable special effects. “I’m definitely inspired by artists with strong content-driven or humor-based work”, she explains, elaborating that her inspirations are Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, Guy Delisle and Luke Pearson. She admires Yuko Shimuzu’s philosophy and technique, the webcomics of Jillian Tamaki’s SuperMutant Magic Academy, and the works of Emily Caroll as well.


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Upon graduation from NID, Kaveri interned with an animation production house in Mumbai, following it up with her first job at Chumbak as a Lead Designer. Here she worked on a range of eclectic products as one of Chumbak’s first in-house designers. She moved on to being a freelancer and traveller, documenting her daily incidents through her ‘thoughtbooks’, travelling from Goa to Singapore, Indonesia, Delhi, Bangalore to her current location – New York City. Her work involves designing book covers, t-shirts, game packaging and a 20-page comic under MantaRay Comics. She is currently on an illustration residency at the School of Visual Arts in New York, capturing the diverse personalities she meets everyday on Instagram. Alongside this, she is working on two comic stories done entirely in watercolors and illustration-centered products for her website.

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