August 14, 2014

Sketchnotes: Sukanto Debnath

By Anusha Narayanan

Keeping it simple, Sukanto Debnath tries to be clearheaded while sketching. “I try not to intellectualize the process, think as less as possible and try to unlearn ‘the ways’ to render things I learned over the years.” Unlearning our education is perhaps the hardest thing to do and sketching is a great way to think beyond what education has  prescribed to us. Although he really enjoys sketching on paper, Sukanto admits that he does not pick up his sketchbook as often as he would like to. “It has been long since I have done any final work on paper. I work on a Cintiq and it is good for rough sketches too. Especially with tight deadlines, digital tablet is just more convenient.”

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Very few artists actually admit to leaning on digital mediums to meet the pressures of their daily jobs, but Sukanto is open about the fact that he uses Photoshop CC and SketchbookX for doodles, conceptual sketches and designs. “But when I have the luxury, I do pick up my sketchbook. The feeling of drawing with a soft pencil on a rough paper…. and the sound of it…. is still unbeatable!” Instead of having to go to a stable to sketch a horse, like he would have had to during his college days, he can just Google the images now or look up the information on Wikipedia. He finds it much easier, given the accuracy and speed with which content is served on the Internet. Although the process is still exhaustive given the overload of content, sieving through that then becomes a task.

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Influenced by the works of Heinrich Kley, Bill Watterson, Carter Goodrich, Nicolas Marlet, Peter de Sève among others, Sukanto hails from Siliguri, West Bengal. With no interest in mugging up chemistry and geography, he took to drawing and painting. He went to Santiniketan, considered one of the best universities that grooms aspiring artists, but found himself wondering why his art needed to be saleable? “[I] found it difficult to respect the whole business of buying-selling and so-called galleries. So I went to Hyderabad after my graduation, to find out about animation instead. There, within a week, I got a job in Padmalaya Telefilms Ltd.!”

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After two and a half years there, he moved to DQE International where he worked for the next eleven years. In his career, he has played multiple roles starting as an animator, then layout supervisor, assistant director, creative director, storyboard editor, storyboard director and character designer. He currently resides in Hungary soaking in the peaceful countryside, freelancing as an illustrator and character design and discovering new capabilities within him with each task he takes on.

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