Monday, July 7, 2014
|Pictured Above; my photograph of Nina Chakrabarti's My Wonderful World of Fashion Stamp Set|
TAYLOR: First things first, if you were stuck on a deserted island, what are three things you would take with you? I love asking this question, its so interesting to hear everyone's response!
NINA: An extremely comfortable bed with an unending supply of bed linen, a mosquito net and a library full of books. I hope this is a warm desert island by the way, as if its cold I might ask for a sauna!
I'd love to hear about your illustrations. They're so fun and quirky, its impossible not to love them! When did you start drawing?
When I was a child. I just liked to copy stuff and draw characters and doodles. I grew up in India, without a TV and studied at a strict, academic school so drawing was a way I could have fun. That, and playing badminton.Did you always want to be an illustrator?
I didn't know there was such a vocation when I was a child. I'm not sure I thought about the future at all. When I was a teenager, growing up in England I vaguely knew there was this job called Graphic Design. I remember opening a magazine and seeing the headline 'Be a graphic designer!' with pictures of Letraset and rulers and pencils and I was very attracted to that. It sounded fun. Maybe I could make a book? Or a record cover? Yes, it definitely resonated but I did really badly in my art exams and it put me off for a while. I thought it must mean I wasn't very good and I did other things. I worked in a bookshop, applied to do English and art history but turned it down at the last minute and then decided I would give the art/design thing another go. The moment I started at art college I felt it was the right thing to do.Coming up with fresh ideas and sources of inspiration is a lot of work. What is the best advice you've ever received that helps you create new work?
|Pictured Above; Inside My Wonderful World of Fashion.|
Have a change in scene. If you're sitting by your desk, scrunching up lots of paper into the waste paper basket and feeling like nothing will ever get done then take a walk, go to an art gallery, take a trip to the library and pull out books from a section you don't always go to. Sometimes its much more productive to do that rather than feeling disconsolate over a blank page.You're the author of three books, and you even have your own stamp sets all based off your drawings! You've had so much success as an illustrator. What is your most memorable experience in your career, so far?
I think working on the first book was the most memorable experience in my career so far. It felt so exciting and the ideas came very easily. I worked long hours and most weekends but it felt fun and like I was doing something for myself.
|Pictured Above; Inside My Wonderful World of Fashion|
"I enjoy what I do and sometimes when it's going well, I wouldn't even call it work. It's a quiet kind of pleasure."
In answer to the first part of the question, I think India has not influenced the content of my illustrations but growing up there with not many distractions (no TV, no iPhone, no internet, no computers) must have helped develop my imagination as there were long stretches of staring out windows daydreaming. I think staring out of windows is hugely underrated as a pastime. I liked reading, drawing and stamp collecting. When I arrived in England, with my black rimmed spectacles I felt like a complete geek. I immersed myself into my new life: the music, the clothes, the TV(!!) and started having fun after the initial shock in being in such a different country.
In answer to your second question, I don't think it's important to live in a big city. I love it and thrive off it but I also think how nice it would be live in the country and be able to grow vegetables and have animals and a big studio. The world is now available on your computer too as research has changed from the days I used to have to go to the library for every small thing.
What is the best part about your job?
The independence to be able to live the life I want. I can work till midnight if I want, I can take the morning off and go swimming. I enjoy what I do and sometimes when it's going well, I wouldn't even call it work. It's a quiet kind of pleasure.You published your first book My Wonderful World of Fashion in 2009, that must have been incredible! What was it like seeing your drawings in a book and on shelves in book stores everywhere? Did you ever think you'd not only be an illustrator, but a published author, too?
|Pictured Above; A colored-in illustration in My Wonderful World of Fashion|
No! It never occurred to me. It was the publisher that approached me with the idea for the book and it has been so incredible seeing the book do well and being stocked in so many places. I remember the first time I saw it in America I stood looking at it for a while not quite believing it was my book.
What was the hardest part about writing a book -- or three?
The first page. Once you're over that, you're alright.
How long does it take to illustrate, write and publish a book?
I guess it depends on how long the book is. The first fashion book took about a year as I wrote and did the illustrations in four months, a little while longer to design the cover and have it checked by everyone, then it gets sent off to the printers for what seems like a long time but it's actually about three to four months.
If you weren't an illustrator, what would you be doing instead?
I'm mad about food (in fact I'm thinking about lunch right now) so I would have liked to have had training and become a cook.
|Pictured Above; Illustrations by Nina Chakrabarti|
"Find your voice and let that be the governing factor in everything that you do."
A lot of people admire you and your work! Who do you admire?
So many people, it would be hard to cram them all in here but a few that have really inspired me are Andy Warhol- the early illustrations more than the art, the drawings of David Hockney and Jean Cocteau, Scandinavian designer and illustrator Olle Eksell, Russian illustrator Ivan Bilibin, Japanese woodcuts, Indian patterns, my friends, artist Fergus Purcell and illustrator and ceramicist Laura Carlin. In fact, it is my friends whom I really admire as you see what they do close at hand and the skill and talent is mind boggling. Also, I wouldn't be here without their encouragement, generosity and support. Thank you friends.What message would you like to convey to young aspiring illustrators?
To develop your own style and try not to be swayed too much by what's going on around you.
To stand out from everyone else you have to know your mind. Find your voice and let that be the governing factor in everything that you do.
When I started out, illustrators weren't widely used and computer generated illustration was in. I just plodded on with my hand-drawn drawings and gradually after years and years, and yes, there were times I wondered what I was doing and felt like giving up, I started to get work and build it up to the point I could make a living at it. Don't give up!
Cats or dogs?
Cats, although I'm slightly allergic. I still love 'em.