From Doodles to Designs: In conversation with Artist and Illustrator, Tirth Katrodia

Tirth Katrodia, an artist and illustrator living in London, believes that creativity is a way of life. Drawing influence from music and culture, they use creativity as a means of communication and connection.

Why did you decide to take up your creative trade?

I started because I liked to create – whether it’s still or moving, photos or video, drawings or paintings. Over the years, however, it has dawned upon me that practising creativity, in any form, has helped me to enjoy a state of being – which helps me to look beyond the obvious reality. In its mystical ways, it enables me to communicate better and remain sensitive towards life. So, I’m not quite sure if I chose the creative trade or if the trade picked me. I can admit to a feeling of bliss, however, when you can make money by doing what you love to do.

How do you get past creative blocks?

I’ve found doing dishes or other home chores helps to divert attention at times, almost as if I were rinsing something within myself and then I can get back to working. Sometimes staring at moving clouds and just breathing also helps. However, when working on a deadline, there is not much luxury of time and it is better to just keep on working. In such times, I try to focus on doing the easy things first, breaking the task into smaller parts and slowly the process of working itself helps dissolve the block.

What is your creative process?

I like to start on paper with a pencil or any other drawing tool and just have fun drawing, try compositions or explore ideas for the creative brief. This is a vital step before I begin looking at references. This way I can test if I have any ideas of my own for the problem at hand and keep things playful for me to enjoy. Later, I move on to studying references, researching on the subject and shaping the project as the brief demands.

Often the drawings or doodles from the play time never make it to the next stage. However, this remains a pressure-free fun way for me to start a project and for a while, it almost feels like I’m going on a walk with no real purpose. And many times, this process has helped me to offer fresh and unique perspectives towards the project at hand.

Where do you look for inspiration?

This depends on the subject matter. If I’m working on an illustration for a particular festival celebration (have worked on a few projects like this) – I’d try and look up videos on YouTube, preferably by vloggers, to get informed on the culture. I’d reference known or niche artists/artworks to catch the vibe of the visual aesthetics.

Sometimes, I’d also read or listen to music that would help me to understand cultural nuances and linguistic expressions. All of this, I’d record in the form of doodles or writings which form the necessary ingredients that would help me cook the soup, which later gets served as the final artwork.

What are you reading or listening to right now?

Reading and re-reading books by Osho, RM Rilke and Haruki Murakami. Always listening to the super-dope Nucleya, Ritviz, AR Rahman and some Desi Hip Hop artists when working out. Lately, I’m tuning in to a lot of Indian classical maestros as I focus on completing work tasks.

What does your typical day involve?

As a creative entrepreneur, my workday is divided between developing business opportunities and building visual solutions for clients. After the workday, I carve out some time every day to draw in my sketchbook. This daily ritual of drawing freely helps me to unwind and has also aided me in developing personal work.

What has been your favourite project to date and why?

This has to be the mass snap illustrations and animations that I helped to create for Snapchat between 2019-2021. These projects allowed me to research various cultures and allowed me to bring forth the idea of celebration as these assets were designed for specific festivals. More than the project itself, I believe, the opportunity to research and stitch the discoveries together to weave dreamlike narratives has proved fascinating for me.

How do you switch off?

Long walks, a good workout, music, reading or just staying quiet. And sometimes, by making marks on a surface with no real purpose.

Who inspires you?

My family and the people that I’ve been blessed to meet on the journey.

A big thank you to Tirth Katrodia for contributing to our series of creative conversations with industry experts.

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