An illustrators diary with Ashwin Chacko

Ashwin Chacko

He has always got himself catapulted onto the scene of using his skills and imagination in the creation of aesthetics artworks, be it paintings, sketches and graphic designs. His artistic works have existed for almost his whole life now, owing to the fact that he grew up for the love of all things sketched and drew. From traditional art to children’s book and even comic strips he’s got it all. He does not restrict himself to particular theories when it comes to the art but instead explores concepts with the broadest sense of art, based on his ideologies and capabilities. While at the Escape Festival of arts and music in Uttarkhand, our in – house photographer Rundolf Mawlieh joins Ashwin Chacko a freelance artist, graphic designer and cartoonist, in a candid discussion about his career, his life and how he stays grounded.

-Life as an Illustrator, comic artist & graphic designer.

Life as freelance illustrator is great as it is something I’ve had a passion form a very young age. My mom was telling me the other day that when I was little I used to ask her “why I have to study? Why can’t I just draw?” She never thought much of it at the time, but here I am now drawing for a living. When you enjoy what you are doing you end up being much more productive and creative. Thus, do what you enjoy and the money will ultimately follow.

-Initial Hurdles

As a Freelance illustrator the main hurdle is getting clients. To get past this I spent 3 years developing a portfolio and style. The cool thing about this line is that you may have a phd but that won’t matter, all the client is interested in is will you produce. So If you have a creative mind and are ready to work hard this line is for you. The thing is none of this would be possible without that step of faith. I trusted God with my life and my finance. He provided the clients for
me and so I can continue to do what I love and make a living. When you are in the will of God all things are possible.

-Sense of production style, do you follow a pattern or structure or you simply go with the
flow of inspirations.

I developed my style over the course of my life. Generally my style changed according to what I experienced at that point in my life and who influenced me. There are some basic structures that every artist must follow in order to develop. Such as color theory, study of anatomy and perspective. Once theses foundations are set into your bones it becomes easy to develop your own unique style.

-Passion bound artworks versus commercial artworks, elucidate on both and which do you
prefer most.

There are pros and cons for both. The thing with passion bound artwork is that since you have the passion for it you will be more creative with it, there will be no restrictions unless you create your own. It is also generally an expression of your emotions that you are communicating. Though this is generally the more exciting of the two it is harder to make a living with it as it is something you are making for yourself. Whereas, commercial artwork is communicating someone else’s idea. The pros for this are that you get paid and that it is a challenge to make clear someone else’s idea. The con is that the message is not always something you agree with personally and there are always restrictions based on the client. I personally enjoy both because when you freelance you’re able to choose the projects you want to work on. So I can always choose something I would enjoy designing. For me it’s important to produce the best I can, and the best happens when I am passionate about what I am doing.

-Views on Indian consumers’ of art.

There has always been art in India and where there is art there are consumers. At the present moment India is a budding hub for artist. The people are slowly becoming aware of the different art form and with it there is a growing appreciation for it. India has held on to the more traditional styling of art, but is the time of change. With the first comic con in India happening last year there has been a growth of both readers and creators. The main thing is awareness the more the people are exposed to the new forms the quicker they latch on.

-Fondest graphic, illustration moments and what’s your personal favorite till date.

The fondest moment so far for me was when I finished my own graphic novel. It’s called The Fantastical Sombrero and it’s the story of a world that lies on top of this Sombrero (Mexican hat) that floats though space. Story follows the adventures of Stew a little boy, his capybara Phillepe from Shroom Town, Emily a little girl and Cal her companion Robot from Candy Island. It is to be a twenty part series, but I am still looking for a publisher. You can check out the first few pages here : The Fantastical Sombrero

So if you enjoy it and know a publisher who would be interested please do let me know.

-The Future.

As for the future that is in God’s hands. But if the opportunity presents itself I would like to get my work published and see children around the world reading my comic. I would also like to see it become an animated series and an interactive book on the Ipad.

-Finally, your statements and words of wisdom to our readers and budding artists.

All I want to say is trust God and he will give you purpose for your life. Money is not the key to living it is just a tool that should not be your main goal. Find something you enjoy doing and do it. We as humans’ live short lives so make use of it do something that brings joy, purpose and meaning not just for yourself but for the people around you. All those wanting to be artist go for it and be passionate about what you do take the risk and be the best you can. Just be willing to work hard, nothing happens without action.

Rapid Fire:

Role model: Jesus Christ, Joshua John (my pastor and a painter), Craig Thompson (graphic novelist)

Favourite book: Lord of the Rings, Habbi (graphic novel),

Favourite musician: Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin, Mumfford and Sons, The Fray, The Killers, Two Doors Cinema, Kurtis Mayfield, Weather Report

Favourite Cuisine: A little bit of everything from continental to Chinese to Kerala beef and Naga pork.

Delhi as a place for learning art: Delhi is a great place for art we are surrounded by beautiful architecture. It is a multi-cultural city so that allows art from different places to grow and adapt. As for learning art there are a lot of different things happening in the city. You need to come and find out for yourself.