Cartoon and realism may as well seem to be complete polar opposites. And yet here is Kumblekar, waving his stylus and marrying these seemingly opposing forces with beauty and grace.
Illustrator based in India. Nithin Rao Kumblekar specialized in characters and creative illustrations having worked on different marketing materials and campaigns for renowned clients across the globe.
What prompted you to become an artist? What are some of the greatest challenges you’ve faced in this field so far?
Nithin: Art is all I’ve ever known and loved; hence nothing actually appealed to me other than art. The most common challenge that I face is trying to impress myself. I deeply study, analyze and criticize my work which prompts me to understand the mistakes that I might make and the changes I wish to make in the future.
What is the greatest inspiration for your artwork? What prompts you to pick up the pencil/ pen/ stylus every day?
Nithin: I create illustrations out of the simple ideas that occur to me. I believe that the process of illustrations can be complicated, but the basic idea must remain simple. The idea may even sound silly, but the finished product must be awe-inspiring.
Your artworks have subtle humor and exaggeration. How do you use this medium for storytelling?
Nithin: Exaggeration is a great tool for storytelling since the moment we exaggerate, the narration becomes convincing. Most of my characters have expressive features. The primary motive in my illustrations is to make sure that the viewers spend at least five seconds with my artwork. If they spend those five seconds, they will automatically spend a little more time analyzing the piece and understanding the story behind it.
How important are colour and light in storytelling? Kindly describe your method for colour selection and choosing suitable lighting for an illustration.
Nithin: Lights play a significant role in my artworks. I have spent my entire life studying light and shadow, and I continue to do so even today. While many believe that understanding colors are the first and foremost thing to do, it is essential to remember that colors change according to light. As soon as I land upon an idea for an illustration, I think of the best ways to light the scene to accurately capture the artwork’s mood. If I feel unsure, I test the lighting with a rough sketch in greyscale. I proceed to colors only upon finalizing my lighting.
Your artworks are a mix of realism and cartoon. How do you balance these styles? How would you best describe your style?
Nithin: I have always been attracted to cartoons and paintings, enjoying shows such as Dexter’s Laboratory and worshipping artists like Vermeer. And these childhood inspirations began exerting their influence on my artworks unconsciously. As for my style, I create a cartoon-based sketch and provide them with a smooth painting finish. I always refer to my artworks as ‘Creative Illustrations’ since these are not just illustrations but something with a story behind it.
Your works are primarily digital. Do you work with traditional mediums as well? What are some of the tools and software that you use regularly?
Nithin: Yes, I work in the traditional medium whenever I find a little time for myself. As for software, I primarily use Photoshop along with my Wacom Cintiq Touch Monitor.
What is the first thing you do upon receiving a new project? Could you kindly explain your artistic process?
Nithin: I try to look at the idea from the consumers’ perspective and analyze how my illustration can create a meaningful impact on the brand or the product. If I am satisfied with the approach, I sketch it, share it with the client for approval, and then color it. But if I feel like the idea can be improvised, I share my concerns with the client.
Having worked with numerous clients, which project would you say is the closest to your heart and why?
Nithin Rao Kumblekar: It is difficult to pick just one among so many works. But if I must name a few favorites, they would be the characters I created recently for a card game called Loot and the series of illustrations I designed for a pet food brand called AVP a few years back. Both of these works were instantly approved by the clients without any changes. And they were incredibly supportive when I sought more time to provide a better finish for my work. To top it all, they paid before the completion of my project.
What is your vision for your future as an artist?
Nithin Rao Kumblekar: I have several plans floating in my mind, such as starting a class, a store, or an online course. I get such seemingly random ideas every once in a while. Therefore, the one thing I am sure of is the uncertainty of the future. But I wish fervently that I draw and paint till the end of my days.
How would you describe your ideal client?
Nithin Rao Kumblekar: A person who spends some time checking my portfolio and wholeheartedly placing their trust in me while firmly believing that our collaboration will result in the best in my ideal client.