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Bhavya Desai

The Hindu
The Indian Express
Bhavya Desai
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Bhavya Desai is an illustrator based in Chennai, India. He has been featured in various publications such as The Hindu and Indian Express. A Black belt in Karate, he gets a lot of his creative inspiration from local culture; the small-scale, the eccentric, the ordinary.
The Element of Surprise

Firstly, please tell us about your art journey– How it all started, how did you take it forward and where are you now?

Bhavya Desai: Like many others, it started off scribbling behind textbooks and notebooks during classes in school. I also took art as a subject in the 11th and 12th grades, after which I decided to take it forward and see where I land up. At a very young age, I enjoyed drawing crowded scenes that fill up the paper. Currently, nothing has changed since then. I still enjoy crowding up my paper with characters and daily activities around me.

A cleaning lady

What technical aspects or illustrative elements do you specifically apply to make your characters come alive? Please elaborate on the process.

Bhavya Desai: Personally, it’s all about breaking down the scene and understanding the composition before I put it down on paper. The thinking of any artwork happens before I start work. The hands later do the magic and project my thoughts onto paper.

A knife sharpener

How do you characterize your work and why have you chosen this style of illustration?

Bhavya Desai: My style wasn’t intentional – it was in a ‘Still Life’ class I was part of, where I couldn’t get the proportions of the model sitting in front of me. We were all asked to do draw in a realistic form. I didn’t score well in that class but I did score a point for myself by drawing it in my way and discovering what worked for me the best.

An egg merchant

What are the main challenges you face in your style of depiction and how do you overcome them in both approach and technique?

Bhavya Desai: I can’t think of any. I am not sure if I have landed on any challenges with my style of art but there are a lot of subjects that I have yet to explore and will not know how It would look unless I try it out. I am eagerly looking forward to illustrating elements from nature such as waterfalls, forests, etc.

A man on a motorbike

What kinds of platforms do you illustrate for? Which ones do you enjoy or appreciate most and why?

Bhavya Desai: Recently I’ve enjoyed illustrating on walls for corporate spaces. Apart from that, I enjoy illustrating books.

A man transporting gas canisters

You’ve made a ton of posts on Instagram. What’s your strategy in the use of social media and how do you optimize its impact?

Bhavya Desai: My posts are very random and not planned. I feel it’s’ the best way to be organic and I let my audience know how true I am to my posts. The moment I plan grids and layouts, it’s going to feel very mechanical and monotonous. I like surprising people with random posts into my work and personal life.

A newspaper delivery bike

How do you perceive the current illustration scene and where do you think the trend is headed? What’s your own vision for its further direction?

Bhavya Desai: I might not be the best person to answer this as I barely follow many illustrators. The few I follow have unique approaches and carve their own paths.

A musician

Please highlight two or three of your best project experiences and elaborate on what made them special.

Bhavya Desai: I enjoyed the recent two feature walls that I had completed. A 203sq.ft wall is the biggest I’ve worked with and it was all done in a matter of three birthdays, from ideation to execution. I am also working on my first book with a friend, which will be self-published. The visuals that I’ve illustrated look stunning and I can’t believe I am saying it.

A barber

What kinds of work or projects are you primarily looking to do at this stage and in the near future?

Bhavya Desai: Lots of Children’s books and illustrating in public spaces to make my artwork more reachable is what I seek.

A man serving a drink from a bike

What particular expectations do you have of your clients and how do achieve sync with them?

Bhavya Desai: The only expectation I ever have is for them to trust me in the project.

A fisherman
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