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Naveen selvanathan

puss in boots
Naveen selvanathan
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Naveen is a visual development artist with over 10 years of experience. He is currently based in Los Angeles and is working at DreamWorks Animation for his latest project Puss in Boots-II.
From Painting a Canvas to the Hollywood Screen
A woman on a camel

In life when asked to pick a lane, it is always rooted in our childhood. The same is the case for Naveen Selvanathan.

Swayed by better job opportunities, he took up an engineering course. Thankfully it did not take him long to reconnect with his passion for art. Now, from painting on canvases as a child, his illustrations color the screens of Hollywood.

A rooster
A cool woman in the shade

His real career started after a short animation course in Chennai. He worked for a couple of years in India until making the big move to the US to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree.

There has been no looking back ever since. His first role after college was with Disney Interactive Studios. When we asked him about his experience, he admitted that it was pretty simple.

I cool woman walking dogs near a river
A cool woman in a boat with two dogs

‘I worked as an artist doing simple designs for their games,’ he says. All the while he kept pushing ahead toward his true goal of working in feature animation.

‘It paid my bills while I attended art workshops in the evenings to improve my portfolio,’ he says. And finally, it happened.

A messy bedroom
A mermaid singing at a distant castle

‘Smurfs was my first feature film,’ he says. He had to learn a lot of new skills on that project. Ranging from painting props, characters, painting locations, and color keys.

In the classic conundrum of light and color, he tells us that light decides everything. ‘The colors of objects may change from orange to purple depending on if it’s under the evening sun, or the cool skylight,’ he says.

A boy in the forest looking at a magical tiger
A cool woman with two dogs

He even recommends studying movies, photographs, and artists. After all, to bring illustrations to life, you have to study life itself.

Artists like John Singer Sargent, Anders Zorn, and Richard Schmid, have inspired his art form.

He also gives us a hint to keep lights and shadows in different layers when making an illustration. This way the illustrations not only are crisp but also rich and graphic.

A woman waking up in a tent
A woman posing with her goat
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