The Connection Between Reality and Fantasy
First and foremost, how did you get into art? What about illustration got your attention and how did you take it forward?
Saurabh Chavan: I’ve always liked to read stories and loved to watch illustrations from early childhood. Then, after reading so many books, I automatically started to judge stories and illustrations. Whatever I felt was missing in those books inspired me to create. That’s how I started to write and draw.
What are the advantages and disadvantages you’ve experienced of turning your passion into your profession?
Saurabh Chavan: The disadvantage of being an artist is that there are not enough education sources in India for this profession. The advantage is that there are limited people who can enter this profession compared to other careers, so there is less competition for expert artists.
Where does the strong influence of science fiction come from in your subjects, characters, and themes?
Saurabh Chavan: Hollywood films like Star Wars, Marvel, and DC influence my work overall.
What specific techniques define your work and what effect or impact do you achieve through them?
Saurabh: I love to create fantasy artwork in painting style using digital media. That gives a human touch and feel to digital artworks while also providing me with the benefits of digital tools.
Tell us about your choice of using dark palettes, backgrounds, and contrast. How do they contribute to the result?
Saurabh: I love the mystery and suspense of storytelling as much as providing the audience with a unique and memorable feel. Using dark palettes is the best way to do so.
Tell us about how you choose your next artwork, commission, client, or role at work.
Saurabh Chavan: At the job, it’s all decided by the company. However, I always look at every artwork as an opportunity to learn new things. In the freelance arena, it all depends on clients. Personally, though, I am always in search of interesting concepts and ideas which can be challenging to my skills yet enjoyable to work on. That way, I can continuously grow in my skills while attracting more such work from clients.
What do you think young illustrators are bringing to the table and what do you feel they need to retain from the past?
Saurabh: I think young people are always full of energy and want results as quickly as possible. It’s a good desire to grow but only if you do not choose shortcuts and, instead, try to develop your work as best and quickly as possible. Likewise, training your brain for shapes and volumes is key. The only way to do that is through practice.
What is the illustration and how has it changed in the course of time, according to you? What’s the best way forward?
Saurabh: An illustration is a decoration, interpretation, or visual explanation of a text, concept, or thought. These days, people with digital tools get fast results but, if you want to make that result have a strong and memorable imprint on your audience, you have to go with the fundamental process of creating a masterpiece. That, in my opinion, requires one to think, research, study, experiment, and patiently give sufficient time to the artwork.
Tell us your favorite work of your own and one by another artist. Please elaborate on why.
Saurabh: In my opinion, artworks to an artist are like babies to their mother. Every child is a favorite but, sometimes, a newborn is extra special. So I look up to my fresh work the most.
With regard to other artists, I love so many that I can’t single out a favorite. Yet, if someone insists, I say god is my favorite artist and the human being is my favorite work of his/her; it’s my ultimate inspiration. Fantasy always originates from reality. If someone can’t experience reality, they can’t imagine fantasy.
What are the most important things for an illustrator to keep in mind or do, according to you?
Saurabh Chavan: The most important thing for an illustrator, I think, is to be alert all the time. Observe your surroundings. Try to find better tools to create your art or to convey your idea, thought or concept to the audience. Don’t bind yourself within the boundaries of art styles. Always try to break your comfort zone. Never give up. Just go on creating with consistency.