Meet IndieFolio Network’s Artist of The Month, Samji.
Hailing from the state of Kerala, India. Samji is an illustrator, who is currently working as a full-time freelancer, using his Instagram page as a portfolio to promote his artworks and also for commercial purposes.
Samji was inspired to pursue a career in illustration after realising that he can earn from doing what he loves. He didn’t want to be stuck up doing an odd job and not live his life to the fullest potential. However, he did not initially start his artistic career doing illustrations;
“My career was a roller coaster ride! I actually started with animation but it didn’t quite work out for me. I did a few odd jobs and finally ended up in a fine-arts college. But there too, I dropped out in the third year. I moved into graphic designing– only for the sake of earning money. But somewhere in the middle of it all, I got an opportunity to do an illustration and absolutely loved the process of it. It also led me to the realisation that just because you know to draw doesn’t mean you can illustrate. Since then, I have been solely working on illustration alone, without deviating into any other avenues.”
While talking about his style of art, he says, “My style has been an ever-evolving process for me. The style that I followed in the beginning was mostly realistic in nature. Later, I got bored with it and even started getting lazy to do the detailing in my illustrations. These two factors played a lot of importance in the way I evolved into my present style. Now my style of art is mostly a comfortable way in which I draw.”
In terms of his creative process, Samji follows different outlines, depending on the type of work. For his professional work, he studies and does thorough research about the requirement. After creating a mood board for his project, he creates scribble and thumbnail previews of the composition, followed by colour preview and similar thumbnail previews. After getting the approval, he moves onto the final draft phase. For his personal works, he simply starts with a random scribble and develops his project from there on.
Speaking of current industry trends, he says, “I don’t believe in illustrative trends and I also don’t follow any. But I do ensure that I am skilled enough to adapt the trends into my illustrations if the situation demands it.”
On being asked about what motivates him, he truthfully says, “Incentives. I try to focus on the incentive at the end of the day to get that dopamine kick. It has helped me shake off burnouts and continue working. For personal work, I want to enjoy the process. So I never push myself to the extreme.”
When it comes to handling clients and their feedback, he makes it a point to listen to them to ensure that he can create what they are looking for. But if at all, their feedback doesn’t make sense, he tries to put in his inputs and paint a picture to his clients on what could go wrong if they proceed with it. “Thankfully so far, I have received only clients who take in my opinions as well.”
To avoid being under the pressure of working on multiple projects with tight deadlines, Samji always schedules his client works. Elaborating further, he says, “I try not to take up multiple projects lest I feel overwhelmed. I haven’t had many tight deadline projects coming my way. If at all they do have tight deadlines, I charge an extra payment for it. This adds a responsibility to the work and helps me get through it.”
He also avoids working on remote projects. “I need to have freedom and space to work on an illustration at my pace. Being in a remote job can take away that freedom for me.”
Just like for all of us, 2020 was an equally tumultuous and challenging year for Samji. “The only thing I am looking forward to right now is the COVID vaccine and for the whole world to get better and be released from the clasps of the virus.”