Independent artist Pranita Kocharekar uses her illustration skills not only to spread awareness about what matters to her but also to create a range of quirky products that bring joy to her customers!
What took you to a career in illustration?
Ever since I was a little kid, my parents (who are also artists) encouraged me to use crayons as a form of communication. I would often draw my feelings or narrate incidents on the walls of our house. I could express myself better in visuals than in words. While I was studying design in college, I took the opportunity to understand alphabets better. Alphabets are also shapes and creating my own personal style using these shapes was very interesting. Studying type design involved a lot of daily practice – drawing letter forms on paper was something I did with my morning tea.
After college, I decided to continue my practice without having any boundaries. I began journaling my feelings in the form of daily drawings. To ensure consistent practice, I would upload one drawing a day on Instagram, which was a new visual diary back then. The project is still ongoing – #pranitasdrawingaday. Over time, I fell in love with stylizing my thoughts into illustrations.
I usually take on illustration projects that demand a visual representation and help communicate a complex idea into a simple visual. I’m almost always approached by youthful brands that need humorous or quirky illustrations. I’ve also been approached by brands who wish to break down content into visuals that can help communicate their ideas better – like mental health, finance, NGOs, etc.
Describe your style.
My style constantly changes as I change as a person. The more I learn about myself (psychologically or physically), it reflects in my drawings. However, just like how the core of every person stays constant, the same is applicable to my work. I love to dabble with color to express moods, I try facing every situation in my life with some humor, and I always try to stay connected with the child within me.
What is your approach to storytelling? How do you find narratives?
Design for me is looking for solutions to already existing problems. Every problem is unique and subjective to every individual. When I recognize a problem, I try understanding it, research the problem and the solution, and read about various people’s perspectives to the problems. This usually helps me create a large bank of information. If information is shared as a large chunk of text, it may not help reach the desired audience. I often try looking for the most relatable part of the problem and create a narrative around it. Majority of my work involves very simple narratives to complex problems. I believe this helps approach complexity with simplicity.
Which have been some of your more memorable projects?
Acknowledge Anxiety (2016) is a project that is so near and dear to me. After speaking to a few friends, I realized that there are many people who suffer from minor and major anxiety. I also realized that there are simple solutions to minor anxiety such as keeping a track of incidents when one feels anxious (acknowledging anxiety), meditation and breathing techniques, etc. I knew that stating these facts alone will not be enough to spread awareness of the illness. So, I began gathering details of incidents that my friends and I acknowledged, and illustrated them. I initially wanted to execute these in print, but the web reaches out to people on a larger scale, so I chose Instagram as my platform to spread awareness. The project did very well and helped spread awareness amongst those who needed it.
Shut Up & Stop Stereotyping (2018) is another project I’m very proud of. The project is in the form of a physical calendar that can be purchased and looked at all around the year. There has been a rise in feminists all around the world. The lack of equality in society creates many small and major problems. The best way to address any problem is education. The best way to begin educating is conversations and increase in interest. I want existing feminists to be able to create conversations with their friends, families and colleagues with the help of this calendar. Being aware of existing stereotyping habits may lead to reduction in such behavior, which automatically helps create a sounder society. This project was also one of my first few attempts at creative writing.
12 Months, 12 Goals (2017) is more like a design solution to a popular problem – procrastination and the lack of a work-life balance. I always craved to attain a good work life balance and in order to do so, I believed I need to build discipline. I began picking small tasks like making my bed the minute I wake up, reading a book for 15 minutes every morning, etc. as tasks to accomplish which would generate a sense of discipline. This worked like a charm which then helped me deal with my biggest demon – eating healthy! I wanted to share this process with my followers, which is what gave birth to this calendar. It helps you deal with small achievements during the first half of the year, helps you be a mentally and physically healthier version of yourself, and then tackles your biggest demon by September.
What impact does social media have on Indian design today?
Social media is one of the quickest and most convenient forms of communication today. With the abundance of information being shared daily, concise and appropriate design is something that will help speed up the communication and also make it more relatable.
Do you enjoy collaborating with brands as an influencer?
An influencer is someone who has meaningful content/experiences/ knowledge to share – information that people benefit from. I try to share my learnings with my audience on my platform. Often complex topics like gender stereotyping or anxiety are difficult to understand. Creating art based projects that work as design solutions for these problems is what attracts an audience to my page. Not every brand can connect to every influencer. Each influencer has a unique way of promoting their beliefs and along the way, brands help enhance this communication by offering their products/services.
Tell us about your entrepreneurial venture.
I wanted to be an entrepreneur since the age of six. Along with a friend, I drew handmade cards for all occasions and set up a pop-up shop. Carrying forward this childhood dream, I began creating products with immense love with the intent of reaching an audience beyond my neighborhood. The products are fun and humorous but most importantly, they spread happiness. They are designed for everyone – a gift for yourself or your friend, sibling, lover, pet, neighbor! After the designs are ready, I work with hard working vendors who invest their time and love into manufacturing each product. My team and I then inspect them and ensure every piece received will put a smile on the face of my customer.
I launched my brand ‘Pranita Kocharekar’ in October 2017 – largely due to the high demand for my illustrations in some form. I introduced the 12 Months 12 Goals Calendar and we sold out very quickly! My goal with the online store is to create designs and products that add value to a customer’s life. It isn’t just a piece of good looking art, but has been purchased with more of an emotional connect.
What challenges have you faced in your journey so far?
The biggest challenge as an independent creator is consistency. When you’re your own boss, you’re responsible for chalking out a plan and following it through. I realized consistency in work comes with discipline. It is simpler to be disciplined with work when you live a disciplined life overall. I ensure I exercise, read and journal my thoughts daily.
What inspires you?
Books, conversations and my own experiences and thoughts! I always have a burning desire to share everything I learn in the form of art. Pascal Campion is also one of my biggest illustration inspirations.
What’s next? Please share your aspirations.
This looks like a promising year. I’m hoping to upgrade myself as an artist and a human being. I also wish to introduce tons of new designs and products on my store and create more quality driven rich content!
This article was originally published in POOL 103.
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