Anisha Shankar, illustrator from Mumbai, India talks about raising money for Australia Bushfire by selling illustrations, making mistakes while being a freelancer and being a Pokemon lover.

Anisha Shankar

Anisha Shankar, illustrator from Mumbai, India talks about raising money for Australia Bushfire by selling illustrations, making mistakes while being a freelancer and being a Pokemon lover.


Follow tons of artists you like, save their stuff in folders and keep going over it. Draw things you like even if it's silly.

Tell us a bit about yourself

Hello, I'm Anisha, an illustrator based in Mumbai. I studied graphic Design from MIT in Pune, and have been freelancing since I graduated a year back.

What got you into illustrating?

Watching cartoons and anime growing up definitely helped. Drawing was also a way of conveying things as a kid, as I was this massive introvert and I sucked at talking- so I drew things for people! I'm 26 now, and it's pretty much still the same :)

You have a very particular style of illustration, can you tell us a little more about what influenced it and how you came about sticking to this particular style?

I liked emotive storytelling. I liked my drawings to remind of me an emotion or phase I had lived through. As for the style of it, I was constantly surrounded and inspired by friends who were artists as well. Some artists I loved growing up are Mike Mignola, Chiara Bautista, Jamie Hewlett, H.R Giger and the likes.

Tell us a bit about the color palette you use - for a lot of artists understanding the exact use of color is the tricky part.

I started off by color picking from illustrations and photographs I liked. And I did that for years until I developed a sense of what I liked and didn't, and how to get there manually. And also, to observe the palettes that caught my attention or the elements I associated them to and understand how to use them in my drawings.

monster illustration retro clean

What work are you particularly proud of?

I watched a lot of Powerpuff girls growing up, and I'd keep redrawing them at different ages, which probably got me started on wanting to explore character design. I Also loved Pokemon, so drawing the girls as teenagers and being able to pair them up with a Pokemon character was fun.

Pokemon fan art illustration
Pokemon Fan Art

Tell us a bit about freelancing, your clients and how do you manage, deal and acquire them?

I started freelancing during college, I'd always uploaded artwork on social media platforms, which was how clients found me. So far it's been fun and I get a lot of space for personal work, collaborations and binge watching anime!

Somethings I learnt along the way was how to judge clients and their sometimes poorly worded briefs and requirements, to stop undercharging and to value my time. I'm still figuring it out, but I like that freelancing allows me to learn by making tons of mistakes without the fear of losing my job :D

We noticed you raised some money using your artwork for the bushfire in Australia, tell us about your and what made you want to take this step

I get a lot of requests for buying my art prints but at the time I was too lazy to figure out shipping and everything. But with this I had a reason to raise money and figured people wanted to contribute but either didn't know how or didn't think it would make much of a difference. This gave them an easier, more familiar way to contribute.

What's in store for Anisha this year and how do you plan on scaling or expanding your skills or clientele

I usually don't have much of a game plan with freelancing because a lot of it is very unpredictable. But that's also fun and I try to constantly update and add to my portfolio. I'd also like to get better at anatomy and drawing animals this year, or just drawing more in general.

cute monster illustrations runt
runt by Anisha Shankar

What is your design process, and what tools do you use for your work?

My design process is different for client and personal work. With given briefs I work in a more structured manner and develop rough concepts and options based on association and interpretation. With personal work it's usually an urge to put down a thought or idea usually triggered by a song, conversation or dreams. I use Photoshop and Illustrator for my work.

Akira Illustration Design Process
Akira Design Process

Would you like to plug something in for the readers?

Draw things you like even if it's silly. I'd suggest follow tons of artists you like, save their work in folders and keep going over it.

Read graphic novels and watch good anime (Some favorites of mine are Neon genesis Evangelion, Akira, Goodnight Punpun and anything by Junji Ito)

Instagram: anisha1593


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