Tara Anand's wealthy illustrations inform the tales of individuals round her
Tara Anand is an editorial illustrator who splits her time between Mumbai and New York City. “I grew up in an incredibly creative environment, my mother is an artist, so, like most children, I was introduced to painting very early on,” says Anand. "The difference is that my early artistic endeavors were shaped by someone who had an art education and had worked and experimented in many disciplines for years."
Her family has a lot to do with books at home too, so Anand got into illustration. "I've always been very attracted to illustration in children's books, and very early on I tried to copy styles I liked or illustrate my own nonsensical stories," she says.
Anand's illustrations are vibrant and full of colors and emotions, with an almost comic-like aesthetic. "I'm careful about defining my style because I think my best work comes from times when I'm fascinated by what a particular medium can do instead of doing something familiar over and over," explains Anand. “I don't like the idea of finding my aesthetic because I think the medium I work in tends to dictate it and I never want to stop having things that interest me in my materials or new materials more to try out. "
Tiger in traffic
The illustrator likes to draw from life and expand the world and the people around her, especially the stories of women. She says her upbringing in Mumbai influenced her work, mainly through the jewel-like colors and tiger motifs that occasionally appear in her paintings. “Bombay is an incredibly diverse and visually fascinating city. I think it kept me away from visual clichés because I have to be really honest to get the sense of Bombay, ”says Anand. "Living here has also enabled me to encounter galleries, museums, theaters and the media because Bombay really attracts creators and is home to some fantastic cultural institutions."
Anand came to New York City to study illustration at the School of Visual Arts and was keen to capitalize on the city's rich history. "India's illustration scene is still growing and New York's is very old and very well established. Few cities in the world give you access to art history, professional contemporaries and fascinating illustrators in a variety of niches," she explains and the ability to influence me in another space, culture, and city were all motivators. The School of Visual Arts enabled me to be taught by people whose work I have looked at for years – this is also an unprecedented opportunity. "
BombayThe New Yorker
Despite being relatively new to the illustration scene, Anand has garnered some impressive assignments for New Yorker, Google India, Bloomsbury Publishing UK and Vogue India. "I really enjoy how niche the topic can get," says Anand of working on editorial assignments. "It enables me not only to build on my repertoire of useless trivia, but also to research and learn to reproduce the meaning of so many places, people and scenarios."
A current project was for the Canadian non-profit The Grace and Nelly Project, in which Anand had to research the lives of girls in rural Zimbabwe. She needed to understand what kind of uniforms they would wear to school, how they would wear their hair, what clothes would most represent the contemporary population in the area. "The illustrations were based on firsthand reports so there was a great sense of openness and relativity that I had to figure out how to convey and that kind of visual research along with some additional readings helped to better understand the situation me to convey this. " says Anand.
The Grace and Nelly ProjectThe Grace and Nelly Project
After Anand does the necessary research for a new piece, the next step in her process is usually to work on the formal elements of the image or composition to see what might work. "Then I build in the narrative based on what I was thinking of during that time or what I wanted to draw," she says. "The physical process varies from medium to medium, but when I work in color, I work most like a painter, laying out shapes and colors in blobs before refining the shapes and then adding finer lines."
For commercial work, the illustrator usually works digitally in Photoshop, mainly for convenience as revisions and changes are less complicated. As for personal work, Anand says it's a little more experimental. "I like to work on gouache, ink, or oils where I feel like light and texture have a chance," she says. “My approach to painting is more traditional, observational and structured, while my lines are more graphic and fine. I think a combination between these two creates an effect that satisfies me the most! "