By SANGEETA KUMAR
Digital illustrator Nidhi Chanani‘s work is not like anything you’ve seen before. Inspiration to her comes in many forms – from the mehndi laden hands of women in her native Rajasthan to her cat nuzzling her way on to her lap or the light California drizzle. Viewing her phenomenal illustrations gallery is a must.
EGO: Could you tell us about some of your work? How will you describe your style?
I am an illustrator and designer, I create an image every weekday and share it across different platforms. I create images that are inspired by the world around me and inside me – whether its my kitty nuzzling her way into my lap, or light rain covering the the ground, or a far away place where elephants and girls explore – I find that beauty is everywhere. It’s that beauty that I try to capture and share. I would describe my style as colorful, simple and whimsical.
EGO: Any influences when it comes to your art?
I am influenced by everything! In terms of artists, I love the work of Pascal Campion, Sanjay Patel, Helen Dardik, Kurt Halsey, Julie West… I also love the photography of Angela J. Hill and have used her work as a basis for a few of my illustrations.
EGO: When did you first discover your creative talents?
As far back as I can remember I always wanted to write. I wanted to create emotions, lyrical lands and charming characters… In my early 20s, I started to follow the work of illustrators and realized it could be a career. Art is a beautiful way of telling stories. I feel as though I am living a dream… because I am creative every day.
EGO: How did you decide on this medium?
I create most of my work digitally. I suppose one of the main reasons is the speed, I usually spend 2-3 hours on my daily sketch. When I have time to do wood burnings, those take me much longer. They are one-of-a-kind and even on a small piece of wood I can spend days working on it. I was introduced to wood burnings by a fellow artist, Bill Robinson, and I was immediately attracted to the quality and look of it. My family is marwari and something about burning mehndi-like patterns into wood makes me feel connected to Rajasthan.
EGO: What is your dream project?
I feel very fortunate that many of the projects I dream of have happened or are in process. I would love to create children’s books and finish my graphic novel. It would be a true joy for me to combine my writing background with my art and have it published.
EGO: Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
I love this question! I would feel very happy if my work had elements of Norman Rockwell, Bill Watterson, or Craig Thompson.
EGO: Favorite or most inspirational place?
My absolute favorite place is in bed, with my hubbahubba and my two kitties. The only other place I can find that much warmth and love is with my mom.
EGO: Describe yourself in 5 words.
Happy, creative, silly, mushy, and intense.
EGO: Any words of advice for aspiring artists?
Create everyday. Trust yourself. Ask questions. Don’t chase after a specific style, harness your voice and that is what will come through in your work.
photo by angela j hill