Anakha Menon


Graphic Designer & Illustrator

Hey Anakha! So firstly, how’d you get started as an illustrator and graphic designer? What’s your favourite thing about it? 

I started drawing at the age of 3 and my first drawing teacher was my 4 year old best friend who taught me how to draw a flower pot and I haven’t stopped drawing since then. I didn’t know much about graphic design when I decided to go to a Design school but I thought I would have more opportunities to draw and illustrate and it will help me live creatively with colours for the rest of my life. My favourite thing about being an illustrator and a graphic designer is that I have found a way of connecting the two and have sort of developed an interesting relationship where my design influence is evident in my illustrations and vice versa.

So how would you describe your design practice or philosophy?

I like making beautiful things. All my illustrations have an interesting story behind it; there is a reason why they exist. I illustrate because it gives me joy and I absolutely enjoy the process. For some reason I don’t like to express negative emotions or sadness in my work I believe it’s a reflection of my personality. I believe I am a student and I do not have the authority to have a philosophy of my own as it is ever changing but I have observed some things in my work that haven’t changed. All my works tell stories, they bring joy and are positive.

You seem to work in a couple styles that are slightly different from each other and switch between digital and traditional mediums, which is really interesting. How has your style changed? Do you prefer any of them over the other?

I started off as a pure pencil and paper person but over the years I have tried different media like watercolours, crayons, dry pastels etc and I have also used softwares like photoshop and illustrator for my work but it was during one of my projects that I discovered how fun it would be to combine both traditional and digital media. For simple illustrations I use digital media but for the more complex ones, which need a lot of detailing I start off with my pencil and colors and then edit and clean it on illustrator or photoshop. I still don’t believe I have found my style. Quite recently when I posted some new work on my Instagram account I got a lot of my friends who have seen my previous work telling me how my style has changed but I never really felt like I had my own style. But I do feel like I stick to a selective colour palette which is a lot of bright, poppy colours and flat layouts.

Leading on from that, your works are super bright and colourful - is there any particular reason for this? Where do you get your inspiration for your colour palettes from?

I think the colours are probably a reflection of my personality. I am a very exuberant person. I am usually happy or very happy. My wardrobe is full of bright reds, greens and purples. The coloyrs in my work reflect my personality and maybe it will change over the time as I evolve as a person. I also look at the work of other artists and I do get inspired looking at their palettes and styles.

Do you have an inspiring artist that we should check out?

During my bachelor’s degree I started studying the human anatomy and was following Leonardo Da Vinci’s sketches and the work of digital sculptor Scott Eaton. Much later I started working on a graphic novel and followed artists like Chris Riddel, Tim Burton, Mukesh Singh etc and currently I have been following the work of a lot artists and designers on Instagram like Magdiel Lopez, Malika Favre, Marija Tiurina and more. 

It seems like you’ve also gone to quite a few exhibitions and galleries in the past. Which one’s been your favourite?

My favourite exhibition so far would be the one I visited quite recently; “The Other Art Fair” in the month of March. There were artworks by 108 artists, and I enjoyed the energy that this place had more than the art it exhibited. I got the opportunity to talk to so many artists about their process and their medium. I felt like the artists were not just there to exhibit their work but they were there to learn from each other and be inspired. 

Also, we want to be kept in the loop! Do you have any awesome projects coming up that you’re looking forward to?

I worked on a 3D software quite recently. I made biomedical structures and animated them for a college assignment. I enjoyed the animation part of this project very much and have decided to make small animations of my artwork. So yeah I will be coming up with some animations soon! I will be posting them on my Instagram account; anakha03.

And last but not least, do you have anything you want to share with the world?

Neil Gaiman is my favourite story tellers of all time. I once watched his commencement speech at the University of Arts. There are so many things that I love about this speech but there are two things that will forever resonate with me. Gaiman says” If you don’t know its impossible it is easier to do and because nobody has done it before they haven’t made up rules to stop anyone from doing that particular thing again”. And the other thing that he says is ”make good art”. Often times when things get tough I tend to forget why do I do what I do and Gaiman’s words remind me of the love I have for my work, of the relationship I have with it and I am drawn back to the drawing board creating and loving my work. His words inspire me and I hope it will inspire a lot of others like me who need to be reminded that their work matters and that they should never stop creating more good work

Self-Care with Anakha!

Dylan Goh

Abby Standish

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