Abhignya Cavale has been dabbling with colours for the last 12 years. She is a budding illustrator and animator from University of Technology Sydney. A travel and adventure enthusiast, she is always open to new experiences. She loves sketching quirky, lively characters with bold colours for that’s how she views the world around her. Here she talks about illustrating her first book – Kokachi & Makachi: Down to the Village.

Q. This is your first book as an illustrator. What’s your story behind it?

A. My mother knew Greystroke from when I  had taken a comic workshop with him. She is a storyteller and they kept in touch through various events. During one such event, my mother showed some of my work that I regularly post on Instagram to him. He really liked it. My style suited Kokachi & Makachi. That was when Anam contacted me, and the rest just fell into place. 

Q. How do you feel about being able to illustrate a story by Greystroke?

A. I have always looked up to Greystroke and have been an admirer of his amazing illustrations. I still follow all his work and it still serves as an inspiration to me to do better—EVERY TIME! It was his workshop that made me discover my own potential as an illustrator. And now, here I am a few years later illustrating his book! The whole experience was unexpected and surreal, and I am extremely honoured and grateful that he believed in me and gave me this huge opportunity. 

Q. What is your creative process? Do you have one of your own? 

A. Yes, I do have a process of my own! First, I go through the story thoroughly, and make notes about the personalities and physical traits of the characters. Second, I try to understand the  settings these characters are based in.  Details are important and I make sure I ask questions if I am unsure of the same. 

The next step is to do some research based on my notes, and then draw out some roughs of the characters and settings in several iterations. Once a design is agreed upon, I flesh out the details and render a final design of the characters and settings, and create a character lineup. This allows me to understand the sizes of the characters in relation to each other. I render the artwork in this stage by experimenting with a range of materials like gouache, water colours, colour pencils, crayons and digital art to figure out which material might suit the story and characters the best. This also gives  an idea of how  the final artwork would look like. Changes at this stage are easy to carry out.

Once the designs are finalised and may be after a few more iterations, I render them using the best suited medium. 

Q. What are your plans, going forward?

A. I am currently pursuing my Bachelor of Design in Animation, and I am equally passionate about both animation and illustration. I have already started working towards using my illustration style to create quirky 2D and 3D animations. In the future, I plan to open an animation studio in which I would create series and movies for children using my illustration style!

Q. What would you like to tell little artists who may just be discovering their passion for art like you did all those years ago?

A. I would like to tell them that going after your passion is the best decision you will ever take! Pursuing a career in design is extremely satisfying; it never gets monotonous or boring, and it constantly challenges and rewards you. Design is a field which requires us to put in a lot of hard work and dedication in perfecting our craft. So, don’t shy away from giving it your all and taking risks!