Start to Finish: an illustrator shares his work.

Posted by Remya Padmadas on March 03, 2016


Vishnu M Nair is a visual artist based out of Delhi. He creates contemplative, surreal and humorous narratives in his artworks in many styles and mediums.

'How Far is Far' is a story about scale and comparison, starting small and ending really really large.
The scale of it all really excited me. Below is how I went about planning and illustrating for page 2 of the book i.e 10 m - the second step of the ladder.

Step 1/Layout

Since the imagery of the book was so rich and quirky I chose not to tweak it.

"A three storey building or a mango tree is roughly 10 metres high. A cricket pitch is about twice that length."

I drew the above description out. It would be so strange to see such a visual - so I drew some dumbfounded characters around it.

Step 2/Pencils

A few years ago I learned this neat trick for colouring on photoshop and I planned to use the same method(which you will see later).

I drew out the scene in more detail in pencil - adding more characters and textures - making it believable.Dish antennas, annoying pigeons and a kaamwali bai shooing them away, an ignorant uncle and two boys who's game had just been ruined by this lesson. Adding my own tinier stories into the bigger one is always fun.

Step 3/Colour

I scanned the image into photoshop and cleaned it up a bit first - I also added the ladder from another image into this one.

Then I masked out parts like 'ground','tree' 'mangoes' etc in different layers and coloured them in one by one using a gradient map.

Patient work... but slowly, layer by layer I saw the final image unravel.

Step4 / Lines and numbers

And finally I added lines and numbers to the artwork to complete it.