Arkin Tyagi – 7 days of inspiration – Advent Calendar [18]

December 18, 2019

Looking at the calendar you will see, Christmas Day is near for many of us. Actually, it is today next week – is that a rush of panic in your eyes? We have just the right antidote. Instead of rising the pressure even more by calling it 7 days to Christmas, we called it 7 days of inspiration to relax you a bit and make you come down to earth again.
Each day you will e-meet an artist, who has inspired us a lot this year and who was so kind as to answer a couple of questions, so you will find some insight to take away. These artists belong to different creative realms and different stages in their lives and today we will start with the very talented Arkin Tyagi, animation student at Ravensbourne University, London.

The beginning

How did you get started?
In the very beginning, I was mainly captivated by animation, but I eventually got a lot more into illustration. Because that’s all I could do with my limited resources. I am currently pursuing animation at Ravensbourne university, where I am putting both illustration and animation to use, which is the most ideal setup I could ask for. I hope to become a concept designer after graduating and work for films.
How did you find your own style?
The story of finding my style still seems like a blur to me. I remember being an absolute rookie trying to find my way through the art scene and the only good advice I followed and can give is, do a lot of studies. I remember copying Jim Lee drawings, Todd McFarlane drawings, Brett Booth drawing, J. Scott Campbell drawings etc.
These guys were the ones who inspired me to start drawing properly. I remember wanting to become a comic book artist, but over time I got into traditional painting, I worked a lot with acrylics and oils and I eventually moved to learning from old classical painters such as Rembrandt, Peter Paul Rubens etc. and I began to fuse my knowledge from both mediums to eventually end up where I am now.

Inspiration and obstacles

What inspired you, artists you follow?
I think the fact our world is extremely connected is, what drives my inspiration. There’s a lot to take from anything and everything, which is primarily what serves as my source of inspiration.
How many artists do I follow? Jeez, I’ve lost track at this point. Following artists is the one thing I religiously do. I believe we can’t really do this alone. We have people around us and with us, subconsciously and unintentionally, especially for artists, because every idea we get bounces off from someone else’s work. So that’s one thing I would suggest doing. I follow lots of classical painters and follow their techniques and apply them to comic book characters.
And what about the creative block?
I remember being in a creative rut sometime back. And now that I look back at it, I think the one thing that brings me out of it, is to just doodle what I love. For me that’s drawing Spider-Man. I would suggest artists to find that one thing they absolutely can’t get tired of drawing and draw it when you feel like you’re suffering from a creative block.

Getting down to business: Arkin’s workflow

What does your creative workflow look like & what makes it unique?
My creative process involves me scribbling a few keyframe roughs on post it notes which is very common practice. I then go on to import that into my digital workflow. I move on collecting reference images for my painting, such as the background, assets and character references. I collect lots of image references for the actors or people I paint from all different angles and lighting areas. Then I go on to trace on the references of the characters and the areas on their faces, which denote light and dark, and figure out the lighting scheme of the painting. This is all in the prep stage for the final build up.
I then start blocking the colours, add details and work on overlays to bring a sense of depth and weight to the painting. Then I export it to Pixelmator, colour correct and add noise to the painting to resemble the grain system seen on film. I think that’s what makes my workflow unique, the fact that it very closely resembles creating something that looks like a screencap from a movie and happens to span across multiple software applications.
How do you think could young artists improve their workflow – any recommendations?
Recommendations for improving workflow? I would say organise all the files properly. I’m not super huge on shortcuts, but I also figure out all the assets I need to make the painting before I make it. Once I get down to work it gets easier over time, because of how organised everything seems.

Time for leisure

What sort of movies do you like?
I love a lot of different genre of movies: independent dramas, superhero flicks, especially psychological horrors. Denis Villeneuve happens to be one of my favourite directors, because of how transcending his movies are. Movies of that kind inspire me a lot. Animation is obviously one of the genres I hold extremely close, because I am an animation student. A lot of Studio Ghibli movies and old Disney classics obviously are on top of my list.
Which podcasts or blogs do you suggest young aspiring artists to have on their radar?
I love a lot of different genre of movies: independent dramas, superhero flicks, especially psychological horrors. Denis Villeneuve happens to be one of my favourite directors, because of how transcending his movies are. Movies of that kind inspire me a lot. Animation is obviously one of the genres I hold extremely close, because I am an animation student. A lot of Studio Ghibli movies and old Disney classics obviously are on top of my list.

The advice of a young artist

What would you say to an artist who wants to specialize like you?
I would suggest reading Andrew Loomis’s books and study anatomy as much as possible. Be like surgeons, when it comes down to drawing the anatomy. Study different materials, this is an extremely overlooked advice. Study how different materials interact with the environment, whether it’s metal or fabric or anything else as a matter of fact. See how it decomposes over time or drapes around someone’s body. Study how things and their weight get affected by stuff like gravity or speed or inertia. Study as much as possible. Also look at ctrl+paint, Proko, Anthony Jones, Dan Luvisi and Marco Bucci as starters. Check out how Jim Lee draws anatomy, that’s an understated gem of a video on this Youtube channel called VZA.
How to earn money as a digital artist? What do you do?
I haven’t earned big time money from my art yet, I have had trouble finding work myself so I am not the best person to answer, but I do know consistently putting your work out there is a big part of that. And if anyone is interested in working with any artist, whether it’s me or anyone, just reach out to them. We as artists would definitively appreciate that.

The outlook

What are we going to see from you next?
I am currently working on my own IP, which I hope to share with the world soon. It’s a neo gothic noir story set in the future, where the lines between genetics, religion, government and individuality have blurred and it follows the story of my main character ARCANE, as he loses grip on the kind of person he is. I am extremely stoked to develop the IP further and share it with you guys.
Is there anything you have on your bucket list?
My to do list definitively consists of becoming one of the greats and travel the world to hopefully not only become a diverse person myself but help people out through art whenever and wherever I can.

“Thank you, Arkin!”

We once again want to thank him for his open words and sound advice – we really enjoyed working together with him and hope to see some more of him next year. If you also want to keep him on your radar, check behance & TikTok or here:

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