Sudesna Samanta passes on joy to audiences with her colourful illustrations

Baltimore-based illustrator Sudesna Samanta specialises in creating work based on themes of nostalgia, children's stories and travel. And thanks to her exquisite eye for colour, she can channel a sense of joy into every piece she makes.

Sudesna Samanta's work ranges from book design to branding, social communication, and caricatures. As a graphic design graduate from the Unitedworld Institute of Design near Ahmedabad, she has cultivated striking techniques and short hands, allowing her drawings to explode off the page.

Like many artists, Sudesna's creative story can be traced back to her childhood. "I was always that distracted kid in the class who drew in their notebooks," she tells Creative Boom. From an early age, she felt that she was not destined for a serious career but instead wanted to have fun with work and be able to express herself in the process.

"One day, my mum suggested that I try looking for design degree options," she adds. "I didn't know much about it at the time, but I took graphic design as my major for my undergrad, which had illustration as a subject. I found my calling through that class. I knew then that this was what I wanted to do."

Through her studies, Sudesna discovered the work of Chaaya Prabhat, whose vibrant and expressive use of colour would become one of her biggest artistic inspirations. However, plenty of her influences come from beyond the creative world. "My biggest inspirations are honestly my friends, family, and everyday life," she reveals. "Much of what I make is channelled through what I feel and frequently come across."

Speaking of what she comes across, Sudesna keeps a keen eye out for her surroundings so as not to let interesting details pass her by. "In recent months, I have developed a drawing habit from one of my favourite classes in grad school - Drawing for non Fiction," she says. "I have started taking sketch notes as I travel, talk to people, and listen to their stories.

"This approach varies from my usual method, where I draw myself sitting idly in my room, trying to cook something or getting my ankle sprained. It gives me immense joy to be able to do this."

Rather than drawing purely for personal joy, Sudesna pays it forward by purposefully using vibrant colours in her illustrations. "The colours I use in my work are very intuitive," she adds. "It purely comes from how I feel about a certain piece or what I want my viewers to feel when they see them. Also, I have synesthesia, and I think in colours."

Alongside her use of colour, Sudesna likes to draw on the rich cultural heritage of her diverse country in her art. "I feel like there is so much to bring to my art from my roots," she says. " I am happy with my progress, but at the same time, I also want to remember and honour where I come from."

A prime example of her life experience reflecting itself in her art is Sudesna's exhibition piece Aiburo bhaat. This short animation is one of her proudest creations, and it tells the story of a tradition where a bride has her last meal as a bachelor. "It just felt like I brought a part of my home to a new country," she explains.

"Also, it was a frame-by-frame animation. I am proud of pulling it off on time, along with other ongoing projects."

Besides dazzling her audiences with colour and bringing her culture to a wider audience, Sudesna's favourite part about being an illustrator is the gift of being able to express herself to people in a fun and intriguing way. "I am thankful to be able to develop this skill. There is so much joy that I can pass into my work."

When she's not working on client work, coming up with quirky new characters, or drawing interesting-looking people in the world around her, Sudesna likes to work on personal projects. "Right now, I am working on a scenic illustration of a little girl, a dog, and a bird spending time on a hill," she concludes. "I might consider animating it."


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