The shimmering, sparkling reality of Sneha Shanker is a world worth exploring. The artist herself is one you can get close to, whether through her newsletter or charming videos showing a day in her life.
The London artist describes her style as "magical, colourful & delicate." It's work that comes from an "unfettered imagination" and a journey of self-development "with a touch of the unknown", as Sneha tells us.
"I feel that a style develops not just with time, but it also needs some intentional efforts," she continues. "I wanted my work to exude a sense of calm as well as feel bright and cheerful. I think I have achieved it to some extent; I am happy with how my voice is developing and feeling more like a reflection of my personality with each passing day. "
Sneha reveals her meditation practice is key to her intriguing visuals, conjuring up images she then explores in her journals. She is also a huge fan of Lisk Feng ("endearing") and Lorena Alvarez ("fantastical").
"But I try not to derive my inspiration directly from other Illustrators," she stresses. "Instead, I try to look at other sources like photography, nature and my travels. I keep notes of my inspirations in an online journal, so I have access to it at all times. I am also inspired by Mughal miniature paintings from India; I once did a small three Illustration-series inspired by India."
The artist's journey began as a brand designer before progressing into illustration. While working as a designer, Sneha realised that she loved using illustrations for many of her projects. After posting her experiments and work on Instagram around 2014, she was eventually approached by a few ADs who gave Sneha her first opportunities to work in the editorial realm.
"I have been working on my illustrations ever since, and slowly transitioned to illustrating full-time last year. My last commercial project was for Holland & Barrett x The Sunday Times. The brief was to create a woman relaxing in her most natural state and enjoying nature, part of a commercial piece on CBD oils."
"I like to tap into my own past experiences and use them as inspiration for my work. For the CBD piece, I used my trip to the Lake District in the UK as my inspiration to get the vibe of greenery and flowers."
"Another project that I think I pushed the boundaries of my style was for Stylist Magazine, where I worked on a series of Illustrations showing the use of acids in skincare routines. I decided to incorporate different ethnicities and skin colours for my characters. I have also been trying to bring in more depth with my textures, and for this one, I used an old dry brush pen to create some textures and then scanned them in to incorporate into the elements. I am quite happy with the outcome."
Sneha usually sketches extensively in notebooks and journals using ink and a brush pen. She then selects her favourites and uses Procreate on Ipad Pro to digitise them.
"I only scan them in when I want to achieve a certain texture from my ink. Otherwise, I take a quick photo and work over it on Procreate. It's amazing to see the time-lapse of my workflow after finishing the artworks."
From her personal work, Sneha is most proud of a personal project called 'Couple Sundays' wherein she explored "simple mundane moments" between everyday couples across a two-year timespan.
"I illustrated moments that slip by us in the fast pace of our lives. My work has grown and changed a lot since then, but I owe my growth partially to this project and the consistency of it."
Sneha is currently working on launching her online shop which has been pending for a long time. She sells prints through Society6 and the platform of Fy, but it has been a long-term dream to sell her work through her own branded shop.
"I am also focusing on short-form video content this year as I want to extend my love of giving valuable information that I usually do through talks and workshops. I have also been experimenting with ceramics since last year, and I can't wait to get back into using my hands to create art. I'm into sculptural ceramics and have been using my illustration sensibilities to make my work a 3D reality. I'm also experimenting with motion design."
Wander through the shimmering, sparkling world of Sneha Shanker on Instagram.