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Sandhya Prabhat

Sandhya Prabhat

Meet illustrator from Chennai and California, Sandhya Prabhat

GirlsclubAsia-Illustrator-Sandhya-Prabhat-profile

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I come from Chennai, India. I love to read and draw! I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Literature and a Master’s Degree in Animation and Digital Arts from NYU. I work on illustrations for picture books and other publications, I animate for TV and movies, and I create stickers and other animated content for social media platforms like Google, Facebook and Snapchat.

 

Describe the city you’re living in and what it’s like to live there.

I currently live in the Bay Area, California with my husband and one year old daughter. We’ve been working from home this year, due to the pandemic, and taking care of our baby.

 

Give us 3 words that describe what it’s like to be a creative in your city.

I worked over 8 years in India before moving to the Bay Area on meeting my husband. It does not matter to me, where I work from, as all my clients are virtual and all my communications are online. Prior to the pandemic, the Bay Area was a really exciting place with a vibrant art and theatre scene that I enjoyed.

 

I took Literature as my undergrad major, as I loved storytelling and reading. I discovered soon that I wanted to use my drawing skills, combine these, and get into visual storytelling. With the support and help of my family, I went on to do my Master’s degree in Animation and have been working as an independent artist, ever since.

 

How did you start your career in art?

I took Literature as my undergrad major, as I loved storytelling and reading. I discovered soon that I wanted to use my drawing skills, combine these, and get into visual storytelling. With the support and help of my family, I went on to do my Master’s degree in Animation and have been working as an independent artist, ever since.

 

Were the people around you supportive of your decision on working as a creative?

Fortunately for me, my family was very supportive. Everyone in my family is creative in one way or other : my father is a published writer, my mother is into stitching, art and craft, both my grandmothers stitched and embroidered and my grandfather was also a published writer in English and Tamil. Therefore, my sister and I were not discouraged from taking creative career paths.

 

What are some goals and ambitions you have for your future work?

To reach a point where I am valued, and therefore paid enough to stay afloat, such that I can focus on a few works of good quality, rather than on a large quantity of projects. To do projects that are only agreeable to my sensibilities, and my truths. To push the boundaries on the kinds of stories being told. To draw many funny things, and illustrate/animate lots of humour. I’d love to be able to make everyone laugh.

 

To reach a point where I am valued, and therefore paid enough to stay afloat, such that I can focus on a few works of good quality, rather than on a large quantity of projects. To do projects that are only agreeable to my sensibilities, and my truths. To push the boundaries on the kinds of stories being told. To draw many funny things, and illustrate/animate lots of humour. I’d love to be able to make everyone laugh.

 

If you could collaborate with any person in the world who would it be?

My sister Chaaya Prabhat is also an independent illustrator and graphic designer. We’ve collaborated on small projects before and are looking to collaborate on a big project or book sometime soon!

 

What are the biggest challenges you face in working as a creative?

At the moment, giving birth during a global pandemic has turned my world upside down. To find order in this chaos, to keep up my and my family’s mental and physical health and to stay safe, have been my priority. During the limited and odd hours I’ve had to work, it has been a challenge overcoming the exhaustion and worries, to stay creative. However, being creative, has helped me stay sane during an otherwise stressful year.

 

How would you describe the women around you?

Sorry, I don’t understand. Why would I describe the women around me? In what manner?

 

Were there any local female creatives that you looked up to when you were growing up?

As I wrote before, my family has been my source of creative inspiration. I was fortunate to study in institutions where I shared a lot of ideas and took a lot of inspiration from many creative women, who remain my peers, teachers and mentors even today. Over 90 percent of my clients every year have been incredible women who have helped me push my creative boundaries, and I’m so lucky to have been able to work with many great minds.

 

I’m not one to have too much wisdom as I find I’m still figuring it out myself. When someone asks me for advice, the only thing I assuredly tell them is to drink lots of water. It really helps.

 

Do you have any advice for other women who are aspiring to work in your field?

I’m not one to have too much wisdom as I find I’m still figuring it out myself. When someone asks me for advice, the only thing I assuredly tell them is to drink lots of water. It really helps.

 


What type of music do you like to listen to?

I find music too involving while working. I get distracted by it. I listen to movies, tv shows and podcasts while working. I love this podcast called Snap Judgement. I’m an ardent fan!

 

What’s your favorite local food spot?

N/A in the pandemic year. We’ve been cooking for what seems like forever.

 

Sofie Lee asks: Do you think AI would replace us in the future?

No. And if we’re replaced, how would I know that we are? 🙂

 

Little Oil asks: What is your most unforgettable memory so far?

The birth of my daughter.

 

What question would you like us to ask the next artist?

What do you do when you’re bored?

 

 

Photos courtesy of Sandhya Prabhat

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