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Anuj Rajoria On Making Comics From His Escape To His Reality

Anuj Rajoria On Making Comics From His Escape To His Reality

At times in our path towards our goals, certain hidden aspirations find their way to our minds. All of a sudden, it is as if, we have found our calling. An economics student from Sri Ram College of Commerce, New Delhi, Anuj Rajoria always aspired to be a part of an industry. But in his path to achieve the same, he fell in love with creative side of his life. The world of cartoons and superheroes became an escape for him and eventually became his true calling. Tapping on this creativity, here’s an insight of the artist’s mind.
 

Highlights of this episode

  • His relationship with comics may have started when he was 8, yet it took years for him to make it his own.
  • Making comic books of his own, when he was a kid. Those it would be a spin off of the then popular X-Men comic books.
  • Building his graphic novel called Decoding

Quotes and Takeaways

  • “For me it is important to have inspiration, I use my imagination to build on the nuances of that inspiration.”
  • “I just choose a popular figure, a colour pallette and take it from there. “
  • “You won’t find a single curve or rounded edge in the artworks because I feel curves just look good on peoples’ faces (smiles). “
  • “Break the norm,…because imperfection, I think is quite beautiful. “

Were you a part of any other industry before comic kidnapped you? How did you first find you calling in comics?

I was preparing to be a part of an industry when I joined Economics in SRCC. And probably that is what I thought I wanted to do, moreso because my parents wanted me to do that too and I wasn’t that bad at it in school either. But, even though I was formally studying economics. I got a little disillusioned with the whole setup. Since then world of cartoons, superheroes, comic characters became an escape for me. I started feeling more strongly about this world being where I really belong.  So, I never really was a part of any other industry before this since when I started working, my first stint was as a concept artist in an organisation that makes explainer videos. Talking about when and how I figured out my calling in comics, I think it goes back to when I was a kid when I was  probably seven or eight, I remember making a comic book of my own that was like a spin-off of X-Men comic books which was already quite popular back then and still is. So that is where it all began and since then the love for the comic world has just grown.

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While drawing a cartoon and making your imagination come to life, do you keep any panel for it? How do you structure a comic series?

For me to begin, it’s important that I have an inspiration in mind and I think I kind of use my imagination to build on the nuances of that inspiration. It could be anyone- a friend, an intimidating acquaintance, an auto-driver, everyday characters so to say. The storyteller inside me keeps looking for stories in every other individual he meets.

I don’t really keep a panel in mind and I don’t have a plan before I embark on a project.

How many times do you edit a panel? Or it more of a spontaneous take?

Since my real work is not out yet and I’m still working on a graphic novel called ‘Decoding’ (would hopefully be out this year). But the work that is already there, like the artworks People saw at Comic Con, when I’m doing them, I just choose a popular figure, a colour pallette and take it from there. I don’t edit my work too many times. For me, whatever I’m going through at that moment, I try to preserve that in the artwork and once it’s done I don’t think about it too much. So, I guess I’m more spontaneous than meticulous that way.

Your artwork is very unique to comics. How do you achieve that distinct look? Do you have any unusual tools in your arsenal?

The kind of work that you saw at Comic Con had the underlying concept of keeping it straight. Like, if you look closely, you won’t find a single curve or rounded edge in the artworks because I feel curves just look good on peoples’ faces (smiles).  Yes, so apart from the technical aspect, my work reflects the kind of a person I am , myself. I like to play with the appearance of my characters so that they look edgy and stand out.

Talking about unusual tools, if being passionate in a group of people who can’t see it in them is a tool, I think that’s the tool that I have that helps me achieve things. I think these days, it’s sadly become unusual for a person to be passionate because everybody is so bogged down by the times. Like for my family, it’s unusual for them that  I’m so driven to convert my dreams into reality. So I guess apart from the usual technology that’s there, the tool that I use the most is my passion.

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Do you aim to give out any specific message through your artwork?

I think the message that I try to put across through my artwork is break the norm. My artwork is all about distorting the normal picture because imperfection, I think is quite beautiful. The perfectly sketched out portraits and sceneries never really appealed to me so I don’t aim at being “proper” in my artwork. I think that’s what I am as a person too, improper and I kind of blend that with my art and try to make it work that way.

When seeking inspiration, which are comic artists influenced your career?

Talking about comic artists, Frank Miller, Grant Morrisson, Stan Lee and a lot of other artists from the West have influenced me because they made me believe in this world of comics since I was a kid and I had no reason to not believe in their world. But I don’t limit my source of inspiration to just comic artists.There are other personalities, like Shahrukh Khan- I love the fact that he has the ability to turn the ugliest product into gold, the way he dreamt and achieved whatever he dreamt of, Marshal Mathers, aka Eminem, his lyrics and flow, the character Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother, they all have been equally instrumental in whatever Iittle success I’ve achieved till now. They are the ones that inspire me the most.

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What is your message for fellow comic artists?

This is something that I tell everyone I meet that it’s very easy to come up with excuses and put your aspirations on the backburner but that doesn’t get us anywhere. Start believing in the things you dream about when you’re asleep, believe in the things you dream about when you’re awake, all that will strengthen your intuition and give you the courage to take things forward. It’s very easy for anyone to get lost in the pluralities of this world, the only thing that’s really, exclusively personal to us are the dreams that we have, it’s our own world that we build, have faith in that world of yours because that is where you belong. And if you’ve been too real all your life, I’d just say start dreaming, it’s never too late!

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