Animation Film Director, Illustrator and Writer Pradeep Soni has been inclined towards art and technology since childhood. Prizes at school level encouraged him to pursue his career in art and design. Pradeep graduated from the prestigious National Institute of Design in 2005 and won a scholarship to attend ENSAD, Paris.
Pradeep was a winner at the “Art of Comic”, by Goethe-Institute, Germany. His short film Fit Together was a finalist in Ability Film Festival, Chennai. His recent film, Ramatiya has won awards galore. AnimationXpress’ Ishpreet Chandock caught up with Pradeep Soni talking about his journey, his passion for animation and more…
Can you give us a brief about your work?
If I’ve to say anything about my work then it’s full of variation in terms of styles, mediums as well as subjects. I found myself lucky that I always got the chance to work on such a large spectrum of subjects. I am lucky to have donned so many hats in my career, be it as an Animation Designer, Illustrator, Writer and Animator. I have been grateful to have pursued every passion of mine.
Were you interested in this art since childhood?
Since childhood I found immense happiness in art. My father’s fascination with computers gave me several opportunities to fuse my art with technology. As a kid I wrote drawing programs and created computer aided animation. Appreciation at the art contests encouraged me to pursue my career in art and design. One of the most fortunate days of my life was when I qualified for the National Institute of Design.
Take us through the beginning of your career as an artist?
Since childhood I was good in drawing, I participated in a lot of school and inter school competitions since 3rd grade. I started drawing illustrations for a local teen magazine in Kolkata called ‘Teens Today’ when I was 13, I also started developing small gif animations for computer companies.
You have graduated from the prestigious National Institute of Design to pursue a career in art and design. How important was it from a career perspective?
One of the most fortunate days of my life was when I qualified for the National Institute of Design in 2005. I completed my post graduation in animation from the institute. The years I have spent at NID were really important as NID was one of the top schools in animation, it was one of the only few schools for artists like us to venture into the field of animation. I have learnt a lot from there, what is animation, its process and background. The year I spent at NID was the best learning curve for me as an artist.
How much has the experience at NID helped you?
The experience I gained at NID helped a lot in shaping me up as an artist, the time at NID were the best learning years for me, I have learnt a lot from the time I spent at the institution. NID is one the oldest and the best learning institutes in the field of animation in India and not only that the faculty at the institution is one of the best, the students of NID are present everywhere in the animation industry today. I also got to learn a lot from the NID Alumni, the seniors really helped us, I got to learn a lot from the conversations we had and from hearing about their experience and knowledge about animation. The 3 years at NID were the best thing that happened to me and not only that; I also got a scholarship to attend ENSAD in Paris.
You even won a scholarship to attend ENSAD, Paris. What did you study there?
I had received a 4 month scholarship to attend ENSAD which is in Paris, France. In France I got the opportunity to learn a lot about the different forms of animation, I feel lucky to experience the various cultures of the country; I studied about animation as a contemporary art form.
How was the experience at ENSAD? How different was it from NID?
The experience at ENSAD was a lot different from NID, I was naive and amateur when I went to NID, I learnt from the very beginning of animation at NID, at ENSAD I learnt about the various forms of animation, how widespread animation is today, It was a totally different experience, I was able to master my skills at ENSAD.
From an illustrator when did you shift gears towards animation? Can you elaborate this?
For me there was no shifting of gears as such, I have loved illustrations and animation since childhood. They both have been my passion and also on the other hand I believe animation is a just a visual form of telling a story which is in motion whereas illustrations are a static mode of visual form, both are just trying to describe an idea or a story.
Your work as an illustrator and animation designer/director needs no introduction however you have don the hat of a writer as well, your blog ‘Poetry Fever’ showcases some of your work in poetry and writing .Can you elaborate more on this
Poetry is something I do as a hobby, it’s my passion. I have always loved writing since my teenage days, I have 3 Blogs; one showcases a collection of my personal drawings, another is a collection of my old work and then there is Poetry Fever; these are some of my work in writing. I have always telling stories, developing scripts and I would love to make this as my profession.
You have trained with Ram Mohan on a pilot for the animated series “Akakr Bakkar Bumbe Bhow”.Tell us about the experience?
I worked with him at a a very young age, it was a earlier time in my career and the little time I worked with him was simply amazing, it was fascinating to see him come up with characters within a matter of minutes. The 3 months that I trained with him on the pilot was very inspiring for me.
Tell us about the projects you have worked so far?
Most of my work is on short films for Television Channels and illustrations for magazines and books. I have also worked for channels like Star News, UTV Bindass, MTV, VH1 to name a few. Some of my work has also been for UNICEF. Also, I have directed short films like ‘Ramatiya’ and ‘Fit together’, along with that also teach at NID, IIT and MAAC where I have made short films that have been screened at various festivals.
How was your experience as an Animation Designer with Star News?
I started working with Star News as an Animation Designer; they required animation from time to time, I got to learn a lot from the time I spent there, I gained a lot of experience on the working process of a news channel; the amount of animation work is required for a news channel from time to time. I really enjoyed working with them.
You also teach at NID, IIT and MAAC. How does it feel to from being this side of the bench to the other side? How has been your experience?
It feels great to be on the other side, I enjoy teaching, I can identify with their problems, their difficulties, their aspirations, I am able to identify my self with them, I can see myself in them as at the end of the day we all are creative people, we all are artists and each artist has its own individuality and as a teacher I really want to enhance and bring out the individuality in each one of them.
Your body of work has a lot of diversity, being highly detailed and has a traditional style as its basis. Is it a conscious move on your part to be different?
Initially as an artist when you start your career, you always try to ape others; you try to create your own work from someone else’s creation. Every artist gets influenced by someone else’s work, I will count myself too in it but as we learn and as time goes by you try to reflect yourself through your work. In the same way, as an artist I try to reflect myself through my work. Yes, It is a conscious effort on my part to be different, to be me.
What’s the thinking process you have before starting anything new?
Before starting anything new, I first try to get to know the content, what is it about, what kind of medium is required, I question myself. There are a lot of things in contention before starting a new project, the timeline, the content the requirements, he production scale everything; all these parameters decide the process of a project.
How challenging is it as an artist for you to keep on doing different things every time?
It is challenging for anyone to keep on doing new stuff, to reinvent you each and every time. Every artist is different, today’s time people have a materialistic approach, and you need to be on your toes 24/7. It is challenging but also inspiring to exceed every standard you have set with your previous work.
You have won at the “Art of Comic” by Goethe-Institute, Germany. Your short film Fit together, was a finalist in Ability Film Festival, Chennai. Your other film, Ramatiya was the winner at TASI, International Film Festival and ASIFA? How does it feel to receive all such appreciation?
It is very inspiring and encouraging as an artist to receive admiration and appreciation, it pushes you to do more work, better work and to achieve such appreciation over and over again. After such a long struggle, definitely such awards are really inspiring especially after all the hard work that went into making ‘Ramatiya’ It was a difficult project and a real challenge as I took holds of almost everything: all the production work in my hand. The one and a half years I spent on the film really taught me a lot.
Which work of yourself do you consider to be your best work and why?
I believe your most recent work becomes your best work, I feel that every previous work becomes the mother of the new work as all the mistakes done in the previous work are rectified and corrected in the latest work, it is more perfect and better compared to the earlier work.
You are a jack of various works, what do you enjoy doing the most?
I enjoy telling stories the most, be it any medium. Telling stories is the closest to my heart, an idea is closest to my heart be it illustrations, animation. Every story you tell, you become a part of each story. Storytelling is what I enjoy the most and is closest to me.
Who has been the inspiration for your work?
My seniors have inspired me a lot and not only their works bt the knowledge that they share through their conversations really boosts me to do better, be it Indian artists like Arjun Gupte, Vaibhav Kumresa, Shekhar Mukherjee, Gautam Singh and Vishwajeet Ganguly, all of these have really inspired me a lot. Also there is Mr. Satyajit Ray whose movies have really inspired me as a child.
What would you like to say about the current scenario of the Indian animation Industry?
The Indian Animation Industry is rocketing at the moment; we are progressing in the animation sector. However, I feel people do not give as much importance to short films as they should. People are more interested in making feature films, I feel the number of short films made in India should increase; I want to tell makers, make a short but perfect film. In India, people have a general perception that animation films are only for kids, short films are given less importance be it the amount of budget used or the quality of production, I really want to see more short films and graphic novels to be made.
Would you like to add anything?
I would like to tell all the budding artists in the field of animation to work hard and never lose hope. I have been working in this field since 7- 8 years and one thing I know that if you are talented you can achieve success so you should never give up and always work harder.
Powered by Facebook Comments