#FeatureFriday: Meet the dreamy animation artist, Shipra Khatter!

A fantasy driven persona, she dreams like Alice from wonderland, is skilled like the Mad Hatter and is strikingly skilled and talented. Meet Shipra Khatter! Graduated from Birla Institute of Technology, Jaipur in animation and multimedia, Khatter later joined National Institute of Design for M. Des in animation film design. With various commercial and personal projects in her bag, she just keeps adding feathers to her crown. With experience in a start-up animation studio, working with various departments, creating content for ads, designing character or storyboarding, Khatter decided that she wanted to be a visual storyteller and a film maker. Khatter was in ninth standard when she decided to work in the arena of animation after watching a documentary on the ‘making of Stuart Little’. “Playing around on Paper, pencil, charcoal, crayons, watercolor provide the creative juices and happy accidents,” Khatter feels. Being inspired by Miyazaki, Brad Bird, Tim Burton and Laika’s stop motion films and Indian animation directors like Vaibhav Kumaresh and Suresh Eriyat, Khatter’s actual inspiration lies in the classic animated films and series she used to watch as a kid. Visual designing gives one the freedom of working on different concepts from hair to character or costume and even interiors. Animation is poetic and metaphoric. As a reserved person, writing and drawing was her way of expressing herself. Khatter being a digital artist represents the Huion Graphic Tablets as a brand ambassador. She thinks that achieving the traditional medium looks digitally these days very effectively. Then again, what medium you explore, may affect your style; it’s about how you and the medium, dance together. Her working style is hybrid, combining digital and traditional forms. Be the character from the soul and the pencil will follow. Recently Khatter worked for IPs like Selfie with Bajrangi and Inspector Chingum on Amazon Prime. Having worked on the concept art for the film project Rani of Jhansi,  to be directed by Ketan Mehta, she has worked as a visualiser for the theme park in Gobindgarh fort, Amritsar. The theme park screens a 7D short animation film titled Sher-e-Punjab which revolves around Maharaja Ranjit Singh again directed by Mehta. The film will transport audience to the nineteenth century and will introduce them to the ages just before the Maharaja forged the powerful empire of Punjab. Experiencing the journey of such great kingdom within the fort is an experience in itself. Khatter assisted Mehta in content research, script, character design and art direction which was further executed by MDS team in 3D. When asked about the experience while working with Mehta, Khatter said, “It was really an amazing experience working with him. He trusts his artists and provides them the creative freedom to explore.” Khatter feels animation, with more investments, more creative people will see the product quality increase, and thus the Indian animation industry recognition will increase. She calls herself animation artist and likes to be called that way.  Presently working on a short film which is a mix-medium short, combining stop motion and 2D-live action, Khatter is preparing for a graphic novel, which the audience will soon get to read. Khatter added, “Character designing is like casting a character for a film. One has to know the character in order to design a suitable personality and has to tell a story. Then design elements, design style, the colour psychology follow. The next short film we get to see from this animation artist is about a girl’s journey in a world where everyone is masked and plugged. With quirky imagination, creative storyboards and flawless animation technique, Khatter manages to hold the audience in their seats. An admirable work portfolio comes with hardwork and passion. Khatter stands as an inspiration for the upcoming artists. “If you love your work enough, if you love creating enough; keep going, keep practicing. There are no shortcuts,” Khatter concluded. With talented artists like Khatter, Indian animation industry will only keep growing.