Nishant D’Souza, once an engineering student, now he’s something else. Something far more interesting.
After moving on from engineering and into the field of advertising and design, his lifelong interest in writing and sketching serves him well at his current day-job in Bangalore. We put him in the spotlight so now let’s see what he has to say about his talent in his life.
Tell us about your journey from discovering your craft to acquiring the skill you have now.
Spraying colours on canvasses and watching them come to life has always been an alluring force in my life. Sketching and painting is probably the only thing that kept me going through my four years of engineering (along with intense chilling with my friends of course). It took me those four years to know with full-blown conviction that I’m not meant for the technical line. After that, it was all about one bye-bye to L&T and one hello to Byju’s (where I’ve been working the last two years). Most of what I learnt in the creative field can be credited to my colleagues in office to be honest. With the kind of work we do and the psych bunch of people around, there is this infinite amount of creative information out there for grabs.
It took me those four years to know with full-blown conviction that I’m not meant for the technical line.
In the last two years, I’ve gotten the opportunities (in office and on the side through my freelancing venture) to work on storyboards of videos, scripts for books and product videos, marketing posters and advertisements, UI/UX development, branding and logo making, website design, infographic presentations, basically anything and everything that has even a hint of the creative angle.
After dealing with various demands from clients and/or bosses, what’s that one experience that you learned the most from?
Like anywhere, practice is critical even in the creative field. What’s more important is packaging and marketing though. Luckily, I learnt this very early on when I thought I made this psyched-out logo for a client only to be greeted with a frown of disgust (mostly because I didn’t do a great job convincing him to go ahead with it, I’m sure). The last five years of my life (which is not much by the way, I’m only 23) has been driven solely by deadlines; deadlines in office, with exams, with clients. The only way all of it can fit in one day and with sufficient chilling time is if you have the ability to do a 20 minute job in 5 minutes but successfully project it like it took 30 minutes, it’s something that is only possible with the right balance of practice and package. That one look of disgust was all it took for the emergence of this funda that has been working very well for me ever since.
Whose work do you admire the most in the world? What do you appreciate about their work?
So I am a massive movie buff, a lot of inspiration in my work is drawn from film and music which I feel are as equally critical in the creative field as art is. There are obviously a ton of film makers and bands that I love and putting the tag of ‘admire the most in the world’ is a very daunting challenge, but if I absolutely have to, then it would be Quentin Tarantino. Apparently, when Tarantino writes a scene, he first picks the song he is going to play during that scene and then he starts penning down the script, tweaking it on-the-go to match the feel of the song. No man/woman can ever go wrong with that level of reverse engineering, be it a violent fight scene or a long drawn-out conversation. His movies are the shiz!
Personality goes a long way. – Jules Winnfield, Pulp Fiction (1994)
What do people not realize about (your work/area of expertise)?
It is more difficult than it looks, something I’m sure every designer and artist will agree with.
But he makes it look easy.
Which project of yours are you particularly proud of? Could you tell us a little more about it?
I’ve been a part of three publications so far but the last one I worked on was probably the most interesting of them all. In Byju’s (my current place of work), we try and make education fun, interactive and interesting for students; we make video lectures for students and jazz them up with animations and stories to make content immersive. As a spin off product, we worked on a Science textbook for 10th grade students with a crazy post-apocalyptic storyline knitting the different chapters together. The book has a graphic novel section, fold-out mind maps and a bunch of other small things to keep students hooked to the content. It took us about 6 months to finish the book end-to-end with a team of 4 artists. My work was mainly limited to writing the content for the book and planning out the layouts of the pages while all the artwork was handled by other artists in the team (some of the craziest digital art I’ve ever seen by the way, that too in such a short span of time). This has to be one of my all-time favourite projects.
What are you working on now?
A lot of things are going on at the moment, in office and in my freelance venture but the current on-going project at my personal front right now is something I’m looking forward to the most. We are working on a 20 minute family drama film, which is currently in its last leg of post-production. We are looking to release it in the first week of next year on our website. Hopefully people watch it and like our attempt at it.
Give us a piece of advice that really helps you with your own workflow.
Maintain a daily to-do list and make sure all of it gets done before you hit the bed.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
Hopefully doing the same stuff at a much larger scale.
Have you tried out a completely different creative field? How did that turn out?
I started off as a fine arts artist, making portraits and sketches for people. I think from there to where I am right now, I have tried out a lot of different creative fields, including book publications, product videos, film making, and a lot of other things that I’ve listed out earlier. It is difficult switching from one creative field to another constantly throughout the day but when you are able to use your learnings from one field in another and when the result of the integration works out well, it is all the more satisfying.
If you had to start afresh in the industry today, what path would you choose?
I’m not sure really. I think thus far it has been a pretty smooth road with an immense amount of learning every single day in all the different creative fields I am a part of. I don’t think I’d want to start afresh on any other path.
If you could claim that any one (person’s work) in the world was yours, what would it be?
One of my current favourite bands is Tame Impala. I’m not even going to get into their music prowess right now; they are bloody brilliant, period. What is also very interesting apart from all of that though are their music videos. I would love to tell people I was the one who storyboarded and conceptualized the video for ‘Cause I’m a Man’, one of my favourite Tame Impala videos (credit to Nicky Smith).
Now that you’re getting/you have a firm foothold in the creative world, what would you like to say to ‘all the haters’?
A rap with a bunch of hard-hitting expletives is definitely on the cards. To be very honest though, I haven’t had any ‘haters’, not those that I know of at least. Everyone has always been super supportive of every decision I’ve taken, be it family, friends or colleagues.
Either leave a little hope behind or take some with you.
Futura LT. You use this font to print the word ‘Toilet’ and I’ll pay money to use that loo. This font has the ability to transcend anything into class and elegance.
Pulp Fiction, all that Tarantino jazz earlier wasn’t for nothing.
A book everybody should read?
Shantaram, it blew my mind.
Your quick tip to all designers?
Like I mentioned earlier, finish a 20 minute job in 5 and successfully project it like it took 30. Strive till you master the balance between practice and package.
Could you make something exclusive for us in the next 5 minutes?
This is good art with a good message. Thank you and rock on, Nishant.
Why not check out some of our other spotlight artists? They’ve got talent. They’ve got skills. They have cool things to say and you can find them from the buttons below.