A Lovely Cattitude With Chaaya Prabhat

“I’ve been described as a cat stuck inside a human body by people I know,” says Chaaya Prabhat – a graphic designer, illustrator, lettering artist, and a definite cat-lover. AWW spoke to her about her “cattitude”, as well as her work, places, and animals that inspire her creativity. Take a sneak-peek behind the scenes with us:
1. Which animal do you think, feel or act most like when you draw? 

I think I relate myself to cats the most, which is very evident in my work. I tend to keep to myself, and very often need my personal (and physical) space, much like cats. On more than one occasion, I've been described as a cat stuck inside a human body by people I know.



 

2. As we know you stayed in Hong Kong before, could you share any inspiration Hong Kong has contributed to your creative work? 

In so many ways, Hong Kong inspired creativity. I used to spend a lot of time with Urban Sketchers Hong Kong, sketching different locations every weekend. I also had the opportunity to paint a mural in Midlevels in 2017!


 

3. Looking through your art, many of your illustrations include animals. Could you share an interesting encounter with any animal? 

I really like watching animals, especially cats - there have been many interesting encounters with animals, but most of them have been with cats. If there's a cat around, I usually stop what I'm doing to go say hello to it. There have been some weekends that I've spent in Hong Kong just walking through the streets of Yau Ma Tei and Sham Shui Po, looking at shop after shop and hoping to be worthy of the attention of one of the shop cats. 



 

4. Your illustrations include plenty of geometric shapes and eye-catching colours. The design process must have been tough, could you share your usual drawing procedures with us?

I usually start with very very rough thumbnail-sized sketches, following which I sketch out what I want to draw roughly. After this, I usually spend a lot of time playing around with colours until I'm happy with the colour palette. After this, I flesh out the illustration and the details digitally. This design process actually isn't tough at all, it's only difficult when I have to stop drawing geometric shapes and tone down the colours!

5. Do you prefer digital drawing or tradition drawing?

Both digital and traditional drawing have their merits. Although most of the illustrations I put up on my portfolio are digital, they all start in my sketchbook as undecipherable small sketches. The feeling of a pen hitting actual paper is something that digital software can't really compete with, although they've come quite close in recent years. 

6. Where is the most comfortable place for you to draw? (please provide one image) 

I can usually draw anywhere! Although I spend most of my time at a desk at home (because I have to), I can carry my work with me anywhere and continue it from where I left off. Urban sketching has also taught me to sit down anywhere and just start sketching. 


7. What’s your favourite project/product/book/tv show/movie with an animal theme? (please provide one image) 


 

I read and watch a lot of animal-related books and shows. At the moment, Bojack Horseman comes to mind for a TV show, and Animal Farm by George Orwell for a book (which I recently designed a book cover for).

 

 

Interviewed and edited by Parco Chow