Step Back and Choose to be Kind with Swapnil Kapoor

1. How did you start illustrating for children’s book? 
I started drawing when I was just three years old. I started off by copying images from textbooks. Growing up in a middle-class Indian family, the idea that I could pursue arts as a full-time career never crossed my mind. It was always a means to relax or unwind.
Funnily enough, my relationship with art changed after I joined one of the top engineering university in India. During the second year of graduation I was recruited as an illustrator for the college magazine. For the next three years, I worked with a team of talented editors, illustrators and designers to publish the annual magazine.
After graduation, I moved to Birmingham, England where I started working full time as an Automotive Engineer and in the evenings, I started working as a freelance graphic designer. Over the time, I realised my style is better suited for children’s books. So, I created my portfolio and sent over to different publishers in India. To my surprise my first email itself converted into a commission and I illustrated my first book for Pratham books. I have illustrated 5 books since.
2. How would you describe your work? What inspired you to draw in this style?
Almost a year and half ago, I was so obsessed with finding a unique drawing style that it almost put me off drawing. That’s when started doing lot of personal projects including ‘36 days of type’ without worrying too much about my style.
I am not sure if I have very uniform style yet as I am still discovering new techniques and subjects to draw. But I definitely like bright colours in my drawings and I also love to infuse humour into my work.


3. Can you share with us the process of illustrating a children’s book? What are the key steps in illustrating a children's book?
It usually starts with reading the manuscript and roughly sketching 2-3 different ways in which the story can be represented. Then I share the roughs with art director / client to get their feedback. After agreeing the way forward, I sketch the final version, decide the colour scheme and colour drawings on Photoshop.

4. What is your most used drawing tools/ supplies?
For all commissions, I draw on Photoshop using my Wacom Cintiq tablet. For personal works, I use Daler Rowney watercolours and colour pencils. I plan to buy an iPad Pro this year, mainly due to its portability.

5. Have you ever had creative block? How do you deal with it?
Yes, many times. It always helps to step back and do something else which I like – reading a book, watching movie or taking a walk.
I also keep a list of ideas to draw and notes on my phone. So, if I ever feel like I am running out of ideas to draw, I refer to them.
6. Can you share your favourite motto or quote to us?
I absolutely loved the movie Wonder and my favourite quote is "When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind."



To find out more about Swapnil Kapoor please visit the artist's IG account | @swapnil.can.draw

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