Published: 26th May 2020
Why Chaaya Prabhat's art on Instagram is the pop of colour you'll always need
Chaaya Prabhat is using her whimsical take on things add some much-needed colour to boring book covers. Here's how she gets inspired to do what she does
It's whimsical. It's quirky. It's a riot of colours. What am I talking about? Well, an illustration by Chaaya Prabhat, of course. Chaaya, who? Chaaya Prabhat is a Chennai-based illustrator, whose technicolour Instagram posts will surely take you back to those comic books that you were so fond of as a child. Her Instagram handle @chaaya23 has over 42,000 followers.
Her series 'Meownday', which she uploads on Mondays to Instagram, features cats in various scenes and follows her trademark colour scheme that is sure to beat those Monday blues. "I have collaborated with my sister, Sandhya, on those. She animates the illustrations," says Chaaya.
An illustration from her 'Meownday' series
So, what started it all? "As a child, I was always fond of drawing and later realised that I could pursue it professionally," says Chaaya. When asked about her particular style, the 26-year-old explains, "It is something that has developed over time. But I always had certain preferences - in the choice of colours, for example - which is uniform across the illustrations. I'm sure it will change further as I develop more."
Chaaya has an impressive professional repertoire. After completing her Masters in Graphic Design from Savannah College of Art and Design in Hong Kong in 2015, she went on to work as a graphic illustrator for PwC for a year. She, however, wanted more freedom and to work independently. This prompted her to move back to her hometown - Chennai.
What's most interesting about Chaaya's illustrations is her choice of colours. "I tend to gravitate towards a certain set of colours, which is probably influenced by where I grew up, what I watched and read. I use bright, saturated colours - maybe I'll choose a set of blue or orange tones and use it to create the entire illustration," says Chaaya, "I think Chennai influences a lot of my artwork and my use of colours."
The cover of George Orwell's 1984 illustrated by Chaaya
For professional projects, Chaaya does follow a rigid procedure, according to her client's brief, but it is in the illustrations that she does for herself and posts on Instagram that she is more intuitive. Chaaya's love for wildlife can be seen across her Instagram page - she has illustrated cats, dogs, fishes, turtles, birds and much more.
Currently, Chaaya is busy illustrating book covers and has been commissioned to work on over 15 of those, with more slated to be published this year. "I started doing covers last year. A publisher will either give me a summary or I'll read the book. It's really fun," says Chaaya. She also illustrates picture books for children for Indian and foreign publishers.
Chaaya created this doodle for Google on Holi
But that's not all. Chaaya has even worked with tech giants like Facebook and Snapchat to create custom stickers. She has even collaborated with Google to create the doodle for Holi. The prints of her illustration are available for purchase online.
Some of her other illustrations and book covers: