Published: 13th September 2020
Sketch. Laugh. Think. Repeat: Inside the seriously awesome sketches of Nikkita M
If you love cartoons and paintings, then you will definitely love Nikkita M's artwork. She is an illustrator and a former student of famous cartoonist Rahnu. Check out her work right awaySketch
When Nikkita M was three years old, her mother observed that she concentrated best when she was drawing or painting. So, whenever there was a drawing competition, Nikkita's mother ensured that her daughter participated in it. And that's how Nikkita explored her skills in art. Fast forward to 2020, Nikkita is a cartoonist, illustrator, artist, UX designer, art educator and much more — that's what her bio on her Instagram page, @artbynikkita, says and, of course, her unique and beautiful pieces are only proof. Hailing from Chennai, Nikkita created her distinct identity at a young age. She recalls how she dived into the world of cartoons when she was only seven years old, "My parents enrolled me in cartoonist Rahnu's class. I still remember how happy I felt attending his classes. I got to train under him for nine years. Like that, I also trained under painter E R Lakshmanan where I learnt the skills of painting."
Unlike other kids, Nikkita's passion for art did not stop when she was in class X. In fact, she explored and learnt more about art. She explains, "When I finished school, I was supposed to pursue Arts, Commerce and Science but I chose to study fashion designing at the National Institute of Fashion Technology in Chennai. Though we study fashion designing primarily, we also get to study all kinds of artforms. This broadened my horizons; I learnt that art is not just restricted to fashion. At the same time, I learnt UX and graphic designing. Soon after my graduation, I worked for different corporates in Chennai and I realised that my interest didn't lie in fashion. That's when I moved to Bengaluru where I worked for a gaming company as a costume designer. This was the first time I truly enjoyed what I did, it was a fulfilling job for me."
Nikkita spent ten years in the corporate world, working for a number of companies. But all along, Nikkita felt that she was not enjoying her job. "I started creating beautiful watercolour paintings, sketches, illustrations and so on, and posting them on my Instagram page. Soon, my followers began to reach out to ask if I can create a particular piece for them. It was probably the first time that I felt happy doing what I wanted and people liked what I did," says Nikkita, adding, "In 2018, I attended this event called Designer in Bengaluru where I met many designers and artists from across the globe. After interacting with a fellow artist named Ben, I felt like I had finally found a place where I belonged because the work that he was doing was really unique. He would attend the events, take notes and convert them into paintings, drawings and sketches. This intrigued me as his sketchbook was filled with beautiful visuals and phrases from many other such events."
Soon, Nikkita realised that she was doing something similar but it had fewer words and more drawings. She took this practice seriously and started doing it when she travelled to different places. A chance came when she got to actually put it in the form of work at the 2019 Designer event. "The people who were hosting this event had called for applications from artists who wanted to cover the events and the workshops in a unique way. I applied and they liked the sketchbook concept. Hence, in 2019, four other artists and I got to cover the events. It boosted my confidence that I was going in the right direction.Thereafter, I printed my work on various merchandise like T-shirts, badges and so on. Though I probably was off to a late start, age-wise, people's encouragement kept me fresh. Recently, in March 2020, when the pandemic had just begun, I put up a store at Sunday Soul Sante in Bengaluru. Though it was a humungous task for me to take all the materials from Chennai to Bengaluru, I fulfilled my dream of putting up a store at Sunday Soul Sante," says Nikkita.
During the lockdown, Nikkita started live sessions to teach drawing to people of all age groups. "I observed that people would draw or paint along with me during these sessions and they loved the simple things that I taught them. Now, after several requests from my followers, I hold online drawing classes for both kids and adults. While some of these classes include one-on-one teaching, most of them are in groups and the people who attend the classes are either beginners or at the intermediate level. Apart from this, I also freelance for various companies that request me for a particular artwork or doodle or even to design their newsletter. "