Lifeology: How useful is storyboarding? And how integral is it to the card deck?
Pooja: Storyboarding is useful in so many ways. Often, the ideas in my mind are more complex than what I’m able to create. The only way to test real potential and possibilities with each idea is by doing, in this case making the actual sketches.
Storyboarding helps me understand what works and doesn’t. It helps me explore compositions, angles, frames and so on.
More importantly, storyboarding helps me communicate my ideas to the writer or scientist who wrote the course. My sketches can be really rough or really detailed, depending on what I’m trying to say. Sometimes, if I’m unable to fully get a sense of the idea in rough sketches, I give them more time. Overall, it saves a lot of time and helps generate more ideas and refines my thought process.
Lifeology: Let’s talk about how you get started with storyboarding – do you roughly sketch ideas and then find reference images to help you refine or vice versa?
Pooja: For storyboarding, I start to scribble away straight away. Wherever ever need arises, I open up several reference images. I don’t have a set process on how I go about this, it’s a nice mix of events that occur until I get to where I’d like for it to be. For more simpler sketches I doodle out the idea and look for references much later.
Storyboard by Pooja Gupta
Lifeology: How do you decide on a color palette? Do you use any tools to help you?
Pooja: The way I decide colour depends on the mood and vibe we’d like for the course. This is usually mentioned in the brief. From that point, I either look up images to generate my own palettes or sometimes use platforms like adobe color to play with and find the right swatches.
Lifeology: What is/are your illustration tool(s) of choice and why?
Pooja: This is a tough one. I really like all the tools in my bag. I use illustrator, photoshop, and procreate. It depends on the style of illustration and the nature of the project. I think each has its own pros and cons. Lately, I’ve been using the procreate app on my iPad a whole lot more. I find that it is simple, easy to use, and a portable system which is great to get work done if and when on the move, even locally. Procreate does save me a lot of time because of its simple interface. It is great for smaller/simpler projects in general.
Lifeology: Let’s talk about fully rendering an image. Can you pick one image from the deck and walk us through that process?
Pooja: My rendering process is pretty straightforward. I tend to use my sketch layer as a base. I then fill out shapes with solid colours, block my colours, add texture, and then bring the idea of light into the artwork and finally the details. Sometimes, I repeat this same process multiple times for different sections within an image. See an example of my process in the video below:
Lifeology: How long does the final illustration process take?
Pooja: I find myself taking anywhere between 1.5 – 4 hours for each card.
Lifeology: Any advice to future Lifeology card artists?
Pooja: I don’t have specific advice but, I’ll use this chance to say – please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask any questions that you might have. I’d be most happy to share my learnings and advice on specifics. Whether it’s about a concept or a software or anything else in between.