Born in Calcutta, and now living in London, Royal College of Art graduate Nina Chakrabarti’s expressive work has inspired me recently.
Her recent series of maps is the focus of this interview. What’s cool about these pieces is the loose, bright and fun style used in creating illustrations that normally rely on precision, uniformity and accuracy. This is also pretty excellent for me as a previous geographer familiar with the streets of London.
I’ve asked Nina a few questions on the process behind her map illustrations.
What were the briefs behind your map work?
The first three coloured maps were all commissions from Harper’s Bazaar Magazine to extol the virtues of shopping and art galleries in Mayfair.
The linear ones were for Cass Arts for a fold out flyer, so they needed to be more precise as people use them to find the shops, and the last was a cover for Time Out Magazine. That map was for a Treasure Hunt Time Out were promoting in London for Easter that year.
What materials did you use?
The Harper’s Bazaar work was all done with inks. The Cass Arts with Rotring technical pens and Time Out with a combination of both.
What was the work process from scratch in completing the mapwork?
I start with a rough sketch in pencil planning where everything needs to go and wether it could, even if stylized, be followed as a map (that didn’t apply for the Time Out map as that was meant to be more impressionistic of London as a whole).
Then, I put it on a light box and start going over the pencil sketch in inks or with pen. After that, I scan the drawings into Photoshop and tweak it until I’m happy with it.
ⓒ Nina Chakrabarti, 2009
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on a mural for a restaurant. It is a real challenge as I’m used to working small and this is drawing straight onto the wall with pens and chalk.
Thank you Nina! Looking forward to more.