Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Arbitary watercolors

Just some doodles...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Repackaging a Classic :The Cover Job

Some variations of the ACK covers over the years and the research I did before starting the redesign:

One of our first jobs after the acquisition was to repackage all the classic Amar Chitra Katha covers without losing the old look and feel.This was by no means a trivial task, seeing how Amar Chitra Katha has been around for almost 30 years and has a very clear brand recognition in people's minds.
The back catalog is pretty overwhelming as well with about 600 titles in the inventory and moving about 1.3 million SKUs annually.The covers have been changing designs as well over the years and there was a bewildering array of different layouts (see above).

So, I spent 3 weekends in both Landmark and Crosswords observing how the product was stacked, people's reaction to them and design features that we could improve.One overwhelming factor I came away with was clutter predominates all Indian retail.Clutter in colors, clutter in form, clutter in stacking and clutter in images.

It also became pretty clear after a couple of design iterations with the ACK CEO that we moving too far away from the original brand .In fact while some of the variations we came up had the twin appeal of being modernistic and standout, they were too radical a departure from the ACK brand.

The other major factor was that each of the older covers was a gorgeous painting and almost an art piece by itself.So the images Im posting below were our final attempt in which we attempted to :

1>Color categorize all the existing ACK comics into 5 distinct color coded bands so that retailers would be easily able to stack them and customers would carry away a consistent impression of all the categories that ACK has to offer.

2>Redesign the ACK logo and position it in a way that the logo and the band containing the title is always visible especially when they are stacked in Croswords and Landmark.

3>Retain the old cover paintings and overlay some of the company's online initiatives without losing the classical feel.

4>Use the back of the cover to inform people about other titles in that category.

Heres the end result(will post variations at a later date)..

Friday, December 26, 2008

Jooba Video Content Up

The Jooba site is up, and Jooba should be in stores in 2009.We've actually produced the first print run and they should be in stores like Landmark and Crosswords.
I storyboarded this one personally,minimalist style.

The next one is the counting sheep song, storyboarded by the very talented Anish, our first NID intern...

Reena Puri wrote that particular song and the tempo is fantastic throughout,ending with a very sleepy 30.The idea was that Kalia was trying to get Doob Doob to sleep by making him count to 30.

I will post some more Jooba stuff as we go along, currently we are in the middle of developing an MMO and its proving to be a tough project to execute.More on that later...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Nina New Cover

See no evil, say no evil, hear no evil.
Nina meets some monkeys in Jodhpur.
These 15 pages were epic...very foolishly I agreed to do a 15 pager whilst on holiday in Goa.You can imagine the rest...I spent every day in Goa NOT doing anything and then almost killed myself over the weekend to finish aforesaid 15 pages.Luis, the editor was sending me messages like "the clock is ticking" and towards the end simply "WHERE???!"
Will post some more images as soon as I catch up on some sleep.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Jooba Concept Art

Here is where it always starts...from a sketch.
These are the most critical part, as its been my experience that people react most viscerally to a sketch.Either your character has appeal or it doesnt...showing the sketches around at this stage establishes the whole feel and characters of the world.

I do fast b/w sketches and color them later in Photoshop, also the design of the characters does change from medium to medium, as the final Flash animated figures did come out slightly different.


Wow, 4 months of dev. time and finally I can talk/show what we have been working on.

Its ACK Media's first product in the pre-school age group and is about a bunch of kid's characters in a fantasy land where they have tons of adventures, explore basic learning concepts such as alphabets , numbers and shapes/colors.
We also introduce Kalia and Doob Doob, two popular characters from Tinkle as the MCs of the show as well as some live action dancers.
Its a very India themed show, as Samir Patil, the producer of the show has always stressed the demand in the market for such a show.

The entire show is a mixed format 22 minute episode that can work as a TV serial or 11 minute episodes.I conceptualized the world, designed the characters and with the help of a very talented team in Bangalore and Mumbai ,directed the 4 DVDs that we are releasing in September.
It was an exhausting effort as we had to do design and production in 3 different formats, to wit Live Action, Puppetry and Animation.
We ended doing all the post-production ourselves as well and have learnt a lot from this experience, with a number of team members learning entirely new skill sets to push the bar.So enough with the blabber, here's the work, starting with the concept stills...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Nina Look Development

Im going to post some look development work that I did on Nina before she got published on her first story.Sadly,I didnt get as much time to polish the drawings as much as I would have liked as we were involved in a massive video production at the time(ill post about that development later).
So here are some raw pics.....just ink pen and paper.

Suppandi and Shikari Shambu Reboot

We recently updated the look of Shikari Shambu and Suppandi for Tinkle, they are definitely one of the most loved characters in the Tinkle ouvre and we started by doing
a couple of 15 second interstitials in 3d using their new designs.Take a look...

Amar Chitra Katha Look Development

Old work getting a dusty airing out....this is a bunch of stuff we did for Amar Chitra Katha.
Little did I realize then, but this would be the last look development work that we would do as an indpendent studio,soon after this the buyout occurred and we became Amar Chitra Katha.

Some of these look dev. works actually made it as posters in Crosswords and Landmark, as well as bookmarks.Im hoping to get this look in the Mobile content that we are developing currently as well...take a look!

Nina:Lost and Found

Nina's adventures are set in 1950's India and she follows her Dad around on his job.
Her mother is missing, since she was a young child and a longer story arc that explores
her mother's mysterious disappearance will add a deeper sub-plot to her stories.

The first story is set in Nepal, where we join Nina and her Dad on a road tunnel survey.Before big engineering projects are started, Nina's dad is called upon to make geographical and geological survey maps of the area.On the way to the survey site, their jeep breaks down and a snowstorm descends.They discover a plane wreck which has been uncovered by an avalanche and go to investigate...

New Character Development: Nina

Nina is the first new IP that I created for ACK Media.She's really a composite hero of all the characters I wanted to create for a long time..Ill skip the long expositions and post some visuals of her development and let that speak for itself.Written and drawn by me and colored by the great team of Yat, Sud and Shanu who always make my work look mmmucch better than it really is...
Reena Puri , who joined on a ACK Editor also helped me through the layout stage by doing breakdowns and some great script suggestions.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Transition:Quiet Men Studios Owner to Amar Chitra Katha VP

Well,its been about 6 months since my take-over.

For people who dont know name is Arjun Gupte.

I used to run a small gaming and animation design studio called Quiet Men Studios since 2004(self-funded) in Bangalore,India.

We had a pretty good run for 4 years, working on game design and animation production for majors like Sony and Warner Bros. and (lots) of unnamed minors.We learnt a lot about animation,game design in general and clients(!) in particular.We broke even in our 2nd year and were a cash profitable company since 2006,so things were humming along.

Along the way, I built the team from 2 to 8 people and we started focusing more on game design and character IP.

Our one and only Indian client, Amar Chitra Katha( calling for some character redesigns in 2007 and liked our work.Before we knew it they were our only client and we pitched them a game concept, which was a MMO proposal using the IP that they had built over the last 30 years.

The founder of ACK Media, Samir Patil who had aqquired all of the older ACK catalogue proposed a buyout wherein I and my team could as a core for the new creative studio that they wanted to build out.

It seemed like a good fit, and we started talking seriously from Sept. 2007.They got a pretty good studio at a scale that they could satisfactorily manage and we got a great channel to push our ideas into the marketplace.

I am now the creative head of ACK Media Pvt. Ltd. and am directly responsible for creating and overseeing all the new IP and media production that ACK Media produces.Ill post on some of these new creations as we go along...including a lot of the behind the scenes stuff that goes on.