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Meet Our Craft Illustrator: Hemali Vadalia

It has been a tradition at CreativeMornings to work with an artist in our community to create an illustration for the monthly theme.

The global theme for June is Craft.


While the artwork speaks for itself, we wanted to get to know the artist on a personal level and introduce them to the creative community. We’re delighted to introduce you to…

Meet Hemali Vadalia

Hemali Vadalia is a painter, illustrator and animator who has worked and traveled across Europe, US and Israel, to study and collaborate on various projects, pursuing her passion for art.

In 2016 she travelled to Gdansk, a port city in Poland to work as a painter-animator on ‘Loving Vincent’ an animation film on the life of Vincent Van Gogh. She was one of the 125 painters, chosen to work on this project which got nominated for the Academy Awards 2018. Her artworks have been exhibited in Israel, Poland and India.


How did you get into illustration work?

I studied Computer Engineering and while working as a programmer I used to make caricatures for my friends and family. Later I decided to do Masters in Animation and Film design, that was my introduction to the creative field. I’ve always liked working with tangible mediums. While working on my two short films I did a lot of paper craft and clay art to create characters and visuals for the films. This gave me a good start when I began freelancing. People admired handmade work and commissioned me for the illustration and animations for projects ranging from brands campaigns, game designs, children’s books, magazines. Also, I have been pursuing classical realist art. I’m studying and creating drawings and paintings. And I love it!


At what point in your life did you realize that illustration was your calling?

It is the inspiration that helps you advance in the craft you admire so much, regardless of the situations around.

“The coming into the presence of a piece of art you truly love causes a tremendous revolution to occur in you.” -Robert Henri.

I have always had interest in visual art but it took me some time to get to it. When I attended one art exhibition back in 2009 on life events of Gautama Buddha, the works were so soulful, I felt I wanted to be skilled enough to be able to create something so moving, so beautiful. Later I decided to study Animation and film design, where we were introduced to the art of visual storytelling. We studied the works of contemporary artists as well as classics. I began working with different mediums to create images to tell my stories well. Learned about artists whose work and life inspired me, I found out their inspirations and what influenced their work. I was introduced to the works of old masters then. More you read and learn, it opens up the doors to more possibilities. You find all the wonderful works people have created in the past for the rest of us to enjoy, learn from it and take it further.


How has your work evolved over time and what were some influences that caused it?

I have been open to experimenting with different mediums and techniques to create my work. It’s about learning the possibilities each tangible medium offers. Medium’s sensitivity adds to what I want to convey. Traditional handmade works have a different charm. I started with clay art to illustrate and animate. Also did a lot of paper illustrations and sand art.

Later when I came across the works of old masters, it had a huge impact on me. The subjects they chose to paint, and how they found beauty and inspiration in everyday life. The craftsmanship that goes into creating these works is incredible. Whether it is the medieval art or Indian miniature paintings to old masters or contemporary realism, there’s one thing in common, it is about visual storytelling. The feeling in art is the paramount, technique is a vehicle.

I am working on developing the skills to be able to communicate what I wish to communicate. It is about revealing the spirit, an attempt at the portrayal of something that brings a sense of the wonder of life.


How do you define ‘craft’?

For me, it is about the skillful attention and love for what you create. It is like meditation and the process should be as inspiring as the result. Anything you do, do it with grace. Whether it is a drawing, painting or making a papercraft or clay art or any other media, first it is about training your eyes to see the beauty around you, being sensitive towards the surrounding. And then expressing it in the work you create. Giving it the attention it needs.

What are ways you grow your craft, and more importantly, why do you do it?

Observe, study and practice. Learn from nature. Sometimes it requires us to slow down a bit in the process.

It’s about creating an environment that is conducive to art, to live an artful life. There is joy in the pursuit of anything. The initial excitement and hardships and getting there, acknowledging the transient phase, it all brings a sense of the wonder of life. It is a journey and is about spiritual development.


What advice would you give to fellow illustrators?

Be yourself today, don’t wait until tomorrow. Surround yourself with the art you admire. Keep creating personal work, artwork that you’d love to see in your home. The work you create gives the essence of the character, things you believe in, and is unique to you.

What’s something in your industry that deserves more attention? A lot of The years that are spent in perfecting the craft, whether it is filmmaking or painting or anything else, often goes unnoticed. It would be great if the government would support art and animation with subsidized galleries and funding.


Discover more of Hemali’s work on her website, Instagram, Behance, and Facebook.

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