It is almost depressing to look at your friends’ Instagram posts on travelling, food and their achievements, while all you are doing is staying home and scrolling down your Instagram feed. It was one of those days I thought of retreating away from social media that I stumbled upon sarahandersoncomics; the comics were a breath of fresh air with a protagonist with pixie hair, and dialogues of humor and daily life incidents. There was a community of social media comic artists once I began my quest for them and slowly, my Instagram was filled with feeds from bymariandrew, 4amshower, theawkwardyeti, catanacomics and a number of other international illustrators. However, it was only a couple years later when Nepali illustrators took part in the Inktober challenge (that happens every year in the month of October), that I came to know about illustrators from Nepal who leveraged Instagram to showcase their comic art. Here are three of the most followed Nepali comic artists on Instagram who, with their quirky, humorous and often times, very relatable comic stories in this issue of Living magazine.
Sneha, known to many by her alias, The Casual Artist, doesn’t consider herself to be an adept artist, having given up formal art at school in her fourth grade. She continued with the less severe forms of art: doodling, sketching and illustrating. “I am not very articulate so I use comics as a means to convey my emotions. Also, it is easier to illustrate everyday life with stories in a humorous way through comics. It also feels good to pen down a particular moment or the imprint that a good movie or a piece of music leaves in me,” she says. Illustrating, for her, is a way of meditating and focusing which she considers has helped her to deal with her short attention span and, of course, relay her opinions and thoughts to other people.
She started doing illustrations in a conventional way using sketch books but now her approach is digital. It was pen and paper for her in the initial days but ever since she started doing comic strips for Instagram, she has been doing it digitally. “I use Wacom tablet and Paint tool Sai for illustration. Traditionally sketching is fun in its own way, but the upside of doing it digitally is that even if it’s a rough sketch there are plenty of options for editing. I am also not very good with watercolors, and digital painting has helped me to experiment with more colors in my comics.” Among the casual artist’s most trending comic pieces are ‘Expectation v/s Reality’, ‘Projection for 2018’, ‘Emotional Baggage’ the list goes on. She hopes to come up with new projects in future and might even come with her own line of merches.
Highly influenced by mangas and anime, Nom wanted his illustrator sobriquet to be something meaningful and catchy. It was while he was watching an anime that “nozomi” which roughly translates to ‘being hopeful’ came up and he decided to keep it as his artist name. Comic illustration is only one of the many styles that he pursues; this versatile artist is also involved in fine arts, spray painting and wall painting. He is found doing art that include digital illustrations for his comics, and also motion picture which he considers is his way of story-telling. “The story for my comic illustration can be anything. I get inspired from what I see or listen to or dream about. There isn’t any specific theme that I stick to while I am drawing,” says Nom.
Like Sneha, Nom also embraces digital illustration, which he does in Wacom using paint tools. “I had started illustrating in a traditional way, which is sketching on paper. Then I started drawing in Wacom which I gradually outgrew. Now, I sketch my animated characters, scan it, then edit and color it digitally. I think compared to doing it solely on paper or digitally, combining both gives a flawless finish.” While Nom sees illustration as a subtle way of telling stories, he takes the approach of animation and motion graphics which bring life to his drawings.
One might wonder what o_mimi_cha really means, for which this comic illustrator has a very cute back story. It was the day when she was in her room sketching, that her mom called her saying ‘Oh, Mimicha!’, that Rimishna got her alias. Her Instagram is filled with her simple pencil sketched illustration which features a cat and a girl, and comical dialogue between them. An architect by profession, Rimishna took comic illustration to communicate and express herself well which otherwise she feels she’d fail to do in words. “When I got my supplies for my architecture school, I was really happy. I mostly thought of using them for illustrating,” says Rimishna.
Mimicha sticks to traditionally illustrating her characters in her sketchbook and likes to keep it plain without colors. Unlike Nom and Sneha, Rimishna doesn’t do digital comic strips, but her other forms of illustration involves digital manipulation where she introduces fun and imaginative elements in mundane photographs. The concept for her comics comes from what is mostly relatable to a majority of people. Besides that, most of her illustrations without dialogues are the everyday objects which tend to go unnoticed. She considers her knack for sketching and illustrating to be a device to deal with people as an introvert and feels that drawing has made her realize the changing tides of time, and helped to make her content with what she does.