The 36 Days Of Type Interpreted By 36 Indian Artists Is A Sight To Behold | The Grey Alley

The 36 Days Of Type Interpreted By 36 Indian Artists Is A Sight To Behold

It’s 2018, and just like we are excited about trends in the fashion industry, new film releases, and others. There are a few things in the art circuit that we eagerly watch out for as well, and The 36 Days of Type is definitely one of them.

The 36 Days of Type, challenges creativity and is a platform to push that to its full potential. The project started when Nina Sans and Rafa Goicoechea, graphic designers based in Barcelona, decided to challenge themselves to design something new every day. Since then, it’s one of the most talked about art-based project/challenge in the world.

Ask anyone who has accepted this challenge, and they will tell you that the project has helped them look at their work from a different perspective. On that note, here are 36 artists for India talking about the challenge, the themes they chose this year, and the types they worked on.

A: Saumya Pankaj

Working towards a new and ongoing initiative called ‘The India Craft Project’, Pankaj decided to base her illustrative series on it with the intention of finding like-minded people while talking about some lesser known crafts and skills that constitute the often talked about ‘culture of India’. It began as a serious exploration of branding and social communication design in detail to tell a story better. We are the stories we tell, after all, aren’t we?

“The ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of my story are interwoven with the fabric of lives of people I have had the good fortune of bumping too. Wandering across cities, I like to observe people, people in their spaces and translate it into visuals,” clarifies Pankaj. Adding, “For instance, my wanderings introduced me to (‘T’) Theyyam, a legendary cult worship ritual of Kerala, where God walks on the streets among mortal men; (‘K’) Kavad Katha of mythological gods and (‘P’) Pabuji ki Phad that talks of local heroes—few art forms from a gamut that might soon be forgotten as the age of all things synthetic, brews to a boil. This is where the A to Z of the craft forms was conceived.”

Planning is key. And it’s always a good idea to plan your letters a few days in advance for a heuristic approach, it saves you staring at the screen for infinite hours, she identifies. “Choosing one from the gamut of ‘Indian art and handicrafts’ options for ‘A’ (and the following letters) was most challenging and then translating the beauty and process of the handicraft in such a minimalistic icon was another—to be fair to the artisan and his craft was inexplicably daunting. In such a scenario I looked, consumed and translated what stays with me. I believe what stays with me is what will pull an audience towards that craft/practice as well,” she explains.

Each day brought a new challenge and a hidden opportunity to step up too. ‘It’s amazing how the mind works under creative pressure’, she says. ‘The result of that surprises you as well because out of chaos comes some truth and that rawness reflects in your product’—she hates to admit it, but it’s refreshing to the eye.

“I strongly believe that creativity has a universal appeal and it exists in all of us breaking the barriers of ethnicity, language and culture once it finds a medium of manifestation be it on paper, cloth or plain clay.”

See the entire challenge on her Instagram here.

B: Annada Menon

Pune-based illustrator and traditional artist Annada Menon has been studying various artists who participated in this challenge since last year. She felt that every work was restricted to only an artist learning something from the experience. Hence, she came up with the idea of making something interactive on Instagram.

“It is a great platform equipped with the feature of creating a poll. After I fixed this idea, I wanted my concept to be ‘two fold’, one is its actual meaning and the other, (she couldn’t resist but use a pun) “A show of hands,” means to vote by obviously raising your hand, she tells us laughing. When it came to the execution of the idea, Menon literally wanted to show hands working their way through various day-to-day activities.

The letter she chose was B because she was happy with the composition. “The description of my post is about the rats on wings—pigeons! The caption: “Don’t feed that bird!” The poll on my Instgram stories: Do you feed pigeons? The options were: One, I scare them away every time, and two, It’s summer I keep at least water for pigeons and other birds,” Menon recalls. The final poll came to a 35% for the former option. These were followed by personal messages from followers that ranged from pigeon phobia to “Why did you have to include pigeons in option B?”

The final work might seem seamless, but her challenge for this series was to come up with something that is relatable to people. Also bringing into view the tiny details they miss in life.

Through the challenge, she did get to experiment and test her knowledge of anatomy and play with a brighter colour palette. What she enjoyed the most was the fact that her followers on Instagram were eagerly waiting to answer the poll.

See the entire challenge on her Instagram here.

C: Nikita Marina Braggs

“Living through 36 days” was the theme Braggs has undertaken this year. She really wanted to implement this theme in her life as well. “We all see a lot of to-dos and must have habit lists, but do we really put them to practice? With my series, I am reminding myself to do things which are really important and I hope I can help someone else remember that too,” Braggs adds with a smile, and says that C was that one letter which she strongly connected to as that is one of the things she really needs to do, i.e. ‘stay calm’.

The only challenge she faced here was time, as the style she chose this year was different from her usual. And hence, she needed more time for execution. But it was all worth it.

“From this challenge, as an artist, I have explored a new style to work on, and as a human, it has helped remember to slowly put into practice what I have been saying out there all these days.”

See the entire challenge on her Instagram here.

D: Archit Vaze

Could you take us through the backstory of the challenge—like the underlining theme and why, and how did you arrive at it? “I chose mythical creatures as the underlining theme for this year 36 Days of Type. I have always been fascinated by creatures and mythical/mystical beings as they are described as powerful forces of nature that have peculiar characteristics and standout from the crowd.”

“Usually, mythical creatures are thoroughly described through texts and verbal stories. So that leaves plenty of creative space for visual interpretations. You can draw them in different shapes and sizes mix different species which fit the descriptions. Thus, the possibilities are endless.”

“36 days of daily drawings can be taxing on the artistic mind, so I chose to use mythical creatures as it would provide me with the framework of which animals I need to pull from, but let me have my creative freedom of redesigning the creatures as I saw fit.”

Which letter/number did you choose, and why? “I chose the letter D. I was experimenting with different styles and ways to fit the character within the shape of the alphabet and I think D was the first alphabet in the series where I was fully aware of the style I was going for and it was one of the few alphabets where I was able to capture the shape without contorting the creature to the required shape. Plus, it got a good sense of what I would consider ‘cute’ which I try to achieve in all my drawings.”

The challenge you faced? The challenge I faced more than anything else was just trying to cope up with my daily work and handling 36 days at the same time. Because I was aware of the series right before it started. I skipped on the planning from the beginning and just dived in and did improves which didn’t always work and I ended up skipping a few days. But now that I know about this challenge, I will make it a point to complete it next year with the same level of planning I do for Inktober.”

Your take away from the challenge—as an artist and a human being? “It keeps you focused and on our toes, and that is one key feature I like about challenges. Further, the people who regularly follow you keep posting motivating messages and really nice comments, that help you through the journey. It also helped me connect with such wonderful artists throughout the globe. Events like these truly bring the art community together and you can really feel the energy flowing through this universe.”

See the entire challenge on his Instagram here.

E: Devarshi Gohil

Devarshi Gohil, boss-lady at Studio Seaweed loves illustration challenges on Instagram. “It’s just amazing to see all the different interpretations different people have all across the globe especially with the 36 Days of Type,” she says.

She attempts it every year, but she is really bad at finishing them. That being said she tries to create a way for her to sketch anything she wants and just have fun with it. Just things she likes or things around her that are relevant maybe to the letter the time she sits down to draw.

“I chose the letter E as it stands for equality. I really wanted to draw Alok Menon who is a writer, trans-activist, gender non-conforming activist and just a total inspiration. He is someone who has deeply affected the way I view the world. People who are not a part of the binary are often sidelined and treated horribly. He is a beam of positivity which we all need in the times we are living in, always supporting and push the transgender community in the right way,” Gohil solidifies.

“As an artist and as a human being, the challenge creates a sort of online community with everyone working towards the same goals of creating artworks with the given theme. It’s amazing to see the creativity and the different perspectives we get to witness in these 36 days,” she thinks.

See the entire challenge on her Instagram here.

F: Abhilash K and Vibin K Venugopal

Like every year the duo had a brainstorming session, but this year it was different because no one wanted to work on it as they were bored of doing letters with the limitations they had. So one of them said why don’t they create 26 abusive words starting with each letter but beautifully designed. So this is how it started. But the intention was not that flat.

For this series, they chose the letter F—the most commonly used abusive word but decided to make it light. They certainly didn’t want to use the cliché ‘F’ word. So, they chose a subtle Marathi abusive word ‘Fokan Chidi’ which means “Bird’s Asshole”. They didn’t add any vulgarity. They just kept it decorative, minimal, pretty and functional.

“The idea was to keep harsh abusive words light. So we decided, the offensiveness of the word should be taken over by the beauty of the art around the word. We chose primary colours to keep it simple and consistent among all our employees,” dictates Venugopal.

Adding, Abhilash says, “It was not too hard, as we hear people abusing each other on the streets, in movies (especially Anurag Kashyap and some of Nawazzudhin’s films), and of course from our dear friends. It also seems sometimes that if you don’t abuse it at least once in a sentence, the conversation sounds un-cool. But keeping it lighthearted was a challenge. Our idea was not to really promote abusive language but to showcase how hate has become the most trending subject of 2018, and how each of us has started losing patience and are becoming more and more stupid day by day. Human beings were given a chance to be intelligent but the opposite seems to be the easiest choice,” ends Abhilash laughing.

See the entire challenge on their Instagram here.

G: Soniya Bhase

“The theme I had chosen for this year’s 36 Days of Type was birds and animals, largely because I do not know how to draw anything but a cat,” says Bhase with a laugh. However, things started taking a turn when she reached letter E, and that is when experimenting with the style took priority over her plan. “I believe that this whole project is also about having fun along with developing one’s own skills, so I went ahead with what I felt would combine both of these.”

She chose the letter G because it stands for growth, something we all desire over a period of time. “The body language of the human in the letter mirrors the way the plant is growing. The plant’s survival hangs by the mere hope of a fragile leaf, which is really all you need sometimes—while a thick cushion of foliage grows right underneath the human which subtly highlights the aspect of how we miss out on the bigger picture if we keep focusing on something specifically small. I really hadn’t thought about it until I started lettering G, somehow, when I was done, I was surprised at how all my thoughts, hopes and possibly fears too had translated into this,” she implements.

To be better with each and every letter is something she always strives for, but this year the challenge was to stick to the theme, which she decided to let go because it was restricting her in terms of the experimentation she wanted to delve into. However, when she looks at all the letters now, she sees a lot of them using the recurring element of plants and flowers, so maybe she can stick to a theme if she plans this in advance next year.

“As an artist, I think you constantly have to keep looking at ways to push your work and jump out of your comfort zone—motion graphics is something I have been meaning to explore for a while now, so my aim will be to look into that soon so I can see how that interacts with my illustrations. For what I would take away from the challenge as a human being, I think my letter says it all,” ends Bhase, smiling.

See the entire challenge on her Instagram here.

H: Karthick Rajendran

This is Rajendran’s fifth edition of The 36 Days of Type and his first attempt at seeing it through completely. For this edition, he wanted to have films as a common theme because of his undying love for cinema, but about 70 per cent through the project, he sort of strayed and started experimenting more with 3D. Funny enough the experiments were appreciated more than the film-themed ones.

“Overall I’m glad how the whole project turned out and I learnt a lot as well. I chose the letter H for this since Hannibal is one of most favourite television shows and I was also told that the piece I made was unsettling,” claims Rajendran.

The main challenge this year, however, was time since he tried sticking with 3D throughout; it took thrice the time for a simple illustration or a collage. He did miss out on a couple of letters and numbers but managed to catch up and successfully finish it on time.

“Personally this challenge has been emotional for me since I’ve always struggled with starting things and not finishing them. As an artist, it was challenging for me since it’s a completely new medium and in the end, it was rewarding as well. It was just so beautiful to see so many artists/designers coming together for this challenge and putting out quality work with so much determination. And that is the best motivation anyone can ever have.”

See the entire challenge on his Instagram here.

I: Qutbi Travadi

“Marvel superheroes have been a major part of my childhood. And design dominated my adulthood. So I saw the 36 Days of Type as an opportunity to bring the two together in a unique way. While there were a lot of serious themes on my mind, I finally chose something that made me passionate to keep on going through the days as I crafted each letter,” exclaims Qutbi Travadi.

“I chose the letter ‘I’ as it represents identity. All the Marvel heroes have a unique identity and it is this identity that makes them who they are. The ‘I’ is a representation of how our distinct qualities are liked by different people. That we are not meant to please everyone and before others, we need to appreciate who we are and make peace with our identity.”

Finding marvel heroes to represent each letter was a challenge, and bringing out the identity artistically in each letter was another. But he believes that perseverance is the key. “No matter what you do in life, without discipline and perseverance, we cannot reach our goal. Being busy with work on a daily basis, it was hard to find time for this exercise. However, the drive and passion to complete it kept me going,” Travadi quips.

See the entire challenge on his Instagram here.

J: Swati Khaitan

This year was totally unpremeditated for Khaitan. She was overloaded with work but her love for this series took over and she screamed—let’s do this! No wonder she chose the letter J which means journey. The challenge this year, however, was to somehow be able to keep up with the series in-between the task of handling her startup design studio. “Working under pressure and being spontaneous can sometimes give you better results than pre-planning everything,” reflects Khaitan.

See the entire challenge on her Instagram here.

K: Sandhya Prabhat

Could you take us through the back-story of the challange—like the underlining theme and why, and how did you arrive at it? I’ve been creating illustrations based on literature (#litdrawingseries), for a long time now. And I studied English literature, as my undergrad major. A lot of my family and friends are voracious readers and storytellers. I find unending inspiration in classic literature, specifically. I also love to observe, sketch and illustrate people more than any other subject. I wish I could say I came up with the theme but it was my sister Chaaya Prabhat, (also an illustrator), who did. She’s been regularly drawing for the 36 Days series (she’s doing monsters and mythical creatures this year), and highly recommended I participate this year. She also handed me an apt theme for my letters: (my favourite) female characters in literature. I was glad to oblige.

Which letter/number did you choose, and why? I chose ‘K’ from my series. K for Kannagi from ‘Silapathikaram’ (சிலப்பதிகாரம் composed around fourth to sixth century AD) by Ilango Adigal. I covered a lot of English female characters and wanted to capture something from Tamil Literature since I’m a Tamil. Truth be told, I (regrettably) haven’t read as much Tamil literature, as I have read English, but this was a story we grew up with. If I’m right, it’s also the oldest text I’ve covered in the series. ‘Silapathikaram’ is an epic tale about the complicated relationship between Kannagi and Kovalan ending in Kovalan being wrongly accused of a crime of stealing the queen’s anklet, and getting beheaded by the King unjustly, without a trial. Kannagi avenges this, by setting Madurai on fire. The iconic scene where she challenges the King bravely, by breaking open her anklet on the palace floor, to prove Kovalan’s innocence, is what is shown in the drawing.

The series is made of personal favourite characters from literature and is in no way a ‘perfectly’ curated list. However, I’m happy I was able to include some characters from my Tamil background.

The challenge you faced, if any? It has been terrific conversing with friends and family about what characters to do for what letters. It’s helped me remember old stories. It’s helped me learn about so many works that I’ve never read or never heard of. The followers of this series on Instagram have shown unending warmth and enthusiasm, and I’ve made many e-friends since the series began. When I was completely stumped for what to draw for number 6 (each number would depict a book/poem/text that had that many numbers of women characters in it). I put out an insta story asking for suggestions, only to receive 100s of responses!

Your take away from the challenge—as an artist and a human being? It has been a very interesting experience for me to recall my favourite women characters in literature from several languages, and eras, and study their portrayals on one plane, within such a short span of time. Feels like I’ve time travelled! I’ve been able to make and share observations and notes about what stories were told by women, of women and for women. The series has also opened up conversations with people all over the world about women, literature and art. What more can one ask for? I almost don’t want it to end!

See the entire challenge on her Instagram here.

L: Saumya Shukla

Shukla’s theme this year was on “The Electronic Music Scene in India” since her art has had a lot to do with the underground music culture and the club scene lately. The series gives a glimpse of the names you definitely need to check—from the music they make to their live performances. The series also extends support through type and art in however little a way she could manage.

“Despite currently having a schedule hard to fit this challenge in, I wanted to create a whole new set of artworks. My takeaway from the challenge would be a lot of good music and some art practice. Hope that’s yours too,” Shukla leaves us with a food for thought.

See the entire challenge on her Instagram here.

M: Samidha Gunjal

“Since I have joined Instagram, I have been seeing fellow illustrators and designers participating and taking up different drawing challenges—#36daysoftype, #inctober, #mermay and more. I find all these challenges interesting and a great opportunity to explore new ideas experimenting new mediums of drawing,” states artist Samidha Gunjal.

Elaborating, “This year I decided to give it a try and participate in the 36 Days of Type. As I have never explored the area of typefaces and calligraphy, I was not sure what to draw. I started doodling whatever came to my mind using simple shapes and vibrant colours and it became the central theme for my #36daysoftype challenge.”

She chose the letter M for this feature. She also tells us that she did not draw the letter; it was derived while experimenting with the letter A which is simply drawn using watercolours on paper. “Symmetrical, I find M fascinating because of its retro look, neon colours and angular lines,” she tells. It was a big challenge for her to be able to complete all 36 types that too with a theme! But then she decided to take it easy and just do it.

“As an artist, I enjoyed the process more than the output! Sometimes it’s good to start something unplanned and come up with an unexpected output. Collectively the letters look very much retro and I love it,” exeunts Gunjal with a smile.

See the entire challenge on her Instagram here.

N: Sharon Jacob

“I didn’t start the 36 Days of Type with any particular theme in mind. The goal was to challenge myself to overcome procrastination and to do something despite the daily grind. It was an enormous challenge to just commit to creating something new every day after work, let alone link each alphabet to an object/theme that matched the letter,” relates Jacob.

Jacob grew up on a farm in Kerala with various animals—ducks, hens, cats and dogs. On the flip side, there were snakes, bats, rats and mongoose too. There was a pond to swim in and fresh food to eat. Nature brings back her memories of home, so she chose ‘N’ for Nature. Also, because ‘animation is cool’, she states.

Overcoming perfectionism was a challenge—trying to tweak every visual till it looked just right to the critic in her head. So was shaking off the voice that said, ‘you need more followers/likes!’ “When I tried to over think and make each visual a clever one, it started to turn into a chore. Sometimes you’ve got to just let go of trying to get things perfect and go with the flow.”

See the entire challenge on her Instagram here.

O: Shruthi Venkataraman

Venkataraman really just wanted to try and do the 36 Days of Type this time. This was her first time at the challenge and she thought it would be a great exercise to attain consistency.

“I wanted a theme to flow through the whole series. I spent a few days trying to figure what that could be when I saw my cat—Eleven, stretching and setting into her chair. I felt like I saw alphabets as she moved and realised that would be the perfect concept for the series. To take inspiration for this adorable creature and see how far it went. I really like how it turned out,” she says with a smile.

She chose the alphabet O. This is something her cat does quite often—especially when Venkataraman is watching TV. “She curls up beside her on her chair and sleeps.”

Client work and household chores keep her busy all day. So she thinks the biggest challenge for her was to take some time out every day for the series.

“It’s actually relaxing to do something every day with this kind of consistency. And I think I know my cat much better now. Like whenever she gets up after her sleep. The first thing she does is to stretch like the letter A!”

See the entire challenge on her Instagram here.

P: Sonal Vaswani

Sonal Vaswani was aware of this initiative but she was never a part of it as she was not sure if she could commit herself to it, until now.

“I love handicrafts, the Indian culture, the traditions, and the richness,” Vaswani starts off. Adding, “I was visiting one of the handlooms exhibitions with my mother one day. While I was cherishing Chanderi cloth (from Madhya Pradesh), I saw two ladies bargaining with the exhibitor. They had no clue about the material, the craft, and the effort that went into making that beautiful cloth. The way they were exploiting the craft made me sad. I came home, opened my Instagram and saw people posting about 36 Days of Type.”

“That was the first day of the initiative. I then and there decided to go with it. As I thought through this, I told myself that I will do my best to share some of the richest art, craft, and cultures of India, and educate people about it. This is how I chose the theme Handicrafts. I mixed it with sign language because I strongly felt that Indian craft is like sign language. Our craft is silent, yet loud enough for everyone to know,” she clarifies.

She chose the letter P. P for Phulkari. She is from Punjab, and Vaswani tells us that she has seen the rich culture of Punjab, the Phulkari, the Punjabi Jooti, and the Parandas. Everything about Punjab fascinates her—the vibrant culture, the food… everything. “Phulkari, in particular, has sowed the seed of colours in me. So the letter P had to be my letter,” reflects Vaswani.

Since she decided to participate on the spot, so she had no idea of how she was going to continue. Once she did, every day was a challenge to decide on the craft she was to do. She had difficulty finding crafts from the letters E, F, Q and many others. Vaswani still has not been able to crack a craft from letter X and J. Besides that, taking time off of her assignments and deadlines was another challenge.

“No matter how challenging it was, I enjoyed it a lot. Thanks to so many people who follow me on Instagram too. I started this without hoping that people would appreciate it so much. Every time I got stuck, I would put an insta story asking people to suggest the craft and the amount of response I would get was just commendable,” highlights Vaswani.

See the entire challenge on her Instagram here.

Q: Misbah Hararwala

Hararwala recently re-discovered the watercolour cake set (the one we all used back in school as a child) “18 little square tablets and a brush pen equate to pure understated relaxation,” she states.

As a way to de-stress from her day job as an architect, she got into the habit of painting each day. Oddly everything Hararwala painted somehow was associated with the ocean.

This got her thinking about a trip she had taken in the Andamans a couple of years back when she was on the verge of getting her open water certification. “There is something so mystical about life under the ocean, it’s truly fascinating! I lived in this beautiful marine biology research centre and every evening I sat with this book on tropical fishes trying to identify the ones we had seen on our dive,” she reminisces. It saddens her to know that each year there will be less and less of these reefs and amazing creatures. So the series became an attempt to make a glossary of some of the fish and other marine species.

“The idea behind the style was to make it look like scientific illustrations. Each alphabet was illustrated as an image of an ocean reef that once existed but is now extinct.”

She chose the letter Q for this feature for two reasons. One, she liked the composition of the image (the fish swimming through the opening of the Q), and two, “the queen triggerfish is gorgeous! I love the markings on its body and its iridescent colours,” she quips.

And the challenge? “I wouldn’t call it a challenge parse, but it became a daily exercise to read and research about marine ecosystems and the fish that thrive there. It got difficult at X and Z though. Not many fish start with those alphabets. And then, of course, figuring out how it will all be composed together with the typeface that’s supposed to mimic the reef.”

Well, Hararwala has been following the 36 Days of Type challenge for a while now and every year she reminds herself to do the challenge but never got around to doing it. “I have been battling with procrastination for years now so it was a good feeling to know I stuck through to the end without quitting. As an artist, this was my attempt to educate and make people aware of the ocean which I love.”

See the entire challenge on her Instagram here.

R: Priyanka Jain

This was Priyanka Jain’s first 36 Days of Type challenge, so she wanted to illustrate something that comes naturally to her, and those had to be flowers. “This gave me an opportunity to put all my favourite flowers on paper,” she says.

“I’ve chosen the letter R, which stands for Rhododendrons. As these flowers grow on a higher elevation, these flowers take me back to the mountains,” reflects Jain.

Any challenge? Picking flowers for each alphabet, as I had more than one option. Also, the numbers itself and how to represent flowers in them. So, I just took a call of illustrating flowers that I missed out on.”

As an artist, it was fulfilling to create something with uniformity and following a pattern. She also started looking at the tiniest details of each flower, their leaves, spots, colouring and other stuff. While researching she learnt about new flowers, which she had no clue about. “The 36 Days of Type is a great exercise for artists to create new stuff and practice design in a sense, she enthuses.

“I always felt flowers speak to the soul. Like human beings flowers represent different characteristics of nature. And there’s so much to learn from them. The scent and beauty of a flower completely liven up the atmosphere around you. So always surround yourself with flowers,” she adds.

See the entire challenge on her Instagram here.

S: Kanika Gupta

“The main purpose of this was to explore a typeface in my illustration style itself. There are characters created in every alphabet, you will find a face, with a speech bubble spelling the alphabet. It’s doodly and spontaneous,” Gupta reiterates.

She selected the letter S, which means a swan, one of her favourite characters. “The swan can separate mike from water when mixed, that’s her magic,” she adds.

Further, the daily catch up, since she was travelling a lot throughout and posting in spite of completion due to lack of network was a challenge for her.

“As an artist a lot, this is the first time I am exploring typography in my style, I wonder why I didn’t do this earlier. As a human, it’s nice to be a part of a good initiative that someone started. There was a routine, a discipline to follow in terms of trying to post on time. It was a nice experience to work on a timeline not for clients but for the fun of it,” she clarifies.

See the entire challenge on her Instagram here.

T: Sriti Chamola

Chamola has been in love with typography for a long time now and she finds the 36 Days of Type rather engaging. “Artists all over the world are doing this and everyone has a different style and a different story to tell. It’s hard to believe that something so similar can be so different at the same time. Also, it lets you connect to so many people across the world,” she feels.

She wanted to stick to one theme and after much thought arrived at ‘space’. I felt, it was interesting and challenging at the same time. So, she did some research and finally decided to give it a try and with time, more ideas came and the challenge took shape.

“T is for the telescope. It was so hard to choose one as I have a couple of favourites. It’s balanced in terms of structure and contrast and it just stands out. Further, some of the letters were hard to decide, what term to use, what styles, colours, but it went well,” Chamola reflects.

“It was fun to do this, I really enjoyed it. I really struggled with time since I have a demanding job, but I am proud that I didn’t miss a day in between in spite of that. Overall, I loved the experience and will do this again next year.”

See the entire challenge on her Instagram here.

U: Maanvi Kapur

With this year’s challenge, Kapur wanted to showcase women from all around the world, of all different races, cultures, and walks of life. She wanted to portray women as they are, and not how they ‘should’ be, according to society.

She chose the letter U, she tells us, because the woman she painted for that letter is not the ‘ideal’ woman the world wants her to be. She has her own sense of style, her unique identity, and she chooses to live the way she wants on her own terms.

“While looking for inspiration images, I think my main challenge was to combine the letter and the portraits in a way that blended them well together, and made it look like one unit,” Kapur enthuses.

Also, her main takeaway from this year’s challenge was the fact that, “the more you look, the more you see how strong these personalities are, the way they choose to live their life, the way they challenge ‘norms’ every day. It’s very rewarding to be able to showcase these women through this medium, and reflect their identities and cultures and lives through these portraits.”

See the entire challenge on her Instagram here.

V: Anushka Kalro

Bangalore-based artist/illustrator Anushka Kalro started the challenge every year, with an overzealous idea—once, mythology, another time, animals. She’d try to get beyond the first five alphabets, but lost steam. This year, it’s different though because she decided to think about whatever the alphabet or number made her think that day and just go for it. Looking at it through no particular lens, And she happy to have made it to the finish line.

“I chose the letter V because it makes me think of the school I grew up in—The Valley School. Nestled in 100 acres of reserve forest, I grew up learning about life with monkeys, panthers, and weird and wonderful peers. Besides being the place I made lifelong friendships, it’s where I found my passion for art. It’s where I discovered patience, an attention to detail, and the incessant wonder in the world that makes me believe it’s a magical place every single day,” she fondly recalls.

She had a lot of friends super invested in her daily journey. And because the letters and numbers were inspired by anecdotes or people in her life, she got a lot of ‘Hey! Why wasn’t L about me?’ “Which was adequately awkward,” Kalro points out laughing.

And what has this taught her? “I learned that over-thinking concepts sometimes pigeonhole my creativity. And the stress-free illustration approach I adopted was super liberating. It was really fun for me to be able to let my signature monochrome style and kookie, untamed imagination run wild. And while I know that most people didn’t understand my series because I left it largely unexplained, it meant a whole lot to me,” adds Kalro.

See the entire challenge on her Instagram here.

W: Rohan Dahotre

“Frankly, I don’t enjoy lettering so much, but I wanted to try it nevertheless. I feel the 36 Days of Type gives us more creative freedom to design letters and doesn’t always have to be technical,” Dahotre believes.

He loves drawing owls, so he decided to try and craft a whole theme on minimal owls. He dubs this series ‘Owlfabets.’

“I chose the letter W because that was the only one left to choose (we did that to him!). In all fairness, I loved all my letters equally since they all are from the same family, which was a task for me—drawing owls in a minimal way and yet not losing the identity and firm of the letter was really challenging. That’s why I really enjoyed this project,” Dahotre elucidates.

Dahotre’s Owlfabets letters are geometric and minimal, so coming up these concepts daily while managing freelance and other work was a challenge. “If you see all the letters, I had to be very patient while illustrating them because the final output I wanted was clean and neat. Definitely learnt a lot from this project.”

See the entire challenge on his Instagram here.

X: Radhika Chitalia

Since Chitalia was attempting this challenge for the first time, she had given herself one rule, which was to use the shape of the letters and see it differently through an ‘illustrative eye’. “My main goal was that a viewer should first get captured by the subject of illustration itself and the alphabet would reveal itself through careful placements of motifs,” she indicates. To her, that felt like a challenge within the challenge. It forced her to look at typography in a new light. She used existing fonts and sometimes she tweaked them to illustrate the ideas she had.

“With ‘X’ I believe I was successful in achieving my vision. The ladybirds subtly create the slant of the X and it shows itself to you only after you linger a moment longer. The idea of discovering the alphabet felt thrilling to me.”

Adding further, “I struggled with a lot of alphabets. Sometimes the artwork just came to me within seconds while sometimes I spent hours thinking about it. Also making something new daily can get exhausting, you have to find the enthusiasm for it every day, even on days when you are tired after a full day’s work. But once I get to painting, it’s extremely therapeutic. This challenge taught me that I can persevere and push myself on ‘low’ days and power through. Also, it opened up a wonderful community on Instagram that gave me so much encouragement and love and it played a big part in motivating me to push the boundaries a little more and have fun while doing it.”

See the entire challenge on her Instagram here.

Y: Enoni Mosu

“I had drawn alphabets with faces earlier this year. And quite a few number of people asked me if they were for the 36 Days of Type. I hadn’t heard about it till then. It seemed like a fun project to participate in.” And that’s how it started, for Bangalore-based artist Enoni Mosu.

“The rules I gave myself for the project was to submit only hand-drawn works using ink, brush and pen. And a rough visual theme to use body parts for words/phrases that start with the letter of the day.”

Featured here is the letter Y. Y is for ‘Yay!’ “Y is also for Yeast Infection! I love incorporating humour into my work and Y made me laugh the most. I am happy with the way the visual pun emerged in it. The primary challenge I faced, however, was to stick to the program. And to not finish all the letters in one go. Forcing myself to draw a letter each day was meditative. As an artist, it was a fun ‘box’ to tinker with. As a human ‘bean’, it was lovely to be a part of a collective effort—without having to socialise!”

See the entire challenge on Enoni Mosu’s Instagram here.

Z: Richa Jain

“I call this series ‘The Maracters’ Inspired by my love for colours, Aztec patterns, neon colours and the galaxy. I started this by playing around with ink watercolour, handmade sheets and watching space documentaries because looking at the sky and browsing through galaxy pictures have always amazed me,” Jain starts off.

She combined her love for creating patterns and passion for galaxy gazing into one and started creating some alien-like patterns. Jain further decided to work on them digitally, discovering the endless possibilities with design colours pattern and forms. Her attempt at the 36 Days of Type is also her first attempt to put her work on Instagram!

Jain opted for the letter Z for Zen—“The Maracter land I created for myself is full of colours and objects like a garden that glows in the dark, neon skies, an island made of ice-cream, and is the place I would rather be—a happy beautiful world with infinite possibilities,” she dictates.

Creating stories for each word was a challenge for her and the commitment to the challenge itself was another. But, since this was her first year taking part in the challenge, she was super excited to keep up with the timeline.

“If it wasn’t for the 36 Days of Type, I would have never put this out to people and meet like-minded people all around the globe. I enjoyed this slow process and especially the experimenting with patterns based on the research part of it,” she tells us.

See the entire challenge on her Instagram here.

0: Rajasee Ray, Tanvee Nabar, and Shubhangi Goel

“Ladyfingers Co.’s theme for 36 days of type 2018 was Collective Nouns. As a studio, we were collectively looking for a theme that would capture our diverse individual interests, and be true to the kind of work we do: relevant, conceptual and quirky. We also wanted to keep the style open, so that all three of us could contribute, and experiment. We had a few options but the collective nouns idea really captured our imagination—it’s a pre-existing bank of linguistic eccentricity which would be hilarious and fun to depict, with a lot of scope for different illustration styles. We also made up a few, to add to the nonsensical hilarity of the general theme,” states Ray.

“We chose the number 0, as one of our special favourites out of the letters we did. 0 is different from all the other letters and numbers conceptually, as it stands for nothing and emptiness, which is absence that is important both numerically and as an abstract concept. We wanted to portray that feeling through both the style that we chose—white paper, light and shadow. An absence of anything tangible or substantial, and the collective noun that we made up for the number: A Nonentity of Nobodies. The depiction then doubled up as a double-0 spy game, which added a layer of pop-culture thrills and secrets to the story, which went very well with the theme,” adds Nabar.

Switching from letters to numbers took some brainstorming as the trio was going with an alphabetical theme that had to suddenly shift to a numerical set of collective nouns.

“The challenge was a lot of fun and extremely rewarding in terms of the daily output, and a rigorous exploration of theme and style. It was also extremely rewarding to be working as a studio on the same series, and growing as individual artists by being inspired by each other’s work. It was a great team-bonding exercise and at the end of 36 days we’re left with a huge scope of what our team can do collectively, which is amazing to see,” closes Goel.

See the entire challenge on their Instagram here.

1: Deepa Rodrigues

The last time Rodrigues worked on the 36 Days of Type, she had used post-its for each letter, this time, she really wanted to play around with type, using various media.

“I choose to do 36 Days of Type as 36 Days (of) Freehand—every character was done using no guides, no rulers, and no pencils; just trusting my eye and testing my hand,” she voices.

Her work as a furniture/spatial designer involves a lot of technical drawing and precision, doing 36 Days Freehand was an interesting way for her to really test her artistic abilities and showcase her other skills.

“Doing them all freehand and with physical media meant that I had to discard a lot of letters. For me, it has always been tough to keep in mind that making multiple versions of the same piece doesn’t mean I’m being wasteful. As I progressed, I found interesting ways to do variations of the letter without having to discard materials. For instance, I did the letter ‘J’ with a hose pipe, so when I laid it out and didn’t like it; I just had to rearrange it instead of having to use more material,” she recalls.

See the entire challenge on her Instagram here.

2: Dhruva Deshpande

Could you take us through the back-story of the challenge—like the underlining theme and why, and how did you arrive at it? “This year, I started creating artworks on Digital 3D platform (Cinema 4D), which is a whole new dimension for me to explore. But I had just started exploring and was a rookie. Looking at my previous experiences of the 36 Days of Type, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to give it a shot again. But my bestie made me realise that this could be a great opportunity for me to learn through exploration as I would have a time limit for my experimentation and that would make me come up with some substantial result. And that sounded convincing to me. That is when I decided to go ahead with 36daysoftype05.

I had to decide a theme so that it would form a well-connected series of artworks. So the plan was to choose a material starting from the daily letter prompt and applying it to a 3D model of that letter itself. For example, B is for Bronze so I would make a ‘B’ out of Bronze. And so on.

After I was done with the alphabets, it was time for the numerals. But unfortunately, there aren’t any materials starting from numbers. So I just came up with this random playful idea of creating alien materials which don’t exist in real life. This opened up a lot of doors for my experiments again because even I didn’t know what I was going to be looking for.

Which letter/number did you choose, and why? I chose to put up number ‘2’ as it is one of my favourites visually and was also the first one to which I could successfully apply an iridescence. Iridescence in itself is a very interesting characteristic of a material because it changes colour when your viewing angle changes, and that I think is a unique feature to play around with. Adding a cranial pattern to it makes it look wrinkly which again adds a lot of detail to the material. Every material interacts with its surroundings in a particular way. Every material reacts with light in a different way. And understanding these details is the key to getting a holistic understanding of how the material actually is. And I think I could define the characteristics of a material the best in ‘2’ which has ultimately made it one of my favourites.

And yes I have deliberately given funny and stupid sounding names to these materials because at the end of the day we would all like to have some humour for dinner. And this was my dose of the same. I call this material, ‘Randompatternedpeacockeon’.

Any challenge? Since digital 3D space is new to me, challenges were hitting me at every stage of work. Be it modelling, making textures, applying them to the models, setting a camera angle and even post-processing. So a lot of problems and challenges based on the technicalities. But otherwise, there was one challenge that took me a while to solve. And that is the background. The iridescent material in the foreground was something that I got right in few steps. But the material in the foreground will stand out only if the background allows it to. And that is important when you create any visual. The background plays an important role in giving importance or taking away the emphasis on the foreground and the subject. For the visual that I was creating I needed high contrast between my subject and background which I realised later on while trying to analyse and critique.

Your take away from the challenge—as an artist and a human being? There is one fundamental change I could observe in my work and in my way of working over the period of this one month. And that is consistency. This was a daily challenge and so there was no day off. I had to experiment every day, fail every day, create every day and work till I felt satisfied which at times would get hectic and frustrating. But this is the time when you should test your consistency in work, time management and quality altogether. This year’s challenge proved to be of a great help to me and has taught me things I wasn’t expecting. And that’s the best thing about it.

See the entire challenge on his Instagram here.

3: Chaaya Prabhat

For this year’s 36 Days of Type, Prabhat’s theme was mythical monsters and creatures. She recalls reading about a few of them a couple of months before the challenge, and as she read more, she realised that there were innumerable mythical monsters and creatures from almost every culture across the world that were interesting in their own ways. So she thought that something like this would be a perfect theme for the 36 Days of Type and it would also be an opportunity for her to learn more about legendary creatures.

She chose number 3 or the three-headed Cerberus. “I was quite happy with the way the illustration for the number turned out,” she adds. Cerberus also happens to be one of her favourite mythical creatures.

Challenges? “For some letters of the alphabet, there were too many great monsters to choose from and it was hard picking just one to draw. On the flipside, for some of the other letters, there were too few—but I ended up doing a lot more research for those letters and learning more about cultures that I previously knew nothing about.”

She believes that this is definitely a great exercise for any artist to draw continuously for 36 days and have a nicely packaged project by the end of it—“even if my regular work was boring I would look forward to drawing my monster for the day.”

See the entire challenge on her Instagram here.

4: Ishita Panchal

“Looking at the same things with a different perspective is a sign of a creative mind. As a mad typo fan, I always saw a lot of letters around me in objects which not many do. The different forms, shapes and volumes inspired me to construct and design the letters/numbers,” Panchal fills us in.

“My theme for the 5th edition of 36daysoftype was #DoYouSeeWhatISee. This was my first attempt and I was very excited! The main essence of the theme was to visualize letter and numbers in your surroundings.”

She selected number 4 since Panchal could visualise it at the Bandra Worli Sealink—a great construction marvel of Mumbai. ‘Also the number design in itself is unique because of asymmetrical nature of the vertical stem.’

One of the most difficult of the series parts was sourcing of the images. Since she did not have a huge personal bank of pictures, she had to rely on the Internet. At times she would get good resolution images and at times, not. It also tested her time management skills!

“The whole series was a tremendous exercise to channelise the visualising skills. It also helped to showcase and spread awareness about visual literacy. I was happy to receive images from my follower friends who also saw letters and numbers like me in their surroundings. In the end, I can happily say that #YouDidSeeWhatISaw,” Panchal laughs it off.

See the entire challenge on her Instagram here.

5: Surbhi Thakur

This is Thakur’s second year of participation in the 36 Days of Type. For her first year, she worked on a series that focused on a Cinema theme, and it was full of colours.

“As an individual, I feel challenges help form core inspiration for any project. So I had picked black and white and lines as the core theme for the series. It has been more than 10 years since I parted my ways with science as Commerce was my core subject in high school. But in the past few years, the curiousness and fascination had grown for science and all I did to fulfil it was by watching a bunch of series on Discovery. This was the time when I realised that I should take science as the theme and create the series. But later felt that it is too vast a subject hence narrowed down my number series to lab equipment,” illustrates Thakur.

She picked her ‘Microscopic 5’ through which she can explore the vast world of science. She broke down the complicated microscope into just lines and made a simple illustration resembling 5. Lastly, the project helped her take topics out of her comfort zone and explore new things.

See the entire challenge on her Instagram here.

6: Aarohi Devasthale

“The overall theme of my 36 Days of Type was based on self-love because I feel like that’s something many people lack and something I am actually good at. I have always been plus-size and that used to bring me down, but being in a fashion institute for four years (NIFT, Mumbai), has taught me that nothing matters if you love yourself and are confident in your own skin. So each letter/ number depicts a different aspect of self-love according to me. I have used a rainbow colour scheme to have that element of vibrancy and playfulness,” Devasthale puts forth.

“The reason why I chose number 6 is that I absolutely love how the composition and the colours have panned out. It stood for “have 6 meals in a day” which will help you be healthier and also lessen your pangs of hunger.

There were two major challenges she faced while she was working on the project was that she was making one letter/number per day. She works two creative full-time jobs, so finding time to draw also meant losing sleep but it felt amazing to complete the challenge.

Second, was using bright colours. She pushed herself to use absolutely bright hues because she usually doesn’t. She tends to stick with blues and greens. She wanted to explore reds, hot pinks, yellows, which are colours she usually doesn’t go for.

“The biggest takeaway for me was people responding to how they loved my series and it was actually helping out with their mental health. There were people actually waiting for the next letter/number and having fun guessing what it might mean. I guess my positive attitude tends to reflect in my illustrations,” exits Devasthale.

See the entire challenge on her Instagram here.

7: Shakthi Hari

Hari started participating in this challenge last year and he feels it’s totally amazing to see designers from different countries working on a single type every day. ‘Designing something everyday post his exhausting regular job was really challenging so the theme might feel a little messed up,’ he says. But this edition was important for him since he learned to keep up with time which he used to fail at terribly. “I also knew I was bad at using textures in illustrations and wanted to make use of this opportunity. So I pushed my limits to use bold colours and textures regardless of how my final design was,” voices Hari.

Adding, “The difficulty I faced often was getting inspirations. I could see 3D artists pulling off beautiful abstract designs (and I usually got jealous of their skills, ha-ha-ha). So I tried getting inspirations from objects around me every day. And if I was not able to find any, I went for flora and fauna. In fact, I started developing an interest in wildlife. And while searching for them, I either found they didn’t exist anymore or they are about to be extinct (which is so bad). But my key takeaway from this is to inspire and get inspired by people around me, and to embrace nature in all possible ways.”

P.S: The letter he picked was featured in the official 36daysoftype handle!

See the entire challenge on his Instagram here.

8: Poornima Ranjit

This was Ranjit’s first time taking part in this challenge. So she thought she would start with something basic that she could experiment with and they were lines, shapes and colours. “I chose bold and bright colours that I have always been afraid to use, to challenge myself to explore colours. And I chose to make patterns with lines.”

She chose number 8 for this series because she feels it has a beautiful shape and there were so many ideas running through her head to form its shape.

Further, choosing the colours was very challenging. “I didn’t want to steer away from colours that weren’t bold because of which I had to repeat colours, and I didn’t really want to do that. But as I reached the end of the challenge I was able to choose colours more carefully without disrupting the central theme of the series. So I fixed two colours that I would repeat—bright pink and turquoise,” she reflects.

“It instils a great sense of discipline because you have to post it every day and doing that whilst you’re busy with something else can be demanding.  So I had to plan my day well in advance so I could decide the window during which I would design the letters. It has also made me a lot more confident with my work and I am able to push myself to do better design every day,” closes Ranjit.

See the entire challenge on her Instagram here.

9: Prtish Tandon

This year, Tandon challenged himself to explore the letterforms and numbers in a form of quirky animations. The reason he chose animation was primarily to learn and explore new methods while also creating something visually interesting and playful. “I kept the brief pretty open than narrowing it to one theme. The commonality across the exercise was a series of animated type,” he states.

“On the lighter note, I choose number 9 for this feature because I was left with limited options to choose from. (laughs, and we know exactly why he is laughing) Jokes apart, I chose 9 because it was a fun exercise and the last type of the quirky animated series. I love exploring and looking into hidden forms/features within objects or letterforms. While exploring, the ‘eye’ as a form within the number 9 stood out quite prominently and what followed with it was an expression of a detective spying through a small peeping window. So, what can relate better than a famous comical character as Pink Panther, with his quirk and humorous expressions,” informs Tandon.

“There weren’t any specific challenges as such but syncing the animation with music was a be bit tricky. But in all aspects it was a fun and insightful exercise to be a part off,” he adds.

“As an artist, there is always a lot of learning and scope for improvement each time we create any work, with a constant effort to observe, refine and evolve. That chain should never break and as an artist, I always try to remember and embed such learning’s in my work. As a human being, just a sheer dedication to creating something every single day in a row keeps one motivated.”

See the entire challenge on his Instagram here.


What do you think of these artists and their works of art? Let us know in the comments below.

Have you worked on the 36 Days of Type as well? Leave a link to your work in the comment down below, and we might just get back to you.


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