Through this series, Community Spotlight, we are highlighting a range of designers who inspire us with their boundless imagination and resilient spirit. We hope that in doing so, they too will bring inspiration to your doorstep.

This week, we had the pleasure of chatting with Shivangi Rathi, a wonderful community member, illustrator, and lettering artist whose art brings us so much joy. From her pastel color palettes and whimsical illustrations to her festive greeting cards, her cheery spirit shines through. We were very fortunate to get the chance to know Shivangi a little better, and know you will feel the same!

Q: Shivangi, can you tell us a little about yourself?

Oh yay! My name is Shivangi Rathi and I am a freelance motion designer & illustrator based in Jodhpur, India. Jodhpur is my hometown where I live with my parents. My love for arts and crafts has been huge since childhood and I have also always loved playing outdoor sports, especially volleyball. I am crazy about magical, mystical and fantasy-themed things, whether it's movies like Harry Potter, Narnia, Winx Club, Stranger Things, or the life of mermaids, witches, and mystical creatures. I am a strong believer in the law of attraction and I follow spirituality very much. I love stationery, collecting adorable ceramic items, and everything cute.

In my leisure time, I like to watch Skillshare classes, K-dramas, or craft videos. Oh, and I love traveling often with my parents.

I have been freelancing since 2016, mostly making lyric videos for kids' songs, bands, and singers from around the world. I completed a diploma in Animation and VFX where I learned a little bit about almost everything related to graphic design, 2D animation, sound design, 3D space, VFX, and website design.

Q: How long have you been with us as a Design Cutter?

I think I have been following the Design Cuts community for the past two years, since 2019. I heard about this wonderful community from Tom Ross's account and the Honest Designers’ show.

Q: What was your graphic design journey?

I started as a lyric video freelancer in 2016, just after completing my diploma in Animation & VFX. Watching several wonderful artists’ work on Instagram planted an urge in me to step into surface designing. So I began illustrating greeting cards around 2 years ago. Since then, I have been commissioned for greeting cards and postcard designs along with portrait illustration requests. I am now working on my new portfolio for licensing. I would love to see my art getting licensed on numerous products.

I mainly focus on the things I love to see in my work. I love pastels, a cheerful colour palette, glitter, and a handmade look. Above all, I try to make my artwork look cute in any way possible. Maybe this method steered me to my illustration style, which is still evolving and will develop more with time.

Q: What is your design process?

When it comes to client work, I begin by collecting as much information as I can about the project. After that, I start by making a list of words/keywords related to the topic or I draw doodles based on the concept. Then I make 2-3 rough sketches which lead to one refined final sketch.

Deciding on a color palette is normally done in the first go when I’m writing down keywords, but of course it is often altered after the final sketch. Finally, the most fun part of the process begins - COLORING.

I follow almost the same steps for my personal projects as well.

Q: Where do you find inspiration for your work?

Inspiration mostly comes from exploring good ideas and illustrations on Pinterest and Instagram, and of course by observing nature around me. Jodhpur is a beautiful city, full of picturesque sceneries and beautiful Indian architecture, so my hometown always has my back when I look for inspiration. Oftentimes, an idea pops up just from a mug of milk or from sofa back covers in my home.

Q: What design are you most proud of?

Well, I cannot select just one or two, but I recently made an animated lyric video for Slugs and Bugs based on Mica 6:8 verse. I enjoy and love the videos I create for Slugs and Bugs. Doing their songs and videos has been very helpful in improving my skills since each time there's a new challenge.

When it comes to illustrations, the project that I am most proud of is the Curious Fox illustration I made based on the Inktober Prompt by Marika (@marikadoodles) on Instagram. Another one is the 'Tropical Paradise' collection inspired by Shannon Mcnab’s 3x3 design challenge prompt.

Q: Where do you hope to be in 5 years' time?

I am crazy about seeing my work on products and designing something kids-related. I am also looking forward to launching my wedding invitation or occasional invitation templates along with digital products for scrapbooking. I hope that along with these digital shop projects I can also collaborate with brands and companies to get my art licensed. I want to illustrate children's books or toys, get represented by an illustration or animation agency, become a kid's storybook animator and collaborate with companies like Vooks. For now, these are my goals and like Kat Lynas said in her interview, you never know where your creative career is going to take you next.

Q: Which graphic designers do you look up to?

There are so many designers I admire but some of my favourites are :

Q: What's your top tip for other designers?

I am not exactly a pro when it comes to giving tips, but from my experience so far in the industry I think I can suggest the following:

  • First and foremost, do not stop. Just keep going ahead and exploring your art style. Persistence matters.
  • Explore different markets.
  • Don't judge or compare your artwork to another artist’s work. I know this has been pointed out numerous times but this is it and this is gonna save you from all the comparison so that you can just focus on yourself and your art.
  • Keep learning and experiment a lot because, well, that's freaking fun.

Q: What are your favorite DC products to use?

I have my eyes on some products, which I'm definitely going to get soon:

The other awesome products I've heard good things about from my designer friends are:

Thank you, Shivangi, for sharing your story with us. If you would like to explore more of her illustrations or show her some love, you can head to her Instagram!