Swathi Kirthyvasan – UX Designer, Illustrator and Content Writer
I am Swathi, a UX Designer, Illustrator and Content Writer. I work out of a design studio in Hyderabad where I design apps, websites and applications along with creative graphics and illustrations. Apart from my professional work, I am also an independent artist with love for experimenting and exploring new mediums, styles and techniques. I tend to keep learning and trying new things any time I get the chance to and I enjoy doing it. It’s my love for what I do that keeps me going every single day.
Please tell us about your work
My work is kind of versatile. Since I don’t stick to one form be it lettering or doodling, it’s interesting for me to keep trying new styles. My style of work can range from intricate and detailed to minimal and abstract and simple. I enjoy working with lettering, doodle art and mandalas, watercolors, gouache and paper quilling. I can’t stick to one style, rather I prefer to dabble with mediums and ways of doing things. I feel that’s what keeps my work exciting and different from the usual.
I enjoy experimenting and trying out new things all the time. My doodles and mandalas can start out real simple, but can get super intricate and detailed as I work through it. When it comes to lettering, I am not looking at perfection, i look for the rustic quality that comes out of it. When I work with watercolors, I love to work with different colors and just watch the magic happen when the colors hit the water. I prefer to keep my compositions simple and minimal which I absolutely love. As for working with paper, one tends to require a lot of patience to work with the medium. I work on small compositions and letters and love the effect that paper gives to the final outcome. I jump between mediums and style which is what keeps things exciting and fun for me. I am also currently learning calligraphy and look to trying something interesting with it.
Was it your dream to choose this profession?
Tell us a little about your Educational Background.
Haha, well, I am Computer Science graduate along with a diploma in design. I was almost thrown into the pool of joining a big MNC but gave that up to follow my dream of getting into design and arts. I did a course in visual communication to understand everything about design. The art side of things came naturally, with me just picking up a pen and drawing random things in the beginning.
Who/What was your inspiration?
I am inspired by many of the talented creatives on Instagram and Pinterest who push themselves to explore and learn new things. My biggest inspiration (and motivator) is my mother who herself is a wonderful watercolor artist.
Tell us about your milestone journey. How did it all begin?
It wasn’t a real fun journey let me tell you. I was always into doing creative stuff ever since I was a kid. I enjoyed art and creative classes in school and could see myself doing something creative in the future. But school, studies and competition came in between and I couldn’t focus much on art and design. It resurfaced once again in college where I started picking up the fundamentals of Photoshop, the first software I learnt. I would make small logos and designs to keep myself happy. But life happened, exams and placements came. I rejected an offer from an MNC to take up design school. That’s where the creative journey began. I started picking up new concepts and ideas, started opening up to the idea of being a designer and embraced the learning completely. Along with learning design, I started doodling, painting and drawing again, and that has laid foundation to where I am today. I am so happy I stood my ground to pursue a creative career and I am really excited to see where things go and how things will be shaping up in the future.
Please tell us about the hurdles and challenges you faced along the way?
Oh there was plenty. The first, the great Indian rat race for scoring marks in school. I was a studious kid, so that was not a problem. I was forced to take up science in my Grade 11 and 12 and also engineering classes and coaching but never found the interest in them (never took them though). Eventually I settled for graduating with a computer applications degree. I was counseled multiple times to take up a corporate job. People around me were frustrated about me and never really gave me motivation to pursue design as a career. I was warned I wouldn’t get jobs, I would be on the streets. I was never encouraged by my family (Except my mother) to try out design as a career. Everyone gave their piece of advice as usual. I had my bouts of depression and anxiety where I thought was making wrong decisions. But turns out they were all good. And look where I am today. I have an amazing job, amazing friends around me who motivate me to try stuff and a hobby which I absolutely enjoy doing.
What is your favourite mode of illustration? (medium, model or form etc.,)
I don't have a specific favorite mode of illustration. As I have mentioned I enjoy working with all modes; be it paper, pens, watercolors or just sketching. I love experimenting with each of them individually as well mixing them up. You never know the results you might get. I love the details I can get with pens and pencils, the beautiful flow of colors in watercolors and the patience and time needed for working with paper.
How is your work/business different from the others?
I guess what sets me apart or makes me different from others is my love for experimenting. And also the seamless transitions that I make while working; from watercolors, I can easily jump to creating a mandala, and then later work on something else. I don’t want to ever stick to a particular medium. I enjoy dabbling with every medium, style and technique and that gives me sheer happiness.
What was the best advice you received when you began your journey?
This is constant advice I have gotten from my teachers in design school and from my creative head at work: “Everyone is going to judge you, tell you what to do, how to do, criticize what you do and try pulling you down. What matters is how well you stand up and rise to the occasion from all the negativity around you”. Another piece of advice I have received is, “Never say there is no time. There is always time to do work, to try new things and to make new dreams. Never give up.
”What was the worst advice you received when you began your journey? Design and art are not worthy as careers. You are not capable of doing this so give it up. How has your journey been so far? HappyWhat are your future plans with regards to work? Currently I am on why way to releasing a new product at work. On the artist front I am planning on getting into workshops and teaching since I have gotten multiple requests for doing so. The ultimate future plan for me is to have my own studio. Being my own boss is the ultimate goal.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
The motivation to do more, the happiness I get from what I do everyday. Every day is a new day to start fresh
What is your morning/night ritual?
Every morning and night I make it a point to drink a glass of water with honey and lemon. In the mornings, I play badminton for about/over an hour as exercise and a stress buster. Playing makes me feel super active throughout the day and keeps me fit and healthy. If I don’t play, I make it a point to take a walk or run, or do a quick set of exercise to keep me pumped.
What is your favourite quote?
You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream – CS Lewis
When do you work best?
Whenever I can
Do you believe in Dreams?
If you were to advice someone based on your career, what advice would you like to give?
Don’t give up. Just keep doing whatever you are doing and you will get there eventually. You will make mistakes over and over again but that will be the way you will keep learning. Share your mistakes and triumphs with the people you care; they are your best well wishers. Don’t worry if someone does a better job than you, or has more followers and attention than you. Never compare yourself to someone else’s work. Everyone has worked hard to get where they are and eventually you will get there too. Don’t lose heart.
If you had to start all over again, how differently would you do it?
I frankly don’t have regrets over how my journey started. It may have begun a little later than a lot of people, but I am quite happy I have faced so many challenges and hurdles to come through strong and face challenges with a purpose. My only wish comes the way of I have mentioned here, I just wish someone would have advised me sooner on a career in design and given me better guidance and mentoring.