“I spent much of my childhood amongst trees, pencils and paper,” says British-Indian illustrator, animal rights activist, and self-described “woodland walker” Raahat Kaduji.
“I’ve always had an affinity with nature, but if I wasn’t outside in the woods with friends, building dens and climbing trees, I was inside turning my daydreams into collages and penciled drawings.”
She still lives in her childhood home outside Oxford, where “My creative journey is deeply rooted in my beginnings:” Her dad was a video game and VFX artist, and “I grew up with his paintings on my bedroom walls, his sketchbooks on my bookshelf, and a treasure trove of his old painting materials.”
She wears her backstory on her sleeve, painting primarily nature, lone human intrusions on nature—a cottage, a stone bridge, or in the following video, a lighthouse—or anthropomorphic animals; and the dark colors and fog of English forests often come through in her work. Earth tones dominate her palettes; her environments are more often than not cloudy or low-chroma.
Her flat style evokes both storybooks and collage, but there’s a strong sense of graphic design in her shape-based compositions. The overall effect is a sense of both peace and aloofness, like a distant world you can dream about, but never quite enter.
(She also does stylized animal sketches much like Alexis Dean-Jones.)
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A little peek into my sketchbook. I don't often share these pages and when I do, it's usually with hesitation. I feel like there's quite a bit of pressure to tailor our posts in a way that hides our authentic selves, but let's be honest. Behind every polished illustration and pristine creation that we see here online, we know there is a process of trial and error, brainstorms, scribbles, crumpled pages and chaos! So here we go. Here's something messy. ☺️✨ . . . . . #sketch #sketchbook #pencil #illustrationgram #illustrated #childrensillustration #conceptart #kidlitart #artistsoninstagram #illustratorsofinstagram #illustrationartists #illustration #illo #illustrationdaily #best_of_illustrations #kidlit #illustrateyourworld #creativeprocess #artistjournal
She’s a relative newcomer to digital art, getting her first tablet, a Wacom Intuos Draw, in the summer of 2018. “I wasn’t looking for a device with fancy features or incredible specifications, just something that was reliable and allowed me to develop my skills,” she says, and it was the only device she used until she received her One. “Over the years, whilst I’ve had the chance to upgrade my drawing tablet, I’ve never felt the need or the desire to do so. It just goes to show that you don’t need expensive equipment to create, especially if you’re just starting out. Go with what you can afford, practice, have fun and the rest will follow!“
The One is her first drawing monitor, however, and in her new video for Wacom’s Youtube channel (by way of Instagram), she gives her impressions of it as she paints her most recent piece.
“I’ve had so much fun playing around with it and getting used to it,” she says.