Dazed Digital


Draw This: Ragini Nagu

November 25, 2011

Introducing a new series of features on emerging Dubai-based illustrators

  • Text by Simone Sebastian

When we first saw the illustrative work of Ragini Nagu, we couldn't help but fall in love with her wide-eyed and pencil thin characters. Nagu’s illustrations dramatise the creases, bumps and imperfections that make up the most interesting people, while somehow managing to stay on just the right side of caricature. We sit with the Dubai native to talk inspiration. 

Satellite Voices: When did you first start drawing? 
Ragini Nagu: I dabbled in a lot of creative activities from drawing to dancing through out my childhood. So I'd have to say that I've been drawing all my life! But it was only until after I graduated college that I decided to take art more seriously.

SV: Does Dubai have a mature and supportive scene for illustrators?
Ragini Nagu: Dubai is constantly changing, always moving forward and that's exactly what’s happening with the illustration industry here. The industry isn't that big, but its growing and changing on a daily basis and that's a really good sign. I'm just really grateful that I have the opportunity to be part of it. 

SV: Tell us about your dream art project. 
Ragini Nagu: I know this sounds a little vague, but if I can combine my love for animals with my love for art it would be a dream come true. Helping raise awareness for animal rights through my art would be such a humbling experience. I love the idea of art speaking out for those who cannot speak out for themselves. 

SV: A lot of your illustrations feature extravagantly detailed characters. Are these people you know in real life or do they only live in your imagination?
Ragini Nagu: 
Some of them are people I've seen in passing but images of their faces get stuck in my head. Others are inspired by good friends. They aren't caricatures though they're heavily inspired by reality but not necessarily an accurate depiction of it, I'm not trying to make my portraits look like someone, I'm merely trying to celebrate what I see and love in them, the only way I know how, by drawing them, every detail, every quirk that appeals to me. 

The illustration of the child with the feathers around his head is one that I hold very dear to me. It's about looking at things from a different vantage point, inspired by this really hyper boy I met once, I wont lie, he did get on my nerves because he never sat down, but his googly eyes taught me to look at things his way. That kid flew! A rock would excite him. He didn't live in his own world, it was more like he was living in the world untouched by judgement, expectations or opinions. He embraced every detail that life had to offer. I've learned to celebrate those details too by incorporating them into my art.  

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