Chedil K Marak
Chedil K Marak is a talented visual artist from Meghalaya, and is currently a fourth year student at NID. His illustrations, short comics and animations inspire a large audience.
He recently worked on his animated short film ‘Jaradakgiparang’ which is making huge waves on social media. So we decided to chat with the artist himself:
Can you tell us about yourself and your interests?
To start off let me tell you a bit about myself! I’m Chedil K Marak and I’m from a town called Tura which is in the Garo hills of Meghalaya! I’ve always drawn since the time I can’t remember and used to do it for fun! When I was very young I used to draw characters from popular cartoons and give them away to a few of my friends in school. I started taking it seriously when I was in 9th standard and got into a college called National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad when I found out you can do it as a profession. Apart from drawing, I love music but never really learnt any instruments but I started beatboxing when I joined college and I’ve been loving it ever since.
What inspired you to start working on ‘Jaradakgiparang’?
Jaradakgiparang (Idiots) is actually based on something I used to do as a child with a drastic twist that was added to it. But the core thing I wanted to stick with was nostalgia and wanted to show how kids start doing whatever they think is fun.
What was your process for creating this short? Which part of development did you enjoy the most?
The main story is actually something I came up with in one sitting but the ending changed A LOT over time. After that was fixed I went on to storyboard, then character design, animatic, sound, treatments, animation, music and then post production. I personally experimented a lot on the post production stage so that’s the part I enjoyed the most for this film. One more thing I loved was recording the dialogues because I involved my whole family in it since I was home!
How did you go about making the creative decisions for the film and how did the visual language evolve? What references did you use for the direction and visual development?
The film is essentially a very light hearted film that is intended to watch and just have fun and not take anything too seriously. So since the start I knew the visuals weren’t going to be too realistic at all and I wanted fun bright colors, since I personally tend to choose dull desaturated colors on my own unconsciously . For reference, I honestly just went through a lot of short films on YouTube and how they made it work. I am personally very fascinated by the work of the school Gobelins, which is based in Paris.
What are the challenges you faced while creating the short? How did you cope with stressful situations and burnouts?
The main challenge was actually the time. I only had two months to finish a whole film on my own. When I started I wanted to make it about a minute or a minute and a half max, but it ended up being almost 4 minutes. So I changed my whole schedule up and worked right after breakfast and only got up to eat, bathe and workout.
I actually set a certain timetable and so I knew how many shots I need to get done and by when. So I roughly had a set goal everyday and I think that’s how I stayed motivated and having finished the required shots, it gave me a certain feeling of accomplishment and I think that’s pretty important. But of course , some days I didn’t finish the required numbers, then I’d just do more shots on other days to make up for it.
Illustration - Cintiq Lab
What kept you emotionally connected and motivated to keep working on this project?
I was working from home so I had my family around me to just hang around with. I kept bouncing ideas with them and it’d be surprising how much they can contribute . Apart from that, I kept taking breaks and doing exercises which kept my body and mind fresh.
How do your side projects and illustrations feed into your overall work?
The more you do it, the more you learn, whatever it may be. So from my personal work, I’d say the understanding of colors, the need to use reference, whether it is video acting reference, for animation or an actual person for characters, everything comes into play.
What are the artists, films, and animators that inspire you? Has anime, in particular, influenced your growth as an artist?
My grandpa was an artist so he had been one of my inspirations all time. Apart from that, artists like Sinix, Ethan Becker, Shiyoon Kim & Ramón Nuñez have been the ones I look up to the most. Films, like I said, I love a lot of the Gobelins films. I personally like the thriller genre of movies to specifically watch. One of my favourites is ‘Get Out’.
I used to just copy anime characters before and that stretched for a long time! But the anime style, which is from and originated in Japan, has been used to tell their own stories. So apart from all the love I have for Japan, its culture & anime, I felt like it might not work for me when I need to tell a story of my own. So I tried to unlearn & just try to learn from life and not really emphasise too much on having a certain ‘style’. But nonetheless, I feel like there are still traces of the anime style here and there in my work of all the time I tried to copy that.
What are your personal goals for yourself and your work? Do you have any upcoming projects you can share with us?
Last year I spent a lot of time on colors and mood. Character design is something I really want to improve at, so that, and the sketching process in general are the things I really want to make myself strong in this year.
I’d be starting my graduation project very soon! I can’t really share anything yet but you’ll get to know soon!
Illustration - Balloons
What advice would you give to aspiring artists and animators?
I’d say first just try animating something, even a 10 second clip, see if it works for you. Try doing every part of it, from ideation, character design, concept art to animating, colouring and editing. Find out which part you enjoy the most. Then it's just repetition and patience. Just observe everything happening around you.
Illustration - Hostel Washrooms
We wish Chedil the very best for his film & his future projects.