Doodling, squiggling, scribbling – been there, done that. While most of us outgrew the innocuous habit of scrawling in the last pages of our notebook, there are a few who stuck to it, excelled it and even made a promising career out of it. One such artist duo we came across recently is Manik & Ratan, twin brothers based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. What’s interesting about their artwork is the way their characters interact with real-life objects. One character especially struck a chord with audiences – Drogo. The adorable little dinosaur’s adventure binge with everyday items will indeed bring a curve to your lips. ACTFAQs team connects with the Illustrator/Designer Manik & Ratan to know more about their artwork. Excerpts.
What got you interested in cartooning? How has the journey been like so far?
We grew up fascinated with cartoons and drawings. Our careers started as cartoonists in a popular cartoon magazine in Bangladesh, when we were in standard seventh. Later on, we both worked on some daily newspapers as cartoonist and continued our career trajectory as independent vector Illustrators and designers.
Your cartoon series of "Drogo" interacting with real-life objects are winning hearts; tell us about it.
It is surprising to see the popularity Drogo has garnered in such a short time. So much so, we even feel jealous of our own creation at times. It all started from a little idea. We have an Instagram account ran by both of us together, where we share our daily doodles. Once I drew a frightened dinosaur, and that’s where my curious mind took over. I wondered what it would be like if a real pencil poked the dinosaur; it would be interesting to document the dinosaur’s reactions. Fortunately, the doodle interacting with real-life objects got a huge response and radically boosted of our Instagram popularity. So, we decided to build a unique character on the dinosaur and named it Drogo. Though it sounds like a Dragon but it’s actually a dinosaur.
Any plans to release your doodles into full-fledged comic strips?
Yes. We are already working on it. We’re in the process of developing the storyline. Hopefully soon, we’ll announce the details.
You recently released fully-animated commercial for ’Pran Bubble Gum’. Tell us about the concept behind it and what kind of response did you receive?
Right after finishing our study in animation from Limkokwing University, we got this offer to direct a fully animated TV commercial from a top retail brand in Bangladesh, Pran RFL. It was our first commercial animation project. It was challenging, especially when we didn’t have any prior experience. But, thankfully, it all went smoothly and we got a pretty good response for it, especially from kids.
Cartoon powered marketing campaigns has seen a setback in recent days, why do you think that is? And how best do you think cartoons can be used in adverts?
I think, cartoon powered marketing campaign is much more cost effective than photograph, video or graphic campaign, and it attracts more consumers. Secondly, it’s easier to visualize things using cartoon & illustration.
Can you describe your illustration routine – the process involved, ideation techniques, tools used and how do you plan the concepts?
If I talk about our drawing process for Instagram based doodles, at first, we try to observe whatever object we find around us. Then doodle something interesting that can make sense or looks like the doodle is interacting with the object.
Apart from Instagram doodles, we both try to make at least one artwork a day. Either it’s a sketch or watercolor. We both like and prefer traditional hand drawn illustration than digital drawing.
From being talented illustrators with interesting body of work, you are also a graphic designer, app developer and animator, how do you strike a balance between different roles and which is the toughest to play?
When it comes to the matter of creativity, all these different sectors connect each other. It’s eventually all about the artwork you create; there shouldn’t be any boundaries or any destination when it comes to creativity.
Any piece of advice you would like to give budding artists?
Nothing serious to say for the budding artist, advice sounds a serious word. Life is too short to take things seriously. Do whatever your heart says to you. Just be passionate about drawing. If you love drawing, keep your sketchbook always with you. Wherever you are, either café or bus stop just spread your sketchbook and doodle.
What projects are you currently working on?
We are running our own design and animation studio called ’Nerd Rabbit’ where we work for national and international companies. Currently, we are working with Sesame Street, also working for Carrefour. Beside those two projects, we also have started working on our new animated short film.