Neethi is an illustrator with one main goal: to transport her audience to colourful worlds

After her studies in Textile Design in Kerala, Neethi decided to explore her deep love for pattern by reading up on textiles over the world; “the colours, motifs, history, rituals,” she adds, fascinated her. Neethi took a leap into the design industry, creating surfaces like table linens, curtains and rugs, as well as entire collections for fashion weeks. “My briefs were always very trend-driven, and I didn’t feel I could really be 100 per cent authentic.” Instead, she started to moonlight in illustration, building her own creations in the “gap” between print design and storytelling.
Art has the power to transport us to new places. It could be anything from a grassy meadow, the architecture of a house, a horse, cat or the scene of a party; wherever you are in the world, you can jump right into these scenes at a glance or swish of a pencil.
This background in textiles has had an influence on her illustration work. So much so that she regularly draws colourful interior scenes, the type that’s splashed with colour and laced in the intricacies of patterned fabrics. And sometimes, she’ll transfer the illustration to the interior, as she thoroughly enjoys “bringing the outside in” through paintings, murals and wallpapers for various locations across India – like she did for the recent project at WeWork. “I owe it to my then-creative director Jeremiah Britton for really breaking any rigidity I had in my work, and also driving me to embrace a super bold palette.”
Neethi is an illustrator, muralist and surface pattern designer based in Bangalore, India, and she’s always thought of illustration as having some kind of escapist power. From the earlier days in nursery, drawing coconuts, huts and palm trees, to later drawing crows after learning about the works of R.K. Laxman (who shared a similar fondness for the bird), Neethi was – and still is – an avid drawer. She would often spend her time outside of school daydreaming from her bedroom window, peaking out from the one bedroom apartment in Delhi and imagining the places she’d one day visit. “I was yearning for an expression as a teen and found my escape in writing short stories and poems,” she tells It’s Nice That. “I think I always wanted to run away from reality. It took me years to finally pause and be present, to notice life around me.” Once she reached this point, however, that’s when she finally came into the medium of illustration and painting.