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Down the Rayoodle hole

  • Published at 04:37 pm October 23rd, 2020
D2_Down the Rayoodle hole

Raysa Habib walks us through the remarkable world of Rayoodle

This pandemic, although seemingly forgotten by the masses, has led to a rise in artists in all fields. Art has proven, time and again, to be one of the most fulfilling ways to express oneself. It has also been an incredible coping mechanism for many during this ongoing global crisis. Raysa Habib is no exception, having recently launched a business from what started off as a mere hobby. 

Raysa, the creator of Rayoodle, is a 20 something-year-old, with an undergrad degree in the field of MIS. She considers herself a free bird who does what she pleases. An individual with numerous hobbies and skills, Raysa has decided to make a career out of her skills as a digital illustrator. Other than being an artist, she plays basketball for the Bangladesh Women's National Team. Raysa says she juggles every aspect of her life by watching random cat videos on the internet for her sanity, meditating by watching movies and TV shows, and eating chocolates like there's no tomorrow.

For Artists' Corner this week, we sat down with Raysa to explore her work as Rayoodle.

When and how did your journey as an artist begin?

I have always been a creative soul since I can remember. I went to an art school and studied there for almost 7 years. Even after leaving art school, I was always involved with art, from random DIYs to painting the walls of my room. I also took part in multiple art competitions while growing up. As I got older, I became inconsistent, but I started again with full force from 2015. I have never considered myself as an artist, as I mostly drew as a hobby, and still don't consider myself as one as I have so much to learn. So to answer your question, my journey is yet to start.

What made you start your Instagram account? Did you go in thinking of slowly turning it into a professional endeavor?

I opened an Instagram account for my art, Rayoodle, in 2018. I did it mostly to keep a digital diary of everything I drew. Initially, I had no plans for something to ever come out of this account; it was just something I did for myself. But gradually, when people saw my work and started appreciating it, that's when I felt like maybe I could do something with it in the future. My family and friends were always my cheerleaders and pushed me to do something about it. In 2020, right before the pandemic hit, my friends gifted me my first tablet for digital illustration. This has allowed me to achieve what I have so far, start my own business, and take it to a professional level.

You started off with doodles, which were all exceptionally intricate and unique. Where did you find the inspiration for those?

My inspiration came from multiple places, people, and most importantly the internet. My doodling was mostly abstract and patterns, inspired by things I see around me. Also, I get ideas and inspiration from the internet and other artists, and try to make it my own, with my style.

How much does your artwork reflect your personality or moods?

My mood, taste, and personality traits are constantly changing. And this change is reflected in my art. I started with simple black and white pen and marker doodles, because that kind of style appealed to me more during that time. Now, I have gradually switched to colour. I feel like I am a different person now, compared to what I used to be when I started blogging.

Is there a certain time of day when you prefer to work?

I believe my creativity is at its peak when everyone is sleeping and the ghosts are out, late at night. It gets harder for me to sleep if I have an idea and don't execute it right away.

What mediums have you experimented with so far? Which ones did you enjoy this most, and which was the most difficult?

I have experimented with many mediums like pastels, pencil and pen sketch, watercolour, acrylic, oil painting, and finally digital illustrations. I enjoyed almost everything I ever tried, except oil painting -- it was the hardest experiment. I don't think I will ever try oil painting again. Currently, I'm focusing on digital art, so this is what I am enjoying the most.

Is there one particular style you associate your art with? Do you think your personal style has changed over the years?

My taste changes so frequently that it's hard to have one particular style. It was black and white, then colourful. It is still colourful, but now I am more into minimalism.

How has your transition to illustrations been? Was it difficult to get the hang of in the beginning?

I honestly was super excited to try digital illustrations, and I jumped right in. This was something I always wanted to do, and for sure it was hard to get the hang of it, but it's been quite the journey in a very short period. I have achieved so much, only because I thoroughly enjoy every bit of illustrating.

You've recently launched Rayoodle merchandise. What products do you currently sell, and what options do you plan on including in the future?

Since I started digital art, at the back of my mind I knew that I can finally make something out of it. After months of planning and hesitation, I finally started my small business completely from home. I introduced my business with printables, cards, and stickers with the option for customers to customize however they wish. I will be launching more merchandise like bookmarks, journals, notebooks, and many more. I have also included services like making designs for logos, packaging, and business and wedding cards.

Talk us through your process. What's the ideal scenario for you to be able to draw, and what are some of the essentials that help you stay on track?

I wish I could say I have an interesting or fascinating process that I follow. But since I started my business, I try my best to keep things as organized as I can. As my Rayoodle is a one-woman army, I have no option but to be organized. From book keeping to finances, social media management and customer service, to makin the illustration, to printing and finally, the packaging -- everything is done by me. For better results, I need to be alone with my music, my laptop, tablet, my phone, and my small bed table.

Who would you say is your biggest critic? Do you accept constructive criticism, or do you believe in growing on your own as an artist?

I think my parents and my husband are my biggest critics. They are brutally honest, sometimes too honest, and don't hold back from voicing their opinions, which I think is good for me. It helps me to try harder. I am always open to constructive criticism, because it pushes me to want to learn more and make myself even better. My drive to keep learning is what helps me to grow as an artist.

How has the pandemic impacted your work? How much do you think it has impacted art in general?

The pandemic has had a huge impact. I started illustrating prior to the quarantine, and my business during the pandemic. So when the quarantine started, I had plenty of time to work on my art. Generally, I think the pandemic has been good for art, and social media has also played an important part in it. People like me started showcasing their art more on social media. Many created platforms for their art, where anyone can get exposure. People have gotten the time to focus on things that they love, and rediscovered their creative side because of the pandemic.

What message do you have for aspiring artists? 

The message I want to convey is that if a person like me -- who didn't know what she wanted in life -- somehow made it work, then anyone can do it. You have to embrace the change, and grab any opportunity you get -- and then all you have to do is your absolute best.