Written by Julie Black
Although Teju Reval always knew she wanted to be an artist, it wasn’t until after she trained as a Computer Engineer and earned her Masters in Business Administration that she finally took the plunge. “I quit my corporate job to follow my dream.” Teju claims it’s not quite how it seems, “It sounds very romantic, but in reality it involves a lot of hard work, self-discipline, and focus.”
Teju dedicated time and energy to master multiple disciplines ranging from charcoal drawing to digital art. Her effort was worthwhile, as indicated through her work. Pottery Barn Kids selected her top-rated quirky illustration “alphabet dinos” to be sold as part of the Minted x Pottery Barn Kids collection. The piece was created in collaboration with her 6 year old son, Atharv, who has a wide breadth of dinosaur knowledge and clearly shares his mother’s appreciation for learning.
We connected with Teju to learn more about her creative process, artistic background, and how her son helped her earn first-place in the Minted x Pottery Barn Kids x PBTeen Round 4 Art Challenge.
Minted: What’s your story in a nutshell?
Teju Reval: I was born and raised in India, and I lived in the UK and Hong Kong before moving to the U.S. seven years ago. My varied exposure to a multitude of cultures, geographies and experiences have given my art a wider perspective and made it more relatable in many areas.
How did you develop your technique or artistic style?
I started off with charcoal drawing and spent a lot of time mastering it. It is still my favorite medium, especially for wall art. I then invested in my digital skills to make my art more “sellable,” and am currently crushing on surface pattern designing. I believe what you create matters more than how you create it.
Your piece “alphabet dinos” won first-place in the 4th annual Minted x Pottery Barn Kids x PBTeen Art Challenge. What was your process to create this piece?
When I had the opportunity to create something big for the children’s market, I knew it had to be dinosaurs. Our house is a mini dinosaur museum — full of dinosaur toys and books. I collaborated with my 6 year old son, Atharv (my dino encyclopedia) to make a dinosaur chart.
Atharv played a huge role in creating this piece with me. He gave me the list of dinosaurs for each alphabet, and we both started making our versions of the chart. It is so funny, he would constantly check on my progress, make sure all my illustrations were anatomically correct, spot the missing features, (Kentrosaurus has a side horn, Oviraptor needs extra feathers on its tail, etc.). This piece needed a whole week of putting in long hours during the day (and most nights). Due to its complexity, it needed a lot of research, try-outs, and revisions. We are going to talk about this super sweet and fun collaboration for years to come.
Although I am a very “hand-drawn art” kind of a person, I decided to do this piece completely digital to highlight the details accurately and be scalable wall art. When I started off a few years ago, I took a lot of online classes to learn Illustrator and Photoshop. I’ve been doing digital illustrations for about two years now and it has opened up so many possibilities for designing products.
What’s the best advice you’ve received as an artist?
Art agent Lilla Rogers says “People buy your joy” and that has been my mantra now. I create art that makes me happy which I know will eventually make others happy too. It also keeps me motivated to stay positive all the time and create for the love of creating.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Julie Black is Minted’s Associate Manager of Community Support, joining Artist Relations from Minted Operations where she created content and communications. Julie and her team keep the artist community informed of Minted Challenges, product launches, and other updates. She’s a coffee and cat obsessive and passionate about all things denim.5 COMMENTS