Bringing ideas to life

Curiosity, adventure and imagination drive Fabian Gonsalves to create exquisite dioramas, which brings joy as well as delivers social messages

Fabian Gonsalves is a freelance illustrator, from Calangute and has worked in web, print and the flash gaming industry creating designs, graphics, and character based illustrations since 2005. He has gained knowledge and experience in creative toyphotography, and custom character designs made from broken/ kitbash action figures − for private collectors.
Fabian grew up watching and reading comics, and hiding comics in his school textbooks was a normal thing to do. He was always and still is a fan of superheroes, thanks to his late grandmother who introduced him to reading comics and all kinds of books at a very young age. He describes his childhood as special, innocent, fun, ambitious, curious, and mischievous while admitting he never wanted to grow up; and in his heart he still considers himself a child!
He has completed his Bachelors in Fine Arts – Applied Arts with a specialisation in Illustration in 2005 fromGoa College of Art – Altinho Panaji and has experience in traditional, digital and the 2D animation domain, and began his own stint while focusing on illustration and dioramas.

Mortal Kombat Arena Diorama

From a young age, Fabian says, he was always inclined towards the creative side of life. “I liked to craft things, do the labour from scratch to finish and was always curious of how things worked technically and creatively. I often expressed amazement on how a simple drawing could move human minds to think or act in a certain way. Illustration has that power and I decided to take it up as a career.”
Describing his artistic style, he mentions “Illustration-wise, I have experience in traditional media and digital media. I can comfortably shift from one style to another depending on the job at hand. Besides illustration, I love to craft handmade props for 1/12 scale toy photography projects or for hobbyists.”
Fabian specialises in creating extremely detailed dioramas. “Dioramas started to pick up in 2019 and during the pandemic, when illustrative jobs were scarce, dioramas was the way to go. I had the skill set of crafting wedding décor, which I utilised for making dioramas. These dioramas are mostly used for displaying
toy collections or for toyphotography enthusiasts. I use an array of materials from paper, mount-boards, sunboards, foam sheets, wood, cement and cloth to create my dioramas. Making dioramas is therapy and meditation for me!”
Fabian has recently won the Goa State Art Award Artists Category by Kala Academy Goa; it’s not a new experience for him as he has won the award many times since 2001, mostly for his illustrative social campaigns. “This year was a different approach because I used toyphotography to deliver the message – ‘Dogs are family too’, and I guess it struck a chord,” he adds.

‘The dogs are family too’ campaign which won the Goa State Art Award Artists
Category by Kala Academy Goa

When asked how he balances his artistic creativity with the business side of being an artist, Fabian says, “The business side of this craft is a learning curve all the way, and the market keeps changing every year. I am still a work in progress in that area. Luckily most of my jobs come through social media and word of mouth. Somehow, I have a steady flow of creative jobs that keep me grounded.”
Fabian’s main challenge is trying to complete his diorama projects within a certain time frame, as it is unpredictable and he works from home. “I have to create everything from scratch, cut-paste, paint, pack securely, wait in long queues at the post office to send it through courier. I have to do it all by myself and is a part and parcel of the trade. When I get illustrative blocks, I usually craft something by hand, and when there is a craftblock, I illustrate or indulge in creative photography; which keeps my mind busy and active.”
When it comes to his art, Fabian is influenced by life, his dogs, people he meets, places he visits, and of course, social media being the main platform with a plethora of artists’ works to feast his eyes on. “There is so much inflow of information daily on our mobile devices, and inspiration sprouts which encourages me to create something of my own.”
Speaking about his future plans, Fabian is currently working on two illustrative graphic novels side by side with
the regular orders of dioramas and props which keep him busy. “I enjoy my work to the fullest, because once upon a time, these were the things I always wanted to dedicate my life and time to, and today, I am finally living it. Each project is different and challenging; I am grateful for the art I can create and the smiles on my clients’ faces,” he concludes with his trademark grin.

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