Nimit Malavia Interview

Illustrator Nimit Malavia

Nimit Malavia is an award-winning Illustrator from Ottawa, Canada. Born in 1987, he received his degree in Illustration from Sheridan College in Oakville, Canada. Nimit has been working professionally as an illustrator since 2009, and has produced work for clients including Marvel Comics, Shopify, the National Post and 20th Century Fox. He has also exhibited internationally in galleries in Berlin, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Toronto and is currently working towards a solo exhibition in San Francisco for early 2012. He likes listening to audio books, and loves terrible puns. 


Nimit Malavia on the internet




Q1.   Tell us a bit about your work.

The type of images I make tend to depict, grandiose scenes of melancholy, violence, and energy. I’m intrigued by certain moments that you experience; I like to dub them ‘Moments before crisis’. Still and intense moments before transformation, be it positive or negative.

Q2.   How do you approach starting a new project?

My tastes change a lot with what I like to make, so the process is often very different, but generally I start every project with pencil and paper. I find this is the best way for me to work up ideas and sketch points of interest. With client work, I like to push for clarity, make sure that the ideas are communicated clearly. So I’ll spend time to study the text that I’m given, pulling out words and interesting points, and usually by then I have an image forming in my mind.

With my personal work, separation from the final marks I make is something I like to avoid. I won’t do much prep work, if possible I blow up a small scribble of a thumbnail, and begin drawing from there—the gesture and energy from those initial interactions are so hard to replicate in a sketch, let alone a second practiced drawing. Instead, I’ll spend the time before writing or musing.

RELUCTANTBRIDE_sketch by Nimit Malavia

I’m intrigued by certain moments that you experience; I like to dub them ‘Moments before crisis’. Still and intense moments before transformation, be it positive or negative.

RELUCTANTBRIDE_sized by Nimit Malavia

Q3.   Weapon of choice (favorite materials)?

I have this one 0.5mm mechanical pencil that has been pretty good to me. Ink, charcoal, ballpoint pens, beat up brushes, really terrible sketchbook paper, and my trusty bamboo tablet.

Q4.   Do you have a favourite place outside of your workspace that you like to go to sketch?

For serious sketching, I prefer my studio, or a sunny spot in my house.
When it comes to unwinding, anywhere that I’m able to sit for a long period of time I find great to sketch. My barbershop that I’ve been going to since I was a kid has always been a great place, and then there’s the coffee shop down the street. I also tend to travel a fair amount, so I get a lot of drawing done on the train or bus.


Q5.   Your favourite procrastination pastime?

HBO, AMC, and Showtime are responsible for a lot of my procrastination. Oh and I can’t forget Comic books, fantasy novels, and the Assassin’s Creed series. Those are to blame, as well.

REM_PROCESS by Nimit Malavia

prints by Nimit Malavia

Q6.   What do you like to listen to while you’re working?

My taste in music varies a lot, so sometimes I like to put my iPod on shuffle and see what comes up. In particular I’ve been listening to Mastodon, This Will Destroy You, Porter Robinson and this sweet Finnish-language band called Regina. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Childish Gambino while I paint, especially on large-scale paintings. It makes me feel like I’m “freestyle painting” in front of an audience.

When I know I’m going to be at the table for an extended period of time I like switch it up and listen to audio books and podcasts. I just wrapped up Tina Fey’s Bossypants and Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series this week.

Q7.   What are some of your sources of inspiration?

Barely seen things, and stone monoliths. Sharing stories with family and friends. Conversations with creatives. Poetic tweets. Comics, books, sad movies, animation. Walking around a city late at night. Enthusiastic people. A flavorful meal. Drawing with friends. I find inspiration or the feeling of being inspired in just about anything, when I’m able to take the time away from work and be present.

Nimit Malavia's studio

KABEIROI/process by Nimit Malavia
KABEIROI/process by Nimit Malavia
KABEIROI/process by Nimit Malavia
KABEIROI/final by Nimit Malavia

Huge thanks to Nimit for taking time out of his busy schedule to do this interview and for providing such fantastic photos!

Dont forget to stop by Nimit’s site

All images ©2011 Nimit Malavia


  1. I love the power in these. He’s hitting that goal of capturing the emotions in the moments as much as anything. They’re really beautiful for it. Thanks for posting your interview, I feel energized and inspired by flipping through this!

  2. I absolutely love the art.!!!

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  1. Nimit Malavia's Transformative Art Illustrations Capture The Moments Before Crisis - Karma Jello

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