July 19, 2013

Success Story : Arunima VJ (IITG)

Arunima VJ a regular reader of TeaCupBlog made it to IITG this year. We thank her for sharing her success story with us!
I have made it to IIT G and this is my story. :)

I realised that electronics and communication was not my passion during my early engineering days.
Being  a lover of art I always wanted to make it a part of my life.
So i started looking at my options and stumbled upon CEED.
I remember feeling desperate about clearing CEED in my final year.
But there was more desperation and little preparation.
I could not clear CEED that year.

I got myself a job in an IT company and was really excited about my new life.
I gave CEED for the second time around this time.
Flunked again.
Thats when i would have given up on CEED. 
But i was not easily disheartened.
If Edison can make a light bulb wrong over 1000 times ( okay the number is much debated) why cant i flunk all i want.
I decided to give it another shot

This time around i was a little less confused about what i wanted in life.
I did not dislike my job ( thanks to my really great colleagues) but i was really missing art in my life.
So much so that i ended up drawing at office and preffered doing that over working.
i made portraits of my colleagues, my TL and even his daughter!
It was CEED season yet again.
I started sketching. i was aware of the pattern from my prev experiences. So i did not do any question papers this time

But i tried to solve a lot of lateral thinking questions.
Mainly because i like them but i also knew that CEED was all about being original, spontaneous and thinking different.
And lateral thinking can really help you stretch your brain.

I cleared CEED this time. 
Was not by a great margin but still i cleared.
i was overwhelmed!
i gave NID for the first time around this time and cleared it as well. 
So i started gaining a bit of confidence on my design aptitude.

I struggled with my interview preparation and portfolio since i had to shuffle office and art and trust me they were poles apart.
And since i did not have a design background i had a lot of work to do on my portfolio. It was difficult getting my leaves approved as well.
I felt completely drained at this point of time but was determined to give it my best shot.

I gave interviews and tests at IIT B and  IIT G and made it to the latter.

It was a wonderful experience for me.
The best part of it being, getting to know wonderful people like PG (Prassanna)!
I believe he is a phenomenal for doing what he does.
If it was not for the teacup blog i would have had no clue on how to go about it.

The preparation

Like everybody else i was very confused at first.
Here is what worked for me : 

1. Sketching

I love sketching but the problem is i am too lazy to get started with it.
There are always a million excuses to not do it like i dont have a book, pen, ambience, mood whatever.
I decided to let go of the excuses and just started doodling everywhere - Office desk, boards, walls with anything that was capable of making a mark.
It was great because it was much more fun than sitting at your desk, sketching in your good old sketch book with that one pen that you use all the time.
Even then i was not a regular sketcher.I would get there someday.

For CEED  you need to sketch quick because of the time constraints. Its okay to train yourself for CEED but ultimately you should just explore different styles, 

concepts and mediums while sketching because that will definitely help you. 
Just get rid of the excuses and start sketching.

2. Find your style and work on it

You almost always have a style.
In CEED you have questions where you are asked to create a cartoon/process illustration/story board.
For these type of questions it really helps if you already know what your style is.
Your work could be all pencils - creating the effects using just shading and lines.
Or it could be pen or maybe water colors or you could use crayons, oil pastels, anything.
I digg water soluble color pencils because i love them and also you have the option to leave them the way they are if you dont have time to make the washes.

Whatever you are most comfortable with should be your style.
You should not sit there in the exam hall and wonder if you should paint it or just give it the outlines or whatever.
Decide on your style, work on it . Practicing your style helps save a hell lot of time.

3. Being in touch with your creative side

'Creativity is something you are born with'. Well i dont think so!
Creativity is more like an acquired trait, a habit.
Even if you are "born" with it and you dont practice it, you wont be able to give your best shot especially if you are bound by time constraints.

So dont worry if you are from a non design background and do not know the first thing about creativity.
Keep an eye out for all things creative and you will be surprised at the examples around you and the possibilities.
You can start simple like  finding faces on your bathroom tiles or tracing figures in the cloudy sky.
Be creatively inspired and no matter what just keep at it.

You could also try lateral thinking.

The Interview 

Try to create a portfolio that showcases your original works.
Try to do something different so it grabs the attention of the panel.
I had this small sketch book in which i had scribbled and doodled at office. It was not any serious work.
But i took it for my interview and the panel was more interested in the book than in my regular works!
Of course it depends on the people in the panel but its always good to do something that has your trade mark on it. 

For the interview just be honest, be relaxed and be yourself.
It would help if you know what kind of projects you want to work on after joining the college because they might want to know.
The interview panel is usually very friendly so even if they ask something that you dont know you can just tell them the truth. 
My interview panel for one was very encouraging and i am grateful for that.

Basically do whatever that works for you.
We are all so different, there is no point in following a common rule book. 

If you have any doubts about anything please feel free to write to me at : vjarunima@gmail.com

So good luck everyone. 
Prepare for CEED but have fun mostly !



Chetan Yadav said...


Prasanna Gadkari (M.Des in Product Design from I.I.Sc. ) said...

Hi Chetan,
Hope that your post will also be here next year :)

Chetan Yadav said...

thanks sir :)

ponna said...

very inspiring story.....

Prashant Bhalani said...

Life leads you towards the way you want...crux of "The Secret"...Amazing.

Nitin Bothra said...


I am working as a product design engineer. This year I am giving CEED for first time. I dont have a portfolio and my sketching is almost zero.I do have a photography experience.

Is perfect sketching required to become an Industrial or Product Designer ?
Can you guide me on how should I prepare a portfolio as I am a mechanical engineer and besides sketching what else can I include in portfolio ?

Simar Malhan said...

^ My question exactly. I'm in the third year of my Electronics and Communication Engineering and I don't have any models or sketchbooks... I'm good at art (reason why I want to give CEED and take up designing as my career as I'm not interested in engineering), I can draw well, have nice observation etc but no portfolio. What should I start with, Prasanna?

Prasanna Gadkari (M.Des in Product Design from I.I.Sc. ) said...

Hi Simar ,
dont worry about the portfolio right now. While you are practicing for CEED, just keep all your nice sketches safely. After CEED you will get plenty of time to make a decent portfolio. Just focus on the CEED at the moment :)

sk said...

hey prasanna sir i hv read all your comments ,you are doing so great !!

sk said...

can you please give me details of some of the designing branches

Prasanna Gadkari (M.Des in Product Design from I.I.Sc. ) said...

Thanks sk
It is quite lengthy to provide the detail of each and every branch of IIT. Therefore i suggest you to visit IITB CEED webpage where it shows where-all CEED score is accepted for Design program


My CEED rank is 629.. my score is 24 in the 2nd paper. I haven't touched the requirements of IDC, Bombay as they did not call me. My question is do I have a chance this year?

For your information I have designed three annual magazines 4 my university, have designed logos 4 two organisation, I can do decent painting and sketching and av done a wall painting and a 3D art on my university premises. Plz Opine!

Tania said...

Lovely post Arunima. Thanks for the inspiration!

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