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Design That You Create, Should Recognizably Be Yours – Sohail Khan

Sohail Nawaz Khan, known by the name Nautilus Shell, juggles between his education in architecture, art, music, creating design for brands, advertising and a lot more things. This multi-talented artist is passionate about his work and says, “Change is constant and good, adapt it.”


  • A little background about Sohail

22 year old  Sohail Nawaz Khan is an Artist, Illustrator, a Brand Designer, Musician, Artist Manager and an Architecture Student. Born and raised in Hyderabad and Chennai, he likes to draw on curtains, doors, cars, shoes, paper, tee-shirts, anything with a surface! He is a designdood endorsed artist.


  • Tell us about your art. What got you interested in this?

I have been sketching since I was 6 years old and I still have my first sketches preserved. My lifelong interest in the metaphysical and surreal nostalgia is a heavy influence on my art. When I was growing up, most of my friends spent time travelling or going to the movies, usually involved in outdoor activities to have fun. I remained indoors and practiced my art rigorously. I was serious about my art, right from the start.

“I converse with sketches because sketching is peaceful, you have no time to overthink, worry, hesitate and it brings out the healthier version of you.”

  • How has your Roots affected your work and life today?

I would sketch/practice 6 to  20 hours everyday, ever since I was in school days. In hindsight, it appears to be  a healthy escape from the negative things that tend to fill the mind of an adolescent. I questioned myself,  “What can I master in my lifetime?” and I almost instantly knew that it was art and design that I wanted to explore and learn from.


I am also a musician and I play synth for ‘Before the Holocaust’ and ‘Wings of Icarus’. I started doing band artwork for most of the local acts, explored bands from the  other states; and now bands come to me for album art, visualization, set design, etc. This gives me a sense of gratification.

I have worked with bands like Mindfield, Nobody, Soliloque, We Lost the Sea, Raahie, Last Ride Home, and music companies like Strandberg*, Sofar Sounds, Encore Music, etc. I worked on expanding my scope as much as possible.


I got into ‘Branding’ where I was given the opportunity to decide how a company’s face should look like – It’s more or less like you design their aesthetics. Who wouldn’t want that? The freedom to create! I have worked on branding for The Pastry Lab, Baking Breads, Boombox Entertainment, etc. Other companies I’ve worked for are Adidas, Reebok, Indian Literacy Project, Damascus, etc.

Well, it’s definitely not easy balancing college especially when you’re in your final year. But sometimes you have to prioritize,  you have to learn how to list out your assignments sensibly.


  • What is the theme behind your artwork and where do you draw your inspiration from?

Whenever I draw the very first line on the paper, I am cautious about replicating something that already exists! There’s no point in creating something that other people have already worked on. I consciously avoid being trite. People won’t come to you if you too mainstream. It is necessary to have a signature or an original style to your work. I try and give them something new every time.

“90% of my work is inspired by Plini, David Maxim Micic, Aaron Marshall (Intervals), ‘The Helix Nebula’ dudes! I am very thankful to them.”

Their music means a lot to me personally, most of the times,I try converting their music to art. It’s okay to draw one wrong line while sketching, the next line determines if it’s good or bad. That is the thing about art- lines after line and you have the liberty to curve and bend, add and deduct and create something unique, almost like alchemy!


  • Did you face any challenges on your journey? If yes, what were they and how did you manage overcoming them?

It took a while for me to work on how to publicize my business. With so many articles, posts, memes coming out of the internet every second, it’s almost impossible for you to get noticed. It gets even more difficult with other responsibilities in life and the financial aspect becomes a major issue sometimes.


  • What are your Future plans?

I will be moving out of Chennai but before that, I have a very specific task in mind. I want to adopt an orphan who suffers from intellectual disorder and sponsor his/her studies before I leave- a connection that will stay with me. I’m re-branding myself along with a store soon where I’m in talks with few local and International promoters as well.

“Moving to a new place would be hard and would affect my career a bit because I think I have created a strong platform here and a geographical transition means starting from the scratch! In other words, I don’t wanna move. I have worked hard for this!”


  • Other than being an artist, how would you describe yourself?

If not an artist, I would call myself a big foodie.

  • Any message you have for the people to know

Yes, I have a suggestion. Artists of any form, be it dance/music/visual art need to change and accept technology. It’s 2018 and we have to adapt and adopt to new and innovative techniques. One cannot be so astute so as to force a child to draw two mountains with a sun, two birds and a palm tree at school. We need to evolve.  My point is, change is always happening, embrace it.


“I want to be good enough to work with one of my favorite musicians, to be a Society6 artist, to have a verified social media accounts and to appear physically fit and of course, become famous.”

FUN FACT: Sohail gave a lecture at IIT and his work was featured at LemoART Gallery, Berlin.

You can find his work on Instagram, Facebook, Behance, & Twitter

Asmita Das

A Storyteller, a word weaver, a theatre artist and dreamer - with a long wishlist. Currently working on checking off the lists! 🙂

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