Give It Up For Puti Karina Puar, the Award Winning Illustrator Behind Smartbite's Giphies

July 26, 2020

Give It Up For Puti Karina Puar, the Award Winning Illustrator Behind Smartbite's Giphies

GIFs are awesome. They’re catchy, timely and appropriate for almost every occasion. And they’re everywhere. And we are absolutely, totally and utterly obsessed with them here at Smartbite Snacks. We use them in our customer service tweets, our emails, our Slack channel. Anywhere there’s a message; there’s the 100% chance for a GIF.

However, there is one person who trumps our GIF obsession. Her name is Puty, she is incredibly talented and it's always such a pleasure to be working with her. Just like Puty's work, this interview is a treat packed with tons of inspiration and GIFs of course. Oh and for all curious folks out there, you can find Smartbite GIFs stickers created by this beyond charismatic artist here



What GIF best describes how you are currently feeling?



If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Trondheim or Melbourne or Singapore (sorry can’t decide!)

If you could trade lives with anyone for a day who would it be and why?
Someone who works and spends whole day in Ghibli Museum

What's the best piece of advice you've received?
Create a boundary by saying ‘NO’ :D

What makes you smile? 
Martina’s* emails and her GIFs :) Also, my son when he sleeps :) :) :)
(* Martina is our marketing human here at Smartbite)

'GIF' or' jif'?

Your all-time favourite GIF?
Probably this one?

What emoji best describes you?

😂 (I use it like all the time~)

What’s your power song?
During these past 2 years: Akarui Mirai - Never Young Beach or pretty recently: Baseball - Hippo Campus

Favorite day of the week?

Fill in the blank: 
I’m really good at pretending that I don’t care :’))))

Favorite snack?
Kit Kat (sweet) and vegetable fritter (savory)

What’s something you could eat for a week straight?

A fave quote you live by?
Haruki Murakami — 'Spend your money on the things money can buy. Spend your time on the things money can't buy.'



Let’s get to know the woman behind the brand. Hi Puty! What’s your story? How did a geologist become a visual communications artist?

I’ve always loved drawing since I was little and I started selling my ‘artwork’ at 2nd grade of elementary school. However, my dad didn’t let me go to art or design major because he didn’t see good prospects there (“You’re good but if you want to live as an artist you have to be THAT talented”). So I became a geology student and later a geologist who was famous for drawing during the classes and meetings (but everybody was happy because they had someone who happily designed the publication, decorated the party and created illustration for t-shirts 😂😂). In 2014 I started doing freelance illustration (books, personal commission for gift and small business) but in 2016, I got pregnant, resigned from my full-time job and became a full-time freelance illustrator and writer.



You are currently working on our first Giphies. We are so excited! When did you first start making GIFs? What was your very first GIF?

I love love love stickers and GIFs and GIF stickers. I started my GIPHY channel in 2018 and I remember that we had to apply by manually sending an email to GIPHY team and they replied really nicely and personally (with GIFs). My first GIFs are of this ramen:



and this coffee:  




Both got pretty popular with 200 millions+ views.



Walk us through your creative process. Do you have a vision right away or do you make it up as you go along?

My creative process for GIFs is a bit different than the process for other illustrations. Usually I would start with the sketch and let it flow, but for GIFs, I often have the vision of the final animated versions in my mind already.


Who are a few of your favorite GIF artists or artists in general?

I love some fellow Indonesian illustrators such as Ayang Cempaka and Haikal who also create GIFs. I also love the famous Martina Martian and Adam JK for being able to empower everyone through what seems to be simple yet deep and relatable.


Getting from an idea to making a living out of your passion is a lot of work! When did it first sink in for you that ‘this is really happening’?

When I resigned from my full time job and stopped having money transferred to my bank account. I was like, “Oh, yes, I have to stop waiting for the text notification from my bank. No one is sending me money.” :’)))))



You illustrated and published two books ‘Happiness is Homemade’ and ‘Komik Persatuan Ibu-Ibu’ (Comic Union of Mothers). How did you get to book illustration and book publishing and what do you like the most about the process?

I started by illustrating a book for a university friend and then became friends with the editor. She found out that I write a lot on my blog and offered me to write an illustrated book. The comic was another story. The publisher noticed that I created a lot of comics about the struggle from my early days of motherhood in a comical way (humor is my coping mechanism, just like it is for Chandler Bing!). And it turned out that a lot of young mothers could relate to my motherhood experience a lot.


Let’s talk a little bit about challenges and also highlights. What do you find the most difficult about running your own business and also what do you find is the most gratifying part of your work?

The most difficult part for me right now is energy and focus management (if there’s such a thing as focus management :”))))))))) because I’m a company of one doing a pretty wide range of various freelance tasks (illustration, animation, content production and writing, book writing, a bit of teaching, etc.)

But the most gratifying part is when my clients and readers are happy with my work. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️



Congratulations on winning the JCS International Young Creative Award for your one-minute video titled ‘Peace is Action’. It’s such a powerful video with a timeless message. You accepted your award during the International Emmy Award 2018 ceremony in New York. What inspired you to create this video and what was the overall experience like?

Thanks! *blushing*

‘Peace is Action’ was a personal thought that stuck in my mind; how we sometimes think that peace is something calm and passive, but in fact, it's probably about speaking up and standing up. For ourselves and for others.



The experience was surreal for me. It was my first time in New York and I could get a glimpse of the international event in the entertainment industry including the red carpet and the gala – the events I only used to see on TV or in the Hollywood movies! What was more important for me was that I got a chance to talk to some professionals from the TV and media industry from all around the world and thus got a sense that the ‘glamorous’ side was just one part of it. The rest is all about hard work, passion and talent. It also involves a lot of serious discussions and researches.



You worked and collaborated with some big names such as Facebook, Instagram, Unicef or Staedtler to name a few. Which collab was your favourite?

I think creating Indonesian stickers for Facebook stories and WhatsApp was one of my favorites experiences because I learned a lot about how I should treat my work as intellectual property. They also appreciated my ideas while at the same time challenged them. The main focus was on whether Indonesians in general would feel represented by my works. At the end of the day, I realized that the love of snacks and food is what connects us all.


Can you tell us one nerdy, quirky or interesting fact about yourself?

I’m definitely a nerd so there are many. 😂😂😂 How about this: I love spending time alone. Even now that I have a husband and a child, I still go to a restaurant, cinema and music concerts by myself.



What are your hopes for the future of your brand?

I hope that I'll have chance to work and collaborate with more brands, companies and organizations.


What advice can you give to artists who are just starting out?

While social media is a powerful tool for publishing and marketing your work, don’t let it bring you down by comparing yourself with other artists or focusing too much on numbers of likes. Acknowledge your progress and honor the whole process. :)



You can discover the exciting world of Puty on her blog and get a daily dose of inspiration on Puty's Instagram. ✨✨✨ Curious what other work Puty brought to life? Have a look at her portfolio. 👀👀👀


WHAT IS SMARTBITE COLLECTIVE? Smartbite Collective shines a spotlight on changemakers in our community that live according to Smartbite principles. We started Smartbite Snacks because we want to live our lives on our own terms while creating a positive change around us. We don't wait for things to happen, we get up and happen to things. Roadblocks don't discourage us, they fuel us. We believe that life is what you make it, how you impact it and also how you look at it – rice cakes are just rice but wine is just grapes. To us simplicity, boldness, kindness and giving a shit (yes, we said it) are everything and when we meet someone who embodies all of the above, you bet we'll ask tons of questions. 


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