Skip to main content
Documentary Animation

Nayanika Chatterjee

Nayanika is an animator, illustrator and storyteller from India. 

She pursued a BA in political science after which her interest in social and political narratives grew as a Fellow at the Young India Fellowship at Ashoka University. She created photo stories, documentaries and animated news explainers as a multimedia journalist at She has worked as a motion graphics designer for advertising campaigns.

She has been featured on Gal-DemContent Free and She is also a contributing author-illustrator for a graphic novel anthology by RCA students called ‘Sanitiser on Toast’.

In her free time she loves to annoy her dog, Stark, and attempts impossible CrossFit workouts.

Nayanika’s artistic practice sits at the intersection of journalism, documentary and personal narratives. Due to the Covid-19 outbreak and the consequent lockdown, her practice took up a more observation-based approach. She became more conscious of the comfort of the ‘inside’ world (her home), and how it contrasted with the ‘outside’ world. 

At home, she realised that the personal and political selves are kept separate from one another. It was from this realisation that she began to grapple with nuances woven into a regular day at home. Her experience in journalism enabled her practice to reflect on her immediate political and social surroundings. Nayanika’s work aims to bring out an element of relatability with her audience. She hopes that her work enables discussions about issues that are often ignored, as a step towards change. 

After graduating, Nayanika aims to work with studios and explore various animation styles and techniques. She hopes to freelance with media organisations and NGOs to continue building her practice with elements of journalism, documentary and personal narratives.

Under The Rug
Under The Rug - Film Poster
The Clothesline
The Clothesline
Man of the Hour
Man of the Hour

Nayanika's film, Under The Rug was a result of drawings based on observations that she made at home. The daily routine that was followed at home seemed like a never-ending loop that brought a sense of comfort and familiarity. This very routine managed to sustain class differences, patriarchy and oppression within the family. Certain incidents kept happening over and over again, and the inability of acknowledging this prompted her to add an element of humour in the film.

Nayanika’s idea began with exploring the concept of change within a family: how does one attempt to change something that has always been part of a regular routine? With her own experience of how the institution of a family attempts to keep the political and personal as two separate identities, she was able to evolve her concept for the film. She noticed that there was a constant standard of decency that was upheld in the house - in extremely subtle ways. These inherent rules made the routine a perpetual and long lasting loop.


2D hand drawn digital animation


The Clothesline - Process
The Man of the House - Process
Tea time - Process
In the Kitchen - Process

I started with basic sketches of my initial ideas using a pencil brush. The idea was to find a mid-way between drawing on paper and drawing digitally. Because of lockdowns in India, printing shops were not easily accessible, so I decided to use brushes and textures that would resemble drawings on paper.


2D Animation
The Smell of Rain — This film was a result of a writing exercise based on nostalgia - the smell of rain back home in New Delhi.
Osman — I met Osman in Shepherd's Bush market, where he sells sugarcane juice and delicious carrot cake. This is a short documentary on his life in London and how he misses his family back in Egypt.

In my first year at the RCA, I explored the documentary form by using personal narratives and animation as a way of portraying stories.


2D digital hand drawn animation
Sanitiser On Toast - Front Cover — The Sanitiser On Toast cover, designed by Pat Winghshan Wong
Going Home - Sanitiser On Toast
Comic strip snippet
Comic strip snippet
Comic strip snippet
A migrant labourer - character from the comic

A global lockdown and the onset of a pandemic was something that we never thought we’d have to confront some day. Some of us stayed back, some decided to stay with their families - to try and comprehend the situation better. And that is when 12 illustrators, from all across the world, decided to depict their experiences of isolation. We came together as international students from the Royal College of Art to put together our experiences in the form of a graphic novel. The themes cover a diverse range of topics - from politics to vivid imaginations, noticing the unnoticed, to dreams that cannot be comprehended. 

Sanitiser on Toast is a graphic novel anthology that brings together experiences from across the globe of isolation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In India, when thousands of migrant labourers began the long journey home at the start of the lockdown, many lost lives due to hunger, road accidents and exhaustion. I noticed that in the comfort of my house, it was becoming incredibly easy to ignore such news that made me uncomfortable, and this was fast approaching the new normal. My contribution to the graphic novel is based on the massive migrant exodus, never seen before.


Digital hand drawn, paperback graphic novel

A showreel with hand drawn animation work done at the RCA along with motion graphics videos before joining master's at RCA.


2D hand drawn animation, motion graphics, digital animation



RCA Opportunity Fund

A new financial support fund which can provide small grants for study-related items and opportunities, aimed at students in hardship without other sources of financial support.

RCA Continuation Fund Bursary 2020