Jhinuk Sarkar

Illustrator, Educator & Head of Community & Accessibility at Turf Projects, Freelance


Jhinuk Sarkar

Sensory exploration of object used in creative process and practice' Image by student, anonymous

The Sensorial Illustration practice (Synesthesia in Illustration)


When observing how Illustration is taught, working with visuals and looking at these in isolation is something that doesn’t often transcend into other senses. We live in a time and world that can often be an assault on the senses. But how are senses informed and what purpose do they serve in education to help communicate ideas in Illustration practices? How can senses be subverted to rejuvenate creative processes?

‘...experience sensations in multiple modalities in response to stimulation of one modality. For example, musical notes might evoke distinct colours; F# might be red and C# blue. Or the printed number 5 always ‘looks’ green, whereas 2 looks red.’ [Galton, 1880, cited from Ramachandran & Hubbard, 2003]

Jhinuk will tell a story that highlights research she has begun to explore about the influence of Synesthesia in Illustration, using an overarching theme of inclusivity. In this 20-minute presentation Jhinuk will explain how projects in her research and practice have been informed by isolating sensory experiences. During the presentation listeners will be asked to complete a small task informed by their own positionality and sensory experiences in relation to an object (using prompts given during Jhinuk’s talk).

Jhinuk will draw from both experiences to propose how her own positionality and Synesthesia is informing her Illustration and Education practices. ‘Through my story and the task I give, I aim to pose questions about own perspectives of objects. How might sensory experiences be used as a tool to illustrate the subtle, personal experiences encountered from these objects? Why is it important to share communications of these experiences in different formats? These are the research questions I’m exploring in my own practice and in connection to Synaesthesia.’ Further resources will be shared with students and educators looking to explore this further.


Jhinuk Sarkar studied Graphic Design & Illustration at Norwich School of Art & Design. She graduated from Central St Martins in 2005 with an MA in Communication Design and began her work as a freelance Illustrator. Alongside freelance work Jhinuk held various creative roles as an Illustration Agent, producer and workshop leader in museums.

Jhinuk has worked closely with disabled artists over the last nine years at Shape Arts, as a Disability Adviser at UAL and in her current role at Turf Projects as Head of Community & Accessibility.

More recently Jhinuk is interested in portraying the sensory awareness we individualise in our work through Synaesthesia, using her experiences of working with disabled artists and developing knowledge of Disability Arts feeding her practice. Diversity and representation also underpin some ideas in her work. She recently published a paper alongside colleague and Illustrator Amberlee Green for the Journal of Illustration titled ‘Intersecting voices of wellness vs. rawness in illustration’.

Jhinuk currently teaches on UAL’s PG Cert Academic Practice of Art & Design in Higher Education, particularly on the ‘Inclusive Teaching & Learning’ Unit. She is a tutor on the BA Illustration course at Camberwell College and teaches Illustration at Ravensbourne University.