SneakyArts: The 15 Year Old Artist Creating Stunning Pop Culture Art

Hannan Shaikh, better known online as SneakyArts is a digital designer and illustrator currently residing in Dubai, his work spans from fan favourite movies to video games, all of which he interprets in his own unique style. That one thing that surprises many, is how young Hannan is, being just 15 years old and creating so much amazing work, we wanted to have a chat and see what inspires Hannan and how he approaches his posters.

Cyberpunk 2077 poster by SneakyArts

– At just 15 years old, how did you first get into design?
I started designing at the age of 12, at that stage, I was just experimenting with editing apps on my phone. As I turned 13, I picked up my dad’s old laptop & got photoshop for the first time, and it was great. I was mainly working on social media graphics, banners to profile pictures, and eventually, I found my real passion for posters. by the age of 14 and got better at photoshop each day.

Early work by SneakyArts

– What or who encouraged you to start creating your posters?
I had multiple inspirations starting with posters, one of which was Drew Struzan. His style of work & his unique posters inspired me to make my posters, and eventually also led me to start the illustration. I’ve also had a love for movies from a very young age, I used to watch harry potter ever since I was a kid, and StarWars was just introduced to me when I started posters.

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace artwork by Drew Struzan

– When creating a poster, what is your typical approach?
Firstly, I gather character images, that include getting images from photoshoots or going thru the particular movie, grabbing screenshots, and using them as reference. I also like to make a list of things I’d like in that poster.

Then, I cut those out, and just do the basic placement, No fancy lights, just the characters. then I proceed and do the backing, type out the text, and start with basic color & adjustments in photoshop. eventually, I get to the lighting, here, I paint the lights, paint the lights onto the characters, and just refine the overall poster. Sometimes my work is entirely painted, but mostly its a mix of both images & painting techniques. Towards the end, I add more color corrections, then it’s ready to go!

Early composite before lighting and colour
Final composite with lighting and colour adjustments in Photoshop

– Your style often features neon elements, with bright vibrant colors,
what would you say is the “look” that you try to achieve in your art?
Well, when I started with posters, I really wanted to have a style, but eventually, I just did whatever looked nice, and that eventually turned into a style that I didn’t even realize I had. I’ve always loved working with those bright & popping colors, so I always tend to add those glow in, and its more of a natural thing now that I’ve done it so many times, but it never gets old for me.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2 Concept Poster by SneakyArts

– You’ve started posting more digital illustration, working in two very distinct styles
(illustration and photo manipulation) what would you say appeals to you about each?
As is said, seeing artworks from Drew struzan, ive always wanted to do illustration. And I try to mix both photo manipulation & illustration in my art. In the illustration, I love the brushwork and color. I like to show
the strokes in my work from the various brushes that I use, and in photo manipulation, its that sense of reality even tho the artwork seems to be set in a magical world. I absolutely love both styles & sticking to one thing for the rest of my career sounds boring, so why not!

Illustration style poster by SneakyArts

– Considering your age, we’re so excited to see how your work will evolve in years to come,
what are your primary goals for your work?
Thank you so much, I get that a lot. Even though I think that age doesn’t matter and that with practice, anyone can improve, I love people that support my work. my primary goals would be – working on official posters for letting us say Star Wars or maybe even Harry Potter if that ever ends up happening. I’d also like to get better at illustration, maybe do fully illustrated and custom work someday & be able to live off my work in New York.

– Are there any movie studios or game studios you’d particularly like to work with?
Yes, I’d love to work with LucasFilm, Marvel Studios, Wizarding World, Riot games, Disney, Universal, Columbia Pictures, and Paramount Pictures. I’d also love to get my work licensed to sell prints, but it is hard to get in touch with those companies.

– Are there any artists or creators you particularly look up to right now that inspire your work?
Yes, I am constantly on Artstation looking for inspiration, a few of my favorite artists would be – Drew Struzan, Paul Shipper, Jeremy Fensk, Wlop, Karl Kopinski, Proko, Aaron griffin, sinixdesigns, Jordan grimmer, samdoesarts, artbycherylsavala, and the list goes on.

– Is there a poster you’re working on right now and can we get a sneak peek?
Im actually working on multiple artworks right now –

– Where can people follow more of your work?

Below are my social media accounts:

You can also follow SneakyArts right here on his profile

SneakyArts profile snapshot

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