When I first set my eyes on the reference picture, I wanted to draw it for mom. I hadn’t decided on the medium or the style. One fine day I started drawing the outlines and moved onto picking up the pen for it. Few days of not being able to sleep and living by the high of completed portions, I managed to stipple my way through the giant of a mother and the tiny wrinkled baby. Here’s to all the mothers for their unconditional love.
The sketch was done on an A3 sheet using a 0.10mm Rotring pen and took about 30 hours to finish. This is my first attempt at making something at such a large scale. I have stuck to drawing in A6 or A5 pieces. The high from the sight of the completed piece has stuck and makes me go back to stippling. Helps me focus on the details like no other medium and keeps me grounded. More stippled pieces in the coming weeks.
I haven’t seen very many owls considering they dwell in the dark. In the last two years, I have probably seen them a total of four times. The love of birds also extends to these night dwellers and seeing them is a rarity. This happens to be a juvenile Spot-bellied Eagle Owl (Forest Eagle Owl) sitting in a heavily shaded tree in the late afternoon waiting for the sun to set before it starts taking plunges into the dark.
Anybody who has ever had to stare at a blank sketchbook wondering how and what to start it with, knows what I am talking about. I was visiting a friend in another city and we decided to go to the art store. Needless to stay, I was broke by the time I left the store.
The recently acquired sketchbook was left untouched as I sat for months dissatisfied with all the proposed beginnings. And one fine day, a picture of this gentle giant heading straight on, gave me the push I needed. Though I messed up this piece using a combination of different nibs with varying thickness, I reached this satisfactory result.
Ten days ago, the world was informed of the sad loss of Sudan, the last male northern white rhino in the wild. The lure of the horn to the poachers has wiped out this species from the wild. The story isn’t very different for the rhinocerous species living in Asia. The greater Indian rhino once spread across the northern half of the Indian subcontinent is now restricted only to the northeastern parts. A trip to the Kaziranga national park in Assam got me up close to these giant herbivores. Thanks to sport hunting, this species was near extinction. The population bounced back eventually, until poachers came into the picture and the numbers dwindled again.
The one horned rhinos are still vulnerable but hopefully they wouldn’t face the same fate as their distant relatives in the African continent.
A friend who got back from her three months long work on turtles in the beaches of Costa Rica, couldn’t stop raving about the beautiful sunrises and sunsets and the colourful wildlife there. Among them were hummingbirds. These tiny birds travel far off in their lifetime and are known to have the fastest metabolism in the animal kingdom. My introduction to Hummingbirds was through an article I read three years ago. It sounded like a species from another world.
The fact that somebody I know has traveled to that part of the world and seen this species, only makes me want to go and see it myself. But for the time being, a sketch of the bird has to satisfy the urge.
For the sights one craves… Equipped with a pen, I drew as if the bird will come alive out of the paper. The great hornbill is one of the birds that I have always wanted to see and a trip to the northeast part of India around the hornbill festival reinforced that desire. Success stories from the conservation world related to hornbills had been the highlight of the conference I attended at Nagaland. But I didn’t see any of these majestic birds.
I have been told that one gets to see the great Indian hornbill in parts of southern India also. I hope to see this bird in the wild soon.
Obsession with handmade paper from Pondicherry led to making a birthday card for a fellow stationery hoarder. This time a 0.1mm rotring pen replaced my regular fountain pen. And over a period of six hours, I managed to finish this piece realising that irrespective of how fine a nib one picks, the choice of paper matters too.
The consistent blotting of the ink on the paper didn’t help and there were parts that I had to go over again and again because the blotting diluted the effect of white. Despite the challenges, the effect of the yawning tiger in white on the dark blue paper was better than I ever imagined. I am glad the birthday girl liked it and this piece adorns her living room wall.
I am sure I am not the only one who loves birds. My way of imprinting the sight of these birds deep into my memory is by drawing them. And ever since my first stippling piece (when I didn’t even know that putting together these dots had a term for itself), I have stuck to this way of drawing.
When I was asked to make a card for a friend’s birthday, my first thought was a bird in stippling. I love colourful birds but with the restriction of specific inks that one finds for these super fine nibs, I narrowed down to one which is easily recognisable and not very colourful.
My pick was a lesser golden backed woodpecker sitting on the ground and looking up instead of its usual place on a tree trunk.
A trip to the eastern coastal town, Pondicherry, added handmade paper to my stationery hoard. One of the evenings I pulled out my handmade paper stock wanting to do something with it, but wasn’t sure what. Like most evenings, the radio was playing in the background and there came the ‘Redemption song’. That led me to Bob Marley’s picture. I wasn’t sure how pencils or charcoal would behave on such a hard-ridged paper. So I picked up my fountain pen that I use for writing and experimented a stippled piece of art.
Its hard to believe but all of this happened by chance and I fell in love with stippling. By the early hours of the morning, I had Bob Marley looking at me out of a postcard sized handmade paper.
This is not the first time that I am taking a resolution with a whole-hearted intention of sticking to it. Though as always, I am sceptical. How long can I fight the temptations of giving up and slouching back into the lazy corner? We shall see…
A decade ago I started drawing, not because I have always wanted to, but thanks to the art supply store that I used to go by everyday on my way to the university. As a stationery hoarder, this store was nothing short of heaven. I didn’t know much about the kind of paper that works for specific medium. I picked up few pieces of charcoal, a whole set of staedler pencils and a sketchbook. That is how I decided that I had to start drawing so I could keep going back to the store.
At this time of the year, one’s heart straddles the world of past and future. Nostalgia tugs at your heart yet the beginning of a year fills you up with hope of better days. That’s where resolution wants to take the limelight. I started this blog so that I show up and write/sketch every week without being slack about the resolution.
This year shall see more of art irrespective of the medium- pencils, charcoal, colour pencils, watercolour or my present favourite pens. Pencil and charcoal had been my go to tools until recently and I hope to do more of it this year.