In the last 7 years, I have visited an exhaustive list of Buddist monasteries and I have a longer list of them to visit on future. For reasons unknown, I have been drawn to these monasteries and the small towns they are surrounded by, as if, these institutions radiate peace and tranquility through the landscapes and it’s inhabitants. The first time was at Bylakuppe and then Mundgod, Tibetan settlements in South India. I followed the trail of robes to Bhutan and it’s neighbour, Sikkim. The reverberating chanting within the prayer halls, the lingering beats of percussion instruments and the bright colours of the murals heightens all your senses yet instills a calm and content state. I miss that external assurance from those surroundings while treading through such uncertain times.
No matter how much I try, I have not been able to look past the dots. It’s always stippling that comes naturally than anything else with a pen in hand. As time stretches endlessly, I dive into the time gone by and dig up the ghosts of experts in the natural illustration. The first person that came to mind was Ernst Haeckel. This piece is more a tribute to his work but in only form of art that I could remotely do justice to his.
After looking through a lot of pen drawing of reptiles, I was sure I wanted to work on one of them but coming across a picture that would fit the bill took a long time. I came across this image on Instagram and knew I have found the perfect reference image. Little did I know, the amazing outcomes of a pen drawing of scales is as tedious as one can imagine. It was a slow process but a thoroughly enjoyable one. I hope to make more reptile sketches in the future.
As eye catching these male antelopes are, they can be difficult to put down in dots. I loved the final effect of the dotwork for this antelope despite my reservations against handling such a beautiful subject in stippling.
A dot at a time with a Rotring 0.1mm Isograph.
For some reason, self preservation becomes my first response to any kind of uncomfortable situation. Life in the city after a full year in the Jungle became too difficult to handle. Unaware of how deep I had sunk in, one fine day I reached close to the breaking point. It seemed easier to banish every societal facade and take time off to recover from the emotional damage I had done to myself unknowingly. A week far away from the chaos of the city within the shell of my hermitage, I had recovered the energy and the zeal to go back and face everything that I ran away from. That’s when I thought of the hermit crab, a member of the living world who looks for a shell appropriate for its size and need to protect itself and go on living.
In the hopes of seeing the greatness of the Great Indian Hornbill, I took to pen and paper to sketch it out. The elusive great bird is a sight I am yet to witness. I have had the pleasure of the company of the duller cousin, Malabar Grey Hornbill. Watching it from close quarters, I dive into the imaginary lands of how the Great Indian Hornbill would be to see with naked eyes.
Also known as “kochilakhai” bird in the eastern state where I come from, it was hunted for its flesh which is said to have medicinal properties. In the northeastern states, it was hunted for its crown until the bird reached near extinction. To think that the GIH might go extinct if the conservation efforts are not seriously enforced, gives me the chill. Hope to see it sometime soon.