Red munia or strawberry finch, as the name suggests, is a striking red sparrow sized bird found in tropical Asia. The males and females are generally a dull brown colour with multiple white spots. The male develops this red breeding plumage and white streaks under the eyes during the monsoon months in the South of India. The pairs build their nests together using blades of grass, feathers, pieces of charcoal etc. In this piece, the male is seen carrying a ruffled feather from the surrounding to build its nest.
Few months ago, I was on a full fledged drive to work on improving my colour senses. What better subjects to choose than birds. A friend had come back from Costa Rica and I jumped at the chance of drawing a Toucan from his pile of photographs. Bright colours and the unusual beaks make them unique. With limited colour inks available, I got on with it. There are places where colours didn’t come out as expected but I was still close to it.
I am not the only ‘artist’ in the world who is unsure about my work. Thanks to a very supportive social circle, I have managed to keep myself going when it comes to art. But that was always a hobby. It took me by surprise when I got a call from a corporate to work on creatives for the festive season in different states of India. I wasn’t sure if they had called the right person to begin with. And once that was clarified, I moved onto to worrying about the briefing and if I was ever gonna make art that they would like.
The first creative I was working on was for Kerala, I made my calls to all possible friends I could remember to check on something unique from the state that they relate to. And I sent across my ideas to the client. We did a lot of back and forth for two weeks and finalised the base drawing. It was time to fill in colours.
Then came the call- the client liked the drawings but not the way it was coloured. I wasn’t sure what they meant by that. Alas! the opportunity slipped by.
Couple of years ago, a friend suggested I take up the Inktober challenge. I had no idea what that was and I went looking for anything that had a #inktober on Instagram. That looked like a super cool challenge and I decided to take it up. But three days into the month, I ran out of steam because I had no idea what I could do with those prompts and if I want to go by my own prompts, I should have planned it well. Bottom line – I didn’t think I had the creativity nor the motivation to take up such a commitment.
Inktober is about 50 days away. Irrespective of what the prompt list looks like, I want to complete the challenge this year. So as a practice I started making ink sketches of scenes all around me or some from memories.
These scenes somehow get etched in mind the moment one decides to sketch them but doing them all on a black and white and shaded style gives you a different feel.
All this while, I have used marker pens with consistent flow of ink. And my dip pen with all the different nibs sat in the drawer all these years patiently waiting for me to pick it up and admire the value of it. So here it is. The rediscovery of the dip pen.
The uneven lines, the inconsistent flow of the ink and the imperfections of inking a memory or a view on paper is exciting at a different level. I hope the dip pen doesn’t have to go back to its box for another couple of years without being used.
More to come later…