Monday, August 28, 2017

34 Weeks of Drawing

It has been 34 weeks of nearly daily drawing over at Hello Every Sunday. That is about 8 months of constant drawing and it is very hard work!

I do believe good things happen when you draw regularly. At first it is like climbing a staircase one step at a time and then suddenly you find you have jumped 10 steps and then 17 steps and much to your surprise drawings that you struggled with happen with ease but then you don’t think much about it until it spills into your professional work and you end up doing things which you thought only illustrators far above you would do.

There are things I’ve learnt about myself from doing this project: after a phase of sustained daily drawing I usually need to pause, take a week off and recharge. Sometimes I need to draw in something other than the book reserved for HES. Also when there are professional deadlines to meet, it is not possible to combine daily drawing with it.

So while I work in bursts of energy it seems to me that my Hello Every Sunday playmate Julie works doggedly and in a disciplined manner irrespective of the many other creative things that she does. How she manages it all I have no idea but that is her way and this is mine and we are both at it drawing as much as we can and filling up the blog week after week.

A strange thing that has happened is that I have gravitated towards Julie’s usual medium of ink to practice my drawings with and she has decided to experiment with my preferred dry mediums of pastel and graphite to fill up her pages. But we both use these mediums very differently than what the other would.

There are lots of techniques and photographs that I come across and which I want to try out in my way, thanks to this project I am compelled to do so. It's been very satisfying and great fun. Sometimes copying the technique and strokes of great masters teaches you so much that it feels as if you are getting into their spirit while you copy their line. It is a revelation because it gives you answers you have been searching for.

Both Julie and I are not doing this for a result at the end of the year but simply out of a desire to draw more than we usually do and to enjoy doing it.We encourage each other and this is a way for us to keep in touch. But there are other byproducts from this project: When you draw a lot there is a change in your energy and an increase in confidence; daily life acquires another dimension to it, good things happen to you and life and becomes more fulfilling. 

Don't forget to keep checking us out every Sunday at 
Hello Every Sunday.

Monday, August 14, 2017


The illustration above is one of three I was commissioned to do by the Commonwealth Writer’s website, Adda, to remember 70 years of violent, bloody Partition of the sub-continent. While I was given complete freedom to conceptualize the illustrations, it was suggested that I make all three with some kind of connecting thread to them. For this I used similar colors, red, black and white and a certain similarity to the landscape.

The illustration above is for a powerful story called ‘Regional Division’ by Sidra Zia. In the image, to depict division and violence I’ve used dramatic colors – red and black and torn paper; to show migration, I've poured the mayhem of million birds in the air, I've splattered red for bloodshed; I want the dramatic illustration to draw out all the emotions in the story.

The second illustration is for the non-fiction section, Speaking of Partition is a complex piece about communication; language and words in relation to Partition - whether what comprises a language is adequate enough to describe what happened during the Partition, the author is on a train journey, she talks about how the moment you board a train you can sometimes arrive at your destination.
The third piece shown below, is for a poem called That Part of Us.

More and more when I read such stories, when I hear Urvashi Butalia talk about her book, The Other Side of Silence, when I read Shashi Tharoor dismantling false constructions that we were (and still are taught in schools), I thank heavens for the power of stories that hold up the truth before our eyes.