What’s your background?
Art has always been a part of my life, and I have been painting for as long as I can remember. I grew up in Calcutta, India, and I received formal training in fine art and sculpture there. Even in school, it was always art over all other subjects.
In my family, my grandmother was my source of inspiration. I think I got a lot of learning from watching her paint and going to her exhibitions. Later on, growing up I was also introduced to the work of artists like Klimt, Kandinsky, Frida Kahlo, and it made me want to pursue art professionally.
That decision led me to Bangalore, where I did my undergrad in visual communication and illustration, and being in a design school opened up even more possibilities for my art – learning from faculty, peers – it just inspired me more and more to keep creating more art.
Even when I started working in advertising and my main focus became graphic design, I tried to include art in my life as much as possible, be it in my everyday work or as a way to unwind from it.
Trying to find more inspiration, and more ways to make art, I stumbled upon Sktchy. Once I joined such a huge community of like-minded (and AMAZING) artists, it encouraged me to create art on a daily basis, and I have been (mostly) successful in doing so for the past three years.
What do you look for in a reference photo on sktchy?
I love working with black and white photos with strong contrast of light and shadow, which I then paint in colour.
What’s your medium of choice when you’re creating art?
I am most comfortable in watercolour, acrylics and ink. But at the moment I have been using watercolour quite a bit.
What’s one quirk in your creative process?
I enjoy using colour and patterns as my medium to elevate the end result.
I wouldn't say that I use watercolour in the most traditional way, which makes it more interesting, because it allows me to have more fun with it. Mostly I try to experiment with complimentary and tertiary colours, and try to go beyond traditional hues. I also enjoy adding my own spin on the clothing of my subject by adding interesting patterns and motifs, or simply using a contrasting colour which helps highlight the face, and adds a different dynamic to the end result.
Any words of advice for fellow artists?
Practice practice practice!
I think the key to drawing without any inhibitions is to not take your art too seriously. Instead, try to experiment and have fun with it. You can draw one face five times, in five different ways, and each time you will learn something new..
For me, Sktchy has made it so easy to find inspiration, that now I have made practicing my art a part of my daily routine. There are always distractions due to work, or life in general, but when you make sure that you sketch regularly, you end up seeing improvement.
One way to practice regularly is to set small goals for yourself. Goals that might challenge you to try new approaches to your art. I find doing quick, timed sketches a good way to look at drawing from a new perspective.
Even focusing on certain aspects of your inspiration images, like only the eyes, hands or even nature drawing, might help you build the habit. Start easy, and build up to your challenges at your own pace.