Tuesday, August 9, 2016

My journey through sketching .....from nothing to ...wait for it .......beginner.

childhood memory
I am writing this post because if someday, I become good at sketching, I will remember that I had a humble beginning and I was nowhere close to perfect and will not be perfect anytime soon. Another reason I am writing this post is that if someone who reads this post (if at all anybody does), wants to start something new and is afraid of it because they are not sure how good they are at it and how far they can go, they can get some motivation. Another reason I dared to actually post this is that I have just been to a birthday party for the 2 year old daughter to one of my friends. And can you imagine, what I could give her apart from blessings? I gave her a portrait of herself.

Drawing a portrait of someone you know is an entirely different experience than drawing a portrait from an unknown image and its hard to put in words. The sketch starts with relatively vague and strange looking shapes, but as things start getting shape piece by piece, the character of the person you know starts building up. When you show this image to someone and they instantaneously recognize the person from the sketch, it feels like winning a gold medal.

And after all, this blog is all about my endeavours of learning new things.

Ohkay!!! Enough of prologue(s). Lets get started. The story goes back about 18 to 20 years when I was still a child. Back then I had scribbled a few cartoons and a few scenes. My favorite was one particular scene involving two pointed mountains, a smiling sun, three four birdies, a coconut tree and a river flow which probably every child does in his/her childhood. But apart from that I drew nothing that would grab anybody's reasonable attention. A few pats on the back form the nearest and dearest who would appreciate even if I scratched my belly with a pen is all I got. This would be while I was not even in my teens.

As it was not worth anybody's attention anyway, it simply went dormant in the background until I was well 29. In these 17 years or so, I never sketched a thing as if I had no idea about it. I do not remember any other art that allowed me to come near itself. I am deliberately not mentioning my buying a black acoustic guitar and a guitar tuner because that affaire did not even last a couple of weeks. Though I still miss that black beauty. (Yes, the answer to the question: "Does it come in black?" is YES). I gave away that guitar to one of my friends who actually knew how to play one. Thats the only good thing I did to my guitar. Yeah I know, and I appreciate your keen observation. But I could not resist to mention my guitar.

Then one fine day while I was getting bored in my apartment in Mumbai, out of extreme boredom, I scribbled something on an empty envelope laying around in the dust. Here's the picture for your reference:
My First Sketch
It sucked. I knew and that was perfectly fine because I was not into sketching anyway. But then I thought why not give it a try. In today's world of internet and YouTube, its really not hard to find any kind of help you need. If you want to learn something new, you are just a few clicks away from some of the best teachers/gurus on any subject what so ever. So I just did a Google search and I got something to start with. I started with something like: "how to draw a face". Another thing great about Google is that once you search one thing, it kind of puts you into an information loop which literally has the ability to advance you from novice to beginner to expert. This ability of internet is only limited by the limitations you put on yourself.

So, using these intuitively ordered recommendations from Google and some of my own interest and enthusiasm, I was quickly able to draw a few specific versions of faces.

Not my first Sketch
This was interesting and intriguing. Still because I was not crazily in love with drawing and sketching, I had to push myself to start drawing. But once I started, time would fly. I thought why not try some cartoons and that was good too. They may not be perfect but each drawing gave me a sense of achievement.

As Steve Jobs says, every artist signs his work. So I started dating and signing my work :). I know there are millions of artists out there who can draw much better than me and my scribbles are nothing more than a bud. I don't know if these will ever become trees, but I know one thing for sure, if I nurture and water them regularly, they are bound to grow. That's all that matters to me.

I also wanted to put my drawing to some productive use so that I get motivated to draw more often. Nothing came to my mind as such, until I thought about starting this blog and my friend Sabyasachi suggested me that I can use this to enhance my blog and since then drawing became an integral part of my routine.

Now I have a few focus areas I would like to work on for drawing and sketching:
  • Keep drawing at least one picture per blog post.
  • Learn to draw portraits by looking at the person's face instead of a picture.
  • Try to avoid the use of eraser as much as I can.
With the hope that my journey of learning could be of help to someone, I will keep posting my strategies/progress and any other new things I learn as part of this process. I would really love to hear from you about your experience of learning a new thing. And if you could guide me in progressing through my endeavours of learning sketching, nothing could be greater than that.

As usual, comments/appreciation/criticism(a constructive one of course) everything is most welcome and appreciated.

Until then,
Happy Learning!
Banyan Bat

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