All those who wander are not lost ..

Over the last few years, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about what I do .I will do my best to answer all of the questions .

In my experience and belief – we are ALL gifted with some creativity and we become experts at it by practicing the craft over and over again over a long period of time. Practice makes perfect . I don’t know if anything I ever do is perfect, I know that each time I practice, I get closer to perfection .

I came across this quote by Aamir Khan and it resonated with me . I am an optimist and believe that everyone can make a difference. I may not succeed but I want to try.

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Aamir Khan – In progress
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Aamir Khan – referenced from GQ India. Sketched with Dr.Ph Martins Ink

Here are some of the questions that have been asked :

  1. My educational background

I’ve described some of it here , in my about page .

As a young child, I drew a lot. I loved to paint, sculpt and more. I studied architecture all of my college life – undergrad in India and Masters in the U.S. I enrolled for college in architecture in Mumbai . I firmly believe a lot of my techniques for drawing and appetite for design were formed through my favorite subject – Basic Design in our first year. Over the course of college , we worked on sketching skills, creating perspective drawings of objects and buildings . What was interesting to me was, everything was created keeping the human scale in mind. Everything was relative to the human being using a facility . But I never did , once, draw human anatomy. We sketched a simple human figure, but never in great detail . It was an outline of the human anatomy.

i was always intimidated to draw the human anatomy . It felt more fine art and I always felt I had to achieve perfection – so I never tried . And so , a lot of my college friends are completely surprised by what I do now 😉 Because I never did draw what I felt like in college – I was always repressed and held back . I was surrounded by some immensely talented people and I was intimidated by what they could do . So , I just drew and sketched what was expected from  us and moved on to the next assignment. Although, I do remember, every time, I held a pencil to do a freehand sketch of a building at our trips to various places in India, I felt alive. Those were some of my best sketches . Ones, where I connected with my subject and didn’t care about who drew better than me or what my sketch compared to the person next to me – or what people would think of my work .

I remind myself of those experiences all the time – especially in this day and age of social media. Its so easy to compare one’s work with others and not perform to the best of one’s ability.

2. My journey into fashion illustration

I got back into painting , sketching slowly after I graduated from undergrad and then stopped again when I moved to the U.S for my Masters. I took up some painting briefly after I got my Masters in Architecture. I worked as an architect for many moons after that and life went on . Things change, and so did I .

Fast forward to 2015 , Instagram had taken over the world . My friend suggested I post my work on it . I did – it was mostly – patterns of flowers, leaves, geometrical shapes in watercolors and pen. This was January 2015 . About a month later, I came across some gorgeous illustrations – I didn’t know they were fashion illustrations. I didn’t know such a thing existed. I was following some wonderful illustrators – Megan Hess was one of them . I couldn’t help notice how beautiful the work was. I came across Shamekh Bluwi – an architect , now a fashion illustrator. And so on . I saw illustrations inspired by a single look- rendered in various artistic styles – some realistic, some quirky , some playful etc. It caught my attention . Soon , I wondered if I could try it . But then again, I hadn’t sketched human anatomy at all . I thought if I tried something , it might bolster my confidence to sketch . Months went by , I didn’t do anything concrete. But I had been always fascinated by the world of fashion – as an observer . I loved the red carpet gowns, I loved the various designer outfits on the celebrities. And art had always been in my life – one way or another. I just had no idea that a field existed where the two intersected.

The following September ’15 , I decided I would give fashion illustration a go . I decided to sketch the looks from New York Fashion Week – just that week to simply improve on my sketching skills. I thought , if I could get over my fear and nervousness of sketching a human anatomy , I could do just about anything. I figured , even if I messed up , who really cared ? I had about 250 followers on Instagram at that point . I didn’t think anyone would notice . My goal was only to have fun , learn something new and hopefully get better at what I loved to do . If you have the patience to scroll back on my Instagram feed , you can see the exact moment , I started illustrating fashion !

I sketched my ass off that week. I distinctly remember sketching 2-3 sketches per day during NYFW. Not only , was I pleasantly surprised at what I had produced , I got  a few likes on them, they were shared on various fashion illustration accounts. The sketches were decent for someone who had never sketched the likes of fashion illustration . Although ,now,  I do cringe at some of them !  I was especially blown away when Prabal Gurung liked my illustration of his design (see below). It bolstered my confidence that , what I created was good. I decided that I would not only sketch NYFW, I would sketch my favorite looks from Milan, London and Paris . So by the end of fashion  month , my Instagram following had doubled – I was at a 500 followers.

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Prabal Gurung SS16 at NYFW ’15. Sketched with Winsor And Newton Watercolors

This was completely unexpected and not something I had planned on. Shortly after Fashion Month , came the biggest surprise of all . I was included on Who What Wear’s list of Ultimate Fashion Illustrators on Instagram . I remember going through the article and wishing secretly that someday , I could be a part of such a list – only to find my name already included. I almost fell off my chair . Mind you, I had no clue what I was doing, at the time.

But, I was determined to figure it out . Have I figured it all out yet ? I’m not sure about that . It has been a steep learning curve. I have no background in fashion nor any formal training in illustration/ art . So , I have had to improvise and try new techniques and investigate somethings through trial and error . Some were a hit, some were a miss. But , I stay hungry and I stay foolish – the only way I will be able to learn and get better at what I do .I can assure you , noone’s journey in any field or life is the same. You’ll see that everyone has their own path that they explored before they are doing what they do.

I ended that year with so many people asking if I would do illustrations of them for Christmas gifts for their loved ones . Again, none of this , I had anticipated. But, I guess , if you take a calculated risk – it does pay off . Things picked up then on and I’m so happy that what I do , puts a smile on people’s faces, when it shows up on their Instagram feed. More importantly, I am happy doing what I do . I’m lost in what I do .

So in a nutshell , to those of you , who’ve asked me about how do I start ? Simply start . Practice . Practice . Try new techniques. Ask questions. Try new materials . Get over the fear of trying. Its just that – fear. Nothing more. It gets better . You will do better than you did yesterday . Don’t compare your work with others – it gets you nowhere .You only set yourself up for failure and disappointment. Figure out what works for you . What works for one person, may or may not work for you. Work towards being the best at what you do and to be the best version of yourself. Positive thoughts go a long way , don’t give up .

I guess , you could apply this little nugget to anything in this world – no matter if you are an illustrator or a lawyer or an architect 😉

Cheers,

Lakshmi

 

December is here..

Hello lovelies,

I cannot believe the  year is almost drawing to an end. Its the beginning of December.  In our household, it means, I just got done with both my kids’ birthday parties. Majority of the birthdays in our family begin in October. My sisters, my husband, father- in-law, my niece , my son , my brother-in-law and my daughter. Lots of birthdays, phew !

December begins with my daughter’s birthday , there’s holiday parties, Christmas , my own birthday and of course the year ends – in that order .

There’s lots of illustrations to be done , in all of this, of course.

I’ve been busy with a few commissioned pieces, which I love. If you’ve been keeping up with me on Instagram, you’ll see the stuff I’ve been playing with.

It’s hard to pick , but here are some of my favorite pieces.

I came across this gorgeous dress designed by Suneet Varma, an Indian designer. The red just caught my eye . Give him some love. Really one to watch .

This particular piece was regrammed by the designer. yay.. to me its a recognition that the designer appreciates the way I interpret his vision in my own way. I also feel very connected to the designer and his/her vision.

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Suneet Varma

Who doesn’t like shoes and heels ? Pair them up with some frayed hem jeans as reported by The Zoe Project – you’ll be on point.

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Heels and frayed jeans = awesome 

 

I love illustrating movement , as is obvious in many of my sketches – be it fashion , street style , dance and sport . Its all about conveying that energy in an artistic way. I am inspired by the photographs taken by the nycdanceproject . If you haven’t checked them out, you should. Here’s a sketch inspired by their picture from last Monday.

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Ballerina

More shoes. I love them .. which girl doesn’t , right ?

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Pantone delighted the world by announcing the Color of the Year for 2016 – not one , but two – Rose Quartz and Serenity ! Thank you , Pantone !

 

 

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This is me, literally , thanking Pantone !

This dress .. speechless !

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Marchesa Fashion’s SS16 couture from NYFW 

I also want to highlight the fashion happening in Australia . I am an Indian-born Australian living in the U.S. I tend to stay connected to all these parts of me through illustrating them . Keeps me inspired and hopefully , I bring to you content that is fresh and new.

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Erin Holland dressed in Danni Minogue for Target Australia and Jean Paul Gaultier. Pretty Stunning , huh ? 

Lastly , I want to leave you with this gorgeous ballerina – yes, again …

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Leanne Lovette for nycdanceproject 

This one just felt like she was floating – poetry in motion. One of those pictures that you feel just has to be illustrated !

I hope you have a lovely week ahead of you . I will be back again to share more with you . In the meantime, email me – lsartillustration (at) gmail.com)  to say hi or follow me on Instagram to keep up and connect .

Cheers,

Laksh

MFW , SS 16

The last few weeks have been crazy. I am on a high just from the amazing creations of all the shows . Here are a few snippets from Milan Fashion Week. It has been fun working on these sketches. The Moschino creation is probably my favorite from MFW , simply because of the flamboyance and its energy .

Enjoy !

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Moschino
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Cheers !