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 ūüėČ 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 РI 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 ūüėČ

Cheers,

Lakshmi

 

Set me free – an in progress video

Hello loves,

Hope everyone is enjoying the nice warmer weather . Spring is tricky – with the temperatures swinging and the rain too. It’s raining today ūüôĄ . ¬†But , although I will always favor cool over heat, I do like the 65 -70 degree weather ¬†– anymore than that, and I start to complain !

I also find myself drawing more outfits that think spring. This time, I thought a video would be perfect showing the process.

I used Copic Markers and Sakura Micron pens for the sketch .

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Markers for the blouse
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Markers used for the skin tones
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Markers used for the lehenga / skirt
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Plethora of Sakura Micron pens for detailing

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She’s available as a print on Etsy and also on phone cases on Casetify .

Cheers,

Lakshmi

 

Sketching Tips with Markers and Pens

Hello loves,

Often I get asked about how one can improve on sketching , painting etc. I thought I’d create a blog post with the markers that I use the most – Copic , along with Prisma Markers.

There are many ways of creating a single look . Other artists may use different markers within the same brand to achieve a look.  This is mine . So feel free to use this as a guide , but come up with your own way to get a certain look.

Here’s a sketch I created from Amazon India Fashion Week , that happened last week, in India. The model is Indian , so the markers I used for the skin tone would apply to a tan skin tone. I normally use these skin tones for Indian skin tones, tanned skin tones etc. I make adjustments on which color to use more to create the appropriate skin tones¬†.

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Designer : Shivan and Narresh

Model : Rikee Chaterjee

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  1. SKIN TONES 

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Again depending on the skin color I start out with lighter colors as base colors and then build up on the darker parts . For this sketch , I used E02, E31 , Y11 and RV10 for the skin colors.Mixing  RV10 and Y11 give the sketch light blush and pale yellow tones where the light bounces off the skin.

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From then on I build on the skin color using E31 – Brick Beige – which is a great color to use for tan / brown skin. The shadows work great with E55 – Light camel. Sometimes I use gray tones to build on shadows on skin. I didn’t in this case.

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2. OUTFIT

A black outfit  makes this sketch a perfect subject for a tutorial !

The trick to sketching a black outfit is to work with grays as base colors and then use black to fill up on the darker portions . It works well to play with the light and shadows and to create a sense of movement .

I used C3, T3 and C7 for the gray tones.

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I don’t know how many black markers I own , honestly. I ran out of black Copic markers , so I turned to Prisma Color marker and Faber Castell pens .

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Faber Castell artist pens are , for a lack of a better description  Рblack gold . They are amazing for sketching and creating rich dark tones.

3. FINAL TOUCHES 

I usually use Sakura Micron pens to add finishing touches and add outlines to my sketches. They work great along with Copic Markers.

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Lets not forget the power of the Colorless blender. Its the perfect tool to blend colors to give it a seamless effect. I highly recommend it when you use two or more markers to achieve a certain look.

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Purchasing Copic Markers and Sakura Micron Pens. 

Copic Markers available at Blick and Amazon. There’s a small selection of Copics at Michaels. ¬†There might be other venues that I’m not aware of , but these are where I get my supply of Copics.

I’ve purchased Sakura Micron pens from Michaels, Blick¬†and Amazon .

All of the markers , pens (Copics, PrismaColor , Faber Castell , Sakura ) , ¬†I’ve referenced in this post are of beautiful quality . So there’s really not a cheap way to get these materials. They are all considered quality illustration materials – which means you get high quality.

If you are starting out or a student , then I recommend starting out small and slowly building up your collection.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts and how you use your art materials for similar sketches .

Happy Sketching !

-Lakshmi

 

 

New York Fashion Week Diaries – FW17

Here’s a run down on my trip to New York Fashion Week . Finally got around to it. I spent 4 days in New York . It was everything I was hoping for and more. I love the energy it comes with and meeting friends , and meeting new people.

The first day of NYFW , we had a storm Рof course.

TADASHI SHOJI 

I was fortunate to get backstage access at Tadashi Shoji before the show. I love seeing everything put together before the show. The hair , make up , last minute touches and the energy is almost palpable. Here are a few sketches that I did backstage . These were quick and in less than 5 minutes of the hair and make up .

I used my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil this time at the shows. It was quite easy to navigate in the crowded spots and , not to mention, easy to move around with . I drew on Procreate app on the iPad.

Here is the link to the final walk on Instagram.

An illustration from one of my favorites from the show – my favorite part of post show ūüôā

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NOON BY NOOR 

I was supposed to head to Noon by Noor’s backstage. But I didn’t have the courage to exit the building into the storm to get backstage. Not happening -unless, I really had to . So I headed straight to the show after Tadashi Shoji within the same facility.

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I have a thing for capes ..

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HAKKAN AKAYA

This show was all black , all fierce and edgy . Loved the vibe.

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JILL STUART

JIll Stuart’s presentation¬†was filled with haunting beauties in one of the most gorgeous architectural spaces I have seen in New York – The Skylight at 195 , Broadway Street.

 

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FRANCESCA LIBERATORE

There was lace, metallics , bold graphics and typography , stripes and patterns along with the most gorgeous makeup and hairdo.

My favorite look from Francesca Liberatore illustrated below.

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I hope you liked the run down Рa mix of photographs and illustrations . These were the illustrations from some of the shows that  I attended. Sketches from my other favorites are already up on Instagram.

All the illustrations above have been sketched with iPad Pro using Apple Pencil in Procreate app. Its¬†easy to carry around and I can grab at inspiration when it strikes. I worked on some sketches in between shows, easy to carry , store away. I had to make sure to get my charger , portable charger along to charge my phone and iPad (sometimes). While I am all about my pens, markers, watercolors, paints and brushes, I wanted to try out the digital materials this time at NYFW. Downside – I had to be really careful not to drop the iPad or the Pencil – for obvious reasons ! I would’ve not been happy with my decision – but both contraptions made it through backstage trysts , coffee shops, lounges and lived to tell the tale of this trip. Hope you like them.

If there are any questions about the illustrations , or NYFW, feel free to write to me and I’ll do my best to answer them

Take care,

Lakshmi