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

 

Giorgio Armani – Live Beauty Sketching

Hello lovelies,

As some of you may recall , if you saw my last post and /or on Instagram , this past Saturday , I sketched live with Giorgio Armani for their event at Saks Fifth Avenue, in Maryland. I sketched from 10:30 until 7 pm with a short break in between for a quick bite. Sketching beautiful people to music for 8 straight hours – nothing to complain about . It was a busy , fun filled energetic day as clients got their makeover done by celebrity make artist Tim Quinn and designer Jesus Estrada along with the Armani beauty team .

I was asked to create sketches of clients in about 15 minutes or less . I chose to do a mix of watercolors , ink and pens. I love doing the quick washes in watercolors and ink and refining it with pen. I started out doing 15 minute sketches , but as the day went by and it got busier in the afternoon . I had to hammer out sketches in less than 10 minutes. But, I love a challenge  🙂

Here’s some of the behind the scenes look and some of the sketches at the event. Enjoy and I’d love to hear your thoughts !

And , thank you all for the support you’ve given me on this crazy journey of mine in the world of illustration. It almost seemed impossible when I started out, but reading your comments, emails and messages keeps me going . I truly value your support !

Cheers,

Laksh

Live sketching with Giorgio Armani

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Friends, I am so so excited to announce that I will be working with Giorgio Armani beauty team this Saturday , June 3rd at Saks Fifth Avenue, Chevy Chase, Maryland.

This is a dream come true for me and I may have danced around just a little bit when I got the opportunity.

The details of the event are below in the invite to the Born Backstage event by Armani featuring celebrity face designer Tim Quinn . If you are in the area, do stop by at the event.

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I will be sketching portraits of clients at the event and I hope to see you there 🙂 Appointments are encouraged if you would like to be sketched, since it does get pretty busy . If you can’t be there , follow along on Instagram Stories for more behind the scenes from the event.

Cheers,

Lakshmi

 

 

Saree Seduction

Hello loves,

Hope you are having a great week so far. In our neck of the woods, we’ve had a weird weather. We went from cold to beautiful within a day. Yesterday started out gloomy and wet. Then there was a downpour for about half hour- and I’m talking about a deluge, trees threatening to fall over from the wind . I dropped off my son at school in all of this. The poor kid was soaking wet – as were the other kids in school. I came home drenched and cold. The umbrella and my rain jacket were pretty useless in all of this.

This was followed by a pretty gloomy morning . I guess, being wet and cold, prompted me to create something bright and cheerful . I went with watercolors and gel pens for this one. I remembered to take a few in progress shots of this illustration . It gives you an idea of how it all came together.

I used my Artist’s Loft watercolors for this illustration . It is available at Michaels – I love the brilliance of the colors . I recommend this set for those who’ve never used watercolors and would like to try it out.

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I added the patterns and details on the sari and blouse with Sakura Micron Pens and gel pens. I used acrylic paint to bring out the shine and flare on the sari .

Watercolors for her hair and a touch of Micron Pens.

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There she is – all done and sashaying away to some mysterious location . She’s available for purchase in different sizes on Etsy and on phone cases etc through 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  – black 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

 

 

A little bit of color , a little bit of patterns

I spent a lot of time this week creating with watercolors and pen . This is my favorite thing to do .

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Swirls in progress (www.artbylaksh.wordpress.com)
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working in details (www.artbylaksh.wordpress.com)
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Swirly- Wurly all done ! www.artbylaksh.wordpress.com

Its National Donut Day, Y’all  and its a Friday … so we should basically pig out , right ?

Fact : I loved donuts.. until I realized it started to show on me :-/ So I work out everytime I think of eating donuts and don’t act on that craving .

But , nothing wrong in feasting your eyes on this donut … feast away , its zero calories  and  a whole lot of love with patterned sprinkles on it .

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Donut with some amazing sprinkles worked in. (www.artbylaksh.wordpress.com)

Have a great weekend !

Cheers,

Laksh

Happy Mother’s day

Some more watercolors ..and I can’t stop reaching for purple . I need an intervention .

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Here’s to a ‘berry’ sweet weekend … I couldn’t help it .

You should know , that I will do cupcake related art as well – in addition to my coffee related art . There might be an addiction to both. I am working on it. The art , that is, not the addiction .

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Finally wishing all the mothers a very Happy Mother’s Day ! I have two kids of my own , and I got plenty of love today 🙂

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Cheers,

Laksh