Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sketch Crawl 4

I had missed the last sketch crawl due to the Karnataka bandh but this time I decided not to go empty. In fact, I dreamt last night of waking up late today and being short on time for the sketches. But, I was up early and packed my bag with the stationery materials, camera and sketch pad (thanks Hazel). I was keen on sketching the architecture of Vidhan Soudha but just a day before I met an instinct of visiting Jhonson Market. With changing my ride from auto to bus to the walking legs, I reached Johnson market by 10:45 am. The market wasn't crowded and the small lane from where the flower, fruits and bakery start seemed inviting enough to get into the act. Thankfully, a rickety blue bench was positioned in front of this small bakery called Chai-Day. I imagined it to be something good to draw. The outside walls of the bakery was quite dabbed with the cobwebs and soot layers. Wires were running around like a holding thread for the walls. The bakery was dark from inside but people had started with their tea outside in the day light. Flowers were being arranged and classified to their colours and aesthetics and a cockerel was doing its routine wake up calls right above my head on the peepal tree. 

I started with my watercolour washes. I know that I am not an expert at handling this medium but I try to keep myself bold about it and use it for the background texture and creating space, colour and texture to work with. I try to be more playful with this medium and handle the brush with quick flow so that the thought of not being proficient with it should not haunt me. Once I was done with the wash, I used my felt tip pens to work the detail out and enhance the soft-dark areas with hatching. While working the sketch out, people came and anlaysed the sketch, what merits it had and also dropping a few questions about where to send their son/daughter for art education. Used to such situations, I kept on with the sketch till 1 o'clock. I had become quite hungry by then but before that I was in dire need of some tea and where would you go when their was Chai-day in front of you. The owner took the order and started with his share of enquiries - "Where are you from? Are you doing this for someone? Is this your profession?" Satisfied with his queries he asked me for a copy of the sketch. There was a xerox machine right next to his shop and I got him a Black n White copy of the sketch. He seemed happy with the xerox and then shared a few information about his side business - "I do all the RTO work. If you need a license, meet me. ok?" I nodded my head and picked up my lemon tea. I took the sip of the sweet tea and looked around in the market. Like the sketching in public areas, I had become quite used to the sweet taste of the tea you got there. The place was a storehouse of good photography and sketching possibilities but I had exhausted my self with one sketch and was hungry enough to keep the sketch book aside. I took a few shots with my Manual F80, packed my bag and went to the shop to pay for my tea. The owner requested me to accept the tea as a token of thanks for the sketch. Seemed like a good deal. I shook hands with him and parted with the promise of coming down there again. 

I don't have the photographs to share as film roll developing and printing takes time so sharing the sketch with you - 
Click on the image for larger view.

I had a small lunch at India coffee house to avoid myself from becoming lazy for the next sketch. I had kept Vidhan Soudha as the second spot. The idea of sketching it had put a challenge for me to capture a magnificent building with my limited skills. I relish drawing buildings yet at the same time getting there to draw the place is like a walk to the boxing ring. With all these thoughts swirling in my head I stepped out of the Auto to judge the spot for drawing. Sadly, the metro construction had blinded the bottom part of building for sketching. But the view from the park in front was fitting enough to sit down and get on with it. The composition also was appealing enough with the ice cream guy in the foreground and the massive building covering the horizon. Although, I rarely think of composition when sketching. The place had lot of visitors coming to see the building and while taking pictures they would peep into my activity and when done with the inspection would get back to their cameras. There were many tourist photographers around and they also took notice of my work in progress. There was a regular traffic on the road and the inflow of visitors never let me got hold of the Ice Cream Wallah's sketch. I managed to draw him with bits and pieces of observations. Unlike buildings, playing around with details and adjusting it to the need gives a very different result when dealing with human figures. By the end of it, the Ice Cream Wallah had a bit of Rajnikanth touch in it and the Auto-drivers seemed to agree with me on this. So, I think I fared decent on the building but no so good on the Ice Cream Guy. But...that was my view. The Ice Cream Wallah seemed to enjoy his new avatar and I got a Chocobar as reward. The tourist photographers were taking their liberty in shooting the sketch and planning to laminate it. But I was not bothered by any act of plagiarism. I had got a Chocobar and a glass of tea in return of my work for the day and was quite delighted with it.

Click on the image for larger view.

You can check out the other sketches from around the World on this 31st sketchcrawl google map.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Private Detective Kapil

I went to the Bookworm second hand book shop after a really long time this Sunday. I used to go there often in my early days of college. I remembered very well where the old comics were stacked up and in no time I was flipping through old and new comic books. My hands stopped at this comics titled as 'Private Detective Kapil - Thieves of Shalimar.' The edges of the book were wrinkled and the book cover very well made you aware that this piece belonged to the 90's and I being a kid of 90s grabbed this copy with much joy.

The typography done in its single point perspective, hand painted cover illustration and its parallel drawn perspective lines share the highlights of the local book shop illustrations. If you observe the cover well enough, you will notice how every inch of the space drawn has a mathematical instinct to it. Every action, shape...even the shadows are measured in its quality.
S.Chand & Company own the publishing rights (yes, the publishing house whose text books you must have mugged up during your tenth boards).
Now, lets go inside the book and see what Kapil and his gang have to offer to the readers.

Reading in between the lines and frames is not allowed here. No chance... you can let your imagination roll. Detective Kapil likes to think it loud. So, if you thought you will see some Shaun Tan kind of motion through images then you have a surprise. Detective Kapil cuts the long story short and helps you out by explaining each and every step of his actions.

And here look at our drunkard informer of police. Even with good number of glasses down, his HIC...going loud, he can balance the bottle on his palm. Caution: Please don't try this at home.
The colours matter alot when dealing with the comics of 90's. The flamboyant freedom with which its splashed around really sets the tone for the reading. No negative and positive space rubbish and no painful hours for drawing backgrounds because we have all the colours for you.

And If you look at the third frame here, you can notice that the comic artist has tried to venture into the areas of abstract art and cubism. But, just a subtle touch of it...just one circle does the trick.

Lets not ignore the acrobatic skills of our protagonist and by no means he wants to hide his talents. Show Off. Thankfully, here he chooses to think about it and not stating it.
Don't worry. Detective Kapil hasn't lost his head. It's just his floating head that can do time travel and show you his reflection, analysis and how he cleverly filters the information.

"SOK" the new punch sound...again an example of the artist's brave attempts at breaking away from the regular usage of BOOM, DHISHOOM. SOK - precise, pinpoint emphasis of attack and it has that swiftness in its appeal.

And those who have read Raj Comics would be well aware of the use of stars in fight sequences.

This stuff goes deeper than Sherlock Holmes. Detective Kapil is enough for need of Watson and Gladstone on the side. And to your joy there is another story in the book titled as 'Private Detective Kapil - The Slow Death.' Deadly!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Patna Zoo, Sanjay Gandhi Jaivik Udyaan

This time when I was at home I joined my mom for the morning walks to Patna Zoo. I remember going there with my Papa and Bhaiya when I was ten years old. I had many recollections from the last trip and I wanted to reconfirm those places, structures and moments. There is no fee for the people till 8o' clock in the morning. So, the crowd gathered there was in good numbers to fill up their lungs with the air that doesn't loom around their homes anymore. Age and social status didn't have a barrier here. There were elderly and young ones; people in sports shoes and people in rubber slippers; people in kurta-lungi and people in shorts; people gathered in friend circles, families and a few all alone; people with ipods and people with cell phones blaring music for others, people with conversations on politics, sports and people with conversations on their job, domestic situations etc. In short, in that Zoo there were all breed of the social animals present. 

The Zoo covers 153 acres of land and the path laid through these acres meanders through animal cages, pond, muddy roads etc. and one memory that has been intact for many years. My eyes were searching through all the tress around to that one memory but before that I met the lazying Rhinos, Giraffes munching on the wet tree leaves and Sambar deer sitting indifferent to the spectators around. 

The elephants were too shy to come out but I remember seeing them close enough as a kid. Although, often the memories from childhood of a space or an object makes them appear big to you and when put in the same situation years later you feel that someone has shrunk the whole space/object down. 

Moving on, I took some off track routes though the trees. It was spring season and the trees were in the process of regaining the leaves. By summer, this whole area would be enveloped with green waiting for the monsoon showers. 

Soon after, the pond was visible. I remembered going for a boat ride here as a kid, you had to pedal the boat with your legs. Being the youngest I was privileged to just sit and enjoy the ride while Papa and Bhaiya were sweating on it. Now, there were only a few abandoned boats left around to notice. 

And then came the moment I was waiting for. Near the pond their was a Treehouse. It was in the corner of my head vividly and meeting that sight once again reassured me in some ways. I wanted to go up and look into it but a free visitor in the Zoo should know his limitations. But, I surely did imagine myself being in those rooms and the view the tiny windows would give.

Then came the Toy Train. I didn't get into it during my last trip but this time I observed it closely. It has mini stations planted and the half metre wide tracks run through all the corners of the Zoo. 

I was reaching the end of the Zoo and there were only bird cages left to see on the way. The place seemed to be in dire need of new signage system. The existing ones had become a prank space for the visitors and as a whole it lacked its purpose to guide you. 

My camera film roll was also ticking close and I managed to get these two pictures in the end. This place was locked and no one was allowed to go in it. But, it wasn't difficult to guess what creature were there in those rooms.

The good forty minute walk had come to an end. I had seen what I lingered to visit for so long and the camera roll was rewinding too. With my memories reaffirmed after 14 years I knew from where this love for tree houses started.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

विराम श्वास

एक तमन्ना और ख्वाबों का मंज़र,
कंपित लहर दर लहर 
कहीं खो गया हैं समंदर.

एक चक्रव्यूह था.
सोखा इसने हर मनोरंग अंदर.
कैसे सींचू इस अथाह को अथाह,
मंद से पड़ गए है मेरे खंजर.

धार को लहू और लहू को धार से मांझू,
कल्पित से तेज को उत्तेजित करूँ निरंतर.
चीर डालूँ एक दरिया,
दूर कर दूँ फासलों का अंतर.
इस सूखे की राख में,
बढूँ बन कर मैं सिकंदर.

खंडित से माटी को दूँ अंकुर,
और धब्बे से चित्त को छाया का जंतर.
अल्प विरामों को एक विराम दे दूँ,
इस विराम श्वास को भर लूँ मैं पंजर पंजर. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The wait is over.

I think this Times of India ad came 4 years ago. It shows how newspaper have documented the life of its reader everyday and in the pile of million papers, there is always a page that holds that special ink for him. India has finally won the World Cup after 28 years. I remember the clippings of that Black n White photo on newspaper showing Kapil Dev holding the 83 World cup and when approaching the game yesterday, I couldn't stop my mind taking the same snapshots of MS Dhoni as Kapil. Although, the game has a lot more colour now and its dominantly blue :) I scanned a few pages from the two newspaper that comes at my Patna home. These headlines have given a lot to the nation and being a fan of Cricket these pages are worth preserving.