Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sketchcrawl 5, Ulsoor

In the thick of many things going on, the 32nd Sketchcrawl came knocking. Unlike the old times, I wasn't very well prepared but I knew that I had to do it. The reason is that it liberates me in some ways, greeting a self that asks for no deadlines, style variations, target audience etc. The sole task of just going to a place and sketch vents the draftsman free in me.
Last night, I picked Ulsoor lake for sketching and packed my bags with the equipments. I had been using colours in my work a lot lately and it played me to put the Lamy ink with me for some plain sombre ink drawings. I started the event with sketching a Ganpathi temple near the lake. The architecture as pointed out by my friend Khushboo was quite a strange mix of Tibetan and South Indian temples. Thankfully, the footpath was empty and gave the needful sitting place for me to start. I worked with brushes and ink for the first layer of sketching and then the washes to highlight the lines. To talk about wash, Lamy inks are such a treat to work with. It has a unpredictability when played with water, giving hues of yellow and blues on the paper.
Here is the very first sketch of the morning -  

While roaming around the lake, I saw a few birds flying over the trees levitating in the lake. They had a hint of yellow on their beak and the arched neck. I had never been good with taxonomy of birds so I didn't make any guess work on it. Me and my friend walked to one of the park on the periphery of the lakes where the Mayura Boat Club caught the attention of us. Soon we were on a paddle boat navigating in the muddy green waters. Luckily, the boat ride managed to get me close to the birds I had seen before. Crazy as it may sound but we stopped the boat and I quickly drew the birds sitting on the dried branches half submerged in water.

The half an hour boat ride and the parking of it took some breath out of me in the end. But it definitely gave me a good time and space to do the second sketch. Looking at clock, we still had time before lunch, enough for one more sketch. We moved to the park and chose our spots to sit and draw. There is a statue of Vivekanand put in the park overlooking the couples sitting on the benches. I quickly grabbed my brushes for the last sketch of the day.

Click on the images for larger view
To finish things up, we had Maggi for lunch with some masala chai made by my friend at her place in Cox town. I had planned to do a few sketches in Shivajinagar too but I would savour it for the next Sketchcrawl. For now, I am ready to get back at the drawing board to battle out the deadlines.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Brainwave. Issue 08. Lotsa Bots.

The much awaited copy of Issue 8 - Lotsa Bots arrived today morning. In the past month I had put a lot of work in creating the artworks and layout for the issue. Apart from the amount of work, the other challenge I took was to venture into many more styles for this issue to keep the look of content rich and engaging. Here comes the month of Robotica -

This spread is done for the regular toybox section. Unlike other sections, I have kept a fixed style of drawings for this - simple, hand drawn and functional in its look. The boxes have been kept loose to negotiate with the rigid drawing style.

During my foundation studies in college, I used to love the geometry classes and mechanical drawing. I think this issues provided a good opportunity to look back into that space. The above one is a blend of hand made textures and vector illustrations. Its a tiny spot illustration but I have grown quite fond of it. I had drawn this one for an article on how Mango ripens quickly in the company of Bananas :)

Again from the pages of isometric graph rendering, but this time its Khooni Cafe.  This one required long hours to finish and do I need to tell how much I fretted over the alignment issues in this one.

I also tried doing custom type for the title at many places. The 'Autobots' one was done while listening to 'Tron OST'. But lately I have been wondering about the treatment of titles. Do the titles need to follow the same design treatment across the magazine or is it fine to take the liberty to play around with it, if yes then how much? Considering this is a kid's magazine, being too restrictive on the style play will not help but a common thread is needed somewhere.

Back to the basics, these were rendered with poster paints by hand. 

This is 'Thingumma Bob', our mash monster for this issue - made out of six living creatures. You need to unmash the monster and tell who the six creatures are.

Lastly, the 'Tea-Bot' from our contest page.
I will finish this post by sharing how I approach colour when working on the magazine - being partially colour blind I can't afford to take risks so I do it all mathematically. Say if I have to make purple, then in my head I calculate what percentage of Cyan with Magenta should mix in multiples of 5. Tumbling around on colour wheel is not my area. So all the colours are done in my head like a matching store. 
This is it for now, next issue is on chemistry and I have a few things lined up for that. Lets see how that turns out. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Number Plate Typography-350!!

My brother got his long due Bullet Classic 350 a couple of weeks back. He had been riding it without a painted number plate and unable to get one to do it the task had come to me. I was a quite skeptical of my capabilities to do it. When your canvas is expensive and beautiful, you wonder how badly you will ruin it. Anyway, I got myself up for the task. When I sat down to work on it, the days of letter design surfaced in my memories. During Mahendra Bhai's course in my third year I had to do sheets of letter drawing with shaved wood nib. But this was way up the notch in difficulties. For example - you have a brush in hand, which is slightly beyond your command in compared to a nib. Secondly, your hand doesn't rest on a huge desk, it has to find its rest in the air while your strokes are trembling on the number plate.

Since I was no way close to the skilled number plate painters who dance their hands masterfully with a determined control, I had to do a rough line drawing to keep the paint within. I imagined the type to be a serif one keeping the classy Bullet look. But as told earlier lacking the dexterity (painting the fine strokes required in serif with a brush) and tackling the visibility issues of serif on small number plate was a tough call. I stuck to san serif to keep it simple and safe. 

I was able to finish one number plate with long hours of sitting on the ground and bent back. Once done, it didn't look that awful as I had feared it to be. 
Although, if I sit with the rules the mistakes are in plenty - the 'K' is a bit too bold there but it is too late to rectify things and the scare of the canvas lingered. I am sharing the images taken from my phone while working on it. I think painting a number plate will make a fine exercise for a letter design course.