I became a Mechanical Engineer, but never worked as one. I got a job in architectural visualization, because my core field never interested me the way art fascinated me. I was happy as instead of a desk job, I got an opportunity to feed my passion. At my job, I enjoyed the process of perspective, landscape and figures using watercolours and postercolours. I always loved to learn the technicalities. This was the time when I worked almost 12 hours per day. But sketching as a part of job, never made me feel any burden, despite the hectic hours. I did engineering because of the societal stigma around it, but found a way to follow my passion.
Around 1998, with the introduction of computers, our office saw a shift from paper to graphics. I took this training as well to keep up with the flow. Learnt Photoshop and 3-D softwares, and applied my knowledge of colour theory, tonal values, and material and texture creation. For nearly 15 years, I worked only on computer – as that was what my job demanded. This was the time, when I hardly touched pencils or paints. It hit hard one day, as I missed pencil badly. So one fine day, taking a paper and pencil I started sketching my son’s picture. I was hesitant initially because of the long gap, but to my surprise, rendering gave a different kind of joy and satisfaction. I was overwhelmed to see the sketch complete in just an hour. This sketch was better than expected. It encouraged me to practice pencil sketching. With every sketch, I saw an improvement. This is when a realization struck that my eyes were trained in proportion and tonal play. And, this technical knowledge is the key for being able to sketch even after not touching pencil for 25 years. The decision of not taking a job in the core sector or running behind money, but, rather following passion and giving complete hundred percent to it, kept the artist in me alive. I started sketching regularly between my office hours.
Once I got an opportunity to attend a seminar on ‘Integrity’. The speaker there told a story about a sculptor who worked 2 years on a statute which would be put on a 50 feet high pillar, completely unnoticed by the public, with the same enthusiasm, patience, and observation that he used to make the God’s idol, where everyone would pay attention. When a visitor questioned the sculptor’s dedication as a waste of time, the sculptor very humbly replied that his art is not for others, he does it for himself. He needs to know that it is perfect and he has given his hundred percent to it. To make it the best, he has to pay equal attention to every part irrespective of what catches the viewer’s eye first. This story touched every chord in my heart. I positioned myself as the sculptor and in my next sketch paid attention to even the littlest part with same dedication. This resulted in a hyper-realistic sketch. My drawing showed an immense change by following this one norm – equal attention to even the most insignificant part. This is my work, and it has to be the best in the world. I transformed here. This is when, people asked me to conduct workshops. My friends supported me and I conducted my first workshop. The students were benefited and I got many enquiries to arrange more workshops. But, I felt, this was not enough. I cannot bring the expertise in my students because of time constraint. I wanted to give proper technical training.
While all this was going on, my son asked me what he could do in his life. I said, “Do what your heart says.” He loves playing football and decided to be a footballer. From that day itself, he changed his routine, his diet, his workout plan and started working towards his goal. This inspired me. If my son can do it, I should too. If I want my son to follow his passion, I should also be doing the same. This is when I decided to start an Academy. I wanted to teach pencil rendering in a scientific way, in a more logical way. With a vision to create a profound respect for the medium of pencil in the artworld, I started – “Pencil Perceptions” in 2017. My dream wouldn't have been possible without - Komal, my assistant and Amrut - our Video Editor. Right, from handling Social Media and being a co-mentor, Komal made it possible for me to focus on new drawings and online courses. Their contribution is invaluable and I'm grateful for them.
People usually think of hanging paintings on their walls, but it’s high time that pencil drawings get their own space. I want people to understand that you can create a lot with pencils, which even colours cannot. I want my students to excel the way like I do. I want my students to get good prices for their artwork.
To all those aspiring to be artists, all I want to say is don’t run behind money, or don’t think you can make a career in art in just two-three years. First, choose art, give your hundred percent to it, learn to give your best, and then think of making a career in art.
My mom always told, ‘people shouldn’t come to you, for your degrees, but for your work.’ And, today, my mom’s words hold true. The life I’m living today was created by my mom fifty years ago, when she pushed me to work towards my passion. Other than my mom, my wife is my backbone. She is my pillar of strength-who has always been supportive in every stage of life. From taking care of my health and diet, to nurturing our son the same way I grew up and kindling the fire of passion; she has been through all the thick and thin with me. From those office days as a colleague, to the co-founder of our Academy – Pencil Perceptions, my wife has given me the strength and love to make through all of it, to be the best.
Blog written after a brief meeting with the artist.
If you know any more such inspiring artists, we would love to hear their stories !
Till then, #stayrad