drawing, sketchbook

There will be bad days

My cousin Nikon says that we must have a plan for bad days, and it’s such great advice. Who wouldn’t love to be in flow, writing and pictures flowing out effortlessly –

…and while it does happen, there are also lots of days when it feels terribly laborious. My plan for those days is to just show up, sit and labor, and keep reminding myself that it’s not my job to like my drawings.

Here are some of those pages –

Sometimes music helps, sometimes prompts – but I have to keep at it, without judgement.

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drawing, Food, Life, sketchbook

A study in skins

I was 8 when I copied my first Cezanne, in the drawing class we used to attend, held every Sunday in the parish hall at the local church. There was no looking back after that. I was mesmerized by the color palettes and the compositions, though I didn’t know all these terms then. I went on to copy the old masters for a decade, running through all of the teacher’s copies of Cezanne, Renoir and Van Gogh prints, and later from my uncle’s fabulous Great Masters’ collection at home. I’m not sure what I learnt, back then, but I became familiar with the artists, their colors and lines and brush strokes.

These onion studies are a far cry from those days. It’s been decades since I attempted any color studies but oh what joy!

Inspired by the this lovely poem by Harryette Mullen:

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drawing, sketchbook

Letters to my future self

Looking back for the year-end post, this is what I discovered:

29 sketchbooks in 6 years! Not bad at all! And before 2014 I have about 98 more, shown here, over the years of 2002-2013.

I’m so proud of myself for persisting with keeping a drawing journal, despite challenges! When my son was born in 2015, I couldn’t draw for the first 2 years of being a parent…I also couldn’t draw when we got married and was jealous of the the brown boy‘s constant talent! And some other times I was just lazy….

It’s always such a struggle to make time for improving my drawing skills and the craft of storytelling through drawing.

(Drawing from 2015)

Like most hobbies there are few overlaps with my professional skills, but it’s the need for creation and expression that has persisted throughout. Some wise person once said it’s almost like you are the channel through which the expression manifests…and it sometimes does feel like that.

Drawing just after returning to work from maternity leave

As a creative individual this is the practice that has helped to hone my creative voice, and as a human being the journals have helped me make sense of daily life and the constant reinvention we go through over the years.

Here’s an excerpt from an older press story:

For Basu, journaling is a process of making life. She shared with us that through these “letters for her future self” she “often remember(s) forgotten wishes and goals or events” that shaped her. It’s delightful to stroll through the worries and victories of her daily life. One can trace the arc of the conversation the young designer has had with herself over the years and feel like a confidential encounter has taken place.

So here’s to more drawing, more feedback and commentary from friends and well-wishers who see me drawing in real life – and onwards to 2020!

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drawing, Life

Just keep going

It’s common knowledge that to produce something truly creative, one must spend long stretches of time spent alone. Superficial layers of consciousness needs to be sifted through to uncover the truly good stuff. Sometimes there’s the relentless tussle to go on polishing the craft to satisfaction.

But I – with my day job – do not have the luxury of those long stretches of time to be spent on drawing and making stories. Sometimes a rare early morning before anyone is wake or a Sunday afternoon when the rest of the family take a nap are the times when I squeeze in time to draw!

Imagine my frustration then when Orin’s gang comes ringing the doorbell a thousand times to check if he can come to play…

Soo drawing in a sketchbook and handwritten text says Just keep going even if the doorbell interrupts a dozen times
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drawing, Life, sketchbook, Work

Surviving work, part 2

It was early 2017 when I first started to use my drawing to deal with work stress.

I was still grumpily trying to understand what my role as a Design Manager should be, and the anteater, as usual, gave his sage advice:

Sometimes all you need is a different perspective on life, like The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman.

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And I also finished reading M Train by Patti Smith around that time.

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While all this helps momentarily, there’s actually larger causes for work stresses which need to be carefully resolved. But of course, I didn’t know that then…

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drawing, Life, sketchbook, Work

Surviving work

The last two years have been incredible years of growing for me in my professional life. Challenging work, difficult situations, and always the need to build trust from bottom up.

These are some of the earliest drawings from those days:

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What kept me going was the long game, and guiding myself with

Progress, not perfection

which I learnt from this 99u talk by Effie Brown.

I also draw myself out of stress, since drawing is nearly therapy for me. The 2017 and 2018 sketchbooks are filled with “stressy” drawings – as my friend Uli would say – like this one:

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After a while though I got used to it, and learnt how to survive difficult days

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Though our man, the brown boy, did have the last word:

“Ultimately, it’s all about having a good time. Later on if you feel you haven’t enjoyed yourself it’s not worth it.”

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