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, sketchbook

Why I draw

[Hammers in my head. Such a temptation at these times to drown into meaningless virtual worlds for short term highs…]

[But the scourge of the blank page must be tamed, issues must be faced, demons must be encountered.]

[A great opportunity to be compassionate to yourself. And by the time you’re done, you have delivered yourself from the abyss.]

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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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art, Books, drawing, Life, sketchbook

From Sojourns in the parallel world

A year or so ago, I used to have a morning ritual of waking up and reading some poetry with coffee. Once in a while I would read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, and during that time, I also read White by Kenya Hara. (It’s such a meditative, beautiful book, and it was rather a spiritual and other worldly experience for me.)

One of those mornings, I read this poem by Denise Levertov. Though it’s about immersing our human consciousness in the natural world, to me the last few lines evoked how we continue to voluntarily lose ourselves in the virtual world.

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“No one discovers

just where we’ve been, when we’re caught up again

–but we have changed, a little.”

From the sketchbook called Finding Soo • August 2016.

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art, drawing, Life, parenthood, sketchbook

Chasing a medium

Back in 2015, I faced a serious identity crisis. Most women sail through these transitional times like swans, I however was more sinking than swimming. Eventually I found a sense of self but it took almost a year.

In those days, I felt cramped by my earlier visual language, and struggled to evolve my usual ink lines into something else.

Friends recommended all sorts of media, but I just couldn’t break out of line.

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I explored drawing with brushes, ink and pastels but the cloud wouldn’t budge.

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The only benefit after all that, was the brown boy was happy.

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