OUT OF THE WOODS

Okay, I have been gone a long time. I am not sure how it happened so, then again – I think I know. Can I just say that I am really excited to be back? I have sincerely missed you too. Sorely! (I am breaking into a huge grin as I type.) How are you? How have you been? Everything good? Not bad, not good? Figuring things out?

I would hope you are well. (I am, too.)

Where do I begin?

There is not much to tell, of course, but it has been long and I feel like talking. Okay, so here is one something: I have purchased a monthly subscription to Adobe Illustrator so I can use it alongside Adobe Photoshop and it is one of the better things that I have done, this year! I have much to learn (re-learn?) but yes, finalmente. (I have developed a mild obsessive/compulsive way of thinking over the years – I could have just said Photoshop without the Adobe when I used it in the previous sentence – you would have got it, but I just could not bear to not. I would have not used the word at all, then.)

Because of which, I have drawing on there some more than otherwise, and I randomly thought of making a project/series etc. of it on my Tumblr blog. The series is called Women of My World and I am protective/proud of it. Of course, some of the women may have some ‘drawing defects’ (sorry, my beautiful women) but I do not know! These women are special to me, they were my friends when I was bored at home – feeling dejected/depressed/lonely (about two months ago). I also have been meaning to acquire more work (of the illustrative variety, etc.); usually, a few folks reach out to me every year but it would be nice if I could manage to hear of interesting projects outside of this ‘tiny pool of reach’, and pitch for more projects (not too many) etc.

Oh yes, and the title of this post. Yes, somewhat apt, I could say! I have not been hiding but I have been scuttling about in the woods… I have been looking for something, walking on an unbeaten path (Don’t you hate the way I talk or write sometimes?), and falling down deep tunnels (not as intriguing as Alice’s adventures) and feeling beaten and broken etc. – however, every now and then, I seek refuge in a cosy hollow; ferns, leaves and saplings have been growing all over the place or I bump into worker bees who want to teach me that working hard is one of the world’s oldest methods to make the brain feel good. So I am happy, in a general sense. It is the little stratosphere around me – that bit is okay. It is good. There are pollutants that infiltrate etc.; some, I have no protection against. I am not trying to control every little thing, I am making decisions on my own, and I am trying. Really hard. (I want it to hurt!)

I am hoping to make something better of myself.

I am scared, though. (Though I think immersing oneself into a body of something is good; the word itself is light, it is not coercive or forceful or persuasive – it is healing. It is letting you breathe/do/make – complete with a very faint prickle of urgency. All in good measure, to get your ‘floating situation’ in order.)

There is more to come.

P.S. This post may have been all over the place; I do not apologise for it being so. I am happy to be writing here, again! Over the last few months and weeks, I was in a mind to delete a great big chunk of my posts from long ago. They were bothering me. There was a disconnect. I did not know what to write about. Shallow and superficial were two of the words hovering in my mind’s eye, all the fucking time. I do not directly help anyone through this platform, I know this… I am not sure if that is/was the primary purpose of this blog. But I have feelings I would like to express, and some thoughts too. Lots of in-between tales, I would hope you understand that this space has its shortcomings – I can accept that. It is dear to me; I love my other children too. I hope you do not just see this as a puerile place, it would feel horrid. I want my work to have meaning (whatever I do in life, no – not just jobs, necessarily.)

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Artwork by Roanna Fernandes

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Summer Nights

234 Summer Nights

Do you know much I love making lists like this one? Well, probably… Owing to the fact that I ramble about so much I like, here. (I classified these as summer essentials, as compared to my last list which was about winter lovelies. Also, however, if you combine both of these lists; they contain all of my favourite things to wear, yep!)

Okay now, in some order?

1. Body harnesses can shopped for from Sreesha’s shop, Lune or made by yourself (you will need a pair of pliers, some metal chains and circular links, and/or cute charms). The thing about a delicate body harness is that it can be worn under your clothes, and looks very sexy with everything beachie; if it makes you feel good then just wear it, it’s not even about how it looks. I like that it’s so very alluring; and think it might be good to get a light-bodied one made in actual gold so it doesn’t lose quality over time (or in terms of its finish). INVESTMENT!

2. Ooh, I need to be earning more money to invest in a pair of cool, summer kicks (but check out Bata because I think they have some decent and/or plain ones that you can refurbish, yourself). Besides the canvas slip-ons, I have been eyeing those Stan Smith sneakers from Adidas from the time I saw them first on Kiran Rao in a pair for ELLE (India) magazine, last year.

3. Funnily/luckily enough, I found a lovely brown leather + wooden sole pair at Promod way back in 2012 for Rs. 1000 and they still look smoking (it’s a different story that I haven’t worn them ever) but I also recently bought a pair earlier this year from Forever 21 whose soles are super lightweight and are a dream to walk in, and they actually suit me. Or what I like wearing! Chunky sandals are the only high heels that I make an exception for, because some inches are a bother for my cankles (one of my guy friends at an ex-workplace pointed out that I have *GASP* cankles). Thanks for the tip-off, bruv! And I’ve broken my foot twice now in the 28 years of my existence so yeah.

4. Crochet fabrics (there are some cool things to be bought from Mango + Vero Moda, btw) have been on my mind since 2012, and I haven’t begun to love them any lesser just as yet. 

5. Ah, crossbody handbags! :-)

6. Light (slightly overall acid wash) denim blouses are IN! I think Marks & Spencer had one, last season with a cute pocket over the breast area. (I’m not talking about the button-down shirts, btw!)

7. These are expensive for sure, but you’ll find cheaper versions at your local haunts – for me, La Judi is the answer… Of course, there are also flatform sandals which look really, really good, too.

8. Gypsy jewellery, self-explanatory… Think of cultural motifs, coloured tassels, pompom detailing (we’ll get back to that), body armour (yes, those Rajasthani pieces count), hammered metals, blah-blah, etc.

9. I don’t know about you but I do love grandma-inspired looks! Grandmothers (well, some) really are with it; and okay, so, pleated skirts… Of course, I do prefer the pleather variety over chiffon (ever since I bought a smouldering one from Marks & Spencer) but yeah… Pleated skirts in a midi-length are the way to go (especially with sneakers), in my opinion.

10. Ah, yes… I’ve always liked pompom detailing, especially on the edges of a cotton weave or bohemian kimono – it’s such an easy way to add a cultural accent or pop of tone to your get-up; and speaking of which, I’ve been making pompom necklaces for The Jupiter Skye Shop so if you’re interested, you know where to go after reading this post, heh.

P.S. Also, why is this post titled Summer Nights huh, you ask? What’s the connection? I was looking for a good way to pun but there was none, however, while I do enjoy going out in the late afternoon – I think I like those days when you’re out at that time (in a nice place) and then the day gradually progresses to night, and you’re wearing something good, and well the temperature hasn’t changed much so yeah it’s still summer but it’s night and you feel pretty… Gosh. That was way too long-winded a sentence even for me! Forgive me?

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Artwork by Roanna Fernandes

Sugar & Spice

233 Sugar & Spice

I am not sure how to begin writing this post, exactly… Only because I tend to repeat myself, or usually start with, “Okay, so... ” or “Erm, to… ” Why don’t I have a cool catchphrase? Would be SWEET if I did! Do you have one? What would my life be like if I didn’t have a blog to look after? Not in the arrogant sense, more like, “Would it be easier to just be, and not over-think and not have to jot down every idea that I had?” Yikes, I don’t know! (Does this feel like what it would be like when you have a baby?) I can’t stop over-thinking, and yet I hate thinking about these things. Talk about a rubbish intro paragraph, and I wanted to have a catchphrase (shut it, bro).

Okay (turns out that I can’t get rid of it yet), so a few weeks ago, Radhika (Malhotra) of Sugar & Spice e-mailed me because she wanted to have a cool, new header created for her blog; I remember being very interested about the project because the name itself had so much potential, I was thinking of conjuring jars of magical sprinkles and cake-mixers blending secret-looking ingredients in bowls and well, all sorts of objects, because erm… SUGAR AND SPICE – Commonplace as the phrase is, something about it is very charming, enchanting even. (Radhika is a Delhi-based blogger who makes desserts and food, mostly – and covers all related recipes on her blog; she also loves composing and shooting the pictures for all of her posts.)

We both came up with very many ideas that were exchanged over a couple of e-mails… Radhika decided that she liked the idea most of Sugar & Spice being illustrated as a logo unit (in a typeface format, along with her signature). So, it was a header-style artwork that won her heart ultimately, wherein Sugar & Spice and all of her favourite ingredients and tools were illustrated colourfully! Also, we finally settled for a different typeface in the overall artwork but this is the one I used originally which made me like this version more, heh. (I can’t decide what I like the most… The jar of Nutella, slab of butter, or ooh, the eggs, camera – yes, I was inspired by the Lomography ones, the cake-mixer, lemons, etc. Ooh, definitely the sprinkles!)

P.S. This is the second dessert-ish related artwork/logo (I think The Vanilla Bean Bakery was the first) that I’ve worked on formally for someone, and I LOOOOOVE working on projects like these… Because it makes me very happy to be able to draw things to eat. :-)

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Artwork by Roanna Fernandes

Pineapple Express

232 Pineapple Express

For some reason, patterns and prints – of the very tropical fruit, pineapple – are following me around and well, I thought it would be cool to use it as inspiration for a post in my #LearnToDraw series, hehe. Oh, and the fruit sporting Wayfarers isn’t entirely an idea that is mine – I borrowed it from the way one of the stylists at Grazia (India), Vinita Makhija styled a pineapple similarly in this month’s issue (Page 110) for a product series called Beach, Please – check it out, it’s quite colourful. Cute, mais non? Now, I’m looking for pineapple prints all over town! Pineapples on cool, summer fabrics or in the form of brooch pins (completely gold, not enamelled)… Ah, crap, just what I need! More things that I want to buy, and shit. See you soon?

P.S. I’ll sip on my imaginary piña colada, till then but if you click on this sentence, it will transfer your gaze safely to a very floral, summery post on my friend Edlyn’s blog – Egeedee (also, EGD); OH, UNRELATED… BUT I WANT TO GO TO GOA! Goooooah, I miss you so bad. :’-(

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Artwork by Roanna Fernandes