Saturday, February 7, 2009

Portraits- My work of Art!

* This is the original work of Achyut Telang and you may not reproduce or distribute this information in whole or in part and all photos, images etc on this blog post cannot be copied, edited, reproduced or used without the prior written permission of Achyut Telang.

* NOTE : Click on the drawings for a larger and better view.

Yesterday I got a bright idea and I thought - How about including all the other stuff that I do on my blog itself?

If you have seen my profile, you will know that my hobbies include - the very first one being drawing portraits. So for those of you who might be wondering what kind of portraits I make, fret not, here it is, just for you to look at and marvel, if I may say that!

Also note that these pictures that I have made on paper are not scanned but taken by a digital camera without even switching the flash off! So it might not be the best to look at. I will soon update these portraits scanned. So watch out for it...........

1) Akshay Kumar-

For those of you who might not know, Akshay Kumar is a famous Bollywood actor in India. He has always been my favourite and for me to draw portraits, that is an important requirement that I love the subject whatever I am doing. Yesterday someone asked me to make his portrait and I have got many such requests and have been getting them since my childhood. But those of you who have never tried their hand at drawing, specially portarits won't understand. He also asked me to put an ad like- Get your portrait done for some amount of money.
Now though that is tempting, it is really not for me.-

- Firstly, I can't just draw anytime anyone asks me. For me it is more of a personal thing rather than commercial. I have to be in that frame of mind and inspired to do it.

- Secondly, I can't just make anyone's portrait; for me I need to have an interest almost a deep interest in that person whose face I will be making. And only when I love that person, can I draw it beautifully because that love comes out in each and every mark that I make or a line that I draw. The intense care with which I make a person's portrait whom I love cannot be there for just about anyone.

- Thirdly, I would rather prefer drawing from pictures rather than a person sitting in front of me. The reason being, one that it is much easier to draw a 2-dimensional portrait from a 2-dimensional picture rather than from a 3-dimensional person and also most of my attention would be on the fact that I would be making the person wait, making him sit like a statue which obviously isn't quite pleasing or comfortable is what I would like to think. So drawing from pictures, I don't have to worry about that.

In this picture, the frame that I have made was not in the original picture but in another one hanging on the wall in my home. I made it from there, just to add to its beauty.

2) Amitabh Bachchan-

Again for the people not knowing, Amitabh Bachchan too is a Bollywood actor, perhaps the best in India and among the world. He is really an icon, the man who can and who does represent Bollywood and India to the world.

In this picture, the look was what was inspiring to me - the intense feeling portrayed by the face, the agonizing look, to capture that was what made me do it and I am glad that if not anything else, it has managed to get the look which is conveying so much.

3) Franziska Almsick-

The name is already written in the drawing.

Now I don't really know who she is. Perhaps many of you might know her. And neither do I know why I did her portrait.

One thing that I would like to mention is techniques in drawing, just in case many of you might want to know. Generally I don't use any kind of technique at all. Neither did I have any kind of formal training in art or anything. Although, my grandfather who was a good artist and his daughters i.e. my maternal aunts did suggest a few things.

One was that we can make boxes i.e. grids on both the original picture and the paper on which we are going to draw. If the size of the picture is too small or too large and you want to draw a normal size, you can make the grids in various ratios whichever would be appropriate like 1:2 or 2:1 , 1:1.5 etc and you can take it one box at a time and make the 1st box exactly as it is in the picture, then the corresponding second one and so on.

Though useful for people learning art, I did not find it too useful. The reason is that the grids can never come out exactly matching and so after you have taken it a box at a time, finally the picture won't be perhaps quite as you might expect it to be! The only suggestion I can give for this technique is that even though taking it a box at a time, do keep an eye for the whole picture as well i.e. constantly have the 'big picture' so to speak in your awareness.
The examples of the grid technique( I don't even know if it is called that, or whether such a technique exists or it is just a name I gave!) are- Akshay Kumar and Franziska Almsick. Others are just free hand.No technique or anything.

Another thing that I insist on, just my craziness, fussiness, that noone should look at my drawing before it is completely done!

4) Jennifer Aniston-

There she is- Jennifer! Need I even mention her name?!

Actually it was also kind of a fun game at the end when I would ask my family members or anyone whom I showed the pictures to tell whose portrait it was. And if they got it right, it would please me that I did a good enough job and atleast it was recognizable! The secret to this, whoever wants to achieve it, might be to capture those stand-out features or the unique features of that person which we link to that person very strongly, like for example, although I haven't done her portrait, Keira Knightley's famous pout. If you get that right and other features might not match as well, rest assured, most of the people will immediately recognize!

Now I did Jennifer's portrait mainly because I absolutely adore 'FRIENDS'! Those of you who have seen FRIENDS would understand. It was a sitcom about 6 friends and Jennifer played the role of Rachel Green in it and interestingly she was the reason I started watching FRIENDS in the first place! An interesting circle don't you think?

So when I came across her beautiful trademark look, I just had to do it, perhaps as a tribute to FRIENDS!

From this portrait, one another thing I would like to mention is an advice that my maternal aunt gave me from one of the mistakes I had made in one of my portraits- draw the hair-lines in the same direction as given in the picture. So one thing I understood from it was basically, make it exactly as the original picture is!

And talking of techniques, the one that I have invented which I feel is quite revolutionary for me specially if you are into the kind of art I am in of trying to create almost the same picture is to from time to time to just turn both the picture and your paper upside down and then look at it. You will find a new perspective and what you thought you did exactly like the picture might not really be. It was that only from one view point. When you look from different dimensions, you become aware of so many other things and dimensions.

5) Preity Zinta-

Ah! Another one of those pretty ladies. There isn't a thing as too many portraits of pretty ladies is it?

A secret that perhaps very few of you might know is that this woman, whose portrait is there just above is one whom I really love and admire from a long time. She is Preity Zinta -another one from Bollywood, India and is an actress.

Perhaps you can feel that in this portrait and the point that I made below the first portrait- the love and care with which I made this. This is what I am talking about.

This picture is saved for the last because according to me it is the best. What is your opinion? I know it might differ but I consider this the best I have ever done and lovingly call it- "My Master-piece"!

It is such a simple picture, the eyes are very simple, just a circle and a 'windows' kind at the centre of them, as my sister famously once remarked!

For me the eyes are the most important in the portrait and perhaps called as the most difficult. But I do them first and usually that is what I do best. Lips and teeth feature among the things that I do worst in addition to fingers! I really don't know the reason behind this!!!

Also a difficult thing to negotiate is doing the left side proportional and properly complementing the right or vice versa. Generally the eye level of both eyes is what you need to watch out for specially if the head is tilted to a side etc. Just a practical advise for you wannabe or budding artists or anyone who wants to know. I feel like an art expert giving expert opinion and advise to novices etc which by no means I am.

Infact I don't even consider what I do as 'creative'. Because basically what I am doing is I am taking a picture and recreating an almost exact one on another paper. I work on making it as similar as possible. Not even a smallest line I make without making sure it is exactly as in the picture. This is the difference between a good look-a-like portrait and others. I have seen many people just see a line in the actual picture once and just make it on their paper, assuming it is the same. No! it is not. Even a smallest point or dot misplaced can completely change the picture specially in the eyes atleast that's what I found when I do it.

Now what I was saying was I don't consider my work creative because afterall basically I am just copying! I am making another one alike. But what is the point of it? Even a photo-copy machine does it better, infact much better, with absolutely no difference! So what is the point of me making it. One is I enjoy it and second it gives me joy! Yes, yes I hear you saying that the first and second point are no different but that is what it really is! After 2,3,4 or 5 hours I look at what I have made, it makes me feel proud and brings a smile to my face.

But still it isn't creative. Creative would be when we make something new, something out of our imagination, our original ideas expressed. That's creative, not just copying. So though people marvel and appreciate my work and compliment me for what I have made, within I know it's not much.
They say a good work, a portrait or sculpture is not made, you don't make a good sculpture rather let me put it this way- it is said about a great sculptor that he said about a Jesus Christ statue he had made that he did not see the rock but he saw Jesus Christ beckoning him and he just removed the parts of the rock surrounding Jesus Christ and there it was! He did not create it, he just removed the unnecessary things and there it was which was already existing. It only became apparent and manifest.

That is really art. That is the perfect definition on art. You are not the creator, you can only allow existence to create through you. You can become a vehicle for the creator just like an empty flute!
Quote - "I don't like defining myself. I just am." Britney Spears
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