How Digital Art Helped Me Rediscover Drawing

I was listening to ‘Oogway Ascends from Kung Fu Panda while I made this piece

The first time I came to know about Inktober was in 2018. It was the first year I also attempted it. I actually made it till the end. All 31 drawings. Inktober is a prompt based one-drawing-a-day activity in October started by artist Jake Parker as a way to improve his drawings. It has now become a worldwide phenomenon.

Just type #Inktober2020 on Instagram and millions of posts show up. Among those millions are also my tiny drawings like a little fish swimming in a big big sea.

I stumbled upon digital art in 2018. I saw a digital drawing posted by a friend and inquired about the app. Autodesk Sketchbook. The best thing about this app is that it’s completely free. I made crazy doodles. Cats, plants, mountains.

I am not a drawing person at all. I barely managed to score a B- in art class in school. I was terrible while some of my friends were jaw-droppingly good. Of course there are bound to be such geniuses in every class. I was secretly jealous for years from primary school to lower secondary- grade 1 to 8. I told myself I could not draw better. Worse, I did not enjoy drawing. Beyond that art became a luxury as we prepared for the important exam of grade 10. Beyond grade 10 little of art survived in formal education.

When I discovered digital art in 2018, it was like a new toy for me. The best thing was how different it was from real art. Digital surface and digital tools are different from real paper and pencil. While there are bound to be areas of overlap, I could make cats on a digital surface and be satisfied that I could never be content with on paper. I could let go of my old discomfort to some extend. The medium helped me rediscover what I never thought I could enjoy. I experimented, and then came Inktober 2018. 31 drawings for 31 days. I mostly did it last minute or sometimes finished a chunk of days at once, either in advance or later on. But I am glad that I tried.

To add a little flare of my own, I wrote poems too based on the prompt. It was drawing + poetry, and that was probably one of the coolest things I discovered. I tried Inktober in 2019 too, but couldn’t go beyond a few drawings. In 2020 I was once more determined to finish. And I did just that!

I had always been interested in designing, but digital art helped me embrace a new side of my curious mind. Every day I am trying to let go of the need to compare with someone else’s work of art. I make cats, flowers, clouds, skies. Nothing fancy, but I like it. And that’s the thing.

That I like it. It’s fun.

Here’s some of Inktober 2020 drawings with poetry. You can find the full list on instagram.com/thewordcastle

Scattered

You find yourself
scattered –
across time, across place,
in the leaves of trees you’ve visited,
or the words scribbled in
walls, real and digital.

Every piece
is complete on it’s own,
and yet when they come together
they make you more you than you.

So you begin
this journey
to find your pieces
that you’d kept
in various places,
just to be safe
for times when the
ocean comes storming
because of the wind.

Weeping Times

It begins from somewhere,
a memory, a statement, a voice.
And the tears come gushing in
like maddening storm to an otherwise
perfectly solemn time.

Weeping times, they are
of things that cannot be changed,
of things that aren’t accepted.

We cry for these, don’t we?
Everything else falls in between.

So, my friend, when was the last time
you had tears in your eyes?
Were they of joy
or of pain?

Weeping times, like these, my friend.

Wrongs, Illusions, and the End

That one could feel wronged
without being wronged,
is a strange thing.

That just by existing,
by being real
the heart could bleed –
of course it’s job is bloodly.

And thus, honestly serves only as
long as it’s sweet. Bitter things
are bitter anyway.

We’re seeking illusions
to pass till the only
real thing comes –
the end.