I Made Clouds Today

I made clouds today,
floating from the tip of my
digital nib.
Drew them on a tablet
and painted
as I watched the screen.

I wanted the clouds
to be fluffy
like cotton candy.
Of course I can’t eat them.

I made clouds today-
blue sky and white clouds,
soft like furs of
the stray kitten.

I made clouds today.

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

Growing Up #8: Some infinities are bigger than other infinities

It’s John Green for you, from The Fault in Our Stars:

Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.

I recently rediscovered a math concept that between two numbers, lets say 2 and 3, there are infinite numbers between them (which becomes a headache when solving tricky standardized test problems!). But there are even more infinite numbers between 1 and 3. So maybe that’s what John Green meant, because literally how big are infinities?

We’re just like the numbers on the numbers scale. Some of us closer, some farther away. And yet no matter how close we are, there’s an infinite distant between us. Family. Friends. Colleagues.

We can never truly come to a full understand of someone else, no matter how close they may be. It can be frightening, but also liberating. We cannot control anybody else’s actions, we cannot think for anybody else – given the infinite distance between us.

Perhaps it’s easier to go on with adult life with this in mind that our understanding of people in our lives is limited. Sometimes there are no whys that can be answered. And this could make it easier to not take everything personally.

We can only act for ourselves and we might as well do it wisely.


Into week 8 of writing a column on growing up every Saturday (it’s cheat week as I wrote this on a Sunday).