Ek ladki ko dekha tho…

Colored pencil portrait

Colored pencil portrait (Manisha Koirala)

This song is form the bollywood movie ‘1942 , a love story’ released way back in 1993, I love this song….(I mean, which Indian does n`t?); Manisha Koirala looks so pretty, pretty, pretty in the movie and the song written by the much loved lyricist of India, Mr Javed Akhtar goes something like this…… (I hope the translation is true to the spirit of the song)

Once I chanced to see a girl, and it felt to me

like a rose blossoming, like poet´s vision, like a shimmering ray of light, a deer in the forest, a moonlit night, a soft-spoken word, like a burning lamp in the temple ……..

Once I chanced to see a girl, and it felt to me

like the beauty of a morn, like sunshine on a wintery day, a strum of the lute, spirit of all hues, a twirling vine, frolic of the waves, like a cool breeze carrying of sweet scent……….

Once I chanced to see a girl, and it felt to me

like a dancing peacock, like a silken thread, a tune of the fairies, fire of sandalwood, like an adornment, a refreshing spray of mist, a steadily intensifying intoxication……….

I just had to do this one…….. I will put together a small demo on this portrait for you soon…..

Note: See tutorial for this portrait

Watercolor Journal


                I did this one to use as for an introduction slide in the videos. I had been wanting to do this type of illustration work from some time. The kind reminiscent of the greeting cards of yesteryears and which were usually associated with watercolors. These kind of paintings, are called high-key paintings, and they are done completely in low or mid values with no dark tones at all. They bring back some sweet memories for me, they are so charming, with pale colors and wishy washy effects which leave much room for the imagination to soar. Though in this painting of mine, I couldn`t help the brighter colors creeping in unawares. Well, maybe for some other projects in the future. Low-key paintings are built completely from high and mid values. So, high-key is low values and low-key is high values. Don`t ask me why they are named in the reverse way! I usually use the full spectrum of values in my paintings.

               Lila snapdragons



                     I had shot these snapdragons growing on the wayside and in our balcony in the summer. They look so interesting because of their bright colors and also because of the way they are arranged on the spike, with fully opened and partially opened ones at the bottom and buds at the top. To use as a reference for the girl, I got my son to take my snap in a sundress. I wet the flower area and marked the outlines of some of the violet flowers in watercolor pencils Faber Castell magenta, pink madder lake, middle purple pink. The colors will flare and merge a bit with the water on the paper. You can nudge the colors a bit more with a damp brush and add light violet for the inner petal areas and buds. Add the leaves in the same way with light green, emarald green, helio turqouise. Permanent green olive is actually a perfect not-too-bright-and-artificial-looking green but I donot have this color in watercolor pencils, have it only in colored pencils, so I put down some hard marks with it. Also put some green in the buds. The yellow snapdragons have dark cadmium yellow, pink madder lake and magenta. The dress is in DS hansa yellow medium. Add some folds with dark cadmium yellow and shadows under the folds with green on the grass.

girl gardening

girl gardening

                 I added some skin tones, hair, crinkles on the dress with mixes from my previous painting. Put in a green-gray wash behind the foliage and for the grass.The watering can has cool grey 4. Finished with some butterflies and bird.                          

Watercolor Journal

Faces -8



                To establish the base skin tone, I first put in layers of ivory, light flesh and a bit of cream.  


                         The next values are in cinnamon, light and medium flesh in areas all over the face leaving the first layers to show through for highlights. The shadows to the left are in bistre, the hair is a dark blond color, so I put the base tone for the eyebrows in brown ochre. Drew in invidual hairs with bistre, van dyck brown and graphite. The cheeks are in dark flesh. The eyes are grey-blue, so I put in warm grey 3 and the black pupil in graphite.    


Darker shadows in van-dyck brown. The lips have various hues- dark flesh, pink carmine, bit of fuchsia,deep scarlet red. Shadow areas of the lips have magenta, red violet, Indian red. The butterfly has the same colors as the lips. 


                    For the highlight areas in the hair, I put in cream and over that brown ochre lightly. For the mid tones brown ochre alone, for shadow areas brown ochre and van-dyck brown and for deep shadow areas, brown ochre, van-dyck brown and a bit of graphite. The jaw area has warm grey 3 and 5.  


                  Artists quality drawing paper takes erasing well, takes multiple layers of colors and is also archival since its acid-free. Many colored pencil artists use a cotton swab to rub alcohol into the drawn area after each layer, so that the finish is so smooth it looks more like a painting than a drawing.



                      Pointillism is a technique of using dots of pure color to cover the form and letting the eye do the mixing optically rather than mixing colors on the pallette to achieve more vibrant colors (we are able to see both the umixed, individual colors and the mixed colors). Here I`ve used strokes of different, pure colors for the shadows.

                    The colors here are Faber Castell polychromos – light and middle flesh for base skin tone, dark flesh and a bit fuchsia for the pinker areas of lips, gums and cheeks. Phthalo blue, delft blue and light cadmium yellow for the eyes. Warm grey 5, dark and light cadmium yellow, fuchsia, deep scarlet red for the flower. Darker layers of medium flesh, delft blue, warm grey 5, deep scarlet red for the shadow areas. Bit of charcoal for deep black.