CHENNAI : An engineering graduate working in a corporate firm, Swathy Mohan has always been passionate about art. “Although I always had an interest in art, I never really knew I would take it up seriously. But when I was in the waiting room for a job interview, some six years ago, I randomly started drawing and realised that maybe I should do something about this,” she says. Her friends and family encouraged her to do so, and since then, Swathy decided to pursue art on a serious note.
Having tried her hand at all mediums including acrylic and water colour, Swathy realised that she was inclined towards using pencils to make portraits. “I have been observing a lot of photographs, especially portraits, and it has always intrigued me. I wanted to capture the same essence and realistic features of them in my art as well,” she explains. Each portrait takes anytime between five to six hours, depending on the size and the features included in it.
While she agrees that the best thing about working on pencil portraits is that it attracts attention, because of how realistic it looks, she also points out that the same can also be a disadvantage, sometimes. “We have to be really careful and precise when we do the sketching. You need to have a lot of patience, because if not, it won’t look realistic and then the whole purpose of realism goes waste.”
As she swiftly strokes her pencil on the paper to create a messy hair bun or those perfectly-set of eyes with curly lashes, she says that drawing the eyes are her favourite part, because of the different expressions often conveyed through them. “I find the lips a bit of a challenge, especially if the person is smiling with their mouth open, so to get that nose and the smile part is quite challenging,” she adds. She had started off with drawing portraits of gods and goddesses, and today draws portraits of well-known personalities like Kamal Hassan, Vijay, Samantha, Siva Karthikeyan, APJ Abdul Kalam, etc.
Unlike many other artists, Swathy says that she uses simple colour pencils and graphite pencils to do her works. “I believe that we shouldn’t be really dependant on the tools, we should know how to work around with what we have. When basic colour pencils can produce such good pieces of art, why go for expensive ones?” she asks.
Swathy will be conducting her pencil portrait workshop on Mar 18 from 2 pm onwards at Ashvita Nirvana, Besant Nagar. To view her works follow her on Instagram: