Category Archives: Pen & Ink

My friend – Manas Kunder

Manas Kunder. Artist. Illustrator. Unassuming. Mad. On a Madtrip. Manas is that guy who I would be happy to spend hours discussing art and life with. Somehow everything about him is calm and non threatening. His art and way of thinking is so different from mine and yet… his sketch book gives me insight into a very complicated mind. And it is one I would love to unravel over a few drinks just talking and painting. This guy I wish lived closer…

I met Manas at Beach House Project in march last month at an idyllic week long residency in Fort Kochi. You can read about that trip here. One week together can get a bunch of people quite close quite fast. And that is exactly what happened.He is next in my series of Effortless Friendships. Read on to find out more about him.

What did you study in college?

I completed my B.F.A (bachelor of fine arts) from Rachna Sansad College of Applied Arts and Crafts. It was a four year course which took me five years to complete as I had flunked in the second year board. It did come as a big surprise as I had flunked in art rather than all the other boring things I’d studied, but it did give me a push to excel more and I passed out topping the university in the last year.

What made you pick art/ design?

I have been inclined towards art right from the earlier days of my childhood right from making my own paper toys to silver foil creatures. My grandma”s wall was all distorted and had paint chipped off, so when she would try to put me to sleep in the afternoons I would stare at the wall and form all  kinds of different creatures in my head. Post college I spent  five years in advertising and design, I figured my strength lies in creating funky illustrations and not being restricted by any brand. So I created my own brand called ‘Madtrip’. I also freelance as a designer, make murals and also recently started teaching part time in Pearl academy.

What made you expand?

My range of merchandise in ‘Madtrip”  are limited to what I personally prefer or what I would like to get or buy as a consumer myself. For instance the reason I started designing sleeping masks was cause I love sleeping and I mostly end up sleeping in the day. In the start I got lot of doubtful questions from people around me as to whether it would sell or not but I was quite confident with the concepts that I had in mind and it worked out great.

What is your company called and why?

Well my company was initially called “Manimal” but then I saw that there was an existing clothing brand called Manimal so I asked the people on my Fb group at that time to suggest names and finalized on Madtrip which was suggested by a close friend and it fit in perfectly.

Could you share a typical work day with us?

Well I don’t have a fixed routine, but during tight deadlines I would wake up at eleven and have a good breakfast with a cup of coffee. Then start doing some research on my topic with some rough sketches. Eat food at three and start my main work by seven thirty and go on till late at night.
My work schedule  also ends up getting split between designing or printing orders from amazon for Madtrip and my freelance designing.

What is your design process/thinking/philosophy?

Well I still have so much to learn, but as of now I feel it’s a balance between creating certain designs that are more abstract and personal to art which is more relevant to the people. When it comes to designing or creating illustrations for a Madtrip product,  I wouldn’t invest time in it unless the concept moves me and I can visualize it being something that’s not been seen before.

What sets your work apart from another designer?

That would be my style of art and a certain sense humor that I assume I have 😛

What are some of the hurdles you face as a young business?

Keeping a balance between management work and designing. Also a balance between my personal and professional life. I’m still in search for the right market place for my original designs.

What is the next step you see for your business? Expansion plans?

Well a website is on top of the priority list. More outlets to circulate my merchandise and get some one to manage my online marketplaces. Planning to test my designs in the US by the end of this year.

Favourite drink/ movie/book/go to place?

Drink – Lemon Barley in the summer and Old Monk in winter.
Movie -I love watching Japanese animi movies its super inspirational.
Go to place –  It would be on the Docks of Versova where you can take your own bottle of alco and get fresh fish to eat by the sea.


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Fempowerment Women Achievers Award 2016

I won! And the best part – I had no clue that I was even in the running!

Some one from YourStory wrote to tell me that they had nominated my name for an award and that someone from the awards organization would get in touch with me. I thanked the said person and promptly forgot all about it.  Imagine my surprise – I learned that I had won the award in the category of Fine Arts – Painting and sculpture 🙂
Thank you YourStory!!

Sadly due to unforeseen scheduling problems and prior commitments I was unable to make it to Mumbai for the Award show on the 17th of July 2016. Swanky affair it was from what I understand. I looked up the past recipients for 2014-15 and 2013-14 of the awards and this year’s winners in the 16 categories – I am in exalted company and I love it.

It would not have been right to post about it without actually having the physical award in my hands. I just got my hands on the trophy a few days ago. So now I am sharing it with all of you.


It’s been a joy to receive the Fempowerment Women Achievers award 2016 for Fine Arts. Recognition of any kind for work one loves is always wonderful. The jury was daunting to say the least and the illustrious lot of achievers before me is both empowering and humbling. Thank you so much for giving me yet another push in following my dreams.

You can read about the award here

And this is an excerpt from their letter to me –

“…proud to inform you that you have been selected as the Fempowerment Winner in the category of Painting and Sculpting Artist, your selection has been done unanimously at our Jury Meet on 7th July’16 at St. Regis, MumbaiFempowerment Women Achievers Awards is an initiative of Molecule Communications where women achievers are honoured in their respective fields, the one and only Women Awards where the nomination process is open and anyone can nominate any woman along with one unique category.  Zee TV has associated with the awards for the cause of social betterment and soon the awards will be telecasted on Zee TV. The nominations have been received from the every corner of the country in all the 16 categories and a strict and unbiased on-site review has been done by the Screening & Main Jury. The event is happening on 17th of July, 2016 at Mumbai.

Mr. Subhash Ghai, noted Director, Mr. Annurag Batra, Chairman & Editor in Chief – Business World, Mr. Adil Malia, Global Head For Leadership, Learning & People Management, Essar Group, Ms. Mrunalini Deshmukh, Senior Lawyer, Ms. Bhawana Somaaya, noted Journalist & Author & Mr. Ridham Desai, MD Morgan Stanley were the respectable Main Jury for the Fempowerment Women Achievers Awards 2016.”

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I love my life

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am hoping to document my mid life churn here within the pages of my blog. I am looking to paint narratives. Story telling through pictures. I started with my friend Rakesh and his dogs. You can see that series in the preceding few posts.

I am a positive person by nature though I do go through rough spots. I have been euphoric at points in life where I felt I was on Speed/LSD or some such drug even though I was not. And I have been down in the dumps enough number of times to understand the desire to leave it all behind. To end it all as it were. But my innate love for life, for connections, desire and passion always saw me through. Having almost completed 40 years of this life while still looking forward to the next 40. I am ready to document my inner mind scape right now. To share with you a series (hopefully !!) of self portraits through different mediums.

I hope to document as best and as honestly as I can my feelings for a period of one month. The resultant ‘painting/visual journal’ will be an attempt at a portrait of my emotional self. Written in three different sets of colours on this 20×20 inch board will be my thoughts – happy, ambivalent or unhappy.

Orange/Reds for happy,
Black for unhappy and
Blues/Grey for ambivalent.

Notice I do not use the word equanimity but ambivalence. For if I have moments of equanimity – rare as they are – that will be depicted in white.

I will write on this board – morning, noon and night.
9 Am.
2 pm and
10 pm.
Three times a day. For 30 days. Everyday for a month. But each time I will only write one sentence – I love my life. In different colours depending on what I feel at that moment in time.



I started this piece on the 5th of April 2015 and have been diligently keeping track of my ‘journal’.  I did not want to start on a stark white background. So I dropped some blue and green paint on the board and just let instinct guide my hands. These specific colours because I thought I would follow the colour code mentioned above as I have been feeling very ambivalent and on some days even unsettled for about six months to a year now. I hope to learn something about me so the blue background is in some sense to connect to the past while I get ready for the future. The torn pieces of paper used in between are from my daughters notebook to represent continuity in change. And to show the myriad fractured events that make up the lines of my life.

It will be interesting to see which colour pre-dominates at the end of one month.

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I made the cover!!

Literally. I actually did make/paint this cover 🙂

The Good Homes December 2012 issue celebrates everything that is art!

To commemorate this special issue they asked three artists –  Nilofer Suleman, Viveek Sharma  and me 🙂 to paint what a ‘Good Home’ meant to each one of us. I am really thrilled to be in the company of such accomplished artists.  And it’s a coup of sorts- this  is the  first magazine in the décor category to have 3 different covers for a single issue.

The story-

I got a call a few weeks ago from Meenakshi Shankar of Good Homes Magazine asking me if I would be interested in painting their Dec issue cover. The answer was yes. Obviously. The problem was in figuring out what would go on the cover.

So over an absolutely delicious cup of South Indian Filter Coffee in Meenakshi’s home, we discussed options. Yes! the coffee was a bribe because the deadline was ridiculously  tight. I could go into metaphors of how tight, but that would be digressing!!

Next we started brain storming and she asked me questions. On what I liked/loved in a home. What I would do in mine if I had carte blanche. But somehow everything I described was a feeling- warmth, friendliness, intensity, renewal, love… And everything else I liked was too disparate to fit into one flat 2D image- clean lines, colour, quirky corners, text/type… or so I thought.

To say I was running clueless and on the verge of panicky would be a very mild version of what was actually happening. Would be more appropriate to say I had gigantic aeroplanes with multiple propellers in the tummy AND stampeding rhinos in the head!!

Then Meenakshi brought calm and perspective. She asked- what would your favourite corner in the studio look like?
She gave me a pen and paper and said draw. I did.  I doodled actually. I had my cover. This was it.

I went home that night, researched on interiors, then worked details and faired it out. Showed it to her first thing the next morning and got approval.  I was still in my pyjamas and she was dressed to the nines on her way to a shoot.  I then sent it to the higher ups ( read as Ronita – The  Editor) for approval.

*Insert Drum roll here*
I got it.  After that was panic of a different kind- deadlines! It was head down and painting furiously. This piece went through a few iterations but I love the end result. It’s all me in there.

Tell me, you like?

I will do another post with pictures and the story from the actual magazine when the issue hits the stand on Dec 1st. These cover pictures were sent to me by the Good Homes Team.

And here are the covers painted by Nilofer and Viveek 🙂



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Kajal on the move

These sketches are of Kajal. She is a beautiful dog, that Rakesh of VoSD, picked up on a recent trip to Goa.  She was a little bruised, battered and lonely when he found her. Today, after four months of unconditional love, she positively glows with good health. I am not sure what prompted him to decide to adopt her out of all the other strays on the beach… but I am glad he did.

She has the most intense eyes, as if rimmed with jet black Kohl- hence her name. These sketches are done in Pen and Ink and are approx. 10″ x 16″ each.

I have painted her before (you can see that portrait here).


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We made cushions!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

The last few months have been hectic. A lot happening on the home front and in the studio. I have been working on two simultaneous collections… that part has been mind numbing at times. The dependencies on other people in the supply chain as also vendors is something I still need to get used to.

I know, I have not been updating you all regularly on whats happening in my studio. And that’s not by chance, but by design. I have a lot to share with you but all in good time 🙂 Good things come to those who wait.

Though with this post you should get a little idea on whats coming next. But, I promise- I will still surprise you!!

For right now, I am sharing my first foray into home furnishings with four cushions. These are  truly mixed media. They started out as Pen & Inks and watercolour paintings. These were then digitally printed on the highest quality organic cotton canvas. Then further hand painted and reworked with acrylics and fabric paints. All of this of course means that these can only be gently hand washed or dry cleaned. But, I am willing to take the extra effort 🙂

I love the end result. I hope you do too!







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‘Mixed Bag’ by the Entrepreneurs Organzation-Bangalore

Yesterday evening was spent at the Taj West End, here in Bangalore. I had the oppourtunity to participate in a charity  Art Auction and Sale named ‘Mixed Bag’ organized by the EO Bangalore Social Innovators Program to raise funds for the education of under privileged children at Ananya Trust. It was wonderful to be included in a list of 35 very talented and gifted artists from across the country. The proceeds of the sale  go to the artist and Ananya Trust.

Thank you Chandini Harlalka of the Artflute  for curating a fantastic show and choosing my work to be part of it.

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This is not my work, but my daughter – Meera’s. She is 3 years and nine months old. I am amazed at the fearless way she uses colour. And this was done by her in about a half  hour session in school. So I know no one coached her. She was one of many kids dipping into the same set of colour pots that about 20 other kids must have been using. She is ‘my kinda colour girl’ and I love her!!

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Colour for- The Key Bunch

Hi, and Happy Diwali everyone. 
Rekha and Sharon from ‘The Key Bunch’ asked if I would do a guest post as part of their one year anniversay celebrations, I said yes immediately. Now, having said yes, I found myself clueless as to the topic for the post!! So, since I am an artist and I have never done a step by step demo so far, thats what I decided to do.
Here is the finished painting. Its in Pen and Ink and a little bit of Acrylics thrown in. To see the stages, you need to go to

Just the two of us

Just the two of us

Let me know if you want me to do more such demonstrations.

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