From working as an independent artist to a full-time illustrator, Gurgaon-based young artist and traveller, Tanu Singh has been exploring and experimenting with different art mediums but her favourite is watercolours and acrylics. She finds images fascinating. To her 'images represent how the world is seen by others'. "When someone takes my art as a postcard to keep it as a memory, I feel like I have a purpose in life - changing how people look at the world," says Tanu Singh. Her other interests include photography and music.
What does travel mean to you?
Travel is not just visiting places for sightseeing, eating different cuisines, or taking pictures. For me, traveling means moving out of our comfort zones and experiencing new things in life. Meeting new people, talking to them, learning new things. Appreciating little things in our lives and living in the present moment without worrying about anything else.
Tell us a bit about how you started with sketching while travelling.
I started sketching outdoors when I was in the twelfth standard. I used to make rough sketches of trees, landscapes in my notebook. In college, I started sketching the outside of my favourite restaurants. Eventually, I started sketching more and more outdoor scenes, which became my favourite thing to draw.
What are the things you always carry with you to pursue your passion of sketching?
I always carry an A6 size watercolour sketchbook with me because it fits inside my small bag, a pencil, an eraser, a fineliner and an OHP marker. I carry a marker so that I can draw on empty disposable cups or random things.
How do you choose your subjects? Do you look out for a lot of detail or colour?
I choose my subjects based on colours, details, aesthetics, their location etc. I prefer locations that are not too busy, have a good environment and places where I feel safe. I love creating art full of minor details even though it takes a lot of time and patience.
How long does it typically take for you to do a sketch? Do you sketch on the go?
It usually takes 10-15 mins to do a normal sketch that does not need much detailing and I sketch them on the go. For the subjects that include fine details, I usually click some pictures or source the pictures from the internet and paint them using the picture reference. It takes around three to four hours to do a very fine detailed A4 size painting.
How do people around you react when they see you sketching?
I really love what I do and would like to continue doing it for a long time in future. When people look at my work, they ask me many questions like what I do, what mediums I have used, how much time it takes to do one painting etc. while seeing me sketching live, like on the train or in some café, etc. Some people totally ignore it, some people come and appreciate my work, some people ask me about my work, and those who are artists themselves share their own art stories with me.
Any particular place or country where you enjoyed sketching the most? Is there a dream destination or landmark that you would love to sketch but have not managed so far?
I have enjoyed sketching the most at 32nd Avenue in Gurgaon because it’s the place where I work, because it feels safe, has a lot of open space, and is full of greenery, and there is a lot of stuff I can paint. I love sketching different places in Gurgaon and Delhi. If I ever get a chance to travel abroad, I would love to sketch different places in Europe.
While travel is still in restricted mode, how important is it to engage better with the individual destinations that we visit?
The current health crises have changed the way we used to live our lives. I believe it is very important to enjoy the moments we live. Sometimes we get so caught up in life that we forget to enjoy the little things. Travel being in restricted mode, it becomes very important to engage better with the individual destinations we visit. Knowing about their history, closely looking up to the architecture, enjoying being in the lap of nature, breathing in fresh air help us to travel with more mindfulness.
Utilizing all this time to create art about travel helps me to capture the details more closely, how the architectural design looks, different people, different types of elements in nature, everything helps me to express myself and how differently I look at the world. It helps others to gain a different perspective and if someone takes my art as a postcard to keep it as memory, I feel like I have a purpose in life - changing how people look at the world, through my art because I believe art connects people more than just photographs.
Any tips for young artists who want to do similar work?
My top three tips would be:
Always carry a small drawing pad, pencil, pen, so that you can draw whenever you’re free or bored or find some interesting place.
Try sketching random things, trains, nature, food, etc. it helps to gain a better perspective, brushes up your skills.
Look for a location that is safe, and is not too busy. A place where you can rest a little if the work requires long hours.
You can see her works on Instagram at aestheticsxlife