#12: Anjana's Art
This week, I thought I’d turn it around a bit and have a chat with a friend. I’ve known Anjana right from school and currently, she’s studying at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore. I absolutely adore her art account - filled with one of a kind comics, sketches, her own plushies and much more!
Adithi: Hey Anj! Hope you’ve been doing good, and staying safe!
Anjana: Yes, I’ve been good! Hope you’re safe as well.
Adithi: I remember buying one of your handmade journals last year, and I still use it, even though not for the originally intended purpose - which was to use it to write everyday, I use it for my ever so frequent brain dumps instead. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I just write down whatever it is that I have to do. Tell me how you decided to venture out into this.
Anjana: I’ve been buying journals all my life because I’ve been drawing ever since I was a kid. I used to go to art shops and pick up these fancy journals, and my mom used to subtly remind me that I already had fifteen unused notebooks at home already, and that I definitely did not need more! So I was one of those kinds of people.
In my second year of college, one of the workshops I attended was about book binding. I figured that these journals cost a lot, so I might as well learn to make my own and save money. But unfortunately, the workshop didn’t teach me much. When the pandemic started, I didn’t have much to do, so I went on to Youtube and decided to learn how to properly do it. I also had a bunch of unused material left from the workshop.
On Youtube, you get material for anything and everything. Whatever I’ve learnt is from there. I picked up one tutorial and started the process. Initially, all my books were super loose and they weren’t perfect, but I just kept making them. Now I have tons of those books that I made, which are unused.
I made a bunch of those books and they came out well, so my mother suggested that I try selling them and see how it goes. The prices were pretty affordable because I was only spending on the paper, I already had fabric from my mother’s old clothes and cardboard from our school textbooks. After a week or so, I was flooded with orders and it was a bit difficult as I was the only one making it.
Adithi: It sounds stressful, with too many orders and too little time!
Anjana: It was! To keep track, I had an excel sheet, trying to note down who asked for what. Doing this was also a headache!
Adithi: Excel sheets and I don't gel well. Anyways, every single day of October 2020, you released a new drawing for Inktober. How did you manage to do this, when we all know it takes a great deal to be productive during lockdown?
Anjana: I feel like what I did was borderline unhealthy. At the beginning of the pandemic, I thought it was going to be like a summer break, so I thought I’d work and chill. But as the months progressed, it seemed like Covid was here to stay, so I started working really hard. I’m kind of a workaholic. For the past two years, I started Inktober but never finished. This year I told myself that I was at home anyways and that I’d somehow do it. By October, I was working throughout the day. I look back on 2020, and it was just crazy. I never hit my maximum burnout level or anything. Inktober worked out because I was already working a lot and putting immense amounts of pressure on myself. Some days I would just struggle. I’d post two drawings the next day if I couldn’t finish on time.
Adithi: I can’t imagine how taxing it would’ve been! I feel like Inktober can be revolutionized into something less intense.
Anjana: That’s true. Lots of people take up one prompt a week for example. For me, I think that just for the sake of finishing, I wanted to do it all last year. This year, I’ll do it in a more healthy manner for sure.
Adithi: Of course. It’s been a year since the pandemic, I bet everyone’s tired. Speaking of feeling exhausted, what do you do to avoid or minimize burnout?
Anjana: As weird as this sounds, I don’t do this. I work a crazy amount, and when I get to the point where I know that my brain isn’t working, I just take some time off and chill by watching shows. Then I get back to working because I’m so tired of watching shows.
Adithi: At least you recognize that you can’t do anymore and don’t push yourself past that point.
Anjana: Yes, for the past two weeks, I’ve been doing yoga. It’s working so well for me. I was skeptical at first and then discovered cultfit. They have classes at certain times so it pushes me to get off my bed.
Adithi: Cultfit is great, I hope yoga continues to work out for you! Is there a fine line between you pumping art out because you feel like you have to and you putting your work out there because you want to?
Anjana: This is a relevant question right now, because I started putting out content regularly only last year. Before that, I was busy with college in Bangalore, the art account was the least of my worries. During the pandemic, I used to wake up, make art, and put it out there. When I went back to college, I felt the pressure of posting art because I had so many other things to do other than this. Being back home now and interning, I honestly don’t have as much time but I definitely am feeling the pressure to make art.
I’m trying to do things like journaling to try and ease the pressure. Even if my art isn’t perfect and finished, I’m posting it. The last few things I’ve posted are random sketches from my notebook. I don’t want to create art solely for putting it on Instagram. But this is a conscious effort, it doesn’t come naturally as during the entirety of 2020 I’ve been posting proper artwork. But I’m trying to get out of it because it’s impossible.
Adithi: I totally understand, if I don’t get a topic to write about for my newsletter every week, I feel the pressure - as much as I don’t want to, I can’t help it.
Anjana: For sure. I feel like one thing that I haven’t done consciously, is the whole following the algorithm trope, which a lot of people I know do - it’s a whole another world of stress.
Adithi: Stress and too much of analysing and less of freedom. I wanted to ask how your transition from sketching to digital art was.
Anjana: It was an eye-opener for me. When I reached college, everyone around me was super talented, I needed to up my game. Everyone in college was familiar with it and I started learning it at the end of my first year. Digital art is so much more efficient for projects. You can make longer projects digitally and it gives a more refined and finished look. I had a major level up in terms of skill during the pandemic. I’m privileged to have had the opportunity to sit at home and work on it.
Adithi: That’s great, you’ve gotten some benefit out of the pandemic.
Your three favourite artists on Instagram - Anjana: @sanitarypanels , @carolynj and @sayerhs.
Your most trusted stationary - Anjana: The one thing which I know won’t go wrong is watercolours!
Favourite work of art that you've done - Anjana:
Adithi: It was amazing talking to you, I had so much fun. Take care!
Anjana: I enjoyed this as well, it was so nice seeing you! Bye!
— Also, Anjana drew something after our conversation, here it is!
Links you’ll love
Care cards - for some positive affirmations and self care.
Yet another thing on the long list of stuff that makes me mad - Women’s pockets, or the lack thereof!
A loner’s guide to planning and cancellation (via The Alipore Post).
Hang in there everyone!
Love the sketches
Interesting interaction 👍🏻