We sat down with Satyajit, author & artist behind the brand new book, Step-by-Step Portraits from Simple Shapes. We talked about the book, the inspiration behind it, and Satyajit’s journey to becoming an artist.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a 32-year-old sketch artist and an engineer from India. I was born and brought up in the bustling town of Mumbai, the economic and cultural epicenter of India. My interest in drawing mostly stems from the fact that my parents are architects and always had drawing materials all around the house for me to explore as a child. I remember drawing a lot of cartoons, comic strips and sometimes portraits of family members using these materials. For me, drawing was, and still is, an escape and a medium of meditation. Arts and music were an important part of my childhood. I started learning the ‘Tabla’, an Indian hand percussion instrument from a very young age and continue to do so even today. Growing up, I was interested in science, and worked towards becoming an Electronics Engineer. It was always my dream to write my own book and David and Charles team made it into a reality for which I am grateful.
Tell us a bit about your new book?
This book is a peek into my journey as a sketch artist. I have worked hard and poured my soul in this book as I detail the techniques I have been using and trying to perfect over the years as a portrait artist. I talk about fundamentals that every sketch artist should practice consistently. In the bulk of this book, I try to deconstruct every portrait into a detailed stepwise process with description and images for artists to follow along. Starting from basic shapes like a square or a circle we build layers to reach the complexities of the finished portrait. I talk about ways to improve proportions, outlines and shading, along with some common mistakes and helpful tips one should follow during every phase of the portrait drawing. I feel artists of all levels can take advantage of this book in their quest to become better versions of themselves.
What is your favourite project/technique featured?
My favorite project is the sketch of the sculpture ‘David – by Michaelangelo’. It is not only a great subject to draw due to its precise anatomical proportions, but it’s also a satisfying subject to draw where all the fundamental drawing techniques come together. My deconstruction of the proportions of this project also showcases one of my favourite techniques of drawing the human face, the Loomis method.
Where do you look for inspiration?
One of my major sources of inspiration is artworks from other artists. I follow a lot of artists on social media who specialize in different genres like gesture drawing, character design, sculpture, animations, landscapes and are masters of their medium. I always find inspiration in nature and travel. I love observing different cultures, behaviors and characteristics of people in different regions of the world. I always carry a sketchbook and a pencil during travel as you never know when inspiration strikes. I also love photography to capture some aspect of life as it might not be possible to sketch on location but can be sketched from at a later time in studio.
What makes up for the challenges?
My biggest challenge has always been the artist’s block. Artist’s block or Creative block is the inability to come up with new ideas or a sense of stagnation in the artistic process. Sometimes it can last for days, but taking a break and experimenting with some new papers or mediums always helps getting over this challenge.
What do you think the “Next Big Thing” in your craft will be?
Art is constantly evolving, and it demands the evolution of the artist as well. With the advent digital art and technological advancements, we have seen a growth in NFTs and AI in recent years. I occasionally tend to draw inspiration from a lot of digital and AI generated materials out there. A hybrid realm of Algorithm generated ideas with Traditional paper-pencil art is not hard to imagine.
Who (dead or alive) would you invite to the perfect Crafting retreat?
The Italian sculptor Bernini would be the perfect invite with whom I would have liked to share notes and talk for hours about the evolution of art and culture.
What advice would you give to your beginner self?
The advice I would give to my beginner self would be to ‘work hard consistently towards honing your craft and to not take your talents and abilities for granted.’ This seems to be an obvious ‘advice’ but for a young and easily distractible hobbyist who is trying to make a name for himself in this competitive world, it is important to be reminded of it from time to time!
In one word, how would you describe your book?
1 fun fact about yourself not many people know?
I cook some great Barbecue!
What’s next for you?
We are always ‘finding ourselves’ and evolving throughout our journey as artists. My journey as a sketch artist takes me to new places of imagination every day and I’m exhilarated every morning to seek out my next inspiration for a project. Preparing for a new book perhaps?
Thanks for reading, we hope you enjoyed getting to know Satyajit as much as we did! Find Satyajit’s book here.