sketches from india (+ perspective)


One day I'd love to pull together a comprehensive collection of photos and sketches and projects from the four months I lived and studied in Ahmedabad, the largest city in the Indian state of Gujarat. I went with my architecture school, and four of my closest friends (all dudes) were with me, and it was one of the best times of my life. I lived in an apartment with three other girls, who completely clogged the "toilet" within the first few hours of our arrival with our western toilet paper. We ate the hottest food known to man and also discovered the "bun omelette", which is an Indian egg sandwich and might be one of the finest things that has ever crossed my lips.

It was so hot. We weren't even halfway down the country, but by the time April rolled around it was crazy hot. Lots of time was spent indoors, especially in our architecture studio built of cool concrete and brick. There I am in our studio in the photo above, explaining something about something to my friends. Good times.

I could write volumes about those four months. Actually, I did. I journaled and wrote letters home like nobody's business. I followed more than led, and I was as happy as a clam. Small town girl from New Hampshire riding atop a van through the Thar Desert and roaming around Indian cities getting my mind blown. India is crazy to most westerners, it certainly was to me. And of course, you get all that perspective, because things can get downright terrible there.

Speaking of perspective, we did a lot of sketching, being architecture students and all. Mine are not great, but I will say when I pulled them out tonight one thing struck me: I had great perspective back then. I was in my fourth out of five years in the BArch program at R.P.I. when we went to India, so I had a lot of drawing under my belt. You can tell in these sketches, no matter how unsophisticated they are, that I had worked with perspective and scale for a long time. These are 20-60 minute sketches, and the proportions and sight lines are spot on, if I do say so myself.

Out on a ledge. Red Fort, Agra.

Inside a building on the campus of Louis Kahn's Indian Institute of Management.

Sarkhej Roza mosque.

Temple in Pattadakal. I love this one. It's probably unintelligible to anyone but me though.

Ellora, Cave 16.

Ibrahim Roza domes.

It's so wild for me to see these now, because if you had asked me a few years ago to hand draw a perspective for an architecture client, it would've been an agonizing situation. Granted those drawings would've been of proposed spaces and places that only existed on paper, which would make the task more difficult. But because I am so removed from this certain type of daily drawing exercise, I don't possess these skills anymore. 

Proof positive of something I took away from the artist workshop I attended this past winter, and also from the fantastic book Steal Like an Artist. You need to practice. You need to DO! When you do, you will improve. You will gain innate skills. Innate skills, learned or not, are awesome. They are the keys to the car, if you will. Some skills take more practice than others. I haven't painted in a while, but I know when I sit down to do it again it'll be like riding a bike. Perspective drawing is another animal. That one will take a whole lot of work to get back again. Nice to see I had it down for a while.

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