Tag Archives: Fabric paint

Ideart: A Bottle of Tribal Dancers

I love Warli so much, how could I not do this?


Ideart: Bottled Starry Night

I’m only sorry I dared attempt to copy such a masterpiece onto a humble medium such as a glass bottle. That said, I’m not too unhappy with the result. Here’s my rendition of Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Starry night’ on a lean glass bottle that originally contained oregano.


Spools of Colour

Silken thread
Soft fabric artefacts

Comfort in the grey that is life right now.

Ideart: Grand Theft Autorickshaw!

I did this one a good while ago actually but I haven’t had a chance to put up a post about it so far. Twitter tells me that there’s an autorickshaw strike in the city today (again? when was the last time these guys did some work?) so here’s one for the frustrated commuter.

When I first spotted this plain yellow V-necked tee-shirt, I knew I wanted to do something around the taxi/ autorickshaw theme, given its colour. I wore the tee plain for a good few months because its clean, vibrancy added a lot of cheer to my mood.

When I finally got down to paintbrushes, I realized I’d need a number of practice runs to create the image. For starters, I wasn’t modifying an image I’d already seen (as with the superheroes), I didn’t have any earlier references (as with folk art). All I had was a vague image in my head.

Anybody who has been in Mumbai this past year knows that the public transport that we Mumbaikers used to pride ourselves on, has gone to the dogs. The endless metro work has key suburban stretches dug up & cordoned off to the point of dirt trackdom. Meter rates have gone up and so have cases of meter-tampering. What’s more, due to various regulatory dictats, there seem to be fewer autorickshaws & taxis plying on the roads now. And finally, to add insult to injury, these once ubiquitous black-and-yellow guy have turned rude to the point of inhuman (Sick person to be taken to the doctor? Floods & pouring rain? Bomb blasts? Forget about any help from these guys!). New York cabbies probably have nothing on us now.

Anyway, here’s how I chose to relieve my frustration:

Apologies for the not-clear photograph. It was shot on a cameraphone before I had my camera. And unfortunately the tee-shirt has gone missing now! 😦 The caption is ‘Grand Theft Autorickshaw‘ and painted on a silver rectangular background, complete with kiss decals to represent the sidey rear-view mirror of an autorickshaw.

Garment: Standard size S ladies’ V-neck tee-shirt

Material: Tee-shirt cotton

Background colour: Eggyolk yellow

Paint colours used:

  • Fevicryl no. 21 Sap Green
  • Fevicryl no. 30 Flesh Tint
  • Fevicryl no. 27 White
  • Fevicryl no. 04 Crimson
  • Fevicryl no.304 Pearl Green

*Cross-posted to Divadom.

Ideart: Warli & Shoes

A quick post to showcase what I did at the fabric-painting stall I set up recently. Jai was my guardian angel who got there before I did, kept up my morale and let me paint his jeans, his pockets AND his shoes. 🙂 Here’s what we ended up with:

And then there was Biswajit who stopped by as guest-guardian angel and let me paint this cloth-covered folder that he’d just bought. Warli is always delightful.

* Cross-posted to Divadom.

I Wear: Accessorizing Colour Blocks

Colour blocking is a trend that appeals to me on account of its drama. The sheer audacity that lets one pair purple with yellow or green and orange really sings out to the unabashed colour lover. On the other hand, it conflicts with another of my style-tendencies, viz – accessorizing. All the colour blocking I’ve seen, involves letting just the fabric colours cause impact.

This year, I’ve toned down my style considerably in terms of make-up and accessories. Lipsticks exited my drawers last year and made way for mild, nude gloss. Eye make-up was refined to a barely-there black line on the inner lower lid, years ago (any more and I look like the Indian cousin of the Addams Family). But my love of jewellery is at the root of my struggle against ‘proper’ colour-blocking. Even now, a drawer full of sundry beads, knicknacks, brooches, pins, earrings, rings, chains, necklaces, pendants and miscellaneous jewellery parts long detached from their owners call to me. I’m a great one for refurbishing old stuff (no, that’s not miserliness, that’s the legendary Cancerian tenacity). So the last category lie in wait of a rebirth that I’ll give them some day.

Anyhoo, I find I’ve been gradually embracing the trend myself, or at very least, putting up my own version of it. For starters, it can’t be a colour block for me unless there’s at least one really strong, dramatic colour. Black, white, grey and beige don’t count. Neither do brown or olive (yuck, I’d rather die than wear either of these!). And I don’t go completely accessory-bare. But I do try and ensure that the accessories blend into/complement rather than stand out from the colours.

Pink is a colour that found entry into my wardrobe really late, so deadset was I on not being a typical ‘chick’. Even then, it edged its way in through magenta and fuchsia, then salmon and baby pink is still a questionable proposition. But it colour blocks wonderfully with the navy blue of denim (not the pale blue please, that loses on non-drama grounds).

Here are two times in the past week that I’ve colour-blocked pink and blue. They’re very similar, a fact that hit me only after I saw the pics, which is why I put them together in one post. But the garments are all different, the shades of pink vary and the accessories don’t repeat.

Goa chic

Here’s the first look – meeting a friend for evening coffee at a place very close to the beach (after which I planned to actually take a walk on the sand).

The skirt is an A-line wraparound in dark blue with abstract prints. Funnily enough, it has a very Goa feel to it but it was actually bought in Janpath, New Delhi. I’m calling this a colour block since the other colours do sort of get lost in the blue. The top is a salmon pink tee-shirt that I’ve never gotten around to painting.

Breaking the monotony of the stark top is a long string of chunky glass beads, worn in two loops. These were a lucky buy at Dilli Haat several years ago and have been on the top of my favorite accessories list ever since. Matching these, are two thin bead anklets, one with a tiny bell. I don’t even remember where I bought these, (they are that old) but I have a box full of them in different colours and types.

The bag is cloth red with beige straps and white threadwork on the main bag. The button, though you can’t see it very clearly is a gigantic wooden circle embossed with an elephant motif. Goa funk again, though (again) this piece isn’t from there.

I Wear:

  • Salmon pink tee-shirt: Pantaloons
  • Blue A-line wraparound skirt: Janpath, New Delhi
  • Cloth bag: Thailand
  • Glass bead necklace: Dilli Haat, New Delhi
  • Bead anklets: Streetside markets, most likely Linking Road

Grunge girl

The second look shows clearer because I was standing in better light. I was accompanying E Vestigio on some errands and we stopped to look into FabIndia. The top is FabIndia, a magenta with black pinstriped cross blouse with Chinese buttons. I’m wearing it with the AND half-trousers, earlier featured in this post.

I went even simpler with the accessories on this look. But each of them is something I’m proud of!

First of all, there’s the big fairie-on-moon medallion chain. This is from Magick, the wiccan store run by my friend, Swati Prakash.

Witches can be a lot of fun!

Now look at the bag! I’m really proud of this. This is the cloth bag that the Lavasa press kit was handed to us in. After we got back, I figured it was a nice bag, light and simple and would be a great Ideart project. I just started to paint out the logo and slogan and ended up with this.

I Wear:

  • Magenta pinstriped Chinese cross-top: FabIndia
  • Navy blue denim half-trousers: AND
  • Purple flat sandals: Lifestyle
  • Fairie-on-moon medallion & chain: Magick, Bandra
  • Bag: Press kit holder from Lavasa, painted by me


*Cross-posted to Divadom

I Wear: Flourishing Feathers

Remember this Native American brave? It’s one of my proudest achievements, being able to get this man’s face, older, weather-beaten and macho just right…and without a guiding sketch.

The tricky bit has been finding a way to wear it. I love going sleeveless but I’ve somehow never gotten used to the spaghetti or otherwise strapped phenomenon. Call it deep-rooted middle class prudery, safety instincts or a consciousness over my arms, I don’t feel comfortable going strappy-shouldered. And the first rule of divadom is being comfortable in what you wear, you can see why this garment has lain unused for a long time.

Yesterday, though, I took heart and brought it out. I was getting ready for a Caferati read-meet, an event I knew I’d need to be comfortable for a long period of time but also confident as I’d be reading. Dressing well being my magic mantra to summon up confidence (Presentations, meetings, talks, workshops, seminars not withstanding, public speaking still makes my knees go knock-knock). The afternoon was also delivering the expected dose of heat, sweat and dust of a Mumbai summer. And finally, I had a temple visit on the calendar, just before the read-meet (no, don’t ask me about that, I don’t discuss it).

Jeans were out of the question, thick and clingy as they’d be. My favorite denim half-trousers (I don’t know what else to call them) by AND came to the rescue. These were a lucky, very lucky find at a sale nearly two years ago. They’re made of navy blue soft, lightweight denim. They’re also roomy enough to be comfortable but tailored with just that right finish to fall on the side of smart and not sloppy. I’m guessing the front fold and the hems do that but I could be wrong.

The problem of the straps was solved with a red shrug. I adopted the shrug really late into the trend. I still think it looks ridiculous on most people, a garment that started off as a jacket but changed its mind and got left hanging around the shoulders looking silly. But I picked up snug-fit shrugs in black, white and red in the tee-shirt hosiery material. These cling to the skin and look almost like a part of the rest of the top so they don’t look as ridiculous to me.

The touch I’m really happy about in this outfit is (characteristically for me), the accessories. I didn’t want to detract from the outfit with its central focus on the native American portrait and the colour blocking of the shrug and half-trousers. I passed over the red spidery sandals and went in for the tan flat sandals I got in the Inc.5 sale in January. I couldn’t resist adding a wee line of colour in the form of a string of ankle beads with a couple of little ghungroos attached.

My bag was my favorite red Baggit which I picked over a brown leather bag and the rose tote featured in this one. Still staying disciplined over not distracting from the clothes, I didn’t want the footwear and the bag to even look like they matched. And I finally let myself go with the earrings.

These feathered cuties are from….Archies, would you believe? I think the last thing I bought from Archies was an address book with Keanu Reeves on the cover, in 1994. But when I saw these funky feathers hanging on the accessories stand, I had to stop and look. When I bought them, I had no idea what I could wear them with but the minute I pulled on that vest, these feathers practically flew out of their holder and onto my earlobes.

Sneha indulged my vanity and shot these photographs just before the read-meet. And during the tea break, Aastha asked me if I’d recorded the look for an I Wear post. So thank you, ladies, for the support and the encouragement!

I Wear:

  • Red hosiery shrug: Honey
  • White singlet: FabIndia, painted by me
  • Navy blue denim half-trousers: AND
  • Tan flat sandals: Inc. 5
  • Red handbag: Baggit
  • Red beaded anklet: Janpath market, New Delhi
  • Feathered earrings: Archies


* Cross-posted to Divadom.

Ideart: The Making Of A Superhero-Nagraj

Actually, this should have been my first superhero-on-tee project for the boy. I had after all, heard of Nagraj, the popular snakeman character of Raj Comics. But the boy’s first choice was the dog-parented desi Batman and so Doga it was. Still, when I spotted this olive green tee-shirt, I knew the snake myth was calling to me.

I’ve been a fan of snake stories, the icchadari naag legend with its human-snake shape-shifters, the associations with Shiva (undoubtedly the darkest and most complex citizen of the Hindu belief system). I loved Snake Woman even if I couldn’t find the issues to complete the story. When I was a kid, I read a story about a king who secretly ate a piece of snake meat everyday, which gave him the power to understand the language of animals. And of course, JK Rowling’s attempt to cash in on the snake mystique with Slytherin and Parseltongue. I was quite looking forward to bringing my own interpretation of the snake story to life.

I’ve never been comfortable with the transition from sketching to colouring. My drawings usually turned out well and then were ruined by colour. With time though, I realised it wasn’t exactly that I couldn’t colour, I just couldn’t colour within the lines (yes, pun unintended). So I began colouring independently or painting directly on the surface without using lines to guide me.

Superheroes are tricky things to portray. For one, strong masculine physiques have never been my forte. And then there’s the fear of backlash from the fanbase. Superheroes attract staunch loyalists who will pounce on you for the tiniest detail that you got wrong, from the exact shade of costume, to the height of heel, to the curve of the logo, the hairstyle, expression etc. No chances I decided and figured I better chalk out a map and stay on course, no matter how long it took me.

I started by sketching the character in pencil a few times to get a sense of structure and pose. Then I replicated this on the tee-shirt using a soap marker (the kind that tailors use to mark out cutting lines). My mistakes which were easily rectified using water.

I found a shade (Sap Green) that perfectly matched the costume shown in the picture. I knew it would be too dull but I planned to highlight with pearl tints anyhow. Also, teeshirt hosiery absorbs a lot of colour and often the brighter colours lose their sheen as a result. The way around this is to layer on colours, waiting between coats to dry. That way the topmost coat is laid on a non-penetrable base (of colour) and stands out. Careful with this though, too many layers and if your colours are too old, they’ll peel off.

I’d intended to do something similar for the white snake crest down the front of the costume, layering with silver and white. But I made my white very thin with water and spread it across the area. This, I knew would make it dry with a water-colour like finish. As it turned out, it dried in the exact shade of grey that would make the white really ‘pop’. The same was used for the undersole too.

The skin was already going to be in that wonderfully authentic looking shade called Flesh Tint (used with great success on Sabu, I thought). Hair in black didn’t really show so I added a few touches of Pearl Blue to highlight it (a technique I see a lot in comic books). Fine brushed strokes of black created facial features. The Wikipedia entry for Nagraj says that he has blue eyes so I used a piercing Pearl Sky Blue for the irises with a black dot in the centre.

By this time the green was dry and I was ready to start highlighting. I started shading with Pearl Green, afraid it would end up too blingey. It did look rather bizarre against the Sap Green. But following the original picture, I also added black for the shaded areas. It still looked too much like a child’s colouring book, with the colours standing separately. So I fell back on my old favorite technique – blending.

You do this by painting when the colours are still wet. Where two colours meet, add water and mix them. Don’t be afraid to dip brushes into different colours without cleaning them, it adds interesting swirls of colour on the canvas. When I was done, I realised there was no trace of the original Sap Green visible, which was just as well.

I finished off the costume with Crimson for the pants and boots. The snakes were added later, using Pearl Metallic Bronze and Rust and V-designs in Black. I know they look a little artificial and too thin but that’s how they were shown in the picture. I could probably have played around with that but I just let it be. The final touch was to outline every border in the picture in black. This is what adds that comic-book look to the picture.

Garment: Standard size XL men’s tee-shirt

Material: Tee-shirt cotton

Background colour: Olive green

Paint colours used:

  • Fevicryl no. 21 Sap Green
  • Fevicryl no. 30 Flesh Tint
  • Fevicryl no. 27 White
  • Fevicryl no. 04 Crimson
  • Fevicryl no.304 Pearl Green
  • Fevicryl no.355 Pearl Metallic Bronze
  • Fevicryl no.356 Pearl Metallic Red
  • Fevicryl no.354 Pearl Metallic Rust
  • Fevicryl no.319 Pearl Sky Blue
  • Fevicryl no.305 Pearl Blue
  • Fevicryl no. 02 Black

*Cross-posted to Divadom.

Ideart: Doga-Born In Blood

This is another of those posts I’ve been meaning to get around to for a good while. I painted this for the boy right after the success of Sabu. While the Diamond comics thespian provoked a soft chuckle, this piece got more of the reaction I was looking for – not from the boy himself, but his equally comic-book loving friends.

Doga is his favorite childhood comic character. I’d never heard of him so far, which is probably why the boy’s description of “he’s called Doga because he was brought up by dogs” made me go ahahahahhahaha! He was mighty miffed by that so I painted it for him as a peace gesture.

The painting is based on a high-resolution image that he sent me, in colour. However, I figured a plain white line drawing against a black background would make maximum impact. But once I painted the character, it felt natural to add a few strokes and before I knew it, the picture had a shaded feel to it which I think added to the diabolical nature of the character. The boy thinks that the head is the wrong size and the limbs proportion is off. I take that feedback since I’m not too comfortable drawing masculine features and profiles. Mostly, I’m just happy it doesn’t look too ridiculous. Incidentally, I did the lines in plain white and the shading in a silver tone. The pearl tones catch the light adding an additional eerieness to the image.

The extra colour on the pants and the gloves was added as an afterthought after I looked at the original coloured picture again. I’m not sure whether this was a good idea or not since it might bring it closer to the original but possibly takes away from the impact of pure silver-white on black.

The boy also requested the caption ‘Doga – Born in blood’ written in bloody, dangerous-looking script. It took me awhile to find something like that online but once I started painting, it was actually really easy. It was just a matter of dabbing the paintbrush in water, after coating it with paint and letting it drip down the tee-shirt a bit. Once it dried, I touched up the natural ooze patterns with regular colour. If I had had a pearl toned red pigment available, I’d have highlighted the words too. As it turned out, I think the effect of dried blood (not shining but semi-clotted) comes through better.

Garment: Standard size XL men’s tee-shirt

Material: Tee-shirt cotton

Background colour: Plain black

Paint colours used:

  • Fevicryl no.301 Pearl White
  • Fevicryl no.24 Vermillion

*Cross posted to Divadom.

%d bloggers like this: