Hi, I’m Atique Ahmed. I’m from Lahore, just a short drive from Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. This secret was revealed to me when I was in kindergarten when one of my teachers asked me to perform a national anthem in the morning assembly along with a National Flag. At this young age, I made a drawing of my country’s National Flag with green crayon on a piece of paper and stuck it to a bamboo stick.
This was my first attempt at drawing. From this occasion, I became fond of drawing. I still remember that I used to paint the Illustrations on my colour pencil box as reference. In my childhood, I was impressed by the blue sky, the colours and variation of the clouds, which were sometimes inclined to yellow, sometimes shiny orange at the time of sunset, and such beautiful grey tones in the rainy season.
I used to draw these scenes in watercolour. The different moods of the weather changed my mood as well, and I was encouraged to paint. The vibrant colors of the flowers impressed me a lot. The aroma of these flowers still intrigues me. As a shy boy, I could not participate in many painting competitions. Even in our school system, no special education was given regarding drawing. In spite of this, I always got good grades in drawing which was taught as a normal subject. I think I did the most drawing in the 9th and 10th, when I had to do most of my friends’ science practical notebooks.
My father was a clerk in a government department, and living was difficult. My younger sister was also studying. This all made matters worse for me and then came the time when I had to choose my career to support my family’s financial needs. Arts seemed a difficult option. When the time came that I needed to get admission in National College of Arts Lahore, one of my father’s friends advised him that it would not be too difficult for him to let me study in this College.
The very next day my father told me that I can’t afford the cost of your next education. If you want to study then study at your own expense. This day was a life’s decision for me. I didn’t understand what to do. I wanted to do something, but I was helpless.
The next day, I took my bicycle and went out to look for a job. Other than drawing, I couldn’t think of anything that could be my source of income. There was some sign board painter shops and I asked a few of them for a job. Most of them refused, except one. I started to go to a painter’s shop for some work. The shopkeeper gave me a task to paint a picture, and when I did he realised my potential.
Meanwhile, I submitted an admission form for a BA. I wanted to paint pictures, but he made me write registration plates of cars and motorcycles. I used to write dozens of them daily. There were also Urdu boards written and I used to write them. That is how I became proficient at using a special brush (used to write boards). I was doing it, but I was never happy with it. I never wanted to be a painter like that.
Now I was enrolled in college for my BA. I used to go for work straight after college. This didn’t give me enough money even though I was still doing it. After working there for almost two months, I realised that the money that I am earning could not cover my educational expenses. I couldn’t even focus on my studies, so I stopped going to the painter’s shop. After a few days, I started my freelance work. A few days later, I started doing sign boards while at home and this earned me a reasonable amount, and enough to cover my expenses.
In the next two months, it all became easier for me. Now I could even paint pictures on signboards. My work started to be praised. When I got promoted from 3rd year, I went to enroll myself in the National College of Arts Lahore with some paintings that I made on canvas. Art college faculty appreciated my ability, but refused to admit me and said that you are too late and we prefer the fresh students. So I fell into a deep pit of disappointment. Then my heart began to be overwhelmed by the education.
At this time, my best friend advised me and referred me as a learning designer in an advertising agency. It was in the early 90s, and I made my place there within a year. This was the perfect opportunity for me to use my creativity. I learned mechanical design as well as air brushwork and calligraphy. About five years later, I came out of this organisation to become a full-fledged commercial designer and ready to set up my own studio (Artland Communications) in Lahore’s printing market and did a lot of good work.
I did not have time to paint for my personal satisfaction. I used Pelikan colours along with a variety of poster colours. I also had to use watercolour occasionally, and now I have to use a computer as well. I also knew how to use computer programs and made the best use of them, but I still liked drawing by hand. A few years ago, my heart wished that I could do watercolour for myself.
Although I have worked in many different mediums, watercolour always inspires me. Photography has always been my passion. I like to click my shot and then work on it in watercolour. I used Faber-Castell watercolours. After that, I switched to Winsor & Newton, which are expensive but very good to use. I use a scholar’s sheet for watercolour painting.
Now I mostly make drawings and paintings by photographing my subject. I also use an Episcope and a Pantograph for drawing and enlarging as I use these tools in my professional field. If I get the chance, I would like to paint my culture around me. I want to portray poverty.
May Allah be my supporter. Best regards,Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in