First of all, I would like to thank Charlie for giving me a chance to be a guest artist on Doodlewash. My name is Anak Agung Wira Suputra, most of people call me Utha, I am 27 years old, and live in Tangerang, Jakarta, Indonesia (follow me on Instagram!). I have been drawing since I was 5 years old, drawing every random thing and characters from my childhood superheroes. Then, at the age of 6, I joined a drawing competition for kindergarden and awesomely lost (of course yes)… I couldn’t even hold my line of drawing.
Time passed, and I never draw anymore. At the age 17, I realized (after some tests) that I have a partial colorblindness. Despite this, I still could finish my Bachelor degree of chemical engineering, and now work in chemical sales for a Japanese company for almost 5 years now. One year ago, I saw an Instagram account showing an artist that was doing some pen and ink doodles. I just thought, “hey, I think that I could do that!” Starting then, everything changed.
I started to draw with pen and ink, trying to improving myself by seeing numerous tutorials, then taught myself to do the same techniques as shown by those tutorials.
I tried as much media as I could get, graphite, charcoal, acrylic, coloured pencil, etc. Doodling and drawing everything I like (most often landscapes). Another hint for this journey came after I saw another artist using watercolor as a media to draw a landscape. I felt like it was love at the first sight (seriously). The way watercolors move, and the vibrant yet transparent characteristics of this media attracted me deeper.
So I started to use watercolors combined with pen and ink most of the time. When I started using watercolor, I commited myself to learn as much basic techniques as possible. For me, drawing or painting is an endless learning process. I believe once an artist said that if she already mastered all the techniques needed at that time she would no longer improve as an artist.
Sometimes, I heard from my fellow friends that good materials will produce a good painting. I agree, but we also should remember good material with no basic or raw technique won’t bring you anywhere. So, whatever paint we have, student or artist grade, whatever the brush we have just sketch, draw and paint, and learn from our mistakes, commited to trying not to repeat them.
At the time we have the basic (and many drawing), this is the stage when we will ask ourselves, “what kind of style do I prefer? whose style should I follow, artist A, B or C?”
I always said if someone asked me such question, that it’s okay to learn and try new styles. But what is the meaning of being the same artist as another artist? You are not a clone, you are the only you in the world have your own style, don’t be a mere craftsman. Craftsman could only make same high quality products over and over again, be an artist with craftmanship, can have her own style while producing high quality artwork.
Find your own style and be the real you, because painting and drawing is a journey to find yourself. “But I still can’t find my style, how do I find it?” The easiest, and at the same time, most difficult way is to know yourself better. If you don’t like a realistic drawing, make an abstract. If you don’t like landscape make a cityscape or try urban sketching. If you don’t like buildings try a car, animal, or whatever you see as an interesting object.
Once you find your interest you will naturally develop your own style and technique. The key is to “be your own unique self.” Believe that in every drawing or painting you make, the first person that should be satisfied by the process and result is yourself. That’s it!
And after we make an artwork, realize that not everyone will appreciate it. We kindly accept even their negative comments (as long it will make us improve), keep our heads up and be proud of our own style. All without forgetting to keep learning and enjoying the journey.
I hope all of us will keep enjoying this journey, and find the way to our own styles. I would like to hear more from you guys who read this post or maybe arrange some sketchwalk together around if you’re near Jakarta.
Utha (Anak Agung Wira Suputra)
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!