Hi! My name is Sharmini Markandu and I am from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
I am absolutely thrilled to be featured by Doodlewash. Honestly, I had to pinch myself when I got a message from Charlie asking me to be a guest artist.
I feel like such a newbie to watercolours even though I was introduced it during the art lessons I was taking as a kid. (There were a lot of other classes / lessons – taekwondo, ballet, swimming, ping pong, badminton, piano…. I guess I was the typical Asian kid with numerous extra-curricular activities!) Art was a hobby that got pushed to the side as I studied to become an engineer and then somehow maneuvered myself into a career in the financial industry.
About 2 years ago, I picked up pointed pen calligraphy on a whim. As I progressed in that, I thought I could perhaps incorporate some colour in the form of watercolour. So I pulled out my old Korean watercolour set (I am amazed that they have kept through all these years!) and with a little trepidation started to paint.
Initially, what helped me along were certain Instagram groups / hashtags (such as #ifdrawaweek, #handletteredABCs, #calligrabasics) which had organised themed weeks. That helped me find a focus, explore different themes and receive some feedback in terms of the work that I was a bit hesitant in showing.
Otherwise, I paint what is in my head – mainly what pops up when I listen to songs or read. For inspiration there are numerous talented artists I follow on Instagram and blogs – such as Liz Steel, Anne-Laure Jacquart, Doodlewash and the artists featured on Doodlewash.
I am trying to resist my hoarding tendencies and keep my watercolour supplies pretty simple for now. I usually start my pieces with a light pencil sketch, followed with some outlines with a fountain pen filled with waterproof ink. I am still finishing up my old Korean watercolours and have supplemented that with some Winsor & Newton tubes (as the brand is pretty available here).
Recently, I got myself a Winsor & Newton 16 half pan set. I tend to favour round brushes which contain either sable or squirrel hair. I am working my way through some sketchbooks – both store bought and hand bound, so that I can test out which papers work for me.
Watercolour is definitely something I want to keep working and expanding on. There are so many subject matters and styles I would like to try out. I envision this to be a lifelong learning journey for me and I look forward to it.