My name is Prasad Natarajan and I was born in Bangalore, Karnataka, India. When I was three years old, I used to pull out flakes of paint from the wall and tell my mother there’s a goat, cow, cat or dog. That’s when my mother recognized my interest in art and encouraged me to make art. My primary school art teacher taught me to draw cats, dogs, mice and I am grateful to him for introducing me to animal art at an early age.
Later in my high school, I won many art competitions at school level and inter school levels. With the help of my friend’s membership at the local government library, I made sketches of birds and animals from nature books like National Geographic.
Due to financial constraints, I couldn’t pursue art at the college level and dropped out of graduation college at the age of seventeen. I started working for a multinational company and pursued a Bachelors in Commerce by distance education. I did wildlife art occasionally over a period of nine years. In 2011, after attending a few wildlife art exhibitions, I got inspired to take up this art form.
I met and wrote to many wildlife artists seeking their advice. Mr. Pip Garry from Mall gallery UK was kind enough to write back to me with frank answers, his tip was straight and to the point. Field work and practicing art every day was his advice, which I follow even today.
I started off by visiting nearby zoos for field studies and reference images, spent four to five years making pencil drawings, which helped me gain confidence. A few sales at art fairs gave me hope that I was heading in the right direction. Field work led to my interest in birdwatching, documenting common birds’ behavior in and around Bangalore. An Eco volunteer program, organized by Karnataka forest department, exposed me to various other wildlife subjects like snakes, frogs and other lesser known species.
Most of my learning is through books, online tutorials and videos from various artist, For pencil artwork I start off with layering the tones using 4H Staedtler pencils and later layer them with 3H,2H,HB,B,2B. Working on many layers gives the artwork the required depth. I use Indian handmade paper and Saunders Waterford Watercolour papers for these drawings.
For watercolor artworks, I layer thin washes of the base color on to the paper and build on the layers. I will leave the bright areas untouched, which is paper white. Ink works are done the same way as watercolors, I work from light to dark. I try not to portray my artworks to appear like photographs, however, not too less realistic. A middle path between realism and impressionism is what I aim for.
Field sketches, photographs and field notes play an important role in most of my finished artworks. Mostly I use a Parker Fountain Pen (Beta Premium) for field sketches, black ink is from Sheaffer on 200 GSM and above sketches books. These books are self made from Fabriano and Bustro coldpress watercolor papers. Size of the sketch books vary from A5 size to A3 size. For floral live studies, I use 300 GSM Fabriano hotpress watercolor papers, Winsor & Newton watercolors, and Daler Rowney round brushes (size 3/5) are my favorite field brushes.
In 2016, finally I moved to my new studio after three years of planning and hard work. This space gives me the ideal environment to work on my artworks. In 2017, I founded an art collective called Artists for Wildlife and Nature, first of its kind in India. We have regular art shows and do many nature outreach programs.
A few of my contributions towards Indian Wildlife art are listed below:
- Contributed to the successful first of its kind all India “Artist of the Year 2018/19” wildlife annual shows in January 2018/2019, held at Venkatappa Art Gallery, Bangalore.
- Organized “Artists for Birds” group show July 2018/19.
- Featured in BNHS Hornbill magazine and calendar among top 20 Indian wildlife artists.
- My works are in permanent collections of top wildlife artists around the world.
- I have been invited to educational institutes and nature related events to deliver lectures on drawing bird anatomy.
- My Wildlife photographs have won awards and have been published in international dallies.
I believe that visual representation is a powerful medium to reach across the world. Art is an important tool and powerful medium in Wildlife conservation.Recommended8 recommendationsPublished in