GUEST ARTIST: “Water And Paint: A Spiritual Artistry” by Naufal Khan

Watercolor Portrait by Naufal Khan

Hi, I’m Naufal Khan, 23, a self-taught watercolor artist from Mumbai, India. I’ve always been afraid of colours. I started drawing and sketching as a hobby. Fell in love with it, so much that I wanted to build my career as an artist. But this dream of mine never came to reality because of family pressure. The place I come from believes more in cultural and religious ideas/beliefs rather than freedom of one’s idea or passion.

But, I still used to draw. Sometimes in the library, on the streets of Churchgate, on the beach. I kept my drawings to myself. During my Graduation is where I became super busy to even have time for myself. I stopped drawing. A sad thing to say, especially how much drawing means to me.Watercolor Portrait by Naufal Khan

Watercolor Portrait by Naufal KhanFast-forward a few years. I have passed with flying colours and I managed to secure a good job. I thought everything is going to be fine now. But still, a sense of emptiness lies within me. I miss it. I miss drawing and sketching. Going to that wonderful magical place where I am able to express without hesitation.

I took a long vacation, hoping it would help me cure myself of this empty feeling inside of me. I was in Dubai, UAE where I happened to attend an arts and music festival. And there, I saw such wonderful and amazing paintings and for a moment, I was happy. Back to that wonderful place of imagination. The paintings there hit me like water to a thirsty wanderer amidst a lonely desert. And slowly that emptiness faded away. I felt like I was home.

Watercolor Portrait by Naufal Khan

That night I came back home and asked myself if I really wanted to live this life. A life without Art. So, I started once again but, with colours.

Adopting Watercolours

Watercolor Portrait by Naufal KhanWhy watercolours? Simple, it’s beautiful! The way I can express myself with this medium is heavenly. I can let my emotions loose, learn more, adapt to it and have endless possible combinations. The subtle nature of watercolours fascinate me. I learnt different methods and techniques online and How To Draw Anything: A Complete Guide by Angela Gair for figures and portrait study. You can check Laovaan and kelogsloops on YouTube for amazing watercolour tutorials.

My Painting Resources

I use Canson Montval watercolour paper 300gsm which is suitable for wet-on-wet technique and has a good texture to it. Currently, I’m using Camel Artist’s Watercolour cakes for painting.

Watercolor Portrait by Naufal Khan

I’m about to change my paints for other rich and vibrant colours in the market. My paint brushes are usually taklon synthetic brushes. I could definitely use some recommendations in that department too.

The Process

I love painting portraits. I first sketch the subject and then lay down the basic values using wet-on-wet technique. Then slowly work my way towards the details from light to dark.

I’ve recently adopted wet-on-dry technique, and I built my painting in different layers. But if I’m painting an abstract subject then I use wet-on-wet and go with the rhythm. Speaking of rhythm, I listen to piano music on Spotify. There’s a playlist you can follow for the best piano themed music. It helps me concentrate and shut the outside disturbance. You can also check out different relaxing soft piano music on YouTube, there are tons of those.

My Inspiration

I find my subjects on the Internet. I have a separate sketchbook in which I practice portrait sketches and human figures and poses. I sketch anything I find interesting and paint loose sometimes. It helps you discover new and interesting things.

Sharing the Artwork

I share my artworks and its making process on Instagram, Facebook, and Deviantart (links below). It helps me get valuable feedback that I use for my improvement. I learn by people’s constructive criticism. I currently take photos of my artwork on Samsung S7 Edge since I don’t have access to a scanner.

Watercolor Portrait by Naufal Khan

You can use Snapseed by Google to improve the lighting conditions if your artwork doesn’t look the way it’s supposed to. For example, incorrect colour depiction or unbalanced light. Better if you own Adobe Photoshop but if you don’t or you are on the move then you can use this application to fix your artwork right away.

Watercolor Portrait by Naufal Khan

I still have a long way to go. But I believe in time I will improve more. My emptiness and void has been filled with my love for making art and this bold move of adopting colours has filled my own life with different possibilities, which I’m not afraid to take. Thank you so much to Charlie O’Shields and Doodlewash for having me as a guest artist.

Naufal Khan

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  1. Rod Fletcher 4 years ago

    Thank you for sharing Naufal. I love the portraits you do. You are certainly not afraid of colour!

    • Naufal Khan 4 years ago


  2. Sandra Strait 4 years ago

    Your work is amazing, Naufal! You really know how to let the color tell the story. Thank you for the links and tips and for sharing your artistic journey.

    • Naufal Khan 4 years ago

      Thank You and glad i could help 🙂

  3. chirpygalblog 4 years ago

    Amazing work!! 🙂

    • Naufal Khan 4 years ago


  4. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 4 years ago

    Naufal, how wonderful that you didn’t abandon your dream to be an artist. Your work is expressive and imaginative, a delight to see.

    • Naufal Khan 4 years ago

      Thank you!❤️

  5. Laura (PA Pict) 4 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your journey and your work. I especially love the way you render hair.

    • Naufal Khan 4 years ago

      Thank You❤️

  6. Sharon Nolfi 4 years ago

    Very lovely portraits with a distinctive style! thanks for sharing your story.

    • Naufal Khan 4 years ago

      Glad you liked it, thank you.

  7. Mary Roff 4 years ago

    Your portraits are beautiful. So happy that you found your way back to art. Wish you every success!!

    • Naufal Khan 4 years ago

      Thank You so much!❤️

  8. Beverly Dyer 4 years ago

    Beautiful and sensitive portraits. Glad you found your way back to this talent! Cheers, Bev

    • Naufal Khan 4 years ago

      Thanks mate 🙂

  9. cedds 4 years ago

    I love your art Naufal!

    • Naufal khan 4 years ago

      Thank you😊

  10. Nanci Robison 4 years ago

    You are so talented! Portraits are so difficult for me and I am in awe of your work. Please never give up on your passion!☺☺

    • Naufal Khan 4 years ago

      I never will! thank you for sharing your thoughts😊

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