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.
Fast-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.
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.
Why 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’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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. 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!