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Sketchy Business: The Doodle Collective

Shop Talk

Six doodlers send their best, along with some of their finest illustrations, signed and sealed with love of course, to Delhi. Can you picture it?

Framed in subtle monochromes, and natural wood, these original pieces of art are very much up for ogling and grabs, and at head-turning prices too, only at The Wishing Chair from June the tenth until month’s end.

Let’s meet the gang, who we’ve fondly dubbed “The Doodle Collective”.

Estate Of The Art


Chania Bhatia, resides in New Delhi and is an architect by profession. I caught up with her recently to talk art, design and doodling, only to learn that she’s been an art enthusiast ever since she was a little girl: “I got all my inspiration from my mom and aunt, who are wonderful artists themselves! As a person, I’m sincere, friendly, curious, ambitious – traits that help hugely in the creative space, and my fields of interest include doodling, sketching, painting, sculpture-making, reading and architectural photography. Basically, my world revolves around art, and I’ve always found the subject very fascinating. A little scribbling and sketching every now and then helps me put my mind at ease.”


Like her intricate, free-flowing designs, Chania too, doesn’t miss a beat: ““Doodling for me is a boundless, abstract and artistic medium through which I can execute my thoughts and ideas, as I perceive the context and surrounding that I live in. I have a keen eye for intricate details and I try to incorporate them in my design using different mediums and styles, sometimes even inspired from my day to day life. If not for Illustration, I think I would have pursued graphic design with typography in the mainstream! I love design and I love words, and I get excited about a well-designed font.”


Speaking of pet projects, she mentions her “painting-cum-doodle on ‘Nabakalebara – A symbolic recreation of the deities at Jagannath Temple in Puri, Odisha.” And leaves me with a handy tip to look up one of her favourite artists, Aakash Anand, who “uses ink to create highly detailed visual vocabulary with manifold layers of meaning, often applying abstraction to construct a fictional and experimental universe that emerges bit by bit.” Turns out Aakash can be reached via his Facebook. Score!

(You can get in touch with Chania or commission work via Instagram and Facebook.)


Chayanika is a freelance visual designer, based mostly out of Pune. “I studied to become a 3D modelling artist,” she begins, “but soon discovered my love for independence and (almost) complete freedom to create any design or artwork. Being a bit of a rebel, I enjoy exploring new routes for creative freedom and revel in the fact that my journey has only just begun!


“Doodling is the brain's way of dancing to music and meditating your way to bliss, “ she tells me when I ask her what got her hooked in the first place. “When I work on my illustrations, it feels akin to secretly pouring my heart out without any inhibitions. I love how freeing it is for the mind, while still posing a challenge in the most unexpected ways. From the eagerness of working on a new idea to finalising it, putting in the very last stroke, it feels quite like when you’re reading a mystery novel with a spectacular twist – you never know what might happen next!


To chill out, Chayanika usually plugs in her ipod or heads forthe hills – literally that is, no metaphor intended. “Lazing away by the sea is great too – I’m happy either way,” she laughs, “but after a hard day's work, what I really need, are old reruns of FRIENDS or Seinfeld! Add a pint of Erdinger or Stella and I'm happier still – nothing like a good laugh.”


Amen to that. Happy people shine brighter, after all.

 (You can get in touch with Chayanika or commission work via  Instagram and Facebook.)


Ira Singh calls her art an outlet, ever since she started school. “Boring subjects (usually history) became fascinating when I used multi-coloured pens for notes, though I often ended up doodling during lectures, either on the notebook or even on my hand.” “I’m never wanting for friends or company when I’m making something,” she continues, “it’s therapeutic, and even when I’m tired or very sad, whenever I end up making something, it cheers me up and I feel refreshed. When I have an idea, I just can’t wait to put it on paper for everyone to see. It’s also a way for me to show my family and friends how much they mean to me, as I’m known to make handmade gifts for all,” she finishes.


Ira tries a myriad of things including looking at Pinterest or Instagram for inspiration when she’s stuck, creatively. When she has ideas but is stuck with the implementation of it, she steps out for coffee with her friend so that she’s relaxed when she comes back. “I almost always seek my mother’s advice,” she adds quickly, “as she has a very keen eye for colour combinations and other details. She knows exactly what a piece is going to look like even while I’m still making it.”


Mothers know best. True Story.

(You can get in touch with Ira or commission work via  Instagram)


Mumbaikar Rikita Waghela is all of 21, an architecture student in her 4th year, and obviously multitalented! Her words tumble forward like a gurgling stream in the spring: “I love sketching, painting, doodling… it makes me feel good, happy and complete. Drawing and sketching was something my mom used to teach me. It was so much fun and I used to draw with her so it'll be with me always.”


She’s modest too: “I'm not an expert or anything, and I'm still learning but the thing I love most about my work is that even when they are still raw and needs a finishing touch, they come from the heart, and they help me in connecting with the world. I don’t do anything creative in particular ‘to get the juices flowing’ as such… it's just a feeling I get from time to time that I need to draw something. If I should hit a creative block, I usually avoid talking to people and simultaneously also start scribbling on drawing pages –I find that this eventually leads to something productive.”


Rikita looks to architect Frank Lloyd Wright for inspiration, is a self-confessed addict to young adult fiction and romance novels often finishing them in one sitting! In the middle of the night, you can find her raiding her fridge looking for chocolate, ice-cream, cake or leftover dessert. Then again, who isn’t?

(You can get in touch with Rikita or commission work via Instagram and Facebook.)


Shehla Sanam is a mother of three who’s been doodling all her life. In her own words, she’s an ‘amateur artist’, “an amateur forever because I just couldn't stick to one particular form of art. But it was doodling that I ultimately fell in love with. This was something I could do without feeling the need to search for something else. You could say that, ' I came home...'”.


“There's something purely magical about how black lines can totally glam up a blank page,” she says; I nod effusively in agreement. Magic, great word! “Initially, it was just a means to pass time,” she continues, before admitting rather adorably, “I realised that this art form had a name only recently, through social media sites where amazingly talented people would show the world how lines can be used to create captivating pieces of art! I just couldn’t stop watching – attempting to draw these, was just natural progression. Before I knew it, I was hooked!”


When she’s not doodling, Shehla can be found, busy thumbing through the latest bestsellers or National Geographic, a bar of chocolate in hand, “although nowadays, my kids make sure that the big bar of chocolate is nowhere to be found and I’m almost always in a 'which bed is yours???' kinda situation,” she adds with a wry smile. “They definitely keep me on my toes and what little ‘me time’ I get, I spend at my desk trying to complete something that I started.”

Between her books, black pens and disappearing bars of chocolate, I can see Shehla’s obviously got her hands full. And yet her work remains heartbreakingly lovely. More power and passion to you Shehla!

(You can get in touch with Shehla or commission work via Instagram  and Facebook.)


A fan of Archan Nair’s bold graphic work and comic-strip artist, The Awkward Yeti (whose hilarious book Heart and Brain is finally out in bookstores or Amazon if you prefer, just FYI), Upasna  is on what she calls “her reverse journey” – a Jewellery Designer by profession and self-proclaimed cartoonist and photographer tumbling headlong into a very real love affair with doodles and illustrations.


“I scribble, draw, sketch… I’m utterly passionate about these things. They’re a getaway for me from the seriousness of the real world to a world that’s fictive and fun. Doodling gives voice to my imagination. I like to think of myself as a dreamer, whose doodles are her dream-journal!”


As for what gets her creative juices flowing, wait for it: “Yoga. That’s how I kick-start and freshen up my mind to get my creative juices flowing. The remedy for a creative block is food, always yummy food! Plus hot chocolate and some classical jazz. When I need to unwind, I just hit the beach and indulge in a beer. And I love my camera, my most expensive indulgence.”


Whew, that’s quite the list! But it adds up alright, seeing how Upasna’s quite the girl, much like her art that this writer hearts, oh so very much.

(You can get in touch with Upasna or commission work via  Instagram and Facebook.)

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Written byNisha Ravi

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