Monday, April 27, 2015

Something from the school

The fact that a lot of us have studied (I guess all of those who are reading this), makes me ask a question to my fellow readers. Did you ever apply something you learnt in school, (ofcourse, apart from academics) after leaving school? If you did, how was the experience of revisiting old memories of steps you followed in doing that thing? How did it turn out to be? Was it something you could be proud of or did it turn out to be a disaster? I would like to really see the responses!

A lot of us did have some kind of art and extra curricular classes where we were taught things that a lot of us (boys) had stereotyped to be girly stuff. Well, yes, I've known that happening. I too had to take a few of these classes (these activities, in my time of schooling were considered unimportant), and thus, a lot of schools, and parents did not pay too much importance to these activities. We used to have classes for Art, Music/Dance, SUPW, apart from a couple of other extra curricular activities like Games, Library and Computer. For us, these classes used to serve as a break from regular studying throughout the day. This was when we could enjoy the time, doing something other than studying.

Though, for a lot of us, the entire schooling life went through without knowing the actual full form of SUPW (which, as what Google says, is Socially Useful Productive Work), I doubt if it is always socially useful and productive. :P A lot of us, boys never took a real interest in the class, as we considered this girly stuff. Cooking, stitching, painting. I, however had a slight interest in arts, and an inclination towards how things were done. So, I sort of liked these classes. We were taught recipes, painting (including different art techniques), embroidery, and soft toy making too. And I took interest in these things.

Around a year back, I decided to reproduce an artwork technique I had learnt in one of these classes while in school. It was TOOTHBRUSH PAINTING. A pretty easy technique for those who couldn't make masterpieces, or even proper pieces with the regular paint brush. Just a single class, and years later, I decided to do something with what I had learnt. The reason - we had got our home painted. I decided to do something on the walls, which otherwise were looking dull with single colour. I am not so rich that I could afford the decorative wall painting and colours, so got it painted regular. We looked out for options for decorative patterned rollers which are used to create patterns with different colours on the plain walls. We didn't like any of them. The idea clicked, why can't I do the simple stuff of painting using stencils. Just that I didn't have a stencil to paint with. I had to choose a design, make out a stencil, and then paint on the wall.

The big question was - Was it easy?

Initially, it appeared to be a big YES. As I jumped in, I realized that it was not as easy as it appeared from outside. I had to do it on a 10 feet high wall. Probably, that meant I had to make an piece of art that spread over a good enough part of the walls. Anything bigger than 5 feet in height and 2-3 feet in width. The task seemed easy. I scoured the internet for days for designs and patterns. Nothing appealed to me. What I was looking for was something that looked beautiful, and at the same time didn't need too much intricate work, as for making that stencil, I would be in a fix in doing that much intricate work.

I settled down with one design. Initially it was a try out, since this wasn't something I had done earlier, so, everything was for the first time. The design I selected was a vector graphics file in the format supported by Adobe Illustrator, or other vector graphics editing applications like Inkscape. A vector graphics file was required because I had to enlarge the image from a sub A4 size image to a 7 feet by 3 feet wall art stencil.

How did I do it?

THIS IS WHERE ART MEETS TECHNOLOGY!

1. The first step includes finding a good vector graphics image which you could enlarge to create your wall art. There are a lot of sites that provide free vector graphics. Choose one that doesn't have too much details, and finer areas, otherwise, cutting out these parts by hand will be a headache.

2. A suitable vector graphics editing application like Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape to edit and enlarge the small image to be printed over in the required dimensions.

3. A black & white printer to print out the sheets. A4 sheets. If you have a printer that supports larger  paper size, you can use that.

4. Paper cutter or blade to cut out the areas to be painted on the wall.

5. Glue, transparent tape to join the sheets together.

6. Water colours, toothbrushes to paint. I used some oil based colours that is used in wall paint, and some white wall paint which was lying around, to create the colours. While mixing the colours, ensure that you make enough amount of colour, so as to avoid the need to mix colours again. If that is needed, there are chances that there maybe possible colour differences, which will be visible on the finished art.

7. When actually working on the wall art, make sure that you have the parts of the wall you don't want to paint, properly covered with newspaper. Also, while working on the edges of your stencil, keep the exposed areas of the wall covered with some newspaper and tape, to keep it safe from unwanted colour droplets.

Now the question you might have is how does TOOTHBRUSH PAINTING work?

Well, the answer is pretty straightforward. All we are supposed to do is use a toothbrush, a cheap one will do a good enough work, it doesn't need all the technological mumbo jumbo related to toothbrushes and dental care, including criss-crossed bristles, extra soft bristles and stuff like that to create stunning art works with toothbrushes. Usually, this is done with water based colours, but you can choose oil based colours as well, just ensure that it's liquid enough to form small droplets. Using the brush dipped in colour, art work can be created on whatever medium one wants. You can do that directly on open surfaces, with free hand, or make use of a stencil made out of paper (like I've done here) or a readymade one, if available. When you move your fingers or thumb on the bristles of the brush dipped in colour, the bristles throw away small droplets of colour. This is much like inkjet printing. If you have an idea of inkjet printing, you can very well understand how toothbrush painting works.

And this is how I did it. First, let me warn you. I printed a huge vector graphic image on multiple sheets of paper. All of the sheets in total turned out to be 27 A4 sheets. You will need to work on as many sheets as you decide the final size of art to be. The larger the size, the more the sheets you will need to cut and paste, and work upon.

Don't want to read anymore? No issues, I've got some shots (though these are bad ones, as I've clicked these indoors with a cellphone, and well, we all know how good cellphones act as a camera indoors, in not-so-good light. But, I hope, you get a good enough idea of what's happening. Take a dive.

Diary of a Techie: Toothbrush painting
Printed sheets of paper and a blade from a paper cutter.
Diary of a Techie: Toothbrush painting
Printed sheets of paper, arranged and pasted together.
Diary of a Techie: Toothbrush painting
Printed sheets of paper, arranged and pasted together.
Diary of a Techie: Toothbrush painting
Printed sheets of paper, arranged and pasted together.
Diary of a Techie: Toothbrush painting
Printed sheets of paper, arranged and pasted together.
Diary of a Techie: Toothbrush painting
Printed sheets of paper, arranged and pasted together.
Diary of a Techie: Toothbrush painting
Printed sheets of paper, arranged and pasted together.
Diary of a Techie: Toothbrush painting
A section of printed sheets of paper pasted together.
Diary of a Techie: Toothbrush painting
The final piece to be cut out and used as a stencil.
Diary of a Techie: Toothbrush painting
Still incomplete art work, on the wall.

What it turned out to be? Well, that's pretty good question. Since it was the first time I tried doing something of this sort, I was pretty much not impressed with this, with the later one in front of me (yes, I made a second one too, and have planned on a third one as well.), the finishing touch not that perfect as it could have been, and more or less, it's still unfinished (but yes, it's not something like the last photo, I've finished painting the thing, more or less, just the thing left is finishing touches, and giving a bit of attention to finer details to make the vines and leaves look uniformly shaped), as I had some other unplanned things to take care of. The final result? No, not yet. Enjoy the pieces I have shared with you for a while, and I will do a post maybe, next week to show you what this turned out to be, after I completed a bit more of painting and finally removed that huge piece of paper hanging on a considerable chunk of my bedroom.

I would really like to see if someone was impressed enough to try this one out at their homes or offices. Would love to see the results!

2 comments:

  1. every art requires lot of effort and determination i guess! great work there!

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    1. Thanks a lot for that kind comment. :D

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