Nandini’s Doodling Journal: an Art beyond Elitism

“Don’t wait. Don’t wait for the right opportunity. Don’t wait to get enough and expensive tools. Don’t wait to feel accomplished enough to start making art or putting it out there. The right time either comes around too late or sometimes doesn’t even exist. As long as you have something honest to say, there are thousands of people who would love to hear it.” Nandini

Nandini is a young doodle artist, digital creator and illustrator from the beautiful city of Jaipur, currently based in Delhi in pursuit of her graduation in English Literature. Nandini’s art is like refreshment served on platter of hope and contentment. Nandini believes in the beauty of sharing moments from her life, even the embarrassing ones, and gathers a community that is not afraid of realising their own true feelings. She says, “My art is a quest for hope and to understand my own feelings and present them to the world.” Something that started off as simple journaling turned into a habit and introspection that gradually took a more concrete form of art. Nandini seems very comfortable with her art and the process that led to its awakening. She says, “I didn’t choose this art form consciously, I think it chose me and somewhere we just became comfortable with each other.” Her series called Doodles for Strangers is an interesting concept that she developed for Spoken Festival 2020 that is based on engaging with people around her to weave stories and friendships. She says, “It serves as an intersection where human bonds are built and stories are exchanged. The aim was to make a friend while walking around the festival.” One of the important aspects of Nandini’s doodles is that it is hopeful and desires to provide consolation to the world. She says, “In a fast pacing life it is very easy to forget happiness, I feel that our mind is more likely to remember bad days, through my art, I am encapsulating these small moments of hope.”

Doodle art is considered a simpler and non serious art form, but over the years it has matured into a serious art form that has meaning and value. The etymology of the word ‘doodle’ can be traced back to the 17th century which only meant a simpleton or a fool. The word has evolved since then and now represents a genre of art that most people consciously or unconsciously relate to and practice. Nandini says, “Most of us started doodling on the corner of our notebooks. I think doodling is a form of looking at everyday life from the perspective of lines and shapes.” She is a strong advocate of doodle as an art of the people. As an upcoming artist Nandini stresses on her ability to respect all kinds of art forms regardless of audience preferences and elitism that grades art into inferior or superior categories. She says, “Doodle art has been overly commercialized which leads to easy access to the art form. Also, there is an irrational love for realism amongst the audience and they seem to respect the art which can mimic real life. Doodling or comic making is also not an elitist space as everybody can access the skills and tools required for doodling.” Nandini does not shy away from being critical of the art world as a whole including the art consumers and audiences. In her experience with the art world she feels that “established artists in the industry aren’t the ones who look down upon ‘simpler’ arts but it is the audience who doesn’t realize the effort that goes into even the simplest of doodles, from ideating to bringing that idea to life. These are just some socio-cultural constructs that we have developed over time which make us look down upon simpler and comparatively more accessible art forms.” She urges the art consumers to create a more inclusive space for artists without creating competitive highlights and bias for certain art forms.

Nandini’s creative instincts are inspired from the mundane or misplaced feelings in life like an awkward moment, visuals invoked by a song stuck in her head, a frozen memory of a still from a movie, a romantic encounter and more. She believes in making the world a more hopeful place one doodle at a time. She has experimented and opened herself up to exercise the liberty of creating art that resonates with her true feelings. She moved from doodling on paper to digital doodling which allowed her to connect with more artists and audience. She also makes heartwarming comics and doodle videos. Recently, she has been experimenting with miniature paintings on wooden blocks during the lockdown. The honesty that is reflected in her art helps one reconnect with one’s true feelings and self. As an artist the real struggle lies with constantly believing in oneself and one’s art. She says, “What really helps me anchor my self-worth as an artist and a human being is the respect I have for my own creativity, voice and effort. Under no circumstance, I would trade that for anything else.” As a woman artist Nandini finds other women artists inspiring and believes that women artists have a lot to offer to the art world. She says, “I want to make this space safer, more accepting and accessible for fellow women. As graphic designing and art comes under remote work, a lot of women already prefer or are working in this field. In fact, most of the artists I support, follow and take inspiration from happen to be women. Designers, illustrators and Artists are undervalued for the work that they offer and as women it makes us more prone to this. But I am grateful that I get to meet and grow with some of the most amazing women and people. They have truly made me realize that no structure can decide my worth.” Nandini’s vision that surrounds and supports this quest of hope and self realization is a beautiful and warm journey she represents through her artistic efforts that transcend the elitist art world.

All Artworks by Nandini.

Text by Mariyam Fatima.


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