'Eat, sleep, draw, repeat is the motto I live by,' says Pratap Chalke, a rising illustrator. Growing up in a small village in Sindhudurg, Pratap found inspiration almost everywhere. He documents his daily life and breathes life into his observations with fluid brush strokes and hypnotising details. The bearded men and curly haired women who come alive in his sketchbook tell a story of their own. 'My daily life is my inspiration. My experiences and my reaction towards them form the basis of my practice. People I see on daily commute turn into portraits in my sketchbook. I try to enhance these characters in different styles by adding layers to their personality,' he says, describing his body of work.
With a B.F.A in Applied Art from B.S Bandekar College of Fine Art, Pratap juggles his job as an illustrator with Locopopo and his projects as a freelance artist. 'I always loved to draw. I remember doing my homework on one side, with a slate tucked under my books, where I doodled whenever I could take a break. One of my earliest memories of drawing is my mother teaching me to draw a female face by tweaking the number four in the Devanagari script. I still remember how to do that.'
Working with charcoal, brush pen, watercolor along with digital art on Photoshop and Illustrator, he doesn't shy away from experimentation, but in fact strikes a perfect balance between the traditional and the digital. Amidst his digital artworks, his personal favourite is a recent illustration for Gaysi Zine, born out of a spontaneous ideation. 'Traditional mediums are the base of every artist, and digital medium is crucial for evolving as an artist,' says Pratap. But the beauty lies in re-discoverng a medium; interpreting its nuances with a fresh perspective. In a new series of portraits titled Dhaatu, he re-interprets his fluid brush pen portraits in metallic colors. For Pratap, growing as an artist is all about pushing his limits. 'I want to explore and try new tools, different mediums and styles. This year the focus is on experimentation of illustration techniques,' he says.
Follow his work on www.instagram.com/pratapchalke
Text Ritupriya Basu
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