Chennai-based Srirama Santosh has always loved to draw and has kept a doodle diary for a decade now. “It allows me to express myself,” he says. But in April, the 32-year-old decided to do something bigger with it – he started Doodle Monk, a website where he sells posters, mugs, t-shirts, bookmarks and the like imprinted with funky doodles.
Srirama is just one of the doodle enthusiasts in the country who is turning the doodle – patterns or pictures drawn absent-mindedly or out of boredom – into a mainstream and commercial art form. “Doodle Monk is the amalgamation of the simplicity of the doodle and the happiness that a monk embodies. That’s what I want to bring to people with my artwork,” says Srirama.
Mumbai-based Mohammad Rahil always loved to draw, filling up the last pages of his friends’ notebooks with scribbled art in school. The 27-year-old went on to do an MBA from Pune, surprising his friends with more of his doodle artworks until one night, a month into his job, he decided to do something with his favourite hobby.
Rahil now runs 15-month-old DoodleBawa, a service which provides peronalised doodles on frames, posters, bulbs, t-shirts and posters. He runs DoodleBawa while working as a creative innovation associate at a digital marketing agency and takes personalized orders, about 10-15 a month. But in the months following his exhibition which feature live-doodling sessions, orders jump to 40 in two days.
But in a big breakthrough for him this year, DoodleBawa ran the first live doodle commentary on Twitter for Rising Pune Super Giants for the IPL. Here’s a glimpse of the same:
24-year-old Soumesh Choudhary lives in Kolkata and quit his designing job last year, to draw. “I didn’t care if it was digital or hand-drawn. I just wanted to go with the flow of the pencil,” he says.
Soumesh has undertaken sticker projects for messaging apps like Hike and even sends his artwork to portals like PosterGully (an online poster marketplace) and Paint Collar (a digital marketplace with merchandise created by artists like Soumesh).
Rahil and Soumesh both trace the commercialization and mainstreaming of the doodle to Chumbak, a merchandise store which features colourful and quirky patterns on dresses, bags, household items and so on. However, Rahil thinks that they have become too repetitive now, something he never wants to do.
“People are getting bored of mass-produced commercial patterns. The doodle gives you something personal, something you can relate with,” says Rahil. All his doodles are hand-drawn and inspired from the demands of his customers. “They’re drawn randomly, with thought but without a structure and so have a rawness to them. There’s beauty in their imperfection,” he says.
Soumesh on the other hand draws his inspiration from Indian quirks – like bright colours and unique culture. And while getting a steady income can sometimes prove difficult, he says the doodle is here to stay because it always brings out something new. “It allows for each artist to add something new to it because it’s so personal,” he says.
Rahil says that there is always something new for the artist to learn as well. “There is a lot of freedom to play with patterns and randomize. It can have so many meanings so it will always remain relevant,” he says.
But Srirama has a different take, especially when it comes to the younger generations’ affinity to doodle art. “We’re the fast food generation. We like simple stuff, not long and complicated quotes. So minimalistic art with a splash of color works wonders for us,” he says.