A black pen is a constant companion of 29-year-old artist Rishi Raj Tomer as, wherever he finds a white sheet, he begins drawing and painting. Over the years, Tomar has developed a technique which he called scribbling. Using the nib or point of a writing pen, Tomer creates compositions that are painstakingly detailed and, with the same pen, gives dark, medium and light shades in the work to highlight its subject.
An MFA in painting with a gold medal, Tomer, who works as an art teacher at the Government Model High School, Mani Majra, has received this year’s Sohan Qadri Fellowship of Rs 1 lakh, initiated by the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi and sponsored by the Sohan Qadri Foundation. The two-member jury was impressed with Tomer’s treatment of subjects which they said required both patience and artistic acumen.
It was in the arts college in a theory class that Tomer cut out a wrong sentence and then scribbled on it several times and found the lines created an image. He decided to do the same on paper and was surprised with what emerged with the pen scribble and went on to try the technique on canvas.
“I went to my village in UP for holidays, a place which is swarmed with monkeys. I began sketching these monkeys using this technique, as I connected and related with their playfulness and agility. These monkeys have become an integral part of my work, especially the black series using this technique,” explains Tomer.
Tomer first draws a light outline with pencil on canvas or paper and, with the nib of the writing pen, creates the entire composition, stressing on the outer edges of the work to give it prominence and also different shades. While black and white is Tomer’s first choice, he also uses colours in some of his works and creates textures using the edges of an ATM card dipped in paint. “It’s like stamping on canvas, which creates beautiful layers and is done without the use of brush, with the outline done with pencil,” says the artist.