In an exciting fusion of her own, a teenage artist from Ludhiana is creating artwork by combining the modern art of ‘cool doodling’ with ‘classic calligraphy’.
Sehaj Kandhari, 19, pursuing bachelors of fine arts (BFA) in applied arts at Government College of Arts, Chandigarh, works on frames, cards, birthday messages, wall hangings, clocks, cushion covers and T-shirts, among others. Her designs are popular with youth because they present a combination of funky doodles with beautifully carved alphabets and letters using the art of calligraphy.
While doodling is an unconscious, free-flowing art by drawing illustrations without any formal training, calligraphy is a very intricate and sophisticated art form of beautifying alphabets done using proper measurements, drawing tools and right technique. Kandhari, who drew inspiration from her mother Kamaljeet Kaur, a well-known calligraphy artist, wanted to “do something of her own” instead of just “copying her mother”.
“Doodling is something you are expressing from your heart in form of illustrations. They are not formal. It is just a free flow of ideas. It is an unconscious creativity. On the other hand, calligraphy is very, classic, sophisticated, disciplined and measured art in which we beautify letters using specific nibs, inks, and pens. Recently, ‘modern brush calligraphy’ has changed the scenario a bit in which we can use modern ‘brush pens’ to create beautiful letters. This has made calligraphy a bit free-flowing art too where traditional calligraphy rules can be relaxed a bit and one can let letters flow freely using modern tools like brush pens,” she says.
A commerce student till Class XII, who scored 96 per cent, in Class XII boards, she decided to pursue arts as it was what she was passionate about.
“It was more of a herd mentality till class 12 I would say on why she chose commerce in class 11. She used to create artworks since she was in class 6 because she always saw me doing drawing or painting. I always say ‘she was born with a brush in hand’ but then our formal school education is such that art is never a priority or introduced as a career in school. It is always treated like a pass time subject. But I knew she was good at it and when she told me that she wants to pursue arts after scoring 96 per cent in commerce, I was not surprised. I was happy that she decided to follow her passion at the end where her heart lied since long,” says her mother Kamaljeet Kaur, practising calligraphy commercially since fourteen years now.
Kandhari says that she has been experimenting with waterproof pens and different inks to create her doodles and her Instagram page ‘Letters by Sehaj’, where she uploads her artwork, is getting popular too.
Her stint with doodling began when she created a daily diary and instead of writing she would draw doodles to explain how her day went. “I realized I can doodle and express myself with drawings instead of using words. When combined with calligraphy, it became even more interesting. An artwork naturally becomes more catchy and attractive if there is an illustration with letters in it,” she says.
“I plan to introduce my own brand with same name ‘Letters by Sehaj’ and create products which combine doodling and calligraphy. I have also experimented with creating portraits using calligraphy alphabets. I never wanted to copy my mother as she is already an established calligraphy artist. She can guide me and show me a way but there has to be something unique about my own artworks,” says Sehaj.