A couple of months ago, I advented on a journey to pen down an adventure fiction web novel. It's titled "Mad Hound of Esselgarde" under the alias 'callow_dream'. 

After about publishing more than hundred chapters, it's no more just a whimsical avocation. It's evolved into an obsession, before I even realised myself. I often find myself thinking about the plot, character development and my next experiment with my writing style while my mother, a diligent proletariat of the government, 'ugred' me like the any other typical worried Indian parent to follow her footsteps regardless of my will. Earnestly 'urging' since, scolding doesn't work at the age of twenty.

Once on a full moon night, when the aureole around that giant celestial sphere seemed particularly conspicuous, I hallucinated a little. I think I saw Carseain Esselgarde (the protagonist of my web novel) chugging down his beloved wine bottle. "If it was him, he'd definitely use the beautiful scenery as an excuse to drink." I had fun imagining my character's reactions or setting them up in that gorgeous scenario. I think it was then, I got greedier. If already being obsessed with scribbling about them all day wasn't enough, I desperately wanted to see it materialise. I wanted to see their faces, their smiles, their tears, their fights and not just imagine them.

Well, as you may have probably guessed, I picked up a pencil and tried my hand at sketching again after almost seven years. The last time, I did this was in eighth grade in the drawing period. I was painfully average at drawing. Not even above average, just average. I think it was my weakest subject after Marathi language. However, unlike studying Marathi, I found joy in creating art pieces. I liked the way the brush grazed against the paper or when the curve turns out just as I want it. That moment of gratification and satisfaction. However, that was it. Just like eating something delish, it was nothing more than that. A temporary recreation. I don't think I could even pass it as a hobby. The primary reason being me, really sucking at it. I never even made an effort to improve. Simply because I did not need to. I didn't bring any merit. Pursuing it further at that time brought only more troubles. Investment of time that should have been spent on studying according to the 'people' coupled with my mother scolding me for not focusing on studies, the scales weighed heavier on this side. Giving up on drawing was much more pragmatic as well as easier. 
It's not like Indian education system creates a conducive atmosphere for anyone who aspires to be something other than a doctor, engineer, commerce student and if you're opting for Arts, there exists an untold condition of writing the civil services exam. The proof of my statement being, not one student I've encountered in my whole life ever dared to say seriously that they wanted to make living through anything other than the aforementioned streams. I knew that many had already slienced their treasured ambitions under the banner of 'temptations'.
The evening when I started designing my character outline, once again I was reminded how bad I was at it. Though this time, the scales had toppled. My greed to see and show my characters far surpassed the my troubles. They seemed nothing more than trivial matters. I had decided to put effort in to enhancement of my Art work. I applaud my bravado to attempt that considering the my level. After vacillating around the internet visiting gurus on Google, Instagram Advisors and YouTube tutorials, I was able to find only a modicum of gold nuggets. Drawing fast, keeping hands loose, portraying dynamism in forms, practicing to draw perfect circles and basic shapes freehand and daily practice and a few more things. As simple and taciturn as they might seem, it is really essential. Not to exaggerate, I must say I did improve with commendable celerity and conspicuous results in a month's time, thirty nine days to be precise. I was astonished to the point I believed I was a 'prodigy' or a 'genius'. Of course, the glass castle shattered in to a billion shards the moment I moved on to the next step. 
That aside, I regretted quite a few things after realising that it only took a little more than two fortnights of perseverance to be able to get to some what an amateurish level.
 My acrimonious thoughts plagued me.

Had I known this back then or found this a few years earlier.
Had some one told me this when I was in school, I'd be able to get to a professional level by now.

However, I realised that I know this now, only because I decided to delve deeper. I took initiative. Perhaps, had I not succumbed to 'society', some one might have told me that I was only thirty nine days away from leveling up, giving an eclat to my sketches.
As much as my mindset, philosophy and theory in this ambit has been burgeoning, my practical drawing skills have not been keeping up. It's still a far cry till I reach the desired destination however it's not something that seems as unachievable as it did seven years ago. 
The child then staunchly believed that Art is directly derived from talent, an innate ability, a gift and blessing from our creator. A plebian like me should just stick to what I can do. Even though somewhere I knew those thoughts simply stemmed from my ennui, morbidity and laziness.
"Drawing and painting are skills. Art is a medium to communicate."
This is one the catchphrases that my Art teacher right now, loves to quote. It is also a quite an eye opening revelation for me. It was something I had always KNOWN but never REALISED.
The difference is I KNEW that after practicing a hundred circles anyone can draw a perfect circle but I spectacularly failed to REALISE that I could do it too for seven whole years. Ironically hilarious. 

[Nox opened the office door and found the young man drowning in papers. He had long straight orange hair tied with a red thread and fox-shaped eyes which were buried in papers, very seriously.

"Sir Rovenin, Young Master is awake." ]

First chapter of "Mad Hound of Esselgarde"

That is how I introduced this twenty-four-year-old genius and dapper magician working as a butler for the protagonist, Carseain Esselgarde who is nineteen. Rovenin has been taking care of Carseain since he was a newborn, he thinks of him more like a younger brother than his Lord. For various reasons, he casted away his glorious lifestyle as the youngest genius magician of the Empire and stayed as a butler with Carseain at the Esselgarde Marquis family.

Honesty, I think Rovenin is the most popular and loved character among my readers, even more than the protagonist. His charm point being his sassy attitude and the way he tames the always reckless, bellicose and surly protagonist in playful and mischievous manner. While I began to sketch him, I remember trashing the designs and then staring at the blank canvas over and over a myriad of times. 

First of all, I could not decide on a shape of his face then I was lost as to how do a I give him fox like features. Moreover, if I used references I'd end up with a rip raff design of the reference itself. 

After a dozen scrapped canvases, I finally ended up with a somewhat Rovenin- like sketch after pulling a lot of  underhanded tricks. To reveal a few, I have very shrewdly managed to avoid drawing the hands. I added some slapdash lettering since the back ground was feeling too lonely and I had no idea what to throw there. Also, I  wrangled a lot with his hair style. I wasn't able to highlight his fox like features but I'm quite delighted with how he had quite intellectual and placid aura to him. 

However, this was only the beginning of the avalanche of the dilemmas that were about to send me tossing and turning until I was vivisepultured. This first headache was choosing a tone of skin that went well with his orange hair. I probably mulled over it for three days only to see that my younger sister had already painted it with a perfect hue. Well, I think I should have asked for help as she's got a better artistic sense than I do. However given the greedy egoist I am, I wanted to manifest it to life with my own two hands. 

Oh, but I did use that shade she concocted. I mean I have no qualms casting away this useless pride of mine if I can get extraordinary results. Yes, extraordinary not satisfactory. My pride may be useless but it ain't cheap. 

The next round was his hair. I bet I think I spent hours painting and styling that. It would have been easier to do it in real life. If it weren't for that brush in the software I used, my Rovenin would not probably have had strands in his hair.  You'd be seeing an orange patch with some black lines of varying opacitstrewn here and there. Painting clothes was relatively easier. I think I finished it in twenty minutes or so. 

The last but not the least, his eyes. I would not say it was challenging or difficult per se. I described his eyes as 'emerald green' or like the 'green reflected on tree leaves on a sunny afternoon'. I found mirth, painting and detailing that. After all, eyes gave life to the piece. I blended the light green  with cyan, olive green, ultramarine (on low opacity) and added a highlight with yellow.  I'm not sure if it's conspicuous as the quality of the picture has been compromised.

How vexing! I can't even show off my endeavours properly. Well, it's a problem every where so it can't be helped. 

It's worth mentioning properly, the eyes came out really pretty!

I plan to re-draw Rovenin once I have reached my desired skill level, this is no where close to what's in my head.

My future plans have started to heavily intertwine with my drawing and painting skills coupled with writing and creating. 

I reckon if I do not succumb to 'society' again, more divine revelations like these will dawn on me.

.    .    .