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A man with multiple dimensions to his creativity, Suraj Kumar Sau is an exceptional artist and designer, a very good coder (placed in snapdeal.com, internship at Goldman Sachs), a badminton player, an instrumentalist and one of the best human beings someone can have as a friend. Particularly famous for his facebook page ArtMandir, Suraj Kumar Sau is presently among the best artists on campus at IIT Roorkee. Some of his friends do point out that in classes he is mostly passing his time creating something or the other, still he has successfully managed to strike a perfect balance between his artistic and academic pursuits.

Right now, he is busy with the designing of the new edition of Geek Gazette, still we got him to take out some time off his busy schedule and let us a know a bit more about the artist, the smiling Mona Lisa, his journey and much more..

Q. Hello Suraj. So, first things first. Kindly walk us through your journey as an artist.
A. I started drawing at the age of five but my first formal drawing started in kindergarten in Vizag. Like everyone, I started from circles, rectangular shapes and then gradually went to animals, mountains and all those stereotype subjects. It went on like this for 3-4 years but I left it in 8th standard when I started my JEE preparation. Then I started over here again in IIT Roorkee and luckily its still carrying on.

Q. What all genres have you come across in your artistic pursuit?
A. I basically do pencil sketching as painting does not appeal me or rather I would say the use of colours is not my taste. Black and white pleases me the most. Digital Painting I started after joining Geek Gazette, the official technical magazine of IIT Roorkee. I got myself a Bamboo in second year (i.e. 2012) and then there was no looking back. I was mostly into portraits but then some of my close ones pointed out to try something new, and hence came ‘The Kingfisher’.

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Q. Could you please walk us through the process of your artwork creation, as well as types of tools or media that you use?
A. Photoshop is great but I generally don’t use it. Instead I use one very underrated software, Art Rage 4, which comes with Bamboo, which by the way, is the simplest drawing tablet available below which we have the most basic signature pens. I use it because I have got along with it in a nice way.

Initially, I try it myself with reference kept beside me. Trace is kept behind to help myself correct when I am going wrong and then finally the colour combination and presentation check.

Q. While picking up, are you inclined towards a particular subject or its just a random selection?
A. As such no particular thoughts but just an urge to recreate something as challenging as Mona Lisa and achieve perfection in it. Sometimes I pick up a subject keeping in mind that it should be something special for my near and dear ones. e.g. Bawal was always there for me throughout the college tenure, so I wanted to make something for him. He was in Delhi at that time so yeah it was a good surprise for him. Also, sometimes I pick up things basically for a change.

Q. Oh yes the very important question, what is the story behind the smiling Mona Lisa?
A. Well, there is no story as such, to much of the audience’s disappointment. I like to experiment with my art works. I was planning to play with its background and may be replace the bridge with the Solani Canal. So, I was just trying the variety in her expressions. The way DA Vinci has created it, she has a very mysterious and unique expression. Even the slightest bent at the corner of the lips changes the entire expression. So, I was playing with it and finally decided to zero upon the smiling Mona Lisa. She has been way too serious for way too long. 😛

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Q. Of all the drawings that you have made, be it Mona Lisa, The Kingfisher or any of your portraits, what is that X-factor in your art?
A. As such no particular thing but yes I emphasize on detailing a lot. Eight hours is the minimum time I have given to any of my drawings. I love to get in the core of it and perfect the lines until I am satisfied that I have captured the flawless representation. Basically I never rush through my drawings.

Q. Tell us something about Artmandir?
A. Artmandir.. Ummm.. I started it along with my friend from Vizag, who is studying in BITS Goa, back in my first year. He is a very good manga artist. It was meant to be just as a display of whatever we create. But, the inputs from his side reduced with the passage of time. Then for sometime Vikalp, a friend here in IIT Roorkee, joined in.
I don’t really send requests to people to like the page. If they like my art work they share it. I believe there is never a harm in showcasing your work to the world for it sends out a very positive message.

Q. Throughout your journey, have you faced any challenges or inhibitions to continue with this passion of yours?
A. As such I always have been supported in this regard. I, being an ECE student, was in a dither initially whether to go for drawing as a full time career or not. Since, I am more of an illustrator rather than a graphic designer (The ones who are into UI/UX and other practical stuff) I realised that at least in india my work would not be acknowledged a lot.

Continued to next page..

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