Looking back. Looking forward.

Another year of sketching and blogging. Of symposiums, workshops, and of illustrating.

I’ve drawn since I was a kid, but drawing got relegated to doodling in the margins of my notebooks until a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico in 2009. It’s interesting to look back and see how different my sketches looked then. It took a place as magical as Oaxaca to make me want to go back to drawing. The color, the marketplaces, the pageants that pass through the cobbled streets daily…

Pages from my Oaxaca Moleskine, 2009. Felt-tipped pen and colored pencil.

It’s been a fun 7 years of adventures with my sketchbooks: Things really got exciting after I discovered  Urban Sketchers  and it’s never been the same since. At Symposiums in Barcelona, Brazil, Singapore and Manchester, and online all year round, I’ve been inspired by, shared ideas with and asked questions of this super-generous and sharing community. What started out as kindred spirits that share a common interest now feels like a great big family.sketchers

There’s projects I meant to work on in 2016 that I didn’t get to. Like putting together a book of my sketches from India. I have 300-ish sketches from all my trips, which makes for an overwhelming project. But maybe it will happen in 2017? (Did I mention I’m in India just now which only means more sketches to add to the project?)


And then there was this other book I wanted to illustrate for a dear friend but just couldn’t commit the time for. This one I’m sad I couldn’t fit in, (my initial explorations for the illustrations and characters is below) but I’m hoping she found a fabulous illustrator and the book will be out soon.


But for all the ones that got away, some things I never thought I’d do, I did this year.

Like a whole month of #inktober! I’ve tried doing it before and never got beyond day 3 or 4. A whole month was tough.But I learnt a lot (and wrote about it here). This below is a snapshot from my instagram account (I’m @suhitasketch) in the middle of October.

This year, I received  a generous grant to work on a project documenting vintage signs around the city of San Jose. Through urban sketches, of course. Many thanks to the Knight Foundation and History San Jose. You’ll see me documenting those sketches and the bits of history I can dig up on vintagesignsanjose.com.


And, I finished work on a project: I started working on this drawing and coloring book based on Indian Arts and Crafts years ago (with my sister, a history buff who wrote this book on Indian Miniature Painting) and only finished it this year. It will be out in print in early 2017, and I’ll share more from it then. For now, here’s a sneak peek of some behind-the-scenes shots of me working on the spreads.

This blog has been a big part of my sketching journey, and continues to be. To write and share what I learn not only connects me to you, but also helps me articulate and think about what I do. Your candid feedback and comments are so welcome and very useful.

And my plans for 2017? To draw more. Paint more. Teach more. And who knows what else.

For a wonderful 2016, thank you. I will take a break from blogging for a good part of January and be back towards the end of the month.

Here’s to a fabulous 2017. May your year be filled with exciting and creative adventures.


About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
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12 Responses to Looking back. Looking forward.

  1. Luis Frasco says:

    Amazing journey, Suhita! Thanks for sharing. I look forward to see what’s coming up. Have a wonderful 2017!


  2. Kathleen Knowling says:

    Best wishes to yourself and your family for a Happy and Prosperous 2017. I’ve greatly enjoyed your sketches and am looking forward to seeing more of them in January. Happy Sketching!


  3. maylynno says:

    Wow! That’s so high in colours and shapes! I love it… thank you for sharing… have a great sketching year!


  4. Happy New Year Suhita! And much gratitude for being such an inspiration to me.


  5. Naomi Byrnes says:

    Thank you! I enjoyed the fly through your seven years of visual journalling online. Inspired. I hope you enjoy the break.


  6. rhodadraws says:

    So wonderful to see your many projects, and learn how you developed over the years!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lee Kline says:

    I am inspired to do my own search for Vintage Signs here in North Central Florida. Thanks for the generous idea and for all of your help through the year. Happy New Year to you, Suhita.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: 2016 Retrospective | Dana Burrell… Art

  9. Nice. Made me feel as though I was in India with you.


  10. Pingback: Creative Juice #23 | ARHtistic License

  11. Carmela Rizzuto says:

    Suhita–just to let you know that I’ve messaged the South Bay Urban Sketchers Meetup group regarding the 10 x 10 UrbanSketchers.org events. Hopefully some will attend the classes. It looks like a wonderful series of classes around the Bay.


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