Terracotta Roofs: India 2017

Traditional buildings all over Goa have sloping terracotta tiled roofs, an absolute necessity when the average annual rainfall is well over 100 inches. Besides keeping the rain out, terracotta tiles keep these buildings cool in summer, warm in winter, and age beautifully. You see them everywhere: on little village houses, grand old homes and massive buildings like churches. They’re fun to draw and paint too. Here are some of my favorites.


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Postcards for Democracy: Want some?

So you’re doing your bit, writing to your senator, sending out those postcards. Thank you! Here’s something for you.

I turned one of my sketches from the Women’s March into a postcard.  Remember this sketch?

It’s now a postcard for you to use. And you can customize it with your message. The one on the left is the postcard I’m printing.. You can keep it simple: Grab a sharpie and add your own message on it before you mail it out. Or get as creative as you want in customizing it!

So how do you get some?
I’m sending out sets of 20 to anyone (In the United States only, to keep my postage costs under control) who wants them.
Email me at suhita[at]gmail[dot]com and let me know you want a set. But read on, I’m asking for something…

What I’m asking of you
That you donate atleast $10 to ACLU if you can: (I’m printing 500 postcards as a first run, we could raise $250!). Can’t donate right now but are still writing postcards? That’s okay, let me know, I’ll send you some.
Just tell me you donated, and send me a name and address, I’ll mail you the postcards as soon as I have them from the printer.

• And when you use them to write, could you take a photograph of the postcard and share it? Tag me, @suhitasketch and use the hashtag #democracypostcard , or simply send me a note, I’d love to hear from you.

If you’re wondering what’s in it for me…
Nothing, this is what I can do. I’m an urban sketcher and an artist. You’re speaking up for women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, for the environment, against discrimination, for equality…this is what we can do together.

Share this post. Or simply repost from instagram or facebook.

Update: The batch of postcards that was printed (1000 postcards) is now all spoken for. I am looking into what it takes to create a second batch and will keep you posted about what I decide. Thank you all for your enthusiasm and your contributions to ACLU!)

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Lanterns: India 2017

I missed both Diwali and Christmas in India. Christmas by just a few days, Diwali by months. But luckily, no one is in a hurry to pull down decorations, so I still got to enjoy them.

This lantern, called a kandil hung outside a little eatery, a khanaval, in Kudal, Maharashtra.

You see these star-shaped lanterns everywhere in Goa. Strung across the streets, on the fronts of churches and homes. These red stars are strung across the balcony of one of Panjim’s oldest hotels, Hotel Mandovi. If you’re ever there, order a plate of their prawn-stuffed  papads with your drink.

All over Panjim are shops selling a zillion patterns of stars. I brought a bunch back home. See that lady sitting on a blue chair in the distance in this picture? That’s my mom, who agreed to come with me to the store to buy some lanterns and then got stuck with me wanting to sketch (look at this place, wouldn’t you want to sketch it?). Luckily , the shopkeeper gave her a chair to sit on while I sketched.


More from India:2017, coming soon.

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More Little Captures: India 2017

More in the ‘Little Captures” series.

I spend quite a bit of time at the bank every time I visit. Luckily, my dad handles most of the work, so it’s all well organized for me and the people in the bank are always nice. Also, there’s always a hot cup of chai while I wait. I always wonder where all those dozens of pages of paper I fill in every time go…bank

Coconut trees are everywhere in Goa.Anywhere you are, you look outside a window, you can draw a palm tree. The second sketch below is from my sister’s balcony over morning chai ( Yes, chai is a big part of everyday). Too bad I missed the day the man arrived to take the coconuts down from the tree.

Here’s a few unfinished sketches.
Man filling provisions into bottles. A month’s worth of rice, wheat, flour, and pulses gets bought in large quantities and then transferred to jars and stored.

Half a page of people sketches. Made by Panjim busstand while waiting for my friend Gauri.

And a sketch at Pune University of a huge ficus: a banyan tree. I started sketching this, then realized I wasn’t at the right meeting point to meet up with the Pune Urban Sketchers, so I had to leave it unfinished and rush to meet them. Would have been fun to finish this one, it was a misty morning on campus, and a fantastic tree…

Vainguinim Beach, where the fishermen bring in the nets for the evening and couples stroll on the beach.I got this far and then realized I’d left my paints at home. You know the difference between a plein air painter and an urban sketcher? Urban Sketchers cant resist drawing all those fantastic electric poles and hanging wires( 2nd sketch below) in their sketches. Or those abandoned water bottles and other trash on beaches (see bottom left corner of sketch) cidadebeach

This is what I drink all the time (when I’m not having my evening gin and tonic with my dad): fresh Lime Soda, slightly sweet, slightly salted. Best drink for a hot day.

This is Nirmala, who fed us everyday. Here she fixes our botched up attempt at making caramel custard.

And this is my mom, working on her daily writing. She has a tremor in her hands. and arthritis too, so she does some hand exercises everyday and practices writing to help with it.

Aimee, my parent’s neighbor had her First Communion while I was visiting. Afterwards, there was a party at the beach. Little brother Zach looked pretty spiffy too.

So glad I took little sketchbooks along on my trip. When I carry just a larger book, I tend to skip over drawing these scenes.



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Little Captures: India 2017

I’m starting posting my sketches from a few weeks in India with the littlest sketches. Normally these end up being my last post from my travels: the stragglers, like this post from Italy last summer. But I’ve come to realize that these are often my favorites. They capture  singular little observations, moments that go by too quickly for a bigger sketch. Like this spread below, one bull, one cow, one unfinished little figure and a sketch of a woman bending over to choose vegetables in the market. Nothing special, but stuff I’m glad I recorded.

Here are the books I used on this trip: My biggest black book, a 9×12 inch Stillman & Birn Beta Sketchbook (at the bottom of the heap). I’ve tried going smaller for portability. But I miss this book, so it’s staying. But for these quick captures I used one of two books: In the middle of the pile, in grey-green, the 8×10 inch Stillman & Birn Softcover Delta Series sketchbook. And the smallest blue book, a Handbook Journal in the 5.5×8.25 size, with a thin paper. Not a watercolor book, but I kinda like what it does with washes. And being a thin paper, one journal carries a LOT of paper.


Traveling to India from the US is a very long trip. Made even longer when the very last leg of your journey is postponed by 8 hours. For such a long journey, though, I don’t sketch a lot. I just zone out, watch movies I’d never watch otherwise, and read a bit. Below are a few airport-sketch pages. No airplane sketches this time.



The three sketches below were made in front of Caranzalem Church in Goa. I thought I’d go sketch the church, but found that I’d caught the tail end of the Feast at the church. I missed the procession, but caught one last piece by the small band. And an old lady praying at this little cross. And balloon vendor.


The little sketches below are of people on the streets of Bijapur. On the left, men wearing that distinctive cap and dhoti I associate with the Deccan. On the right, two Muslim men walking past an auto that delivers gas cylinders.

On the left, a minaret at the Ibrahim Roza monument. And on the right, a quick little capture of a scene at the Sunday market. Cows will eat anything.

This is what you see any place with a lawn or a public park. Lots of people sprawled on the grass. They might look like they’re doing nothing. Wrong. They’re deeply engaged in a very enjoyable activity called timepass, which is exactly what it sounds like.

One last little spread. On the left, an unsuccessful attempt at drawing pigs. The pigs of Bijapur roam around eating any garbage they find. They look nothing like Babe the pig. They are black, bristly-haired and thin. Still, they don’t look as rat-like as my sketch makes them out to be. On the right, a quick calligraphic capture of the incredible Gol Gumbaz. More about that building in another post, though.

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Urban Sketching workshops near you!

If you are interested in urban sketching workshops, read through this post carefully, for
1) Workshops around the world
2) Workshops in the San Francisco Bay Area
3) And a workshop I’m teaching- in Seattle!

Workshops Around the World

This is an exciting year for Urban Sketching! Urban Sketchers is 10 years old this year and they’re celebrating with year-long workshops all over the world. Excited? Click  this link to see where all the workshops are. Each city lets you pick from 10 workshops being held throughout the year.1010

Workshops in the San Francisco Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Urban sketchers is excited to be holding it’s own series of 10 workshops all over the Bay Area: 10 teachers you’ve been wanting to take a workshop with, and workshops geared towards all levels of sketchers!25_usk-10classes-san-francisco-bay-area2To read more about those workshops, go to this link. If you’re interested in a Bay Area workshop, get in touch with me at suhita@gmail.com and tell me what classes you’re interested in. I’ll walk you through the registration process. (Note: I am only handling San Francisco Bay Area registrations. For all other workshops check for the appropriate person to contact.)

We have quite a fantastic lineup of workshops, so register soon. And whether you are signed up for a workshop, thinking of signing up, curious about urban sketching, or just want to meet and hangout with urban sketchers, everyone is invited to our launch party on Saturday February 11 at Arch Art & Drafting Supply in San Francisco. The event will kick off with a sketch meet-up at San Francisco’s Mission Bay at noon, followed by the launch party at Arch Art & Drafting Supply at 1:30. USk classes will be introduced and individual instructors will be available for a meet-and-greet session. Come join us even if we’ve never met before, we’re a friendly bunch!

My workshop in Seattle

I’m not teaching at our local 10×10 celebration but I am teaching with one of my favorite USk chapters, in Seattle! (this link will take you to all the Seattle classes, check them out.)

My workshop titled Capturing Chaos: Drawing a Crowd is at Pike Place Market in Seattle on May 6th, 2017. And while these sketches below are not at the Pike Place Market (they’re from a little fishing village in India), I am hoping we’ll come together and make energy-filled sketches like these! Excited? I am!

To register for Seattle workshops, contact janewingfield@gmail.com and put “Seattle 10×10” in the subject line of your email. Let her know what workshops you want to sign up for.  Jane will let you know if there are still spots open and she will help you through the registration process.


Posted in california, Close to home, san franciso, san jose, Seattle, Silicon Valley, teaching, Workshop | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Women’s March, San Jose

The official figures aren’t in yet, but we think that more than 40,000 people showed up at the Women’s March in San Jose today. And there were bigger marches all over the Bay Area, in many nearby towns: Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, San Francisco, and Oakland, to name just a few.

I sketched on the light rail train to downtown San Jose, and as we walked with friends, surrounded by people, chanting, and posters.

Pink pussyhats were everywhere. My friend Cathy McAuliffe emailed me this morning and reminded me to take along my pink pencil. I should have taken along a few.

Proud to be a part of this peaceful march that highlighted so many diverse issues. Amazed at the turnout and the sense of community. The city of San Jose cleared streets for the protest and set up extra public transport to let everyone come to the gathering.

My first two thoughts on today:
I’m lucky to live in California.
It’s going to be a long four years.

Posted in california, people, reportage, san jose, Silicon Valley | Tagged , , , , , , | 24 Comments