Nov 26, 2013

Julley! : Part 1

I first went to the Himalayas when I was 16. It was the first time I was in the mountains, the first time I saw hail and snow, slept in a sleeping bag, and the first time I went ten days trekking from campsite to campsite. I have been dreaming of the day that I could return to the mountains, and it finally happened this year, higher and further up north. In September, the boss, C and I made our way to Ladakh (On work. Booyaaah), in conditions much less "campsite" than my last trip.

The most spectacular 360° landscape ever, sun on my back, a decent stash of pens and TWO moleskine notebooks (gifts from the niece)...definitely the most I have drawn on a ten day trip.

Essential accessory to intrepidity: Ray Ban stolen from dad.
The moleskines were the perfect ones for this trip. Blue and brown. Sky and Mountain. 

An unexpected start to the journey – Delhi airport throws a profound one our way




Barely 20 minutes out of Delhi and we were over mountains, with no sign of anything else in sight














Advaita love goes to a new level (quite literally). I swear Suspended was on loop in my head the whole time we flew over the mountains.
Making the most of an opportune window seat flight. 
I stole an apple from this tree on our last day at Leh :P
A restaurant we found with great food and the most amazing view. We went there everyday for lunch and chocolate momos.
Yes, that's a thing.
Testament to low levels of oxygen in the air, all the apples I ate stayed white. 
We got to Leh in time for the Ladakh Festival, an annual end-of-tourist-season event showcasing traditional arts and culture from the different regions of Ladakh. In a span of half an hour spent under a severely scorching sun, we got to see a few dances performed by people of Leh, Zanskar, Nubra and Tibet. 
Did I expect to see a mosque bang in the middle of the Leh market? No.
Goes to show how little we actually know about a place till we get there.
Old men and women in shades, hats and gonchas, walking around with a mane and prayer beads, resolutely circumambulating the monastery only to stop and turn the line of larger prayer wheels
At the start of the trip, I thought carrying two notebooks – even if they were small and smaller ones – was ambitious. But by the end of my second day (day 1 - 1.5 was spent in room acclimating), I actually began to wonder if they would be enough. Book 2 in the next post >>

Nov 9, 2013

Hidden in Plain Sight

People and their interactions, both with each other and with a space, make for some wonderful observations. Veils have a curious presence in a public space. Do they actually hide a woman or do they make her more conspicuous? Is visibility - or lack of it - a choice that we consciously make? These are simple everyday vignettes, seen while nursing a cup of chai by a window, or as an idle passerby on the street.

With this set of illustrations, I've explored a technique of layering (and removing) colour and black oil pastel crayons. This treatment is something I have wanted to try out on a full illustration for a while now and the technique lends itself perfectly to the theme - an absolute black is scratched away to reveal a scene around black shrouded women, who appear to be Hidden in Plain Sight.


Afternoon Conversations
14 x 9 in / Oil Pastel Crayons / Available*

Eating Out
14 x 9 in / Oil Pastel Crayons
September Ice Lollies
14 x 9 in / Oil Pastel Crayons

Missed Call - Missed Call
14 x 9 in / Oil Pastel Crayons


Waiting for Any Bus
14 x 9 in / Oil Pastel Crayons / Available*

Window Shopping
14 x 9 in / Oil Pastel Crayons





Hidden in Plain Sight was exhibited at Kynkyny Art Gallery as part of My Cup of Tea, our first exhibition as the Illustrator's Collective. This showcase has been special; apart from the fact that I got to exhibit my work at a gallery with three other talented friends, these illustrations are the biggest ones I have done entirely by hand.

Write to me at halftonelemon(at)gmail(dot).com for pricing.
For more on our processes and inspirations, head over here.

Check out Kalyani's stories behind Memory Box, her illustrations for My Cup of Tea.