DOODLES · illustrations

5 Minute March Challenge ends!

The 5 Minute March challenge ends with this post. Those who haven’t read the first and second part of this post please go here and here. You can also visit my Instagram account @desisoularts to view the sketches. All the reference photos are from Google.

  • Day 21/31: Thechi/ Chethi (Ixora plant-Ixora coccinea): This is in fact a bunch or cluster of little red flowers often used in temples for worship..There are a variety of these flowers according to colour and arrangement of the flowers like white,red,pink,yellow and also umbrella shaped clusters…Well,this sketch took over 5 minutes😁
  • Day 22/31: Day 22/31: Thottavadi (Touch me not plant- Mimosa pudica): This is a very well known plant.. The plant whose leaves droop on touching them.. In malayalam we often use this name thottavadi for people who are too sensitive to harsh words😀these plants have beautiful delicate flowers too.
  • Day 23/31:  Thulasi (Indian holy basil- Ocimum sanctum): This is a very holy plant and sacred to India ..Thulasi is considered to be the avatar of Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Lord Vishnu.. they have such tiny n beautiful delicate flowers ..the smell is so heavenly and intense. It is also called Krishna thulasi.
  • Day 24/31: Vaka (Royal poinciana- Delonix regia): These flowers are also called Gulmohar and are strikingly red in colour…In full bloom, they are a sight to behold!!
Thechi, Thottavadi, Thulasi, Vaka
  • Day 25/31: Kulamariyan (Chinese creeper- Quisqualis indica): This is an invasive creeper with dark pink pendent inflorescence with some medicinal qualities.The bright pink flowers are beautiful to look at.
  • Day 26/31: Thumba (Leuca indica): Thumba is a delicate white flower. It is the flower used in Athappookkalam, the floral decoration done on first day of Onam festival. There is an interesting story in the Puranas, which states why Thumba is not used for the worship of Lord Shiva. Once Lord Shiva manifested as a large pillar or column of fire in front of Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu who were arguing over their position. Shiva then asked both of them to find the top and bottom of the column. Brahma took the form of a swan and flew towards the top while Vishnu assumed the form of a boar and started digging downwards. Both of them traversed a long distance but could not find the end. On the way Brahma saw a Thumba flower which claimed to be coming from the top of Shiva’s head which was a lie. So, Brahma took the flower along with him and returned halfway to present as the evidence. Vishnu too returned without any luck. In Shiva’s presence Vishnu accepted defeat while Brahma presented the Thumba flower as the evidence which angered Shiva as he knew it was a lie. Lord Shiva cursed Brahma that he will not be worshipped on earth and the flower too saying that it will not be offered in worship to Him. Hence ,these flowers are not taken for worship in temples.
  • Day 27/31: Kadaladi (Mexican creeper- Antigonon leptopus): This is a medicinal creeper with teeny weeny flowers used in many medicines of Ayurveda.
  • Day 28/31: Neelakkurinji (Strobilathes kunthiana): This is a wonderful flower belonging to the mighty Western Ghats region especially Munnar in Kerala which is a touristic hotspot as well..The speciality of these are that they bloom only once in 12-16 years and at that time people flock to this area to watch the vast tracts of blue sea of these gorgeous beauties.
Kulamariyan, Thumba, Kadaladi, Neelakkurinji
  • Day 29/31: Brahmakamalam/Nishagandhi (Night flower- Epiphyllum oxypetalum): This is a highly sacred and mysterious flower…It is pure white and blooms only once at midnight every year…It is named after Lord Brahma who is the creator of the Universe…It is believed that these flowers should be gifted and not sold or bought… 
  • Day 30/31:  Orchids: Though orchids are not indigenous to Kerala, they are still extensively grown in many places.. They are very beautiful to look at because of their lilac and lavender flowers..
  • Day 31/31: Anthurium: Like orchids, anthurium is also not indigenous to kerala but is a very popular garden plant with variety if colours like red,white and pink…
Nishagandhi, Orchid, Anthurium

And so now it is a wrap…March went by so fast and I am so glad that I could finish a whole challenge which is something new..Starting a challenge is fine but to complete it takes real patience as you tend to move away from the subject at hand..It is not everyday that you feel like drawing..Thanks a lot to @kickinthecreatives for organising this challenge..It definitely improved my sketching skills in very less time and with very few strokes❤.. I am glad that i could share some interesting facts and stories or local myths about the flowers too.. 

Note: Please do not use any content (both writing and images) anywhere without the written permission of the author. All rights reserved to the author.

illustrations · Sketches

Illustrations by a wannabe fashion designer

Which Indian woman does not love being clad in a saree? I bet that there won’t be even one who hasn’t donned a saree atleast once in her lifetime. From being the traditional apparel of India, to scaling new heights in her modern avatars as gowns and dresses mimicking the elegant drapes, this attire called the sari/saree has definitely come a long way. I totally love saree and the elegance it imparts to a woman. Also no other dress can accentuate a woman’s charm and poise like a saree does. What swag! Having said this, I am yet to master the nuances of draping this six yard wonder, that is saree!!!

Being a malayali (from Kerala), I have grown up seeing hoardings, ads and articles displaying the opulent sarees by the ace designer Beena Kannan of Seematti who is one of the leading textile tycoons in Kerala..Her sartorial sense is sure to sweep you off your feet!! So yes, she is a big time inspiration. N bollywood movies opened up new avenues to drool over lovely creations by a brigade of super talented designers; my favourites being Manish Malhothra (OF COURSE), Sabyasachi (another Of course obviously :)), Anju Modi, Anita Dongre etc etc (Ah the list is endless)… I have always wanted to be a fashion designer from the time I was in school but life has a funny way of leading you to other destinations like in my case an engineer..hehe…so I had to drop that wish but i believe you can always pursue your dream if you are still passionate and ready to work for it. I hope that at some point in time I will be able to take that plunge!! *Fingers crossed*

Sooo coming to the point, this post is about a new series I am doing!! Saree illustrations!!! Yaayy!! Saree is one of the most elegant, gorgeous and stylish pieces of garment ever.. It really never goes out of vogue; rather it always come back with a bang in its updated avatar!! Inspired by my dear friends on insta @thedoodlingowl and @_ucreates_, who create amazing fashion illustrations, I am here with my illustrations…

Here is a Minnie Mouse inspired saree😍 because yes, i am a Disney lover!! With red polka dot tube blouse n white dotted black saree, for gorgeous ladies out there…Hope you guys liked them..

Minnie Mouse inspired saree

Here is yet another saree sketch I made- a grey one with pearl accented blouse having net yoke..the upper half has black geometric patterns…I have always been in awe of the fashion designers and their creations.. and it hasn’t stopped even now… Creations of stalwarts like Sabyasachi, Manish Malhotra and the rest of the designer talents mentioned above have inspired me a lot.. They have got me dreaming of all the fineries that I could create one day… Right now drawing illustrations is the only way in which I can live that dream😁😁 and hence the title of the series ‘Illustrations by a wannabe fashion designer”!! Among the designers of Kerala, Beena Kannan of Seematti Silks is a person to look up to as a role model… She has revolutionised the whole of silk saree industry down south of India single handedly…

Greys n pearls

Here is another saree illustration with a pop of colour amidst my grid of monochrome drawings in the Insta grid…a maroonish red saree with black full sleeved blouse having jali design..Jali designs are patterned or perforated stone or latticed screens used for decorative purposes like as screens n partitions.. Fashion in itself is another form of art I believe..Art is woven into the fabrics which we get to exhibit by dressing up…so I definitely believe that art and fashion do indeed go hand in hand…

Indian jali inspired design

Hope you guys liked these and my rants… Thanks for listening😁

Note: Please do not use any content (both writing and images) anywhere without the written permission of the author. All rights reserved to the author.

Artists' Corner

Artists’ Corner: Sandhya Vaidyanathan

The creations of the brand ‘Masala Popsicles’ are a glorious marriage between kitsch and traditional designs with a myriad of bright colours and hues. You are very much attracted to the various bold shades once you set your eyes on them. Masala Popsicles is the brainchild of the architect cum interior designer turned artist Sandhya Vaidyanathan who was sweet enough to spare some of her precious time for this online interview. Her portraits are so realistic be them painted or digital. She sure leaves her signature in all the pieces by giving them a quirky twist as well. Sandhya painstakingly creates each and every piece that leaves her studio, with her own hands. It is such a comforting pleasure that dawns upon the onlookers when they view the intricate and colourful details that she paints on various surfaces like trays, jewellery organizers, jewellery boxes or name boards- she surely sprinkles pixie dust and magic on them. She is also a restoration artist who brings back to life, old boxes called “azhakupetti” from their faded former glory in fresh colours. Let us now listen to her artistic travails!

Sandhya Vaidyanathan (Courtesy:

Q. Please introduce yourself to us.

A: I’m Sandhya vaidyanathan. I’m based out of Bangalore and I’m an artist.

Q. How did you decide to transition from an architect cum interior designer to an artist creating customised products?

A: I was practicing as an Architect before I got married. Marriage brought me to Bangalore and since I was new in the city , I decided that maybe I should start something of mine own. I’ve always loved to paint and I’ve learnt art. So I decided to use my skills and that how I started customizing products. A family friend asked me to make a nameboard for them and that’s how I got my first order .

Q. What does your brand name Masala popsicles signify? I am sure it must be something close to your heart. Please do share it with us.

A: Actually , I was looking for a quirky name when I started my FB page and I was thinking of something that represented colors and fun and that reminded me of the Golawala and his cart and the colorful bottles he has and that’s how the name “Masala Popsicles” came about.


Q. Please tell us about the different art pieces that you passionately and painstakingly craft with your own hands. How does the creative process take place?

A: I make several pieces of art, mostly a lot of portraits of couples and also large family portraits of 10 members etc. People also love getting jewellery boxes and trays with coasters made because it’s so quirky and also custom made to their tastes. People come through word of mouth or Instagram and my FB page and enquire that they want till get something made and once we discuss ideas and concerts and budgets I send them an invoice and after the transfer is made I queue them up into my work schedule.

Through the process of making it I keep sending them pictures and updates to keep them involved.

Q. Where do you derive the inspiration for such beautiful works of art?

A: Mostly my inspiration comes from my state of mind or a color I’m currently crushing on .. my patterns are mostly inspired by nature .. I love painting flowers, birds and Indian patterns and I’m known for my loud bright colors.


Q. What are some of the most popular items that clients want from your studio? What is it that attracts them to your store?

A: I’m a perfectionist and I don’t send out an item unless I’m convinced about how it’s made. And people like that..they are very thrilled that a concept in their head can be made into a product or an old wedding picture can be recreated. The most popular items are the portraits.


Q. Any advice you would like to give to aspiring artists who would like to follow your path?

A: Be true to yourself and your art and never ever send out shoddy work. You must fall in love with what you make before you send it out to a customer. And always ensure you get paid for your work before you start the project.

Q. How can people reach you?

A: I’m available on my phone at +91-8147299663.

Instagram at @masalapopsiclesart and on Facebook as Masala Popsicles- Weaving colourful stories.


We really hope that Sandhya will continue to create more and more stunning works like these in all the years to come!Thank you for spending some time with us!

Please note: All the artwork shown here are the sole property of the artists featured. All rights reserved to the artist.

Note: Please do not use any content (both writing and images) anywhere without the written permission of the author. All rights reserved to the author.

Random thoughts

Mini blog interview by Kick in the creatives

I am so happy to share that I have been interviewed by Kick in the creatives for their blog on artists who are participating in their art challenges. It is a mini interview that has totally made my day!! Please do read the whole interview here. Thanks a lot to Kick in the creatives! Lots of love!



You can read the interview of Kick in the creatives directors Tara Roskell and Sandra Busby here. Do check it out.

Note: Please do not use any content (both writing and images) anywhere without the written permission of the author. All rights reserved to the author.

DOODLES · illustrations

5 Minute March: Flowers of Kerala

The 5 Minute March challenge continues. Those who haven’t read the first part of this post please go to this link. You can also visit my instagram account @desisoularts to view the sketches.

  • Day 11/31: Mandaram (Camelfoot plant-Bauhinia acuminata): This plant has gorgeous white flowers with such delicate whiteness and sweet smell. Leaves are in the shape of a camel’s foot and hence the name camel foot plant.
  • Day 12/31: Mukkutti (Life plant- Biophytum sensitivum): This shrub with small yellow flowers and pinnate leaves, is very high in medicinal values and hence called life plant… the leaves collapse when touched but regain their shape after some time quite similar to the touch me not plant.
  • Day 13/31: Mulla (Jasmine- Jasminum grandiflorum): Jasmine needs no introduction.. It is undoubtedly one of the most sweet smelling flowers ever.. Those pearly white flowers and buds are so heavenly.. In kerala, Hindu brides adorn a huge (yes you read it right,huge) amount of jasmine flowers on their hair (but it’s totally optional too😁)!!
  • Day 14/31: Nalumanippoo (4 o’ clock plant- Mirabilis jalapa): These delicate flowers have beautiful shades and they bloom at exactly 4 o’ clock, giving them the name nalumani (meaning 4 o’clock in malayalam) poovu (flower). How wondrous is this nature around us which we fail to protect and mercilessly destroy?!
Mandaram, Mukkutti, Mulla, Nalumanippoo
  • Day 15/31: Nandiarvattom (Crepe jasmine- Tabeamaemontana diverticata): This is a white sweet smelling flowering plant also called as carnation of India.. this is widely used in temples for worship and prayers.
  • Day 16/31: Pala (Indian devil’s tree- Alstonia scholaris): This tree has small white flowers with a heavenly intense smell which makes you feel giddy…This tree is often associated with female spirits called yakshi who are said to inhabit this tree and the smell of the flowers is believed to herald the coming of the spirit (Hence the name indian devil’s tree).. usually elders warn the younger or adventurous ones to stay clear of the tree during the the twilight hours as well as the night..
  • Day 17/31: Pichi (Common jasmine/ poet’s jasmine- Jasminum officinale): These white and delicate ornamental flowers are also called jathimalli in malayalam and poet’s jasmine (i wonder why).. There is even a traditional gold necklace of Kerala fashioned in the shape of this flower’s bud called as pichimottumala (mottu=bud,mala=necklace)… often worn by women on their hair.
  • Day 18/31: Rajamalli (Dwarf poinciana- Caesalpinia pulcherrima): This is a shrub with bright hued flowers which are a sight to behold!! The colours of the flower are striking!
Nandiarvattam, Pala, Pichi, Rajamalli
  • Day 19/31: Shankhupushpam (Butterfly pea- Clitoria ternatea): This is a lovely blue flower with a conch shaped inner core..Hence the name shankhupushpam (shankhu means conch and pushpam means flower)….Conch is considered to be very sacred…this flower is a valued medicinal plant too. It has another name Aparajitha which means one who cannot be defeated, in Bengal and Orissa.
  • Day 20/31: Thamara (Lotus- Nelumbo nucifera): This is a lovely flower which has an aesthetic appeal to it…It is the national flower of India and is held sacred..It holds a haloed position in ancient Indian art, iconography, idols, motifs, architecture,literature and poetry from time immemorial..Often lotuses are seen in Buddhist art as well…In Hindu culture, lotus is sometimes personified and venerated as the wife of the Sun god Surya..Lotus is often associated with the seat of learning  or wisdom in India. The unfloding of the petals of Lotus from the navel of Lord Vishnu symbolises the expansion of the soul. The greatest quality of the lotus is that it is completely unaffected and untainted by the mud surrounding it from which it grows. Likewise, we should strive hard to be unaffected by the negativity and all such such dirt that may surround us.
Shankhupushpam, Thamara

Hope you all liked this post!! Thanks again for listening to my rants!! 🙂 You can read the last part of the post here.

Note: Please do not use any content (both writing and images) anywhere without the written permission of the author. All rights reserved to the author.


Insta story tools challenge!!

Today I am going to share about a very very fun filled creative challenge I took part in, a few days back. It was hosted by Melsy’s Illustrations, an account by illustrator Melsy. Her illustrations are just out of the world! Well, her challenge was to create fun illustrations using the tools and emojis in Instagram story and just hands! How cool is that! In fact my friend @thedoodlingowl on Instagram tagged me on the post announcing the challenge and off I went on a drawing spree!! In a stretch, I drew around 5 sketches in one go. I was so excited about this because till now my drawing skills using phone tools were rather rudimentary or almost non existent.. I am glad that I am able to push out my boundaries through such ‘unconventional’ challenges and come out of my comfort zone. So, here goes!!! I had so much fun doing this and it was pure enjoyment! Check out them on my instagram @desisoularts.

Insta story tool challenge

I experimented with different pen tools, used flower emojis, stars, ribbon bows and also used dots to create the shimmery effect in case of the pink dress (at the bottom). The whole of the red dress is made up of res hibiscus emojis!!! Hope you enjoyed these!! You guys should try this out too!

Note: Please do not use any content (both writing and images) anywhere without the written permission of the author. All rights reserved to the author.

Artists' Corner

Artists’ Corner: Tara Roskell & Sandra Busby

Today at the Artists’ Corner, we have not one but two, artistically inclined friends Tara Roskell who is a graphic designer and Sandra Busby, a painter. They successfully run a fun filled website ‘Kick in the creatives‘ (a site about which I have mentioned in different posts frequently) together, with podcasts on various subjects relating to art and interviews with artists as well as blog posts on art related topics. The cherry on the cake is a cartload of online challenges for artists and writers to undertake, right from January to December- yes, the whole year round! They are all listed out with optional prompts so that one can never miss any of those challenges! Instagram is a great platform to come in contact with many such inspirational artists who are kind enough to grant an interview. I keep repeating this because I feel so overwhelmed and touched by their kind gesture. So, let us get to know these friends and their artistic pursuits!

Sandra Busby & Tara Roskell

Q. Hello Tara and Sandra!! Please introduce yourselves to the readers.

Tara: Hi Shilpa. I’m Tara Roskell, I’ve been a graphic designer for about 25 years and I now work freelance from home. I’m based in a village in Northamptonshire in England.

Sandra: Hi Shilpa. I’m Sandra Busby and I’m a Painter from East Sussex in the South of England. I love to capture the playful light in glass and other Still-Life.

Q. How did you recognise the art in you and realise that this was the path you would want to follow?

Sandra: I’m what you might call a ‘late bloomer!’ Although I was always drawing as a kid (I think we all do), I pretty much stopped at about the age of 15 and I didn’t pick up a pencil again until I was in my late 20’s. I was actually in my early 30’s before I started taking it seriously again and I’ve never looked back.

Tara: I always knew that I wanted to do something to do with art from a very young age. I was constantly drawing when I was a child. I stayed on at school to do A Levels including art and then went on to Art College. I absolutely loved the first year of art college it was so creative, but the second year was not so good. I really wasn’t sure which direction to take my art and one of the tutors suggested I might like to study Graphic Design. I’m still not sure if that was the right path, or if I should have studied fine art or illustration instead.

sandra coll1
Sandra’s realistic paintings

Q. How did both of you come together to collaborate? How did the venture Kick in the creatives happen? Please tell us about your friendship story. 

Sandra: Tara contacted me following an interview with me, which she had heard on another Podcast. She asked if I would be willing to be a guest on her own show and of course I agreed. Tara made me feel instantly at ease and we just seemed to hit it off straight a way! A connection had been made… I had finally met someone as bonkers as I am!

We kept in contact and over time we discovered that we have a very similar sense of humour, so a conversation between the two of us became quite an uplifting experience! After a while she invited me to co-host one of her ‘Idea Medic’ podcast episodes. One episode led to several more and in time we became genuine friends. We where texting and chatting over the phone about all things creative and sometimes not creative at all!

During a previous podcast episode that we had done together, we had set each other various creative challenges and we had a great time doing them. I think we were both a bit sad when they ended. One day during one of our conversations we began talking about how great it would be to create a site where people could find all of the most popular challenges under one umbrella, along with lots of brand new ones which we could host ourselves. We decided that a great way of doing this would be to have various challenges going on for each month. This way it gave people lots of choice. This was around early Autumn and we worked our socks off to launch it in time for the new year! The work involved for the two of us was phenomenal, but we managed to do it!

Along with the site and blog, we launched our own ‘Kick in the Creatives’ Podcast and we have a lot of fun with that too. And then came the Facebook group which has become very popular in a very short space of time.

We have a lot more plans to develop the site further, so watch this space!

Q. What do you do at Kick in the creatives?

Sandra: Tara and I share the load and the great thing is, we are each good at different things. What she is good at, I am not and what I’m good at Tara doesn’t enjoy so much! Tara is particularly good at the ‘techy’ stuff. I’m good at producing content. For that reason alone, we make a great team!

KITC aims to get people out there creating, even when they think they don’t have the time. It’s about making people accountable. It also offers a platform where all of the participants can cheer each other on and where they can share the work they produce for the challenges. The Facebook group has been particularly good for that.

Tara’s works

Q. What are the different media that you work with?

Tara: For graphic design work, I do everything digitally. For the art I create by hand, I am experimenting at the moment. I find that I enjoy media where I can draw with colour directly rather than using a brush, for example, wax watercolour crayons and watercolour pencils. Then I can apply water afterwards to create effects. I have also been enjoying using collage. Sandra and I are very different in the way we approach art. Sandra has already discovered what she loves to paint and a method she enjoys. She paints beautiful, highly detailed paintings, whereas I like to draw/paint quickly and more experimentally.

Sandra: I personally work with oils when I’m painting, but usually when I draw, I use a 2b pencil and that’s it! I’m not one to experiment a great deal. Tara is much better at that!

Q. Where do you derive your inspiration from?

Sandra: I’m inspired to paint, usually by shiny or reflective objects. For this reason, glass features heavily in my work. My sketchbook however seems to be full mainly of faces and figures! Maybe it’s because I don’t paint them… I just love drawing them!

Tara: Everywhere. For example, I’ve have created little cartoon characters by photographing everyday things and drawing over the top of them digitally. Ideas for cartoons also come from silly things that I notice in everyday life. Inspiration can also come from other artists or people suggesting things to you. For instance, Sandra recently suggested I try using Inktense crayons and then spraying them with water, a technique I hadn’t tried before.

Q. How has being in constant touch with art developed you?

Tara: I had really lost my love for creating art by hand for many years. It was only through connecting with Sandra and the two of us trying out some creative challenges that really got me enjoying creating art again. So if we hadn’t had “met” virtually speaking, I probably wouldn’t be drawing or painting now, apart from the odd digital cartoon.

Sandra: It’s actually very hard to be in ‘constant’ touch with art. Life tends to get in the way, doesn’t it? And this is where taking part in some of these challenges has been so helpful to me. There is rarely a day that goes by when I don’t draw at least something, even it only takes five minutes! Since creating the site with Tara, drawing is now a daily part of my life because through the challenges I have found a great way of fitting it in.

sandra coll2
Sandra’s paintings

Q. Any piece of advice that you would like to give other artists?

Sandra: Yes, absolutely! Draw something every single day! Even just five minutes a day can greatly improve your skills over time. If you are not that self-disciplined then take part in some of the challenges… It’s a fantastic way of getting inspired!

Tara: If you are lacking creative mojo, think back and try and remember what it was that you used to love about art. Join a group or a challenge with other artists that will encourage you along the way. Experiment with different media and most of all enjoy it.

tara coll
Tara’s creative works

Q. How can others reach you both?

Sandra: We always love to hear from other creative’s.

You can find us at the following places…

Thank you dear Sandra and Tara to have devoted some time from your busy schedules to talk to us!! May your kitty be always filled with art projects!!

Please note: All the artwork shown here are the sole property of the artists featured. All rights reserved to the artist.

Note: Please do not use any content (both writing and images) anywhere without the written permission of the author. All rights reserved to the author.

DOODLES · illustrations

5 Minute March Challenge : Flowers of Kerala

As I had mentioned earlier in a post about the February Faces Challenge (you can read about it here) which unfortunately I could not complete, I embarked on a new challenge hosted by the artists at Kick in the creatives for the month of March (all determined to complete it this time  :p). This series is a part of the 5 Minute March challenge hosted by them (@kickinthecreatives ).. Since I wanted to improve my skills in flower drawings, I combined a floral challenge and this 5 minute challenge… Tadaa… And so I decided to draw flowers indigenous to Kerala, which is my state blessed with the bounty of nature, in 5 minutes.. Kerala proudly dons the sobriquet ‘God’s own country’ due to its pleasant climate throughout the year and of course, the Monsoon rains that rain down in torrents , thus giving new lease of life to germinating greenery. However, due to the time constraint, the sketches are not very detailed or tidy😁😁… But I hope that I can manage to post one, every single day of March. I will also be sharing some info about these flowers that I have read about and also cultural stories (if any) associated with them. All the reference photos of the flowers have been taken from Google. Please pardon my love for Biology that has crept in the post, in the form of the plants’ biological names!!! As part of a project in school, we were required to create a herbarium by sticking dried flowers and leaves collected from our surroundings and also to find out their scientific names which was such an interesting one. This series surely took me back to those times!

collage 1
Aambal, Arali, Krishnakireedam, Ashokam
  • Day 1/31: Aambal (Water lily or star lotus- Nymphaea nouchali): This is a water plant with bright coloured petals and floating leaves and the most common colour is white or pink in Kerala. The fully bloomed lilies are a sight to behold with their numerous petals unfolding magic in front of our eyes. Poets often compare the petals to the shape of eyes or lips of a beautiful lady which shows the appeal of these flowers in aesthetic point of view.


  • Day 2/31: Arali (Nerium or dog-bane- Nerium indicum): This is a flowering shrub with beautiful white, pink or bright pink flowers often used in temples for worship.This plant is a common sight in Kerala in houses or on road sides as it grows fairly well everywhere. Well to be honest, this sketch exceeded 5 minutes but since I had combined a floral challenge too, I couldn’t leave it unfinished.. So here goes


  • Day 3/31: Krishnakireedam (Pagoda flower- Clerodentron paniculatum): Hurray finished it in 5 mins😁😁 thanks to the flower’s size ( they are so tiny n not so detailed)!!! This is a wild flowering shrub growing in Kerala with red bell shaped flowers and the inflorescence is shaped in the form of Lord Krishna’s crown n hence the name, Krishnakireedam (Krishna’s crown). This is also named Arumasam because the inflorescence lasts for 6 months.


  • Day 4/31: Ashoka (Saraca ashoca): Ashoka means without sadness or sorrow-less in Malayalam… This is a beautiful and holy tree bearing reddish orange flowers in a cluster.. Since it provides shade during hot summer days, it is also called ‘Anganapriya’ which means darling of the front yard.. Even this sketch went around  for longer than 5 mins😭so technically not 5 a min challenge…Maybe i should skip the detailing and focus on one flower 😐



collage 2
Chempakam, Chembarathi, Kashithumba, Kanakambaram


  • Day 5/31: Chempakam (Plumeria/ Temple Tree- Michelia chempaca): Because of the fragrance of these cup shaped fleshy flowers, this tree is also called joy perfume tree..It is used in making perfumes and air fresheners due to its wafting sweet smell..Also worn on hair by women. This flower is also called Frangipani. Thanks to kickinthecreatives, this sketch of the Chempakam flower got featured on their account!! Yaayyy!!


  • Day 6/31: Chembarathi (Hibiscus/shoe flower- Hibiscus rosasinensis): This is a common flowering plant seen in Kerala with its distinctly coloured petals and leaves often grown in gardens and temples.. Appears in a variety of colours like red, pink, orange, yellow, white… They are a sight to look at and it is one of my favourite flowers😍… But somehow hibiscus has another side to it with which many people associate it to mental persons. How such an objectification came along is a mystery to me but in many movies they show mad comical people as wearing this flower on their ears. 😀


  • Day 7/31: Kashithumba (Madagascar periwinkle- Vinca rosea): This beautiful flower is mostly white or light violet in colour. It is called shavamnari (meaning smelling of corpse- what a misnomer for a beautiful flower😁) because of its unique smell which is not very undesirable in truth… It is also called nithyakalyani because it flowers year round…


  • Day 8/31: Kanakambaram (Fire cracker plant/ Abuli- Crossandra infundibuliformis): This beautiful plant has bright orange flowers which are often worn by women in South India on their hair..The seed of the ripened fruit of this plant, if put in water bursts, thus giving it the moniker fire cracker plant..Quite interesting, don’t you think?


Kongini, Kanikkonna
  • Day 9/31: Kanikkonna (Golden Shower Plant- Cassia fistula): This is called golden shower because of its golden yellow flower that falls down after a wind or rain… Flowering of this tree heralds the festival Vishu which is a harvest festival of Kerala…People adorn idols of Lord Krishna with these flowers and various auspicious articles and see it the first time in the morning on Vishu..It is said to bring good luck and an abundance of produce in the year to come. Regarding the origin of this flower, there is a very interesting tale associated with it in connection to Vishu festival which I have heard from my grandmother and mother during my childhood. It goes something like this (There maybe other versions too). Once there lived a poor Brahmin who was a priest in the Krishna temple, in a small village in Kerala and his little son. This son was so innocent and pious that Krishna Himself used to come and play with the boy. Once it so happened that the Lord gave His golden waistband with little golden bells to this boy as Vishukkaineetam (on the day of Vishu, elders give coins or money to younger ones which is considered to be auspicious and brings good luck) on Vishu. The head of the village and some other villagers thought that the priest and son had stolen the waistband. So they beat them up and took them to task. But the father cried and pleaded innocence. He took the waistband and flung it out away from son’s hands in hope that the villagers would stop beating them. To everyone’s surprise, it fell on the branches of a tree which at once started flowering in yellow flowers resembling the golden bells on the waistband. From then on it is considered to be special on Vishu..Hope you all enjoyed this story!


  • Day 10/31 : Konginippoovu (Lantana flower- Calendula officianalis): These beautiful flowers are shaped in a cluster of little flowers… These come in a variety of beautiful shades like on an artist’s palette-red, orange, yellow, pink, violet, white etc with dark green leaves.. These grow in abundance below my apartment and they are a sight to behold… These flowers kept on the sketch were smuggled from there😁😁😁😂

From these many days of sketching I learnt that by sticking to simple figures and skipping detailing can also work wonders and you can manage your time to draw the basic figures. Rest of the flowers shall follow in later posts!! You can visit my instagram account @desisoularts to see all the sketches!

You can read the next parts here and here.

Note: Please do not use any content (both writing and images) anywhere without the written permission of the author. All rights reserved to the author.

DOODLES · illustrations · Sketches

Woman Power

Gone are the days when women were confined to the four walls of their houses.. Times have changed and here they are with the whole world out there to witness their magic!! Happy women’s day! Nevertheless, I am of the opinion that we don’t need a special day to celebrate the glory of womanhood because everyday is veritably one; everyday is special!! Dedicating this drawing to all those women who are epitomes of virtues, personifications of patience and upholders of strength!! 

Nari Shakti-Woman Power

Women are definitely efficient multitaskers taking care of so many things at a time and adapting to various circumstantial pressures. But definitely not belittling the men who are pillars of strength and support to women. Gender equality should exist in terms of respect and dignity each one keeps for the others (or fellow beings) and not by claiming dominance over the other. Real equality advents only when one respects and accepts the other people for what they are instead of imposing dogmas and ideologies upon them.  Men do not become equal to women and vice versa by reversing the chores each perform everyday, because that is absurd. Human life is above all such pettiness, don’t you think? Rather it is our mindset that needs to change for the better. This is entirely my opinion and not meant to offend anyone 🙂

Armed with confidence, self esteem and optimism, today’s women are invincible and ready to conquer the world. She is the tree of life, hopes and dreams. Dreams are born from her to take flight to expanding horizons. You can always test a woman but never crush her spirits. No one can dampen her resolve, however hard others might try!! Be ready to show your skills to the world ladies! Cower not for you are the embodiments of the Divine Mother. Power is inherent but latent in you!! Bring the light out! Nobody can limit the indomitable force that you truly are!

Note: Please do not use any content (both writing and images) anywhere without the written permission of the author. All rights reserved to the author.

DOODLES · illustrations · Sketches

Free your soul!

Many a times, as unnecessary thoughts choke up your emotions and render you powerless, just get ready to chuck those emotional baggages out and embrace positivity…Let those fleeting thoughts and moments fly away from you and leave you for good..Release your pent up feelings and learn to just let go..Well, for most it is easier said than done. I am not playing a counsellor here, but I wanted to share some of my thoughts on freeing your soul, which is your inner self of course, from the shackles and bondages of emotional trauma. These thoughts came from many different contexts- reading, listening, speaking to my friends and own musings. This drawing was done keeping this concept in mind. The flying birds in the doodle represent all those fleeting thoughts we get from time to time, anxieties stemming from circumstances and the distracting things. By trying to remove these, we actually get peace which is the ultimate feeling one craves for amidst all the rat races around.

Free your soul

Well in connection to this thought, I am reminded of a story from Mahabharata, the great epic of humankind with its fair share of ballads and odes. When the Pandava princes were exiled to the forest, Lord Krishna used to visit them and take care of their welfare. Once they seemed so desperate that Yudhishtira, the eldest of the Pandavas asked for a piece of advice from Krishna that would hold them together at the time of crisis. They were in exile and such tough times were in plenitude. Krishna lovingly wrote a message on a leaf and gave it to Yudhishtira asking him to open it at times of difficulty. When such moments arose, they read the advice which said “This too shall pass”. The message that we get through this is that no moment is permanent. In fact each second that goes by is transient in nature, mere trinkets in the play of destiny. No trials and tribulations would go on forever. After all, change is inevitable. Soooo, we must try to look at things optimistically. Step up your emotional quotient so that equanimity develops. It requires practice of course but why not give it a try? The fruit of labor is most sweet. Isn’t that how the age old adage goes?

Pursuing passions that you love and following your dreams which don’t intend any harm to others will definitely erase all the frustration in mind. It is in such moments that satisfaction and peace set in and permeate every being. Only if everyone chose such paths, our world would have been a perfect haven to live in!

Hope you liked my rants and please continue to support!!

Note: Please do not use any content (both writing and images) anywhere without the written permission of the author. All rights reserved to the author.