It’s Never Too Late to Refine Your Skill - Shreya Khanna




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1. Tell us more about your background and journey.

Heyy! I’m Shreya Khanna , 21 y/o biochemistry student at Panjab University, Chandigarh and I’ve been into art since I was a kid. I never took art too seriously, it’d always been a hobby to carry out during summer breaks and holidays. I’d never felt I was good at it, as I always used to look up to talented kids at school and I felt that I couldn’t be as amazing as them.

Until I grew up and realised that I found solace in colours, paints and creating something of my own and I’d started to realise I had an entire different perspective towards art. I had my own space of imagination and creation. We all probably grow up in a society where back in our head, we keep comparing ourselves to people who are better off at it and never feel enough motivated to move our foot forward.

I took up medical in +1 and I still remember this one day when my class teacher wanted to make an art team for the class and she insisted me to head it and there she was the one who told me that life is so much more than just books and competitive exams, you have this creative blessing that you should always hold upon.

Probably that was the first time I was acknowledged and she made me believe that I really had something that not every person has. And as I joined biochemistry, I started putting my artwork on my Instagram handle @sartsoul. I wasn’t very regular as I used to still be unsure if people would like it or not but then my mom used be inquisitive to see my next post and hence for her I carried on.

2. When did you decide you wanted to be an painter/illustrator?

There wasn’t any specific point that had hit me, I’ve been painting since I was 10 year old. After 10th grade, there came a little pressure of studies too, and I started creating frequently and it wasn’t just restricted to summer breaks and that really helped me improve my skill and became my stress buster too.

I explored more of it where I also fell in love with doodles and mandalas and started uploading on Instagram. It’s always been rejuvenating and therapeutic to me. From my lows, gloomy nights, loneliness to my excitable, fluttery times nothing has ever been more with me than my art.

3. Is it a financially stable career?

Being a science student I’d never thought I would make money out of art, but recently in this lock down period, I got to work with Arttora, which is a Bangalore based startup where I realised that if done seriously it could fetch me some amount too. And yes, if you put your heart, soul and your entire energy into something nothing would stop you to get the best return.

4. Who is your favourite illustrator and why?

Oh there are a lot many to count on: Karishma Srivastava the way she doodles and makes her mandalas it’s beautiful. Alisa Burke, the way she creates her flowers in literally any space is adorable. Dina helps me explore lot of other perspectives towards an art piece. Vijayta Sharma's work is really inspiring and Mr. doodle is insaneeee and this list of people could be endless but I’d end it with Vanessa Keck. This girl has a really strong vibe which portrays clearly in her work and I totally love it.

5. Where do you get inspired from to create art?

I generally gather my inspiration from things I see around like, deep down I have a special place for skies, so on a casual evening I would take a picture of the sky and paint it the next day. I’m not a very studious kid, so there have been a lot many lectures where I just end up scribbling in my margins and end up with some doodle or a half mandala which I just admire for the rest of the day.

Who knew such little things could help build up your creative instinct too and of course all of those people who remind me of my skill when I lose confidence in myself and uplift me to see the brighter side on my low days are totally my inspiration! 

6. What does your typical day look like?

I’m not too much of an extrovert and hyped person so I just stick to my things and space. Although being a science student I should be really occupied with my curriculum work but that isn’t the case always. In the pre-Covid phase my day was about 9 to 5 college which was so much more than just classes followed by some workout in the evening.

Then discussing about how our day was on the dinner table and scrolling through some Pinterest in bed, but apparently since Covid, everyday is alike but different too where the routine goes unchanged but the mind is pensive, searching for new ideas, desperate too see what’s further in store.

7. What piece of advice would you like to give to future aspiring illustrators?

Learn to believe in yourself. Whatever you create it’s for you first and then for your Instagram or whosoever you’ve made it for. It doesn’t take a lot to acknowledge yourself. Even if the world comes together to tell you how amazing your work is, until and unless you can’t appreciate the beauty of your creativity it’s of no use because in the end the feeling of fulfilment comes from within.

Also, be a little consistent, even if it’s been ages you painted/sketched something it’s never too late to refine your skill, out of your busy schedule, find some time for this little piece of blessing you have. 

8. Which is your favourite book and why?

I’m not a very keen reader. I’ve barely read 15-20 novels in my entire life. But if I do, then it has to be some life philosophy or some mystery, crime thriller which keeps me anxious to see what’s next. Like, back when I was in school I got so obsessed with Sidney Sheldon and loved the thrill he offered. I would surely like to get back to my reading habit, and would like to explore a lot many more books like The Alchemist, The Prophet and The Godfather.

Interview By - Sonam

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