Updated: May 10, 2020
Nowadays, I am fascinated with Gond art. I love how the tiny lines, dashes and dots create a sense of motion in the Gond art paintings and illustrations. This month's bullet journal layout is heavily inspired by Gond art. However, I have tried to give it my personal touch, by experimenting a contemporary bird themed Gond art inspired bullet journal layout. To start with this, I saved some bird related pins on my Pinterest inspiration board, did some Gond art research and then attempted these spreads.
Please note, I am neither a professional Gond artist, nor I have practised this art form earlier. All the spreads in this post are my perception of this exquisite art form. I have tried to give my best efforts in making these spreads. I have added few original Gond artists' work and references in the end for you to learn more about this art form.
Please note that the amazon links in this post are affiliated, which means I will receive a small commission with no extra cost to you, if you choose to purchase by using these links. All the products are available in India, but Amazon is not shipping any non-essential product in the red zones during this lockdown period.
A little bit about Gond Art
The Gond art is practised by the Pardhan Gonds of the Central India. The word Gond originates from "Kond", which means Green mountains in Dravidian folk lore. The Gond people believe that perceiving a good image precipitates good luck. With this belief, the Gond people decorate the walls and the floor of their houses with traditional motifs.(1)
Themes of Gond paintings are based on festivals and nature. Gond artists use variety of lines and dots to create linear artworks.(1) These lines and dots add minute details to the artwork and create a sense of flow or motion in the Gond paintings.
Although, if you see the work of different Gond artists, you will find that each artist has his/her own signature style of pattern.
The colour scheme of these paintings are generally very bright and vivid, which make them more vibrant. The base colour is different than the pattern colour. The colour of pattern is either in contrast or a darker shade of the base colour. To know more about Gond art, see the reference section of this post.
Material used and some tips to start with
Traditionally, the colours used in Gond paintings were naturally extracted from sources like charcoal, coloured soil, plant sap, leaves and even cow dung. Now, these paintings are not confined to the walls of the houses, but are practised as acrylic paintings on canvas, pen and ink drawings, illustration, and large scale murals.(1)
I used colour pencils for my Gond art inspired bullet journal spreads. My first thought was to use watercolour. Maybe I was a bit sceptical to draw fine lines with watercolours or maybe my colour pencils pleaded me to use them, as they got tired of waiting in my drawer for so long.
Anyway, long story short, I used colour pencils for drawing, a blender for blending different colours, a burnisher for providing shine to some areas, a pencil eraser for highlights, a metal sharpener for sharpening the pencils with precisely sharp tips, black fine line pen and white Gelly roll pen for making patterns in some spreads, and some washi tapes. Of course, I did all this in my Archer & Olive bullet journal.
I first did some swatches of colour pencils. Then I did blending of these swatches with both blender and water, separately.
As now you are aware about my supplies, let's talk about few tips which I observed and researched before starting:
Make sure the tips of the coloured pencils are sharp. This will help in even distribution of colour. The sharp tip will help in making fine lines and dots when you will create your Gond art patterns.
Try to mix two or three colours in the base of the drawing. For example, when I drew the base of my birds I used two to three different colours. Like green with yellow, blue with pink and red.
Before drawing the patterns, make sure that you have evenly blended the base colours.
It is a good idea to draw some basic patterns on a rough paper, which can be a handy reference while working on your actual Gond art painting.
As the lines and dots will help you define the flow or motion in your painting, you need to first think in what direction you want to add them. For example, in my #level10tracker, I added lines in the background of the love birds as if they are coming out of them as vibrations of love waves. I know! my imagination!!
Use of bold black borders is mostly avoided.
What all spreads I did?
I think I have given you a lot of gyan on Gond art. Now, I would like to talk a little bit about my spreads. Again this month, I did all my regular spreads: the cover page, level 10 life tracker, baby tracker, gratitude log, monthly log, and daily log.
If you are interested in watching the process videos of these spreads then you can check the video below. I am guilty of making a very long video, but I think the details in Gond art are important to capture, plus you need at least 12 minutes to compress a 5-6 hours job. So, please bear with me if you choose to watch it.
Just like my last month’s Madhubani fish theme cover page, I have done a full two page cover this time as well. Again, the cover took the maximum duration. I have drawn a tree, few birds, clouds, sky, hedges and some grass. I have kept it very simple. The most difficult and the most beautiful part of this spread is the tree. It took a lot of time in drawing the leaves. First I drew each and every leaf, coloured them and then added details to them individually.
For the trunk of the tree I used three shades of brown. For drawing the dashes, I used darker shades of brown on the lighter brown base and black on the darkest brown base.
For the birds I used different vibrant colours. Please let me know which one is your favourite bird in this spread. Mine is the green one.
The sky and the clouds also need a special mention. In the sky, with the help of the dashes I tried to depict the flow of the air. For the clouds, I first drew circular lines and then filled them with vertical lines, alternatively. This gave a pop out effect to the cloud.
Level 10 Life Tracker
For my level 10 tracker I made cute pair of love birds. I searched for love birds photographs on Pinterest and came across a photograph which became my inspiration for this page.
The background is a mix of different shades of green and brown. After adding the layers of these colours, I blended them using my blender pencil. I used a combination of light green and yellow for colouring the front part of the birds, pink for the face, and dark green for colouring the wings and the tails. I used dashes as my main pattern.
Talking a bit about my tracker, I used a combination of boxes and a table. The boxes have those habits or tasks which I want to prioritise this month. The table contains the rest of the tasks or habits. This month, I have removed few of the habits which I was tracking earlier. This is because I have either successful in adding those habits in my day to day life or they are now irrelevant to me. The last two entries are “if ever” behaviours. These are to keep a self-check on these negative behaviours and to keep myself accountable if they ever happen.
For my baby tracker I wanted to do a mother baby bird duo sort of layout. I chose a photograph of a female Eurasian Hoopoe feeding her nestling.
I made the background using the similar technique which I used for the love birds. For the Hoopoe, I used light and dark brown for the body, black and white for the wings and the tail. I made the patterns in the wings and tail with a black fine line pen. Had I used black pencil colour instead of the fine line pen, it would have smudged in the white areas and resulted in a dull white areas. Another reason for using the pen was the already black portions of the wings and the tail, as the black pencil colour patterns would not be visible on an already black base.
In the green background, I made a heart with dashes around the beaks of the bird and nestling. I think it is looking cute and is depicting the special bond of mother and baby. Near the wings, I made some criss-crossed dashes. These dashes are showing the deflection of air due to the movement of wings and thus showing the bird is flapping and flying.
The only change is that I have skipped the breakfast-lunch-dinner-snack or the meal tracker. Now I have decided to capture any new introduced meal in the notes section. The layout is different, I used boxes instead of the table.
Aah! Here comes my favourite one. A bird themed Indian bullet journal without a peacock would be incomplete. I am enthralled by this magnificent bird. When you closely observe this bird you will see a seamless blend of iridescent colours.
For the body of the peacock I used royal blue, dark and light green colours. All the patterns are made by using the darkest blue I have. For the peacock’s train, I first drew the lines to form the curvature. Then I drew individual eyespots or the blue-brown part of the feather. Around these eyespots, I did some green strokes. For the patterns, I drew criss-crossed dashes with dark green.
If you have read any of my previous post then you must be knowing that how much attention I give to my gratitude log. I think a gratitude log should bring some sort of positivity in your daily life, therefore, I try to make these logs more inviting to use than any other log.
Last month, there was a news that during this lockdown thousands of flamingos were spotted in a creek near Navi Mumbai. This became my inspiration for my #monthlylog.
I drew five flamingos and some water in this spread. The technique used is similar to the previous spreads. The base colour of flamingos is light pink and the patterns are made with red and darker pink.
I kept the layout minimalistic. Just drew horizontal lines as the dividers.
For this month, I’ve decided not to make predefined sections for days. Last month, I wanted to write so much but the restricted space was an obstacle. I will keep updating this section as and when I will make a new weekly layout for this month.
I tried a traditional Gond art spread for week one. I drew a big trunk with four branches and few leaves, and drew four birds sitting on these branches. Simple and elegant! I drew half-circular patterns over the trunk to make a ring shaped bark effect.
Some inspiring Gond art paintings
This was all about my bullet journal themed which was inspired by the Indian Gond art. Now, I would like to share few beautiful Gond art paintings which I came across while researching about this art form. Most of these paintings are made by the tribal Gond artists. I have included paintings of some famous Gond artists like Jangarh Singh Shyam, Durga Bai, Bhajju Shyam, Venkat Singh, Rajendra Shyam, and a few others. Jangarh Singh Shyam was the pioneer of contemporary Gond art, and was among the first Gond artists to use paper and canvas for his paintings, thereby creating a new school of Indian art known as ‘Jangarh Kalam’.
A closing note
It was difficult to cover all the information related to Gond art in one blog post, but I have tried my best. Although, there is so much more to learn about this art form. Maybe in future I would again do some Gond art inspired theme in my bujo. But for now, this is all what I have to offer. I really hope you like reading this post. Your comments and suggestions are most welcomed in the comment section below. You can also check my Instagram: @theindianbujo and YouTube: The Indian buJo. Please do let me know if you try out any of my spreads or the paintings of Gond artists. I will catchup with you guys soon with another post on Gond art. Till then bye and take good care of your health!
Saxena A. An account of dots and lines- The Gond Tribal Art of Madhya Pradesh, their tradition, relevance and sustainability in contemporary design domain. Int J Curr Res. 2018 Jul 19;09:61128.
Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Ministry of Culture, Government of India. Gond Artists of Madhya Pradesh [Internet]. [cited 2020 May 7]. Available from: http://ignca.gov.in/divisionss/janapada-sampada/tribal-art-culture/tribal-art-culture-of-madhya-pradesh-rajasthan/
Touch the GOND | GOND ART of central India [Internet]. [cited 2020 May 10]. Available from: http://www.gondart-india.com/
Chaudhuri ZR. Gond artist Jangarh Singh Shyam’s forest is full of creatures that were never meant to be seen [Internet]. Scroll.in. https://scroll.in; [cited 2020 May 7]. Available from: https://scroll.in/magazine/854136/gond-artist-jangarh-singh-shyams-forest-is-full-of-creatures-that-were-never-meant-to-be-seen
Bhajju Shyam [Internet]. Ojas Art. [cited 2020 May 10]. Available from: http://ojasart.com/artist/bhajju-shyam/
Indian Tribal Zone. GOND AND BHIL ART: About Gond Art [Internet]. Gond and Bhil Art. [cited 2020 May 10]. Available from: http://indiantribalzone.blogspot.com/p/gond-art.html