Something Sketchy: The Mural Story



I’m Madhu! I’m an illustrator and I run my own company called Something Sketchy, where I put my illustrations on products like notebooks, coaster-magnets, postcards and calendars for retail. I’m currently in 15 stores across 9 cities in India through Landmark, and 4 stores in NYC where I spent last summer doing a couple of courses at the School of Visual Arts.

I love traveling and meeting new artists (I’ve started an illustrator’s group called The Sketchup too), and since I can work from anywhere, I decided to spend 3 months in Delhi this February, helping with the St+art India street art festival, meeting the international artists who were coming down and painting a mural of my own for the festival.

I’d been to the Maker’s Asylum (Bandra Garage version) in October of 2014, which was my first interaction with them, and I really loved the concept. I met with Vaibhav while he was visiting in Delhi and he suggested I use the wall of the new Maker’s Asylum building in Delhi, for my St+art India mural.


Visiting the Site

When I first stepped into the Maker’s Asylum compound, I spotted two metal lamps cemented to the ground on opposite sides of the plot. They looked like jellyfish to me and the “two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl” line came to mind. I began to visualize an underwater theme for the downstairs of the building.

For the main 30ft x 19ft wall that began about 10ft off the ground, both Inti and 1010, (artists from Chile and Germany who were down for the festival and had seen some of my work) suggested that my signature abstract type style on the large wall might be a good idea. After a quick discussion with Vaibhav, we locked in on the Maker’s Asylum motto – “Pass it On” – to be hidden in the abstract style type in the mural.
The Main Mural

First I gathered together the material and created the colour palette.

Initially we considered a ladder, but decided to go with this awesome piece of equipment called the Scissorlift (it had ‘Manlift’ stamped on the side but we often referred to it as the ‘Womanlift’)  and it really, truly made life so much easier, and much more fun.

We were sort of figuring things out as we went along, and used a thread to make grids that we’d drawn on the design.

Day 1
On the 17th of April, I completed the outlines of the design on the right side of the staircase and the black paint outlines. In the evening when Swati came to help after work, we realised that the lift wasn’t the easiest thing to maneuver underneath the staircase, so once we got it there we decided to complete that side of the wall completely before moving back to the right side again.


Day 2

On the 18th, it was so hot that Swati devised a canopy for us to paint under, while in the lift. We finished the black outlines and had help from Rashika in the morning and Maan and Tarun in the evening. Four of us stood on the lift, each armed with a colour and filled them in to music. This was the fun bit and my favourite part.


Day 3

On the 19th, we finished the right side and the finishing touches. Awesome photographer Aashish Mandhwani took some professional photos of the finished mural for us to share and use.



Downstairs Ocean theme
The Paint Gun
Using the the paint gun to create a patchy turquoise blue-green ocean downstairs was fun. Maan helped a lot with this.
The Fish Brick Wall
For the brick wall on one side of the asylum I had envisioned a colourful array of nervous and happy fishes, which I called the fish brick wall.


Lost Soul Jellyfish
I gave my lost soul jellyfish each a wooden board with words on them to hold in their respective corners of the compound.
The Staircase Wave, AC Fishies, Stingray Switchboard
We painted a staircase wave with little dots, some AC fishies and a stingray warning you away from the electrical switchboard.
Signing off
I created a signature stencil, and we wrapped things up.





Cast and Crew

Swati Sinha, awesome graphic designer friend and my roommate in Delhi was the best painting partner and moral support a girl could ask for. Those were some good times we spent discussing, arguing, coming up with solutions and getting dead exhausted and gulping down ghanne ka juice together. Maan was a rockstar and handled a LOT of the legwork with the paintgun and painting when we were too tired to do it ourselves. Medhavi helped me a ton with towing the paint from place to place and generally being awesome moral support before we began. Rashika, Tarun and Premankan all lent a hand with painting. Suman uncle and Sanjeev uncle were extremely helpful and supportive with arranging the manlift for us, and Sanjeeta aunty sent us the yummiest food! Rakesh was there throughout and was our go-to guy and Man Friday, and of course, Vaibhav made all of this possible.
Big thanks to you lovely people 🙂



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