Did you know we're a little over a year old? Already! For me this has been a fantastic journey so far. I have met amazing people, learned from their work and picked up the courage to draw things that I have never drawn before. Most importantly I realise that the community in some way or the other draws me back to drawing :) so whether I like it or not, i'm involved with drawing everyday. Either my own or admiring someone else's.

So to me Penciljammers.com YEAR 2 looks good already!

What have your own experiences with Pencil Jammers been so far? Has it proven useful? Is there something else you feel it could have that will make it even better? I'd love to hear your about your experiences and look forward to your thoughts and suggestions!

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What excites me most about PJ is the explosion of talent I've seen here in the last one year, not to mention the dedication of the Jammers to improve their work. The PJ forum has witnessed this continual improvement.

I think it was also a great idea to introduce an element of rating in the display system, rather than displaying pics on the front page as and when submitted. While the more advanced artists may have their pics displayed more often, this provides impetus to the rest of us to do better, following their example - which is actually bearing fruit, as we see more and more new artists on the front page. Quality and participation is both on the rise, it seems - which is just wonderful!

Of course, apart from all that, PJ represents that artistic outlet that many Jammers probably can't always find in other areas of life, being involved in their respective professions. I can't thank enough the founders of PJ (everyone knows who they are) for the hard work and vision which have made all this possible.

Thank you Prosenjit. One of the things that came up in the early discussions that we had was to have an intelligent community with real knowledge. Facebook was too 'likey' and other sites were far too exhibitionist. I eventually discovered Wet Canvas and you and then the incredibly informative AOAM. The rest as they say is pleasant history. Thank you for this feedback, your involvement and all the inspiration and support you provide.

"Vision" - that is the key Prosenjitda. Aren't we all thankful for it!

I wrote this post, when I completed one year with PJ :) So am posting it here now 

http://illkilya.com/pencil-jam

All I can say is Thank you PJ Angels & gods :)

Thank you Akhila. Your article perfectly captures the spirit of our Jams. During one session someone asked me why Penciljam doesn't 'Organise' it and make it larger. I tried telling him that I simply want to draw and organising stuff would'nt allow me to. He didn't get it I think. This article would make him see it plain as light. These are what the jams are all about.

Edit: One other thing. I don't just come back from the jams with paintings. I proudly own a handcrafted comb, a calendar, brushes, cutie erasers and what not! Too many gifts! Not to mention the snacks and savories that make me skip lunch! Thank you dear Akhila! You make Penciljammers an awesome place to be in.

Angels with upper case a and gods with lower case g. I like it - even if it does not mean anything.

Lovely post that, Akhila.

Ah the square circle returns :) now it is the cases :) I was so busy typing that I did not notice the case ;) LOL! The Pjers know it hte emotion that matters & will take it in the right spirit! :)

It was somewhere in the third week of May 2011, I came across the name “Pencil Jammers” in an article published in a nationally circulated news paper, The Times of India. Being a pencil enthusiast I was immediately very keen to know more about it and then searched for it in Facebook and Googled it to read more about it. There is something called ‘vibes’ and I very much believe in it... and this name gave me not just the vibes but also the shivers and goosebumps. Theres something about pencils that I have always been fascinated and I was a total pencil junkie... drawing meant pencil drawing to me... and here it was “Pencil Jammers”!!! What else could I ask for more. By June second week I had found the website, created a profile and posted my first drawing – a portrait of Mother Teresa!

As a person, untrained and without any formal knowledge in drawing & painting, Pencil Jammers was a refuge, a place for me to revive my instincts that were disoriented for so long. I had always drawn and painted since child-hood. My parents always termed my skill as God’s gift. But Pencil Jammers is the place where I started honing it... toning it...learning further... maybe in a littlle discreet way... but I now paint my heart out...what a welcome change it was for me. And then there was this great oneness with all members around me... all come together only with one thing in mind when we meet at any of the Weekend Jam Sessions – Drawing & Painting it is!.

There was an explosion of media apart from pencils – water colours, acrylics, oils, dot-pens, gel pens...and techniques... I have now taken up water-colurs again...and some day will start with acrylics too. Its been now a place where I constantly learn not just by doing...but by observing, by interacting, by enjoying and soaking up on the scenic beauty of the places we visit, by meeting some of the most beautiful people ever – not just from outside but inside. I pull their legs...they pull mine...and we grow taller by the day... our heads floating higher into the clouds of artistic abode!

Over a period spanning June 2011 to Jan 2012... I have grown along with the Pencil Jammers group in leaps and bounds. Nothing gives me more pleasure to scream and disclose that joining Pencil Jammers has been like a boon to my artistic, aesthetic and romantic instincts. Here... I was transformed from an person who just drew/painted for “time-pass” to some-one who took art seriously. There was this entire change in mind-set. Would you believe if I said, I risked my well-established professional career and put my education in finance into the back-bench and the background, fully pursuing drawing and painting. It was a huge bet... it still is... and I am still riding on it...

Some incidents I will always remember –

My first jamming session... It was at The Leela Palace. I was hesitantly walking into the alley trying to locate and after a couple of enquiries to get the direction to the actual place where the group had settled down, I finally arrived at a place where I saw around 10 people seated and drawing away to glory. A moment’s hesitation and scurring everybody’s face I kept my stuff on a chair next to a pillar...exchanged a few pleasentaries and wishes and as I was sitting down, came a man... kind of bald and a little older [ ‘older’ I thought then...turns out he is one of the youngest at heart!]... he welcomed me in one of the most reassuring ways and I lost all hesitation in an instant. His name was Anil... and the ‘jee’ got stuck to his name out of respect and love. I met many people then, I remember many of them [Neha, Dinesh, Prabha, Shreyas, Parani and a few more..], I still meet them...but I will never forget him...Anil jee!

There was this exhibition cum sale of my paintings that I had at Fabindia, Koramangla and it was like a family reunion when I saw a bunch of my Pencil Jammer buddies streaming in to check out my works. There were others who had come individually and few with their families.  Do you know what it did to a person like me – I was so much full with happiness that I could explode. Sale or no sale, I had my PJ family next to me..spending time with me, looking at my works, appreciating it... Thats a HUGE boost to self-esteem and self-belief. I am still living on it... slowing sipping it in... feeding my heart and bringing it to life everyday. Thats what my friends in Pencil Jammers did to me.

There are so many instances of happiness in my life now that is associated with Pencil Jammers. A few of them I would bore you with here –

I took one more step ahead in my endeavour to pursue art, when I was offered to take a workshop at the Pencil Jam studios. Was I happy... Oh yes I was! Its something I will remember for the rest of my life... And I so much look forward to more of such opportunities. I hope, the people who came and attended the workshop also feel the same as I did!

Nandi Hills was a trip that filled me with colours and life again.. what fun it was, the journey to and from the venue..the breakfast, the singing and whistelling... the monkeys...the scenic beauty... enjoying every moment from early morning bus ride with Prabal to reach the pick-up point to the drive back in Kamal’s Scorpio and every moment in between... the company of Adithya, Donna, Prabha, Prabal, Dinesh, Kamal, Vidhu + Kalyani, Amit...so much fun it was!

I know one thing for sure now... in Pencil Jammers, I have friends whom I really love and like to keep in touch...chat...mail and exchange my thoughts... In Pencil Jammers, I have mentors and artists that I look up too...each of their works that is uploaded gives me free education and their comments encourage me... In Pencil Jammers, I have friends who seek my opinion and ask me to help them with some tips... and I hope I have shared my thoughts that have really helped them... In Pencil Jammers, I have friends that I can always disturb and still not feel bad, pull their legs, chat endlessly, eat their brains... and be so happy to be known "Soman the Demon"!!

P.S: Oh... This has already become so long now...but I guess I have to mention this.. PJ website has also got this side-effect too... addicted to the website, I keep looking forward to all the exciting new works that are posted continuously... so keep on posting. Enjoy all!

Dear Soman.Besides your incredible art, everything you write on this site - blog posts, comments or chat the one thing that comes across all the time is an incredible amount of affection and compassion. This is most apparent in your comments and feedback on people's work. This was also the feedback I received about your workshop. People were surprised at the effort you put into those sessions! Thank you for your incredible art, your moderation of groups, and your mentoring of jammers. 

I also have to mention that I'm in awe of people who chuck away their mainstream careers midway to pursue Art. Among the jammers there are many such people. (Prosenjit, Sneha Prasad, Prabha Narayanan...) I sometimes wish I had the courage to do the same.

A side note on the - Jee. I share a similar experience. I have this slightly anti-social streak that doesn't allow me to make friends easily. But pretty much the same thing happened to me when I met Anil. A gruff "Hi, Anil" later, I think I have a friend for life.

In simple words, i can say, PJ changed my entire vision abt the world.

  that day george, asked me to draw a car in studio terrace at watercolor party. i drew simple car(im an automobile engineer:)  ) then he corrected me. before coming to PJ, i have never drawn live sketches(except one or two live portraits). i donno abt other medium(except pencil and pen)....my world was full of black and white oly...

    attended watercolor workshop, but didnt practice long time...

very lazy person to attend jams, but got inspired with others works, prabha, anil, kamal, dinesh and all...

pJ sessions are really really practical learning sessions. in my clock sunday will start at 11 am oly. but now a days, im making myself to get up early in sunday mornings too....

 i have reduced my native trips also. that means, PJ makes me to think always draw.

previously i used to select the photo to draw, that should be easy and to recognisable person to others. too manhy constraints...now i can take any photo or any person or any place to sketch at any time.confidence.

im strutggling with watercolors a lot, but practising.hope will do better one soon.

im poor in words, but my postings on PJ will tell the story of my development....

Finally thanks to George, the man always watching my every stroke(im imagining like that whenever doing watercolors, or other sketches)...

thanks to PJ....!

I have flashbacks you know? Just like in the movies. They are of specific paintings. They happen whenever I see your work. First a coconut tree and rooftops. Then a friends portrait. A woman sweeping. Sketches from your trip. Chai Glass. and now Jam! Each one makes me indescribably happy because I'm not just seeing great work, but i'm also aware of an invisible thread that is running through all of these. You're an inspiration.

I once asked you why you want to draw, and your answer was straight and simple. I still remember it because it did not have any pretensions of creative expression. It was practical and neat. I loved it. 

Bharani, thank you for your participation and your continual effort and encouragement of jammers. 

Are we not to know his answer George? I am certain that it will be beacon. Do tell us George or Parani.

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