The Fiji Times » Bringing art to life – A teacher’s passion for drawing

Pencil, paper and concentration are all schoolteacher Sumit Chand needs to bring a portrait or an old photograph to life.

The Tilak High School technical drawing teacher’s passion for art began when he was studying at Penang Sangam High School in Rakiraki.

“I was inspired by my technical drawing teacher, Mr. Sanjay Mani Naidu, who used to make colorful technical drawings during our course,” he said.

“As the passion flowed through me, I also researched the internet and started this freehand drawing journey.

“It wasn’t difficult to do a portrait because I had a huge interest in that area. It only gets difficult when the person you’re drawing is wearing something white because I’m drawing on a white background, that’s where let your color coding skills come into play.”

His hobby occupies most of his time. When not in class, Mr. Chand draws, almost anything.

“I draw everyday, whether it’s portrait, wood carving, mural, spray painting, sign writing and crafts.”

“It allows me to continue my passion.”

Mr. Chand drew a portrait of Education Minister Premila Kumar and presented it to her during his visit to Tilak for the enthronement of the high school prefect. It took him about 15 hours to complete the portrait using a charcoal pencil and an earphone to change from a dark tone to a lighter tone.

“First I had to resize the image I was drawing, that’s the hardest and most important part. Then I inserted the facial features,” Mr. Chand said. “It’s important to smudge the tone of the pencil for finer detail.”

He said the minister told him that the portrait was the greatest gift she had ever received and that it would go on the wall of his house.

“I would like to thank the principal of my school, Mr. Vinod Sharan, for allowing me to prepare the token of appreciation for the minister as well as the staff of Tilak High School for always supporting my works.”

Mr. Chand also drew a portrait of the Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, and the Western Divisional Education Officer, Sanaila Nauga.

“The assessment of the portrait is also very important, that is, from the original image to the final portrait.”

He said his wife usually evaluates his final product before any changes are made.

“All I need is focus, peace of mind, soothing music and there shouldn’t be anyone around me when I’m drawing.

“Usually I have a tanoa of toddy next to me if I have to draw late at night.”

Mr Chand said there were many students with hidden talents sitting in the classrooms but they were often too shy to show their skills.

“I urge parents to fully support their children in any kind of extracurricular activities. We never know when their talent may earn them money.

Mr. Chand hails from Caulasi in Rakiraki with maternal ties to Ba.