Bombay Showcase

A head full of Coldplay

Kalyani Nerurkar

Kalyani Nerurkar  

Kalyani Nerurkar’s illustrated interpretations of the British band’s songs earned her an online fan following; now they are also a source of income

As an advertising student, Kalyani Nerurkar often found herself distracted in class. When random thoughts and design patterns came to her mind, she poured them all out on the hardbound covers of her notebooks.

In October 2015, the Mumbai artist took her art online with Doodle Riot. “Doodling on paper was my outlet to channelise my creativity,” says the Juhu resident. “I started my Instagram handle (@doodle_riot) to share my art with the world at large.” Today, the 24-year-old has about 76 posts with 4,696 followers.

But perhaps her new-found popularity can be attributed to her love for British band Coldplay. To understand this, one must go back to an afternoon this February, when Nerurkar was listening to the band’s ‘The Scientist’ on loop. “I ended up illustrating the entire song lyrics with doodles,” she recollects. “I shared it on social media and surprisingly, it got a lot of positive feedback. And then I just decided, what the heck, let me make a series out of this. That is how the Doodling Coldplay Project came about. I transform my favourite Coldplay songs into visually intricate lyrical illustrations, each denoting the feel of the song in my own unique style.” This little labour of love is her perfect tribute to her favourite band.

On July 29 this year, she posted her works on Instagram and received an overwhelming response from Coldplay fans all over the world. So far, she has illustrated 11 songs: ‘The Scientist’, ‘Fix You’, ‘Yellow’, ‘Clocks’, ‘Us Against The World’, ‘Parachutes’, ‘Paradise’, ‘Violet Hill’, ‘Always In My Head’, ‘Trouble’ and ‘True Love’.

“Each song evokes a different feeling and conveys a different emotion,” she says. “I try to translate this vision onto paper through my personal interpretation of the lyrics.” Before she starts doodling, she listens to the track a few times and focusses on visualising it. “I try to capture the essence through one main visual and the rest follows.” Once the artwork is complete, she scans the paper drawing and does simple colour correction digitally before posting the work on Instagram.

Nerurkar’s work mixes her unique aesthetic with lyrics from the songs. Take the ‘Fix You’ doodle, where she has drawn street lamps, as the song goes ‘lights will guide you home’. A defeated woman’s face with tear tracks depicts ‘when you try your best’ and ‘stuck in reverse’. The ‘Paradise’ doodle features unicorns, hot-air balloons and lines from the song’s lyrics.

Based on the feedback her art has received, Nerurkar is now offering prints and posters from the series for sale.

And there’s more: “There is also a section called ‘Doodle Me A Song’, wherein customers can order their very own customised lyrical illustration. It is the perfect combination of music and art, especially for pop culture enthusiasts. I made my first sale a couple of months ago, and was absolutely delighted.”

While the Coldplay series is underway, Nerurkar is excited for November: rumour has it that the band will actually be coming down to perform in the city. “My agenda is to personally present these doodles to the band and tell them they changed my life. This isn’t a mere crazy fandom. I have so much love, admiration and awe in my heart for Coldplay that I had to pour it out on paper. Hope I get to have a one-on-one meet!”

If he could, we’re sure frontman Chris Martin would have one thing to say to her: “If you never try, you’ll never know.”

The author is a freelance writer

Prints and posters from the Doodling Coldplay Series are available at An A3 poster is priced at Rs. 999 and an A4 one will set you back for Rs. 699.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 2:34:54 AM |

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