On the point

Santosh Bhanukumar, self-taught miniature artist is creating a world on pencil leads

June 20, 2018 04:24 pm | Updated 04:24 pm IST

Twenty-eight-year-old Santosh Bhanukumar beamed with pride as he culled out his creations one after the other. Each one a visual treat, the self-taught micro-artist carves miniatures on pencil leads. A train gushing out of the tunnel, an interlocked chain and a mother hugging her child are some of Bhanukumar’s creations.

“I started in 2012 and over the years I must have carved at least a thousand pencils,” says Bhanukumar who is professionally an engineer. With a surgical knife as his tool and a pencil lead as his canvas he took to the art of micro-sculpting after watching S S Rajamouli’s Eega . “I was surprised by the art and thought of giving it a try. The first thing I tried was the letter ‘S’. After 10 wasted pencils and 80 failed attempts I finally got it right. The immense satisfaction that awaits at the end of completing an art is what helps me stay motivated throughout the tedious journey of carving,” he says.

Bhanukumar now sells his art through social media under the name ‘Sanart’. “Of all the orders that I get, almost 90 % of those are the requests I get from clients who want their lovers’ names carved in different fonts. Gifting pencils with names carved on them has become a trend all over the world. I have done so many of them that now I can complete an assignment in 15 minutes flat,” he laughs.

When asked about the most difficult work he has done till now, Bhanukumar picked up an orange pencil whose wooden part has been hollowed and the lead has been carved to look like a heart dangling from a hook. Also, carving the word ‘Ted’ on 0.7mm and 0.5mm lead were some of the works which tested his patience.

Only after he started off with his micro-art works did he learn that his father was fond of carvings as well. A government official, his father sculpted on wood in his spare time.

“This motivated me to look at my passion more seriously and boosted my confidence,” he says. Unlike many other pencil artists who import pencils to experiment on, Bhanukumar uses the easily available ones.

He has recently started taking workshops to help more people learn the art. “ I take only five people per workshop so that I concentrate on each one of them and help them learn the art right,” he says.

Bhanukumar also says that being in a small city like Visakhapatnam makes it difficult for his art to reach more people. “Despite having enough followers on Facebook and Instagram, I cannot send my art to all as transporting such delicate pieces of art is a little difficult,” he says.

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