Tanishqa Nagpal, a commercial arts student at Mumbai’s Nirmala Niketan has a career even before graduation. A well-known doodler, her latest project is a wall mural at The Mad House Café in Mumbai that she did with three friends.

“We tried to cover as much of Mumbai in it as we could, with a mad touch,” laughs Nagpal. “We had a moustache on an auto rickshaw, a lobster chef, a scuba diver taking a selfie in the water and so on.” This was Nagpal’s second commercial project. The young woman (who makes it a point to mention that she likes and dislikes her younger sister in equal measure) has been doodling since she was a child in Pune. When her parents realised that she really had talent, the whole family shifted to Mumbai to find her a good art teacher.

Tanishqa Nagpal on shethepeople
The Mad Café doodle project by Tanishqa Nagpal

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“My teacher really took me to another level,” says Nagpal. “This was where I developed my skill at oil painting and it continues to be my first love and favourite medium. I remember one day we were driving back from my art class, and my dad asked me how I managed to do the same thing for 4-5 hours at a stretch. I told him: ‘Dad, I don’t even know how the time passes”. That’s when he told me that this is what I should do in life.”

With a passion like Nagpal’s for art, that made supreme sense. While other children were galumphing about, playing, Nagpal spent most of her childhood replicating artworks that she liked and improving her techniques.

Tanishqa Nagpal's doodles
The creative bent of mind: Tanishqa Nagpal

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Nagpal loves her work so much that despite her training in commercial art, she may never be commercial about art. Ask her which of her artworks she’d never give away and she is immediately flustered. “I love all of them,” she says, quite agitated.  “It is very hard for me to choose one. One day my dad asked me, ‘Which one will you never sell?’ and that made it easier. There is a Buddha in Blue, which was the first Buddha I ever painted. I was so afraid I would never match it that I didn’t make another for over a year.” She also loves her front-facing Buddha and, of course, her doodles. These she will never part with, for love or money.

Doodles are fairly new in Nagpal’s short career. She actually began with oil painting, which she loved so much, she’d do nothing else. Doodles now occupy that special place in her heart.

“It’s a medium I discovered myself and the medium in which I developed my own self-expression,” says Nagpal. “I started doodling after I saw Kerby Rosanes’s work in ‘Sketchy Stories’. Our styles are completely different, but I love his work.”

Tanishqa Nagpal on shethepeople
Inspired by everything: Tanishqa Nagpal

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For her art, Nagpal finds almost everything inspiring. “Parents, family, friends, teachers, other artworks…,” she says. “Earlier my family and friends pushed me on. Now I am inspired by the best in this field.”

You can safely say that doodling has become Nagpal’s world – but it doesn’t occupy every moment of her time. Given a break from college, commercial projects and her own art, you’ll mostly find her listening to soulful Hindi music, country music and R&B.

Maybe some doodles will emerge from the music.