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Art story : The groovy rickshaw

Updated: Aug 16, 2022

Sometimes, an artwork or illustration is born out of a strong story. It comes as a flash of inspiration striking at random that triggers an urge to create. This is certainly how the most iconic of all of Home Cyn Home's design came to be : The groovy Rickshaw.

This adorable watercolor rickshaw, has had many avatars and variant created over the years but how the original came to be is one of those stories that proof you can get inspired just about anywhere at totally random times too.

See, I live in Mumbai, in India and I tend to rely on rickshaws to get around (also known as "auto"). They are small 3 wheeler vehicles that can zip in traffics and get you from A to B at a reasonably fast pace, but are opened to the elements so getting stuck in a traffic jam while riding in a "rick" can be quite uncomfortable, especially in the hot Summer months because you inhale dust and pollution a plenty while sweating bullets. Even with that, they are my favourite way to get around and without them, this iconic illustration would probably never have been born.

See, one day I was riding in one to just run my usual load of errands in my area when we suddenly got stuck in one of those infamous, totally unpredictable Mumbai traffic jams. The kind that turns a 15 minutes ride into a 45+ minutes one. At one point, I was stuck in a sea of rickshaws all trying to squeeze themselves in gaps. Honking and going inch by inch on a really dusty road, the stuff you want to get out quickly. Mumbai's Rickshaws are all black with a yellow stripe running on the side, which makes for a pretty boring sight.

It's at that exact moment, while inhaling my fair share of fumes and dust and trying to tune everything out that my mind suddenly went : "This jam would be a lot more fun if all those rickshaws were pink"


Right that second, I knew I had to write that idea down, because it was a great idea for a watercolor illustration and I didn't want it to escape me. So, I took my phone out, and wrote a note : "Pink rickshaw" to make sure I would not forget it.

Writing that note turned out to be unnecessary, the instant I made back home, the urge to paint was such that i went to work right away. What came out was a pink and yellow rickshaw surrounded by blue leaves which I scanned immediately to edit into a design for my Society6 and Redbubble shop.

The original had some elements I ended up not liking at all, namely the paisley design on the roof or the rickshaw, so I ended up removing it in Photoshop. I also created a version without the leaves, so that I could turn it into stickers and patterns later on. The original painting was created with my "Prima Marketing" Tropical watercolor set (Amazon Affiliate link), which I have used to the death with that magenta, pink and yellow colors. For a long while, that color palette was my to-go to palette, until finding replacement for those watercolor pans proved to be insanely difficult.

From that original illustration, a lot of different versions were born, Including an ALL PINK version, and the most recent digital version called "hippie rickshaws" :

It's the design that quickly became a best seller in every shop, including my Etsy shop when I was selling physical stickers in it. It became a pattern called "Funky Rickshaw", got turned into a notepad and a mousepad as well as resin keychain charms, still from when I was selling physical items on Etsy. And it even got a printable mini-stickers set version which is now available on Patreon.

When a friend of mine left India, she comissionned a copy of my original Rickshaw and asked me to make 2 companion designs to go with it. It gave birth to the Groovy Indian truck, and Horn Ok Please sign in the same color palette. Both designs are doing well in my shops as well. The amziong part is that all of it started while being stuck in an insane traffic jam, I could have cribbed, lost my cool, and started to brew negativity, but I was in a relaxed mood that day, and I became a good receptors for ideas and caught this one. because, yes, like Elizabeth Gilbert in Big Magic, I believe ideas are live bodiless beings that visit us at random.

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This posts contain Amazon and Society6 Affiliate links, this means that if you click on them and make a purchase, I'll get paid a commission at no extra costs to you.

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