Meet Kupwara ‘Artist Akeel’ turns hobby into profession to sketch self-success story

By Mushtaq Bhat

Kupwara oct, 30, From the famous personalities of sports to the prominent faces of Bollywood, this sketch artist from Kupwara has made more than 2500 sketches.
Akeel Ahsan Wani (25), never thought that he would become a sketch artist as he was more interested in science and technology and that is why he did his graduation in Civil Engineering.
“Since childhood, science and technology fascinated me and I used to do experiments whenever I got some free time. However, drawing on the other hand was something I was good at,” he said.


Akeel initially had a slight inclination towards sketching. It was his family and friends who convinced him to consider sketching more than just a mere hobby.
“It is because of my family, relatives and friends that I started to take drawing sketches seriously. They are the ones who boosted me by repeatedly reinforcing the belief in me that I am really good at drawing, and have the potential to excel in this field,” Akeel said.
Akeel started sketching in 2014 and till now he has made more than 2500 sketches.
“In the beginning, I got a good response from people. They started to appreciate my artwork. A word of appreciation boosts the morale of a person. And then you try to hone your skills further and do better,” he said.
Akeel is a self-taught artist who admires German artist Toni Mahfud.
“Whenever I am stressed, I start to draw whatever comes to my mind and I feel relaxed. People call me by the name ‘Artist Akeel’ and that is something which keeps me going,” he said.
Akeel has made sketches of famous personalities like Salman Khan, Virat Kohli, Shahid Afridi, Justin Trudeau, Muhammad Ali etc.
“I got my first order from the USA which was for a movie, and they paid me Rs 45,000 for that project,” he said. “Few months back, I made a portrait of actress Mahira Sharma for her music video “Rang Lageya” under the banner of Saregama music.”
He said, “In 2017, I was selected for an international art competition in Dubai, in which I got second rank. I was the lone participant from Jammu and Kashmir.”
Akeel has also bagged first position in a state level competition for making a ‘Golden Wheelchair’ for handicapped people.
He takes 6-7 hours to complete a sketch and charges according to the size of the sketch.
“If the size of the sketch is A3 size portrait then I charge around Rs 3000 to Rs 5000,” Akeel said.
“In Kashmir, artists face a lot of difficulties like we do not have proper art material here and we have to order it online. It becomes more difficult because of the internet shutdown,” he said.
Akeel has 24.7k followers on Instagram, where he shares his art and gets orders for his sketches.
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