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Counsel queries on Artistic Career

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Artistic pursuit

I am studying in SYBCom, but I am now interested in art. I know that I have not been able to take up a degree in applied or commercial art, but is there a way? Also, I have taken my Elementary and Intermediate Drawing Exams. Will that be a problem? -Amrita Mehra

Dear Amrita,


For becoming an artist, you can work on your talent and skill in any manner you want. Yes, there are courses available which will teach you more about techniques and the history of art, and you can look out for a course that you can pursue while studying in BCom. Since you have completed your Intermediate Drawing Exam, you will be able to apply to be an art teacher in a government school.

The J. J. School of Art offers part time courses in painting and ceramics. You can check the details on the website. You can also look into design courses like graphic design or fashion design if that interests you. Most of the programmes offered have some eligibility criteria in place so I suggest you look into those and start preparing to get the ones that you have not already got.

Aside from looking at the courses you can pursue, I also suggest that you work with other artists in honing your techniques and build a portfolio so you can decide what you want to do in the future in this field. There are many options open for artists now, with the advent of the internet, you can easily popularise your work through social media websites.

Creative writing

I am in SYBA and I am interested in writing. I wish to take up a course in creative writing before I graduate. Please can you suggest a few institutes which offer this course part time? Also, will I be able to get free lance work through the institute that I pursue my course with? What else can I do to look for free lance work?  -Sonali Pendse

Dear Sonali,

The first and foremost thing that you should do to become a writer is to write every day. You should have a goal to write at least about 150 to 200 words every day in a satisfactory manner, to begin with. Of course you could do more. The trick is that to better any skill, to practice is consistently. Other than that, you should also read a lot, some known writers to understand their style of writing.

Now, whether or not you will be able to look for work through the institute depends on the policy of every institute. On your own, you should make your writing visible by putting it up on a blog or any other platform on the internet so that readers can enjoy what you have written. Other than that, there are options over the internet where you can look for free lance work. Be active on social media and go for meet-ups that involve writers so that you can network around.

There are several courses on offer in this area. You can check them out:

  • Xavier Institute of Communication (XIC) offers a Certificate Course in Creative Writing
  • Indira Gandhi Open University Mumbai Centre – Diploma in Creative Writing in English through distance learning
  • Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning (SCDL), Pune, offers a one-year Diploma in Creative Writing in English through distance education
  • Harkisan Mehta Institute of Media, Research and Analysis offers a diploma course in Creative Writing and Film Appreciation

You can also look for online courses pertaining to creative writing on websites like Coursera. An aspect that you have to keep in mind and take care of is that each writing programme is unique in the style of delivery and what they do, so you should ideally look at the details and curriculum and choose a programme that suits your needs well.

Signing an undertaking

I am a mass media graduate and am pursuing my masters in Political Science from Mumbai University. Recently, I was offered a role as a content writer in a small organisation which provides customised content for various e-learning modules. The problem is that they have asked me for a commitment for three years, and are asking me to sign an undertaking. I want to take up the offer, but I am afraid that I will be stuck for three years then, and will not be able to pursue anything better than comes along. Will there be any serious consequences if I violate the bond later?  -Sarika Pradhan

Dear Sarika,

If the content writing offer is a good one and suits your aspirations in terms of the quality/ type of work, the bond should not be such a stumbling block. For career purposes, everyone makes compromises and consider the bond as one you have to make. I am also looking at the fact that as of now this is the offer you have, so by the time you wait for another one, you might as well use it well for this job.

I, however, cannot advise you much on the penalty that you have to pay if you violate the bond later, since that is something based on what is mentioned in your contract. Generally it is a financial penalty imposed, but I suggest you study the contract and determine the seriousness of the penalty of the undertaking is broken. ­