Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Illustrating Ju's Story

I was thrilled when I received a call from Tulika about a project to illustrate a children's book. The last time I had such and opportunity was almost a decade and a half ago. 

I meet with the Tulika people and a brief gist of the story in question was narrated to me. A copy of the story was handed over for detailed reading. The texture of the illustrations, locale /etc were also discussed. With me promising to give them some ideas on how the illustrations would flow I left with excitement and also apprehension as to whether I would "make the grade". 

To cut this long story short, I must say that Tulika approved my scribbles {or most of them} and some minor changes. Next to create Ju. Sitting at my work table, with pen and paper, I asked myself , now what Asma? a little voice in my head said "go with the flow". I did just that . I started reading the story again and every time I read that story, I felt tears in my eyes. This poignant simple tale of a girl who wants to receive a letter by post and no one there to send one to her. It reminds me of a poem "is there anyone there....." In Ju's case there is no one. The landscape is Kerala. Fortunately, having travelled several times to Kerala, the little nuances of small town/village life are quite fixed in my mind. Hence, creating the backdrops to the characters was quite easy.

We from the urban world, take our affluence for granted. This story brings to light the many many things which are a wonder and joy to the less privileged . Clothes/books/staple food/etc. etc.

When Ju's Story reaches the shelves at book stores around the country, I request my readers to take pen and paper in hand and pen a letter to Ju and rediscover the wonder of writing a letter by hand and not electronic mail.

This book made me do just that.

- Asma Menon, Artist and Illustrator

1 comment:

  1. It's always fascinating to know what goes on in the mind of an illustrator while they are busy bringing to life characters and landscapes.
    And the way you've created Ju and her world complements and really evokes this moving story. Liked the style very much!


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