Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The thumb rules!

Children love making a mess, and I do too. Fingerprints are delightful symbols of grime and mess, and when Tulika asked me to do a series using them, I was grateful to be part of this project - one they could have asked a child of three to do for free!

Thambi and Thangi are from real fingerprints, and I finger-painted the textures for the ground, trees and whatnot, thoroughly reliving my childhood in the process.

When I painted the faces on to the fingerprints, I realized that
the fingerprint
device’ had a singular advantage. The large Humpty Dumpty form is perfect for big eyes and mouths, which is scope, as any cartoonist will tell you, for powerful portrayal of raw emotion. For us illustrators, expressions rule!

I love Thambi and Thangi, and I hope everybody who meets them does.

- Ashok Rajagopalan, Illustrator


  1. A bookaholic mom based in Delhi is the best way to introduce myself. My son is three years old and he loves to be told stories like most kids. I bought him four books from your publishing house because it is so ethnic, beautifully written and illustrated and I wanted to read them out for myself too!

    To cut a long story short, one of the books is this cute Thumb story. I read it about four times with my son and he loved it so much that he won't let me stop reading it. My husband who has very little time or interest in reading children's books was so happy reading this book himself. He read it thrice with my son and was amazed at the simplicity and beauty with which the illustrations have added so much value to the book.

    Now, we all love this book and I just had to thank you for it!

  2. Awesome job Jeeva Raghunath and Ashok Rajagopalan lil fella is 5 years old and he picked the thumb bundle in the Chennai Book Fair, 2011. He was fascinated with the 'thumb-thumb-thambi' phrase so much and right inside the Tulika stall he got an action to go with it too. He would wiggle his right thumb, then left and then point to himself!!
    Its two days since the series has been purchased and he is discovering something new each time he looks at it...the best part is he can read it by himself mostly.
    Thank you Tulika !


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