Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Werewolf

'It is a cold northern country; they have cold weather, they have cold hearts. A child decides to visit her sick grandmother deep in the forest. She takes her father's hunting knife with her...'

Twenty years ago around this time, I traveled to Australia to study illustration. There I unlearned and relearned everything I ever knew about drawing, literature, language and illustration. Apart from expressing myself in words, I learned to voice my opinions visually. This was akin to learning a new language except that instead of putting down words on paper, I drew images. But then I learned how to draw these images in a way where they would say what I wanted them to say.I remember I drew far more than I had ever done until then and I remember trying to figure out what worked and what didn’t with my drawings. 

The image above was for a story by Angela Carter called The Werewolf which I did as part of my final project work at Queensland College of Art. It is based on the fairy tale of Red Riding Hood, but with a chilling twist - The wolf who attacks the girl on her way to her grandmother, turns out to be the alter ego of this grandmother-werewolf. The image denatures Little Red Riding Hood accordingly: the figure of the girl and the hood is traditional. The character of the girl and the setting are Carter.

The reason I put the picture above up on my blog was the similarity of the environment within it to the cold winter forests in Sutton (below) where I was taken for a walk. I am surprised that the environment that I created in my image twenty years ago ended up manifesting itself in real life later, even if only for one seemingly endless blink of an eye.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Trees in February

 In Bangalore on a summer evening.

In Montreal, during a winter afternoon.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Brought to Book

The Caravan, an excellent magazine of politics and culture invited me to do three editorial illustrations for them, super-fast, for an extraordinary essay about an author who had to face litigation for some of the contents in his book. He was hauled to the courts by people who hadn’t even read his book or deliberately chose to misunderstand what he had written. I had very little time to deliver something substantially complex for a story such as this. In the time I need to conceptualize and complete one illustration, I had to do three. But one does one’s best, takes a few by lanes and is thankful when such a project is completed and delivered.

In the illustrations I did for this essay, rather than creating standard visuals with courtroom scenes, I chose instead to depict the overwhelming emotions of paranoia, bewilderment and frustration that the author was consumed by; how small and vulnerable one can feel while battling strange and terrifying forces in an unfamiliar world. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016