Indian Rhymes to Read and Recite
Edited by Radhika Menon & Sandhya Rao
Illustrated by Kshitiz Sharmaa
A lot has been said about the novel way in which Tulika involved readers/ bloggers to chip in with their fond rhymes from their childhood in their mother tongue/ regional Indian languages. Translating and transliterating it must have been a huge task as well.
What makes it even more precious are the illustrations that just invite you, taking you along this mini tour of India. Here is a chat with the young man behind the art.
Meet Kshitiz Sharma - the illustrator of Tulika's Oluguti Toluguti. His maiden children's venture. From Symbiosis Institute of Design with a degree in Communication Design, he is a designer who enjoys reading, travelling and witnessing Indian street culture/fashion.
ST- How did you bring alive so many cultures?
The task at the beginning was very daunting and you know it being my first ever book and being still in college back then, I was scared whether I am doing the right thing, infact I was scared right uptill the middle of the book. But then, i thoroughly enjoyed illustrating such beautiful rhymes from all corners of India. There were regular discussions about the culture and the rhymes at Tulika which helped a lot. It was like a mini tour of India, illustrating this book.
How was the page composition arrived at?
The page composition was what took priority once the illustration style was set, right at the beginning of the book. Several permutations were tried. It being quite a big book, the pages had to look fresh each time someone opened the book, at the same time the book could not afford to confuse. The information ( the translation, transliteration and the rhyme in original script) had to have a set pattern, for usability reasons. So all this was thought off and with the guidance of Radhika, we settled on this page composition which was deemed appropriate then.
Can you tell us how the illustrations evolved and what styles you used for this book?
The evolution of illustrations was a very natural process.From initial trials and roughs to settling on an appropriate look which works for the book was very a organic process.The styles used in the book were inspired from the art forms of India, no one in particular.It was an intuitive assimilation of all the art forms of India I have grown up with and absolutely adore
Any anecdotes from your experience?
The best part during the creation of the book was when I spoke to my friends from all parts of India and asked if they had heard this rhyme or that rhyme from their region. The feeling of nostalgia that evoked was amazing. And of course at the book launch, last month, seeing kids react to lovely rhymes was priceless, makes me want to draw more and more for kids.
Can you share your favourite illustrators/ picture books and why?
My favorite artist is Jamini Roy. I am a huge fan of his body of work and his work unfailingly always inspires me. Of the new age illustrators I like Mr Sanjay Patel's work. His book on Ramayana is a visual treat. There are way too many picture books and artists to list here. My biggest heroes are the artists from India. The tribal artists and their creations need no more words of praise.
Thank you Kshitiz ! We are sure that in a few years, your body of work and your fan group will expand!