Bringing Illustrators from around India under one Roof

In conversation with Suvidha, illustrator of Room to Read’s ten books

Room to Read India trust organized a workshop for illustrators from 18 to 22 April. Thirteen illustrators from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Delhi and Rajasthan participated in the five days creative event. They worked on illustrations for thirteen books. We’ll publish and launch these books this year.

Illustrators discuss their sketches with Dilip from Room to Read’s Literacy Program team.

At Room to Read, we believe such interactive workshops help us to produce creators of a wonderful breed of children’s literature. This will go a long way in helping build literacy in the country. Every year our team organizes a writers’ workshop and this is followed by a workshop for illustrators. These workshops nurture budding talent from around India.

In a series starting today, we’ll introduce you to our writers and illustrators. In the first interview, we are in conversation with Suvidha, an illustrator who has illustrated our ten books. She also participated in the recent workshop:

Q&A:

How have Room to Read’s workshops nurtured you as an illustrator of children’s books? What would you have missed if you wouldn’t have attended these workshops?

It’s always good to attend these workshops as they help us to gather experience and knowledge. Room to Read’s team shared their experiences of taking our books to the villages, to children, for field testing (before publishing them). It is good to know what children enjoy and how they react to our illustrations.

I would never want to miss this opportunity of attending illustrators’ workshop as I get to meet like-minded people and it motivates me. It is a great pleasure to meet different people from all over the country!

I would have missed informative, brainstorming and creative activities which were included in the presentation sessions. It was very enriching to meet young and experienced illustrators on the same platform. It was such a pleasure to see them working in their (individual) styles.

We shared our views on each other’s illustrations. Normally we don’t get an opportunity to review each other’s illustrations. Generally the communication is only between writers and publishers. It’s however good to know what other illustrators think about our illustrations.

For me most challenging thing was that I was away from my PC. I create illustrations digitally and wanted to take a chance to create them manually. In digital illustration we have a lot of benefits; we make changes easily and work in layers. But when drawing with hand we don’t have scope to make changes frequently. So in a way it was a good exercise for me.

I enjoyed working in Gouache and watercolour medium. I have used Gouache in my final book.

Suvidha did this illustration during the April workshop. The book is currently under production.

On a lighter mode in between the presentations, I and another illustrator, Apoorva created cartoons of some of the moderators. I really miss such fun in other workshops. We don’t get this very often!

In your opinion how do these workshops contribute to children’s literature in India?

Providing a platform like this for illustrators is really needed in our country. Since we are culturally very rich, meeting illustrators from all over the country (under one roof ) becomes a great experience. I think it inspires an illustrator to try something new and challenging for a change. Our books travel to faraway places, we need to keep this in mind while creating our books.

Illustrators can get extremely motivated by such an exposure. Freelance illustrators get to work only from their studios or home. So a workshop turns out to be a perfect place to contribute ideas and gain knowledge from others. It’s a great place to learn something new or to brush up old thoughts. For the beginners, benefits of attending an illustrators’ workshop are many, in fact it is the best way to reach out and learn from the best in the profession. A professional may know a lot but a single person cannot know everything so when many professional meet they exchange a lot of ideas and information.

What’s your favourite book — one out of the ten you have done for us? Why is it your favourite?

My favourite is ‘Bolo Ek Saans Mein’ it gave me a lot of space to imagine and create something of my own. I could design the text differently. I’m glad that my illustrator friends liked that book too.

Cover page of ‘Bolo Ek Saans Main’ done by Suvidha.

You said our workshop inspired you to work harder. How and why?

Well, as I said I do illustrations digitally and this time I wanted to create in a different medium and enjoy the fun of using a new medium. I was set to work the way I wanted. No matter how many times I had to create a page, I did it till I was satisfied.