Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Paint innocence, be an illustrator

You mention Hansel and Gretel and the image that always pops up in my head comes from a book my brother owned as a child. It had a beautiful illustration of the evil witch’s charmed cottage, with gingerbread windows, ice-cream walls and a beautiful roof made of the most delicious of cakes and breads.

After all these decades, through the passing of which one has forgotten so many things, I’m surprised how that one small picture has endured, as has that huge beanstalk Jack climbed, or that ancient Chand-er boori (old woman of the moon) from that Bengali classic for children, Thakumaar Jhuli (Grandmother’s Bag).

For Suddhasattwa  Basu, painter and illustrator, who studied fine arts at the Govt. College of Art and Craft, Kolkata, and has also illustrated Nature Watch by Khushwant Singh, and To Live in Magic by Ruskin Bond, illustrations for children are “very different”, from other kinds of art. “Work done for adults can be pretentious. In fact, the more pretentious it is the more acceptable it is to grown-ups, who cannot see straight, and are always trying to read between the lines. Children are different. If they like you they’ll tell you. Any communication to them has to come straight from the heart, clear, direct – it has to have a sense of innocence,” says Basu.

Full report here Hindustan Times

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