[This weekend, Homegrown’s collaborating with PUMA as conceptualisers of a one-of-a-kind event, #TheLegendOfTheDrawingBoard, for comic book/graphic novel enthusiasts and creators across the country, alike. In celebration of Puma Social Club’s first year anniversary, we’ve put together a particularly refreshing curation of speakers, showcases and after parties, which just happens to include a talk by none other than David Lloyd, the artist behind V For Vendetta, this weekend. As such, we’ll be digging further into the world of the Indian comic book industry over the next week in an effort to give you a taste of what’s being planned ongoing, online with a series of interviews, timelines and simple art showcases online. Stay tuned for a veritable history, geography, and miscellaneous lesson on all things ‘chitrakatha’ related.]
Creations that have come to life from the drawing board, drawn from ink, sweat and paper, have captured and sustained the collective imagination of several generations of comic book and graphic novel enthusiasts over the decades, feeding a hunger for stories that only the staggering combination of powerful words and striking imagery could satiate. As we delved into this world of infinite possibilities embedded in consecutive panels we follow the paths of, it became apparent that there were more of us out there, nursing a passion that is still relatively new to the shelves in the country, but is very much a powerhouse in its own right; as potent as any of the other art forms we choose to tell our stories, and live our lives, by.
In celebration of PUMA Social Club’s first anniversary, #TheLegendOfTheDrawingBoard is an event to bring together the comic book and graphic novel community in Bangalore to share and revel in the nuances of the art amongst those who have found synergy with the same, over the course of a two-day plot including a showcase of exceptionally talented 11 comic book creators, artists and illustrators from Bangalore who have so far remained largely in the shadows, along with a series of talks by an international speaker and four Indian speakers from the same world of comic books. After parties with a motley of artists, and sounds, wrap up the event each day with the likes of UK-based Nerm (of Shiva Sound System) who marks his return to the country, and Anish Sood, who will be showcasing his alter ego with deeper, more underground sounds. There will also be India’s most forward-thinking female producer Sandunes, ex-Bangalore local Fuzzy Logic and live electronic acts by Your Chin and Bangalore 2014’s rising acts - Twokid Wickid & BLENT to keep your feet moving because you know what they say - there’s no rest for the wicked.
Now that we’ve successfully traversed ‘A Complete Timeline: The Evolution Of Comic Books In India (1926 – Present)‘ and have caught up with the present, the impending showcase of Indian artists is an exciting part of the weekend we just can’t wait for. We engaged in a quick back-and-forth to shed some light into the inner workings of this inscrutable world we can’t seem to take our eyes off of.
An artist and designer, Abhishek is heavily influenced by classic Indian aesthetic sensibilities, mythology and pop culture. Think intergalactic space operas, dinosaurs and myriad history references. His project ‘The Return To Kalahari’ is in the same vein, the graphic narrative featuring mythological stories inspired from the Khoi-San community in Cape Town, South Africa. A part of the Heroes Project, the comic aims to create a distinct sense of cultural identity within the community by showcasing the heroes within them, drawing upon the history and culture of the community. Abhishek has previously worked with Raj comics and members of the PAO collective, and his passion for storytelling and illustration translate quite evidently into his work. Abhishek borrows his inspiration from classic Indian aesthetics, mythology and pop culture. History, dinosaurs and inter-galactic space operas are among his other interests.
Karthik Ilango dabbled in advertising for a while before acceding to his dissatisfaction and taking off to spend most of a year diving and learning and surfing around the emerald island. Alumnus of the Srishti School of Art Design and Technology, Karthik is influenced by surrealism, the realm of the subconscious and the world of dreams, and drawn inextricably to illustration and visual storytelling as a medium.
Confabulations with the Wizard is a graphic novel that delves into existentialism, asking questions about whether people bury themselves in their conscious costumes that they have been conditioned to inhabit - and if this influences the choices that they make, and how they make them. Culture dictates self-image, and how one portrays an image to the outside world; the comic explores these themes and raises pertinent questions on the importance of making a choice by yourself.
‘Fine art, good design and all things graphic novel’ are Maanvi Kapur’s vices and she has received formal training in painting and sculpture from an early age. A Visual Communication graduate from Srishti School of Art, Design and Techonology on paper, she has worked under heavyweights in the industry like Orijit Sen, Graphic Novelist and Graphic Designer at People Tree, and as a Visual Artist at Kreeda Design, Bangalore.
Declaring illustration as her true love, she adores anything from portraits to still life to nature, and super hero movies are something she lists as a definite weakness, right up there with well-made desserts and Gerard Butler.
Her work, ‘Loss.’ explores a realm straddling regret, denial, sadness and longing. She elaborates:
’Loss is change, and change as we all know, is constant. But all this is nullified at a point. It is that point when you lose a person.
To be aware of the fact that the person is not coming back is the ultimate reality. It cripples you. Its like all the weight of your body drops into your feet.
The feeling of knowing that you cannot give a part of yourself to that person anymore, is shattering.
It makes you stop. It makes you and all those around you feel the importance, almost craving for life.
Of time. Of people and relationships. And at the end, it makes them learn.
Loss is learning.
It is about learning to pick your life up.’
IV. Tamal Saha
27-year-old Tama Saha has been immersed in the comic book and graphic illustrations world since 2013, being a civil engineer previously by qualification. A comic-book enthusiast and an avid comic-collector, Bangalore-based Tamal hasn’t received any formal training or degrees in art and design as such, but his passion for the medium and dedication towards his art is an unstoppable force that drives him. His first comic book was published in 2013 in India, and he has been working consistently towards expanding his work in a foreign indie comic book also showcased in NYCC 2014.
You can check out some of his work here.
‘The painting is the painter.’
A 3D and 2D artist from Bangalore, Murali has previously worked as an analyst, game artist and later on as a graphic designer, with his digital painting project ‘Kala Gita’ featured and showcased by teh Museum of Digital Fine Arts.
He had been marching to the sound of his own drummer from a very young age, though, and while other boys played cricket in the neighbourhoos, he could be found practising kung fu moves he’s watched on television, making samurai swords out of cardboard in his secret laboratory and sketching comic book characters. With high school, he moved on from sitting on the terrace staring at the infinite blue sky and pondering on existential questions such as ‘Why do people die?’ to having his creative expressions manifest themselves into the heady world of theatre. Winning several awards along the way, other forms of art Murali dabbled in include drawing and painting.
Currently a visual designer for HackerEarth, he continues to delve into new styles of painting and creating beautiful works of art.
Check out his portfolio here, and his blog here.
VI. Mrinal Rai
An independent artist and publisher, Mrinal Rai has published two graphic novels, ‘Tamas’ and ‘Zikr’ launched in Bangalore Comic Con 2013 and 2014 respectively, and one graphic cum text novel till date (available under the brand publishing name ‘Lotus of Saraswati’ here). He’s also written, illustrated and published a novel “Kurukshetra Yuddha”; a trilogy, whose 1st volume was launched in Bangalore Comic con Express 2012.
Currently working on the second volumes of ‘Zikr’ and ‘Kurukshetra Yuddha’, he also spends his time working on his new graphic novel ‘Vishakanya’ and doing freelance illustration work. Find out more about her here and here.
Bangalore-based film-maker and writer, Aarthi has a background in short fiction, advertising and documentary and has been a long-time comics enthusiast. Having recently begun writing for the series ‘Royal Existentials’, she is currently collaborating on other comics with artists Chaitanya Krishnan and Kaveri Gopalakrishnan. Chaitanya Krishnan, an illustrator and animator, has worked on a variety of projects ranging from print, pop-up, 2D as well as 3D animation and web. Falana Dimka Films, a film and animation studio that does various kinds of moving image and sequential art projects, has been set up as a joint effort between Aarthi and Chaitanya .
A weekly webcomic series, Royal Existentials uses Indian vintage art and imagery to relate stories of historical (and contemporary) angst set against the opulent abodes of royalty. Inspired by David Malki’s ‘Wondermark’, this comic uses the characters reminiscent of old Indian miniature paintings and the liketo discuss pertinent issues such as social inequality in a completely unique and enjoyable way.
VIII. Aniruddh Dube
Anirudhh’s deep seated love for comic books kicked in early, beginning with the likes of Nagraj, Super Commando Dhruv and Chacha Chaudry. Trained in 2D Animation from Srishti School of Art Design and Technology, Aniruddh has always had a deep interest in storytelling, which he now goes about with panache using Sequential Art, Illustration, and 2D Animation. He also enjoys working with both the pencil and the stylus, and believes good coffee, good music and good comic books are best enjoyed together.
To find out more about Anirudhh’s work, check out his Behance or Tumblr, or take a look at here or here.
An independent illustrator and comics artist from Bangalore, Kaveri makes comics for a living, with her graphic story in the ‘Drawing the Line’ anthology (Zubaan Publications) releasing in February. An Animation Film Design alumnus from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, she works on illustration-based design projects, documents stories and people while travelling, and makes comics for a living.
She will be showcasing ‘Before You Step Out’ at the event, a project that was featured as part of ‘15 Promising New Writers of 2015’ in the one-year anniversary issues of The Hindu Business Line. ‘Before You Step Out’ is a journal-style graphic story about the experience of being in a public space. The story compares the authors different feelings and sensations about walking alone in the dark rainforest, versus down the busy lane in her neighbourhood. The comic is entirely hand-done, with ink, and autobiographical.
X. Thanik Jaganath
21-year-old Thanik Jaganath has been a student of Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology for the past three years, where he has been developing his interest in illustration and graphic literature, and where he also finds most of his inspiration. Observation is one of the focal themes of his work - self-observation, that of the situations he might encounter and his life at art school, while still retaining an abstract quality by featuring characters he has created. Currently working on a short absurdist graphic novel called TOD, Thanik’s illustrations often include text as part of the image as opposed to it supplementing the image, and his narrative links are visual.
XI. Kabini Amin
Kabini is an illustrator, artist and designer who is forever inspired by changing landscapes and will willingly peep into flowers and have conversations with cows. She loves to draw and paint to capture sinuous lines and swatches of colour around her, translating her experiences into art and the blurry space between visuals and text, often called comics, hold her particular interest.
Her showcase includes ‘Stalked: Scars in time and space’, which was an exhibition of photographs by artist Aishwarya Arumbakkam, featuring victims of stalking. An illustrated zine was created in collaboration with Bhavana Vyas Vipparthi, who provided text and layouts. The zine was conceived as an illustrated inner monologue of a victim from the time she realises the presence of a stalker and traces her helplessness and fears. There are also various comics created as quick reactions to incidents and occasions in my life, and an excerpt from an anthology of comic stories, written by Rohitav Sharma.