Designed publications and posters
India has a rich culture of folktales and mythological legends. While epics like Ramayana and the Mahabharata have been extensively explored in the visual medium, oral tales that are passed on from generation to generation remain largely untapped. A K Ramanujan’s retellings of these folktales were explored visually in the form of a book and posters to popularise them among children.
Abonti is an 8 years old girl studying in the 2nd standard. She likes reading classical ghost stories, especially the character of Dracula with big teeth and at times also reads small illustrated books in Bengali, her mother tongue. She could recognize all the visual elements correctly and also read the text. She liked the Buffalo into rooster story among others because she enjoyed the illustrations of the animals in the book, especially the form of the cow. However, she commented that the form of the rooster in the book was not correct and resembled the form of the goat in the book. From the story of ‘walking on water,’ she liked the character of the second holy man. She got a little confused with identifying the form of the guru and the disciple in the story ‘If God is everywhere.’
Divyansh, who is studying in the fifth standard likes reading books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and also vampire stories. Illustration-wise, he liked the story of ‘If God is everywhere’ whereas story-wise he preferred ‘Walking on water.’ He enjoyed these two stories more than the ‘Buffalo into rooster’ story because he found them funnier. In ‘If God is everywhere, he liked the depiction of the scene where the disciple is held by the elephant with his trunk and he liked the character of the first holy man in the story of ‘Walking on water.’
His younger brother, Prathyush, however, liked the small boat in the background rather than the images of the two holy men in the poster.
Sara is a 9 years old girl studying in the 4th standard. She likes reading young fiction, especially by Thea Stilton. She patiently read through the story of ‘Buffalo into rooster’ which is the longest of all four folk tales. But she liked the story of the qazi better than ‘Buffalo into rooster’ because it was funny. She observed that the size of the text was larger in the books she read at home than the size I have used.
Ms. Vinita Nahar, Sara’s mother, who was also present there at the time, also shared about her daughter’s reading habits. She commented that they get a lot of books from NBT (National Book Trust) for her that have realistic characters and situations that children can relate to in their daily lives. They also encourage her to read a little in Hindi which she does with some reluctance. Sara often rereads some of her favorite stories and tries to draw some characters she likes.
Abonti’s comment about the rooster not looking like a rooster made me realize that maintaining the physical characteristic and personality was more important than character and style continuity. I should remain close to the real proportions of animals even while simplifying the form. Also, while attempting abstraction of form, I should maintain some characters that help in the identification of animals.
Kids were responding better to stories with some element of humor. Besides the illustrations of the main characters, they were also noticing other tinier details like the boat in the background.
Pack of 4 stories, One book, and 3 posters offset printing total cost Rs. 25. Which is quite affordable for most of the children.
Studied Drawing, Painting, Life study with medium like oil, poster colors, acrylics, egg tempera and water colors also did Lino graph, Litho graph and etching printing methods to make an artwork.