Friday, February 2, 2018

Fresh, Yet Familiar: Tanvi P.S.’s Tryst With Karadi Tales

Tanvi P.S. interned with Karadi Tales in the month of December 2017.

It was on a bright, cozy December morning that I stepped into a quaint building to see a big cut-out of a brown, cheerful bear smiling at me, pointing towards glass doors that held behind them an array of books. From all these books, the same kind-natured Karadi beamed at me. It was as if I had stepped into a new tale, with an old friend.

Picture a young child holding a book in her hand, waiting to read along with a bear that told her stories through a cassette. I was this child when I was around 7 years old. I loved Karadi Tales’ audio books. Sometimes, I even had an itinerary ready for when I came back from school: first I would read The Blue Jackal, then The Four Friends, and then save my favourite for the last, The Monkey and the Crocodile. As you can surmise, my childhood was built on a steady diet of fables and fantastic music, courtesy of this musical bear.

With every audio book that I picked up, I started off on a brand new journey. I would elatedly sing and dance along as soon as ‘Karadi the Bear’ welcomed me to his jungle. I would wait eagerly for the ‘tak-tadak’ sound that told me it was time to turn pages and let the story unfold. What a glorious twenty minutes I had with every new tale!

Now, over fifteen years later, after joining Karadi Tales as an intern, when I was asked to pick a book and reflect on my journey with Karadi, my hands immediately reached out to pick up The Monkey and The Crocodile. It has been a long time since I last read (and listened to) this audio book adaptation of the Panchatantra classic, but by the second page I was humming along as the story serenaded me. I found that Ratna Pathak Shah’s evil cackling as the cunning crocodile, Mrs. Jagged Jaws, still sent chills through my spine.

After all this time, Karadi Tales still manages to awaken that little kid in me by bringing together two of my passions – music and stories. All these years I only marvelled at the magic of the books, but now I get to glimpse the magic that goes into their making.  It’s been less than a week since my internship began. However, seeing that my days are filled with working on children’s books, and the road ahead seems tremendously promising. Dear Karadi, thank you for the journey so far. Here’s to many more days spent reading and listening to your wonderful stories. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Flapping Fins with Lavanya Karthik

When Lavanya Karthik was a little kid, all she wanted to do was make up stories and draw pictures. Now that she's a slightly bigger kid, that is pretty much all she does. She lives in Mumbai, where she writes and illustrates children's book and takes a lot of naps. She also makes comics and writes speculative fiction for adults. For Karadi Tales, she wrote and illustrated The Lion’s Feast, as well as our newest title, Fly, Little Fish!


What inspired you to write Fly, Little Fish?
My own efforts at writing, drawing and long-distance running, actually.  But it applies to pretty much anything you love enough to want to get better at, right? You never stop trying, however impossible the task might seem, or how slowly you seem to be progressing. You keep flapping your fins, keep jumping . . .

How did you get into writing for children?
I was always a voracious reader, and I’ve been writing stories and doodling pictures for as long as I can remember. So even as a kid, I remember wanting to be a writer when I was older. But it wasn’t until I became a parent that I started taking those childhood dreams seriously. I started with writing down the little stories and rhymes I made up for my daughter, then began sending them out to various publishers of children’s books.  I also began illustrating children’s books, which was, and remains, a terrific learning experience. After a lot of failed attempts (or, should I say, flapping of fins) my book The Lion’s Feast was published by Karadi Tales.

In addition to writing and illustrating children’s books, you write comics and speculative fiction for adults. Do you find the process of writing for adults and children very different? If so, why?
I see it less as writing for a specific age group, than as telling a story the best way I can. So, the process is much the same – endless writing and rewriting (or redrawing), ruthless editing, more writing, much wringing of hands, pulling of hair and eating of chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate. And eventually, it’s done.

What do you like to read? Did you have a favourite picture book as a child?
I read everything- books of every kind, street signs, bus tickets, labels on pickle jars. You never know where your next idea could come from! But the genres I read the most are middle-grade and YA fiction. I don’t think the concept of picture books even existed way back when I was a kid – in fact, I probably did not see a picture book until I became a parent myself. What I do recall being very attached to was a stack of beautifully illustrated books from the erstwhile USSR, including the classic, When Daddy was a Little Boy by Alexander Raskin. 

Finally, could you give us any hints about what you’re working on at the moment?
I am currently working on a picture book for Karadi Tales, and the third instalment of the ‘Ninja Nani’ series published by Duckbill. Meanwhile, simmering slowly on the backburner is a middle grade fantasy set in a little town in the Himalayas.

Monday, October 23, 2017

With Flying Colours

One of our newest titles is Fly, Little Fish!, a charming little tale by Lavanya Karthik about an intrepid little fish who wants to explore the skies. Ashwathy P.S. took on the challenge of illustrating this story in a unique style inspired by Indian folk art, and helped give Little Fish her colourful, unique personality! Here’s a short interview with Ashwathy, where she discusses her experience with illustrating for Karadi Tales.
Ashwathy P.S. is an artist and graphic designer, who graduated from Stella Maris College with a degree in Fine Arts.

KARADI TALES: When did you first realize you wanted to be an artist and designer?
ASHWATHY P.S.: My penchant for art developed at a very early age — as a child I would sketch random things and find inspiration everywhere. Even in school I loved doing all sorts of arts and crafts, much more than studying other subjects. My art teacher from school was a great influence. He’s the one who made me realise that I could do something in this field and create something of my own as an artist or designer.

KT: What medium do you prefer working with?
APS: I prefer oils any day. I love blending and mixing colours. Oil is not a very easy medium, but once you get the hang of it, you will fall in love. My second favourite is photo ink. The bright colours just make me happy.

KT: Is there any particular artist who inspires you, or who has had a big influence on you?
APS: I find inspiration in many places. Whether it’s a work by a 10-year-old or by Picasso I find something to take back with me. As I mentioned earlier, my art teacher has also been a big influence. Four years of art history in college also exposed me to so many different art movements that have left an impact.

KT: You worked on the counting book One Dark Cloud for Karadi Tales. What was this experience like?
APS: Working as a junior graphic designer for a publishing house like Karadi is a dream come true. One Dark Cloud was a whole new experience and my first ever collage book. This book was made entirely by cutting and pasting different kinds of materials, ranging from cloth to different textured papers, depending on the feel of the elements portrayed. Figuring out what material works where and painting the first few background layers was time consuming. Working on this book was an exercise in learning more about different materials and how to conceptualize different elements of the book. It also made me think like a child, and wonder about how a child would imagine all of these. This book was designed completely in-house with the assistance of our intern, Anusha Sundar. Overall, it was a fun-filled experience of learning and exploring different mediums.
We made a tactile version of this book as well, which made it to the top 10 of the National Tactile Book Competition, Typhlo and Tactus.

KT: Tell us about the illustrations in your upcoming release Fly, Little Fish!
APS: Fly, Little Fish! is technically my third book for Karadi (the first being Karadi Rhymes 3). Our publisher asked me, quite unexpectedly, to sketch a fish in the Gond (an Indian folk art) style. When I showed her my work, she really liked the style and the way I conceptualized the fish. She asked me to illustrate the book using a storyboard that had been created by the illustrator Satwik Gade.
I took over from the story board and started my work, spread by spread. The art from Fly, Little Fish! is inspired by the Gond style, an ancient art form that emerged from central India. It is characterized by fine lines, dots and dashes. The illustrations in this book use this technique along with bright acrylic colours. Every element in this book is hand drawn and hand painted. Little Fish is my favourite character, and it will always be close to my heart.

Monday, August 7, 2017


Culpeo S. Fox’s illustrations turn every children’s picture book into a work of art, and each visual has the ability to take your breath away. We catch up with the phenomenal artist who illustrated The Fox and The Crow, and has also illustrated our next release A Tangle of Brungles, to find out what inspires her to create these unforgettable images. The Fox and The Crow is our book of the month, and is available at 20% off till Aug 31st  at

KARADI TALES: As an artist, what inspires you?
CULPEO S. FOX: The source of my inspiration is life itself - with all its ingredients and influences. Art follows life and this perception is a major key to understand my very own definition of what I call "Method Art".

KT:  What is your creative process?
CSF: My creative process is rather chaotic and random, something that never really is "under control". I look at it less as a creative process but see it more as a constant search for traces and listening to voices, the work of a hunter; having all senses ready and open for any kind of inspiration which very often hits you completely unexpectedly.

KT: The Fox and the Crow was listed in the prestigious White Ravens catalog and in the list of Best Children’s books by the New York Public Library -  how did it feel when you received these accolades?
CSF: It felt beautifully surreal.

KT: What is the most memorable thing that a reader or reviewer has said about your illustrations?
CSF: I always am deeply (and even after all those years still awkwardly) flattered by every kind word that people have used to describe my work. Speaking of The Fox And The Crow, though, Kirkus Reviews pretty much provided the personal icing of the cake when they called it "Aesop Noir".

KT: Tell us a bit more about your upcoming book with Karadi Tales – A Tangle of Brungles
CSF: A Tangle Of Brungles was a joy to work on (and after The Fox And The Crow, another "home match" for me - lots of snakes and lizards and critters to draw, plus Indian witches with their backward feet and wry humour - what's not to like?) and I love all the nuances of (author) Shobha's excellent poetry that goes along with it.