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.