Meet the Illustrator : Tapas Guha

In our joyful world of Pratham Books, there are many endearing characters who are our best buddies, stories that we tell and retell and values that we learn and imbibe. But how much do we know about the people who create this make believe world for us ?
We resolved to put this right, and decided to interview and bring forth few of our favourite authors and illustrators.
This week’s interview is with Tapas Guha. Tapas has worked with us on the Kallu series ; the History series and Bishnu, the Dhobi Singer.

When did you first start illustrating ?I’ve been drawing since I was a child. Started illustrating professionally after finishing me post graduation in commerce.

What inspired you to take up illustration as a career ?For me illustrating is not a career! Its my love and passion.

Which was your first illustration ?Really can’t remember. It was long time back.

Do you keep the children’s age in mind while illustrating for a story ?Not really. I draw what I think is right for the story. If I start thinking about things like children’s age etc. I’ll never illustrate. A creative work has to be spontaneous.

How did you decide what extent of illustration is required for a story too many, too few is there a method you use to arrive at these decisions?
No there is no method. It all depends how many illustrations a publisher can afford to pay for.

Once you finish illustrations for a book, do you take any feedback on them by maybe showing them to a child or discussing with friends or family ?Never. A million people will have a million opinions (people love to give their opinions even when its not welcome). It is impossible to incorporate every opinion. Also, it interferes with creativity.

Do you get nervous before the release of a book with your illustrations ? Do you worry it may not be liked ?
Not at all. Once the work is done, I’m busy with my next project.

How do you decide on a particular look for a character ?I go by the author’s description. Otherwise I use my imagination and it gives me hundreds of options of doing a single character.

The way your characters look, are they all imaginary or some also resemble real life people you meet?Sometimes use I real people. Specially if I hate someone, I show them as villains.

How many days does it take for you to finish illustrations for a book ? Which is your favourite book ? And Why ? Do you have a favourite illustrator ?It varies. From five minutes to couple of hours to do one illustration. It is ‘arabian nights’ – illustrated by Edmund Dulac. I love his illustrations. Also Victor Ambrus. Herge is my favourite.

What advice would you give to kids who want to take their drawing-painting skills seriously and make a career in that ?
Practice and stop think it as a just another career.

Can you share with us any funny incident that you remember related to any of your books ? Pick your favourite colour for us and tell us why.
Can’t think of any right away. There are many. As an artist, I love all colors.

Buy the books illustrated by Tapas Guha:
Bishnu, The Dhobi Singer

A Royal Procession
Marching to Freedom
Raza Meets the King
Sailing Home
Kallu 01 : In Big Trouble Again
Kallu 02 : Monkey Business on stage

The questions for this interview come straight from the little readers of Payoshni’s class who had this and so much more to ask their authors and illustrators:)

Read more interviews with Pratham Books authors and illustrators.
(Payoshni Saraf is a Teach for India 2012 Fellow, teaching a bunch of teenagers in a low income school in Warje. Her class of 21 is hooked to books and reads and learns together.Prior to TFI, Payoshni was a corporate slave in the field of Marketing who quit the money and chose the matter.)

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DISCLAIMER :Everything here is the personal opinions of the authors and is not read or approved by pratham books before it is posted. No warranties or other guarantees will be offered as to the quality of the opinions or anything else offered here