On Illustrations and Monsters

This week’s edition of Time Out Bangalore has two really nice pieces that are definitely worth reading.

The first is on changing trends in illustrations in Indian children’s book publishing.

A study of the history of children’s literature would be incomplete without a look at the illustrations that have accompanied classic works. Roald Dahl’s body of deliciously dark and comic children’s stories are practically inseparable from Quentin Blake’s illustrations of the characters – goggle-eyed and wobbly-limbed, rendered in his unmistakable spidery line. At an ongoing show in Max Mueller Bhavan, the works of 13 contemporary German children’s book illustrators is on display, along with the works of a few Indian artists, who also discussed developments in the field in a panel discussion held at the opening of the show last fortnight.

You can read the full piece here.

And the second is a review of Blaft’s gorgeous new book, Kumari Loves a Monster.

An unnamed girl, her sari tied at the waist, jhumkas in her ears, and jasmine strung in her long, plaited hair, rides past a tribe of goats on a moped named “Tuss 50”. But it’s hard to be certain whether the wonderstruck farmhands tending to the goats are looking at the speeding maiden or are transfixed by the hulking ghoul clinging to her waist, with blistered skin oozing fluids, delirious eyes and slavering snout pressing close to the damsel’s undoubtedly fragrant locks. The picture’s caption, however, doesn’t do much to allay the shepherds’ confusion: “You my dear, are one in a million,” the rider appears to be pleading. “Hold me tight, and ride the pillion!” This is a scene typical of Kumari Loves a Monster, conceptualised by Rashmi Ruth Devadasan and released by Blaft, the Chennai-based publishing house that she runs along with her husband Rakesh Kumar Khanna.

You can read this piece here.


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