StoryWeaver is an open source digital platform from Pratham Books on which stories can be read, downloaded, translated, versioned or printed. All the content on StoryWeaver is available under Creative Commons licenses to encourage collaboration and reuse.
Aindri is a communications designer specializing in narrative illustration and animation. She is one of the members of The Kadak Collective. She has illustrated two books for Pratham Books: Apu's Giant Earthquake by Sudeshna Shome Ghosh and Food Monster by Meenu Thomas. Both the stories are very to read, download, print and share on StoryWeaver. Aindri writes about how she created the distinctive textured illustrations for 'Food Monster'.
Meenu’s story Food Monster instantly reminded me of the potato and bhindi block printing classes I had in school. I felt the same approach and materials would go perfectly with her story.
When returning to that memory, I came across the technique of Gyotaku (gyo “fish” + taku “rubbing”) a traditional Japanese method of fish printing that originated in the mid-19th century as a way for fishermen to record the size and characteristics of their daily catches. So block printing with food was not just child’s play. Infact, before cameras, fishermen often recorded large or unusual specimens by making ink block reproductions of their catch. The Sumi ink which was used to take the impression would be easily washed away after recording the catch, so the fish was in perfect condition to be consumed. (You can read more about Gyotaku here and here.)
I scanned the images which I later layered and collaged with hand drawn illustrations.
Some of the shapes were easy to spot, like the circles and rings in the cross-section of peppers and cucumbers, some impressions especially of the herbs looked like tiny version of trees and some impressions like strawberries made seamless patterns on the page. Here are impressions of strawberry and corn:
A fairground favourite, the carousel, made with celery, lemon, basil, pepper & pepper seeds.
A panipuri stall near a tree: made with basil, corn, cucumber, celery and garam masala.
Aindri has generously shared a library of the prints she created for our community to use.You can find them on Aindri's profile page (scroll down to see them all!)
You are most welcome to use them as you wish, do please tag us @pbstoryweaver and @aindri_c with your favourite food shape. Good luck!