Drawing Manu

Posted by Remya Padmadas on January 18, 2018
Samidha Gunjal is an illustrator and animator with a distinct drawing style of her own which varies between cute to bizarre. She loves reading children's story books, graphic novels, watch cartoons, movies, cooking and travel. But Drawing is her passion as well as mode of expression that keeps her inspired. She's recently illustrated two new books for Pratham Books: 'Scratch! Scratch! Scratch!' by Dahwa Lahmu Yolmo and 'It's Play Time!' by Neha Singh. Samidha shared some lovely images and videos of her work in progress for 'Scratch! Scratch! Scratch!' and a note on illustrating the book.  

"'Scratch! Scratch! Scratch' is such a charming story written by Dawa Lahmu Yolmo. Here, the protagonist  Manu, is a naughty little girl who loves playing hopscotch! She's always counting 1-10 when she plays which is great way to introduce counting to little kids.

When I first got the manuscripy I was very curious about what a story with a title like 'Scratch! Scratch! Scratch!' could be about. When I read the story, I immediately fell in love with the Manu. I always enjoy creating rebellious girl characters who are bold, naughty, brave, clever and full of life. The story is based in he beautiful misty hills of Sikkim with colourful houses connected by twisty, curvy, sloping roads. My favourite part of the book was drawing the beautiful greenery of Sikkim.

To be able to create Manu’s character I had to do some research on Sikkim, the people and especially school going kids. I searched for reference images on the internet for village life in Sikkim. Maithili Doshi, who Art Directed the book shared images of the actual school where the writer, a teacher,teaches. Based on these references I came up with a few rough sketches of Manu and other family members. Though there is no mention in the story, I added a baby sibling. Timely feedback from Maithili and Bijal helped with the finishing touches. For the final drawings I used charcoal pencil for outline and watercolour washes. 

I have tried to incorporate the lifestyle and culture of the region while keeping the visuals as simple as possible.

I could easily relate to Manu’s character as I was a bold, naughty and rebellious child myself. I used to love playing 'Ghar, Ghar' or House as a kid. And the best part of the game was that you could play it alone!

Now that the book has been published on StoryWeaver I am keen to know how children respond to the visual identity of Manu created by me!"






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