Tuesday, August 07, 2012

The Shehab Article

Shehab foundation is an idea I had some time back. Since then I've been trying to get people together to start it. Sharing a few documents and images in the following posts which are key to the whole concept.

First the article which was written during the promotion of the Itch book.

Nothing ‘comical’ about it!

By Sumit Kumar, Author, The Itch You Can’t Scratch
You might’ve heard about Cartoonist Pran (Chacha Chaudhary) orAnant Pai (Amar Chitra Katha), but I am sure that you wouldn’t have ever heard about Shehab.
Shehab was one of the many causalities of this interesting and joyful field of Comics and Graphic Art. He was an artist and a writer who created characters like Lamboo Chottu, as well as some great work with a variety of publishers.
He was witty; his style was bold and had a simplistic, yet modern feel to it, which at that time was unique. As most of his contemporaries were busy drawing “broad-chested” superheroes. If you just think back, you’ll realize that you have read something created by him for sure.
Earlier this year,  I approached, Diamond Comics to get in touch withShehab, so that we could invite him to the 1st Annual Indian Comics Convention. We were sending invites to all major illustrators as we wished to honor them at the convention.
However, I was told by Gulshan Rai, the owner of Diamond Comicsthat Shahab died a long time ago. He told me further that he used to live in a small chawl in Mumbai, and he had no family.
Nobody knows when he died, how he died, what his condition was. We have no information about any unfinished works, all the knowledge he learnt from experience is lost.
And that doesn’t mean Cartoonist Pran had an easy career either. He might have been immensely popular, but he had to go through his share of hardships in the beginning. And during most of his later years, actually till now he has been working completely alone, with no regular interaction with young artists. He doesn’t know what new artists are working on and no young artist can benefit from his experience of all these years.
Most of us enter comics for the joy of it. It’s the most important reason for entering this medium, but as soon as you start you face this terrible situation. As a young artist, you can only dream of meeting famous artists and learning from them, utilizing the years of knowledge they have gained from experience.
As a full time artist/writer, Comics is not a stable profession. You have to always keep working, especially if your food comes from it. That leaves one with no time to learn more, or be ill if you’re from a really modest background.
Comics and any of its future forms will see growth if new people enter it. Young students will only enter this medium if it is considered a stable profession, also if they find the opportunity to learn.
But I am really afraid, I commonly use the term ‘papa ka petrol pump’ to refer to individuals from affluent backgrounds, the kind who don’t have to earn their living from what they do. They can relish in the pursuit of art and perfection.
Mere papa ka petrol pump nahi hai and comics, my choice of profession, is not stable. There are strong chances that I might end up in a mess.
My best bet is to work hard for others, for the young guys out there who need resources and create a connect between the professionals working in the medium and sharing the work of the senior guys who have done great work, so that everyone works co-operatively, for profit.


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