Sunday, September 29, 2013

Orijit Sen's Comics in NCERT Textbooks: How cool is that?

I was researching for some of my work when I discovered an NCERT textbook with comics and the style was something I had seen before...I thought for two minutes and then downloaded the PDF of the book from internet.

It was Orijit Sen's artwork.

That same evening I went to my local bookstore after some 7-8 years and bought NCERT SOCIAL AND POLITICAL LIFE - 2.

I was planning to put the comics up for others to read, but the PDF i found had this huge watermark over it :

I opened the files in Adobe illustrator and the first page of the PDF was like the file available to the guy who made this ! I could edit every component. 

(And everytime I find new techincal gimmickary like this my respect for graphic "artists" dies but a small bit. Graphic artists definition : I don't draw but I use my mouse to create beautiful things - I used to know someone like this and the non drawing "artists" are a solid pain! This guy would literally draw over other people's artwork!)

so I could remove the irritating watermark. but new problem - multipage PDF opens as single page in Adobe Illustrator.

With that freedom  I took the liberty to make nice wallpaper of orijit sen's artwork on the book -

Here are the stories:







in the middle of the book you learn that Salim-Javed also collaborated with NCERT :

One story they didn't get the time to finish 

Cover pages:

And it helped me add a new word to my cartooning dictionary: 


Orijit Sen on his NCERT project: "Two things that give me great satisfaction about this project: 1- i was able to make comics become a part of the very same ncert textbooks we used to hide our comics behind, during 'study classes' (we usually suffered slaps if caught) 2- self righteous teachers using these textbooks will never realise how much rum, charas and cigarettes went into their creation"

Dictionary : Newspaper

When you have your own style, or generally in cartooning and illustration - you sort of make a dictionary as you go along. 

For me the whole dictionary thing started with eyes. How do I draw eyes? I tried out the disney style, but didn't like it. then I tried something else. but it finally evolved into this:

And it went on like this for many more things : Hands, cars, animals...simplifying everything to keep the essentials but losing the extras.

Newspapers are something I haven't got as yet. Newspapers are a huge tool in telling historical stories, or any story for that matter.
Till now I gave the headlines importance but the minor text was always straight lines :

Which was a problem because I wanted the text to be simplified, but still have an identity. Answer came from Orijit Sen's comics in the NCERT textbook for class 7th - 

This is what I was looking for. 

White lines over black blocks make the text feel full, but still gives it less importance than the main image or context.

Problem solved. new entry in the dictionary.

I've already used it lot of times since I added it.

Illustration for BBC: Artwork by my namesake Sumit Kumar.

(From a video we're making for Aaapki Poojita)

This a wonderful process, that keeps going on at simmer.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


The character Bhabhi - from a new video we're making for 
our webcomic Aaapki Poojita.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Famine Party

Old Cartoon - Guide to Jatts (2007)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My Visiting Card : The Motorcycle Diaries

I love my visiting card. Its simple and straightforward. 

My other favorite card is the kind with phone numbers, website, residential and office address, passport size photo and so many other details that it looks more like a miniature resume.

I might get one of those one day.

Till then this one works. Although  a comic I attempted along time ago led to this card.

This comic was called Motorcycle Diaries. and I was making one panel of this comic everyday. but then I didn't complete it. I completed it later, and it was part of my first full length comic - Itch You Can't Scratch, but never posted the full comic on the blog.

It is from a time when I really didn't know coloring on computers that well. mainly I used the "posterize" effect Saad Akhtar mentioned on his "how I make my comic" post on fly you fools.

I've finished it now, and here it is.
(spoilers - keep low expectations, that helps. this is early 2009 work.)

Not that funny. I'm sorry. You can have your money back by clicking here.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Working for BBC - Digital Indians

One of the readers of my book - The Itch You Can't Scratch - is a journalist and some months back I wrote to him to get his opinion on some of my work.
It was then that he told me that he has shifted to BBC Hindi, and asked me to come over to meet him.

I was telling this to a friend of mine Anand and he told me about BBC Hindi's old history - at one time it was the most popular radio station in the country and one of its announcers was George Orwell - who spoke clear hindustani (mixture of urdu and hindi)

Another stalwart of BBC Hindi was Patras Bokhari a famous humor writer who later moved to Pakistan.

And till date many people including Naxalites - tune into BBC Hindi at SW and MW waves.

I met Nidheesh at BBC Hindi and he introduced me to Ramaa, who is the Delhi digital editor.

We had a big discussion about a lot of things including a possibility of some work.

Most important of this was when I asked her about my decision to apply to an art school. I also asked her if she had heard of School Of Visual Arts.
What she told me completely lazy for the next 5 days - I remained in a mode of self congratulation.

She said -

"Why do you want to go to an art school? You are already making art. You are working and people are giving you work. The BBC is interested in giving you work and you're not happy?"

I wanted to make some comics for them. But then their tone is very neutral, and humor really can not be neutral. I mean at least it has to be irreverent.

So we kept talking and one day she asked if I could help with illustrations for a project she was working on. There were some preliminary illustrations...

The people we were going to profile included Nanden Nilekani and some other popular digital entrepreneurs.
I tried out a sample...

But the editor in charge, her team and I decided to explore some more styles. 
Also the concept included more digital indians and we needed a binding concept for all, so I kept thinking till I arrived at a final idea, which the editors also liked.

Using icons around the image, based on the person's work profile...
something like this...

A look at the rough idea sheet for the project

But the question of illustration style still remained, so I suggested using the art of my friend (who is also called) Sumit Kumar.

They agreed, and after a few to and fro we were set with the style. I managed the concepts, roughs, changes etc and Sumit created the artwork. 

Obviously Sumit and my name created problems when it came to credit. We decided to sign with Sumit's name in his handwriting since he did the artwork.

 But this was interferring with the design, we suggested text credit : Sumit Kumar and Sumit Kumar, but everyone in their team told them about this "typo" whenever they saw the article, so we settled on single credit SUMIT KUMAR in text.

Both Sumit's are happy.
The project is still not complete, there's a whole second social media phase of the project which I still have to finish.

Read the article and series here -

If you'd like to share the article on Twitter, the hashtag is  #BBCDI