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


Post a Comment