Sunday, November 24, 2013

Making the Naxalbari comic

After finishing Kashmir Ki Kahani, there I wanted to start work on my North East comic, which has been pending for a lot of time. But then, me and Newslaundry finally agreed on visiting the maoist situation first, which meant as usual two three weeks of solid studying:

Research Material included: India after gandhi (the directory for any and all historical content after post 1948), Hello Bastar by Rahul Pandita, Lot of articles from the internet, specially by Aman Sethi. I wrote most of the script of the next episode : RED CORRIDOR bunched with Naxalbari so there was lot of research regarding that too - but more on that once I'm done with that comic.

Now, after I completed the research, I went about writing a very Kashmir Ki Kahani type condensed history story - and thats when my editor Abhinandnan Sekhri asked me to push myself and make some effort - and tell the story using more dialogues and visuals then text. Economy of words is what Anand - an  ex-columnist at NL used to call it.

So I redrafted my story. Abhinandan gave lot of nice inputs including adding Orwell at the beginning and help me polish the Animal Farm bit. In around two weeks the script was ready.

As soon as the script was ready - I thought about the logo, and I wanted it done in a style which looked like the slogans painted on the wall of Kolkata -

So I asked Shikhant Sablaina - Painter, visual artist - the guy who previously made the Aaapki Poojita logo for us and produced the design and look for out small animated short - Aaakhiri Raasta.
The rockstar he is - he just took some time to turn this around - beautiful titles - in english and bangla - 

He also did one more, which I didn't end up using - but was equally good.

So, I started work on the artwork - that meant creating first a mockup with rough artwork + script and dialogues -

And then the final :

In the middle of these two changes are also sandwiched all editorial changes. Since the deadline is so very tight, the process is more inclusive of various aspects.

Also important was how I wanted my tribals to look - after studying hard I realised the adiwasi population is strong around naxalbari and mostly hails from chotta nagpur, and adiwasi population around the country is almost similar - if I'm wrong please correct me.

So my reference for this was Orijit Sen's river of stories - basically how he drew the tribals

I did forget to give him credit - getting that page corrected. Since his material his more useful for my next comic - I would give him a more prominent credit there.

After finish Kashmir Ki Kahani, I was very clear on two things - I won't rush up my art, in terms of strokes and artwork - I will draw less but I'll draw better. If you look closely you can see lot of rushed artwork in the kashmir comic.

For example: where does the suit this guy is wearing button up? no clue.

So I sort of decided to loosen up the artwork, and use selective coloring - coloring only the characters that spoke -

I also used lot of real life elements in places where they were needed, I've always found it a task to draw all those straight lines - so if I could find a real life element in the perspective and of kind I needed, I used it. I made sure I used very regular trade portal kind of images.

I also removed panelint (those black lines framing the artwork) and unnescesary background color, the white of the page blended right in with the white of the website!

Kashmir with panels:

Naxalbari without panels :

Other thing I was very clear about was that from now I wanted to own complete rights to my work.  Till now I owned only tertiary rights to my work - that I will get royalty on anything more done with my comics.

This took some discussion with Newslaundry, but we finally arrived at an arrangement - The money I was paid would be decreased a bit, and I would own all rights, Newslaundry in return will have exclusive english language license of the comic - which will be valid as long as the comic is online - the day the comic goes offline this license will be reverted back to me.

So, this time I proudly mentioned it at the end of the comic - this bit of text might seem tiny to you, but for me it changes everything!
Read the comic here:


utakarsh said...

You are an amazing cartoonist :)

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