Illustrations are stories in themselves, unlike drawings :

Posted by-Kalki Team

Nancy Raj, a city-based illustrator for childrens books who had two of her books published recently — Maharani The Cow and The Magic Umbrellas, talks about her illustrious journey.

If you have ever wondered what makes illustrated books more appealing, Nancy says, “Because it is the coming together of two different visions — that of the author and the illustrator.” And interestingly, the two might have not even met in the creative process. “I have done illustrations for over 10 books, including Devdutt Patnaiks Hanumans Ramayana, but I have not met most of the authors. Publishers approach me with the content and I visualise the story and work on them,” says Nancy.

According to her, there is a world of difference between a drawing and an illustration. “If drawing is a sentence, illustration can be called poetry. Illustrations are stories in itself.” Her latest works can be seen in two books — Maharani The Cow by Christy Shoba Sudhir and The Magic Umbrellas by Theertha Raj — that were launched recently. While the first one deals with how cows make roads their own in the cityscape, the other is about a lost umbrella of a school kid Leela.

What makes Nancys works unique is that they are refreshingly Indian or south Indian rather. “Children and adults can instantly relate to the illustrations because the subjects are something very familiar to them; they would have come across the characters and the backdrops in their daily lives,” she says.

While Nancy has worked previously for advertisement agencies and corporates, she finds illustrating for children liberating. “If I have to work for a company, my role will be restricted to that of a graphic designer. But there is a lot of scope for creativity in childrens books. Thats why Im focusing only on that right now, though it is not a lucrative option yet,” says Nancy, whose works have been picked up by the National Council Of Educational Research And Training for their study materials and even used in anganwadis to teach toddlers. Nancy has also begun conducting art classes for children, but not in its usual sense. “I dont teach them to draw perfect circles or figures and faces. I basically aid them in their learning and its not restricted to just art,” she says.

Nancy encourages people to quit their mundane jobs, like she did, to pursue their interests. “It is better to experiment now than lamenting about it later. There are so many people I know who want to do other things but stick to their present job out of insecurity. Im in fact planning a book on how to quit your job and I will probably author it as well,” smiles Nancy.

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