F-Page – Niveditha Subramaniam

Niveditha Subramanian


Born 7th October 1985
Born at Chennai
City of residence Chennai
Books authored / Illustrated (Listed latest to earliest)
  1. Nirmala and Normala, Illustrator
  2. Mostly Madly Mayil, Co-author & Illustrator
  3. Tsomo and the Momo, Author & Illustrator
  4. The Pleasant Rakshasa, Illustrator
  5. Where’s the Sun?, Author
  6. The Sky’s Monkey Beard, Author
  7. Mayil Will Not Be Quiet!, Co-author & Illustrator
  8. The Musical Donkey, Author
  9. 9 to 1, Author & Illustrator
  10. Jalebi Curls, Author
 Bio Niveditha Subramaniam is a children’s book editor, writer and illustrator. She did most of her schooling in The School, K.F.I, completed her undergraduation in English Literature from Stella Maris College, Chennai and also has a diploma in photojournalism from Light and Life Academy, Ooty.

Fantastic Four – Four of my favourite books

Eek. I don’t like listing favourites for the simple reason that so many books in my life have turned up at just the right time and altered my view of the world. So I am going to go with four children’s books that took me on happy, fruitful explorations.
The Enchanted Wood and The Far Away Tree – Enid Blyton I first read these books when I was 6, and have lost track of the number of times I have read them since.

A Series of Unfortunate Events – Lemony Snicket I was 15 when I read this series for the first time and they radically changed what I believed was possible in children’s literature. This was also the first time where I said to myself, “I want to write!”

Harold and the Purple Crayon – Crockett Johnson I only read this gem of a picture book when I was 21 or 22 but I owe it a great deal because it led me to all the other brilliant picture books that changed my world.

Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi In my mid-twenties, I was in the Comics Division, when I worked as a creative writer for the children’s magazine, Chandamama. Along came Persepolis. As a writer-illustrator, this is a book I still turn to from time to time – it is such an empowering read.


Tell us about your earliest attempts at writing/illustrating. When, where and from whom did you learn the nittygritties of writing/illustrating?

My letters and diary entries were my first attempts at writing.

From all the pictures and words I have loved in all the books I have devoured. I also had some wonderful teachers in school to whom I owe my love for books and reading.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

From everything around me. From images that have stayed with me.

What does your typical writing/illustrating day look like?

When I am working on a project, I work for at least two hours a day or more. As an editor too, my work ensures that I am constantly in touch with pictures and words in one way or the other. On a daily basis, I need to look at visual content, it helps me write better too.

What is one habit / trait of yours that makes you effective / productive as an author/illustrator?

As a writer, I always try and picture what I’m writing about and I’ve found that it has lent cohesion to my work.

What is the one thing that you recommend every aspiring author/illustrator should do?

Keep your eyes and ears open. Tweet

Tell us something about yourself that very few people know?

I was once Road Rash addict (something I try very hard to forget).

Does technology (the Internet, software tools) help you in your writing/illustrating process? If yes, can you tell us about them?

Yes, of course. Nearly all of the reading that I do on a daily basis is online. While I jot down notes and ideas on paper, I ‘write’ on my computer. I illustrate by hand but love my Bamboo tablet too.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Will takes ages and pages to do that!

My reading is varied, as are my influences. Tweet

Can you tell about what you are currently writing/illustrating and other works in the pipeline?

I am working on a wordless picture book.

When working as an illustrator, how do the writer and illustrator coordinate and work together. Can you describe the process?

Unless the project is a collaborative one, it is usually the editors who work with the writer and the illustrator. Sometimes, depending on the nature of the story, visual references (like photographs, for I instance) are provided by the author.

What is the difference between writing and illustrating one’s own work versus, illustrating for another writer? Which do you find fulfilling?

To begin with, for writer-illustrators, I believe writing and art are not separate; they lead to each other in organic ways.

Naturally, illustrating her own work, gives the illustrator the freedom to visualise the story from conception to finish, in precisely the way she wants.

I have illustrated a graphic novel and a picture book, both written by author Sowmya Rajendran. Apart from our long friendship and shared interests in everything ranging from absurd humour to gender, her trademark humour and eye for detail have made the illustration process enjoyable. Illustrating someone else’s work can be as fun as working on one’s own stuff, but you have to enjoy the writing style and content to do justice to it.

Do you practice any other form of storytelling apart from illustrating and writing? Say Oral storytelling or through miming/dance form?

No, although I have done some readings and storytelling session based on my books.


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