Born 10thFebruary 1970
Place of BirthAmbivili, a Utopian Place in the Suburbs of Mumbai
City of residenceGodrej Hill, Kalyan, by the riverside, away from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai
- The Woofus Series,
- S.V Publishers,
- Chinni and the Three Cheats
- ACK Junior
- Comic Book characters – Little Shambu, Detective Duo Mopes and Purr, Janoo and Wooly Woo, Super Suppandi.
Savio Mascarenhas has been involved in the world of comics for the past 22 years. He is a commerce graduate and has worked in advertising as a copy writer for a couple of years after graduating. He started as a freelance cartoonist for Tinkle comics in 1992 and continued to do so for a couple of years and finally joined as a full time artist in 1994. He has co-created characters like Mopes and Purr, the detective duo from Crawford market Mumbai, Janoo and Wooly Woo, the good witch and the Shy dragon, Super Suppandi, from the hyper imaginative mind of Suppandi and Little Shambu of the Adventures of Little Shambu.
Presently he is the Art Director for Children’s Publishing at Amar Chitra Katha Pvt Ltd. Here he handles Amar chitra Katha, Tinkle and Tinkle Digest, which are two monthly comics.
Over the years he has illustrated numerous comic pages for Tinkle and Woofus Series of books and story books of ACK junior.
Fantastic Five – Five of my favourite books
Kipper the Dog books – Mike Inkpen Love the illustrations, absolutely refreshing. There is such simplicity and calm in art in his work that the book just draws you into the world of Kipper and his friends.
Green eggs and Ham and other books – Dr. Seuss Unmistakably the best writer/illustrator. Whimsical writing and equally crazy illustration.
Fantastic Mr Fox – Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake Their books are such a delight to read, and the illustrations complement the stories.
Swamy And Friends – RK Narayan and RK Laxman Pure Genius, Lovely storytelling and brilliant art.
Amar Chira Kathas – Uncle Pai, Ram Waeerkar, VB Halbe, Prateep Mullick Hats off to these amazing gentlemen. Making my childhood complete with ACK stories.
Tell us about your earliest attempts at illustrating. When, where and from whom did you learn the nittygritties of illustration?
The very first illustrations to catch my attention were the illustrations of Mario Miranda in my English text books in class 1. I began by tracing the art in my notebooks and scribbling them in my drawing books. Then came Tinkle comics and the art of Ram Weerkar and VB Halbe got me interested in comics.
I used to copy the drawings from Walt Disney Jungle Book comic book which we got free in exchange after we had collected enough Gold Spot bottle caps. I remember drawing Bagera the Panther as the mascot for my Scout Group.
Most of my cartoon sketches found their way into my friend’s books in school and collages.
Where do the ideas for your books come from?
The best time for me is when I am travelling and all by myself. I start by taking a character and putting him in various situations and think of funny things that could happen.
Sometimes I take up a funny idea and work up every possible funny idea out of it…so an idea can give birth to a new idea…and that goes on and on….
And yes the most important thing is to keep a tiny book handy. Because ideas are like drops of water on a duck’s back…will slip off. So you need to keep a book to jot them down.
What does your typical working day look like?
Looking at a lot of artworks, colour proofs, discussing layout and designs, covers. In the middle of all this I try to find time to create a few comic pages too.
I would never cease being an artist.
What is one habit / trait of yours that makes you effective / productive as an illustrator?
I like to keep it simple and funny. I try to put in as much as I can in an art.
It could be a tiny mouse in a corner of a panel or bushes in a forest shapes as funny human faces.
What is the one thing that you recommend every aspiring illustrator should do?
It’s never tiring when you have to do something that you are passionate about.
Tell us something about yourself that very few people know?
I never went to an art school; I did my Bachelors in Commerce and post graduation in Advertising and Public relations, worked as a copy writer in my initial years.
Does technology (the Internet, software tools) help you in your illustrating process? If yes, can you tell us about them?
Yes, today with the internet and the software tools like the pen tabs that we use, working has become faster. I started at a time when art was done on paper using brushes and nibs dipped in black India Ink. The lettering was hand written and the colours were also manually done.
But today, with software like Photoshop and illustrator drawing and designing has become much advanced and easier.
Is there any other way in which technology can help you in your work as illustrator?
There is no limit to what technology would churn out next. It all seems for the betterment. But sometimes I do feel that human touch to a work of art is very important. For me a digital art does not hold as much value as art done on paper.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others? (include websites, blogs or Twitter profiles, etc).
Can you tell about what you are currently working on and other works in the pipeline?
At present I am working on a couple of original character ideas and some scripts for Mopes and Purr for Tinkle. And a cover design for a Shikari Shambu Collection.
Tell us about your association with Tinkle. How did it start and how has the going been so far?
My job at Tinkle was my new year’s gift of 1994. So I had begun as a freelancer for pocket cartoons gags for Tinkle, for which I was paid Rs 50 per gag. That was for a year. And then I started doing comic pages. Thanks to Mr Pai and Reena Puri who was the assistant editor at Tinkle at that time, I became a regular freelancer. It was around the end of December, and I visited the Tinkle office with a New Years cake for the team. Mr Pai asked me what I was doing. So I told him I was working as a copy writer. He asked me if I liked writing more than drawing. And I answered ‘drawing for comics’. That’s when he propped up in his seat and told me ‘I will give you a new year’s gift, join us as an artist from the 2nd of Jan.’
Today it has been almost 22 years of my comical journey with the magazine. I have seen the magazine evolve in every aspect be it story telling or art. The transition of the magazine from traditional art of storytelling has changed and nowadays children like complex stories, super heroes and horror sometimes.
Apart from illustrating for comics, what other forms of creative expression do you practise??
In my free time I like to read and write short stories and rhymes for my children.
I strum the guitar and play the flute and piano at times. Conducting cartooning workshops for children is something I greatly enjoy.
Can creativity and artistic skills be cultivated or are they inherent?
… and a skill can be groomed with training. An art like cartooning is a very personal skill, which can’t be taught, and no one can teach you to be funny. You can hone your skills with a lot of practice and the most important thing is the passion.
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PlusMinus’n’More: Thank you Savio, for being our guest on F-pages and sharing with us your experiences as an illustrator.