Place of BirthDibrugarh
City of residenceKolkata
- Padma Goes to Space
- Read and Write
- Junior Kumbhakarna
- Timmi in Tangles
Shreya spends most of her time contemplating about all the world changing things she can do. But most of them stay in her head, and sometimes she can’t even speak. She hates quiet conversations. Human beings, fairy lights, news papers and watermelons, amuse her.
Fantastic Five – Five of my favourite books
God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy I don’t remember when I read this book, but I devoured it like a python devours its prey. Arundhati’s characters are still vivid in my mind. Her minute details leave the reader still sucking on bits (like bits of mango pickles) long after finishing the book.
Malory Towers series – Enid Blyton This book brings memories of Darrel, Gwendoline Mary and Miss Potts. Summer hols, trunks and lacrosse. Though, when I eventually started living in the hostel, we also had sem breaks, and after every sem we had to keep a trunk full of memories in the cloak room. I love this series and have not been able to get over it.
The Diary of Anne Frank – Anne Frank Gifted to me by my mum. When I read it, I knew why she gifted me that book. She has been an intelligent mother, and has gifted the right books at the right age.
Witches – Roald Dahl Class 3 was all about going for my favourite period called library. We sat on colourful wooden lacquered benches. My partner was a guy who was double my size back then. We would sneak in to find books out of the restricted section, and that was my first encounter with Roald Dahl’s writing and Quentin Blake’s drawings. Honestly speaking, haven’t found anyone else to replace them. This love continues, and even now he (Quentin) has remained my favourite illustrator.
A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini What can be said about this masterpiece. I took a long time to finish this book – I read it bit by bit, and then chewed on it in between. Just that I want to meet Mariam 🙂
Tell us about your earliest attempts at illustrating. When, where and from whom did you learn the nittygritties of illustration?
My earliest attempts were copying cartoons when I was a kid. I also learned looking at my mother’s sister (Mahi) who is an artist. Grew up reading a lot of Russian children’s books bought by my mum. That is where my love for children’s books grew from.
After that NID (National Institute of Design) happened; I used to live amongst people who knew how to live life! Drawing, sketching, talking, discussing, making things, breaking them, making theories and then taking them apart. How I miss that place!
Where do the ideas for your books come from?
I end up drawing people who are very close to me. There are times when I take out my frustration on people whom I don’t like by drawing them.
What does your typical working day look like?
Currently I work full time as a graphic designer.
What is one habit / trait of yours that makes you effective / productive as an illustrator?
Imitating, analysing and dissecting their character gives me the greatest of joys and helps me during illustrating.
What is the one thing that you recommend every aspiring illustrator should do?
– like travelling, reading books, being socially alert. So that we can draw things which transcend the things around us.
– one can draw well if one can preserve the treasures of the heart.
Tell us something about yourself that very few people know?
I don’t think there is anything that people don’t know about me. I constantly blabber .
Does technology (the Internet, software tools) help you in your illustrating process? If yes, can you tell us about them?
I usually use the internet for references if I get stuck. I always prefer hand drawn drawings, but I equally enjoy drawing with my pen tablet.
Is there any other way in which technology can help you in your work as illustrator?
There have been times when the writer is sitting in Mumbai, the publisher in Bangalore, the co-ordinator in Delhi and the illustrator in Assam! What else can I say! All this is possible only because of technology.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others? (include websites, blogs or Twitter profiles, etc).
Seniors from college who are big illustrators and animators now.
- Anish Doalagupu http://daolagupu.blogspot.in/
- Lavanya Naidu http://lavanyanaidu.blogspot.in/
- Manasi Parikh http://bouncingbeads.blogspot.in/
- Mattias Adolfsson
- Marta Altes
Can you tell about what you are currently working on and other works in the pipeline?
Currently I am working full time as a Graphic Designer. Before joining this job, I worked with a friend and the collaboration ended as an exhibition in a local café, which was well received.
Is doodling/sketching/illustrating an inherent talent or can it be learnt by anyone? What is your opinion?
It is inherent. But it can be improved with practice, but most importantly it is important to meet other illustrators and exchange ideas.
You studied animation in NID, Ahmedabad, the best design school in India. What drew you to illustration of children’s books, setting aside other opportunities?
Can I be honest here? I have tried other things also, but karma has shown me the way, and children’s book illustration work came my way.
In the recent Raymond Crossword Book award function “Timmi in Tangles” was awarded the Kotak Junior Children writing award, for which you have done the illustrations. Congratulations from PlusMinus’n’More. How do you feel?
Just got to know about the award. Was elated to bits. 🙂
Ten years from now, what do you see yourself as (professionally)?
A little studio high up somewhere in the mountains. Only clouds to give me company. Occasional visitors to be welcomed!
Whatever I wrote above has been my wish for all this while. This might happen or may-not. Maybe, I shall end up doing something completely opposite. I might be at a place where people least expect me to be.
Find me at
PlusMinus’n’More: Thank you Shreya, for being our guest on F-pages and sharing with us your experiences as an illustrator. Best wishes from Plus Minus and More, and hoping to be invited to your studio in the mountains.