Rajiv Eipe – Grand Prize Winner, Katha Chitrakala Award 2009
Rajiv studied Fine Arts at Sir J. J. School of Art before he went to study Animation Film Design at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. Rajiv lives in Mumbai where he mainly does animation and graphics for Television, and secretly wishes to drive a taxi for a living.
A brief interview with Rajiv on his views, inspirations, projects and much more…
First things first, many many congratulations for winning the Katha Chitrakala Award 2009.
What preparation did you do for your entry; and what were you doing when you found out you’d won?
Rajiv: It began with many explorations of illustration styles, and once the treatment that was best suited to this particular story (Dino-long-as-127-kids) was decided upon, many more drawings followed. The story and the characters were so endearing that the drawings just flowed. I’m not sure what I was doing when I found out about the award, but I have a strong suspicion that I was having a cup of coffee.
Which is your favourite children’s book?
Rajiv: When I was young there was a book called ‘The Fox and the Hound- That’s what friends are for’ and I vaguely remember another favourite called ‘Droopy Dragon’. Much later I discovered Maurice Sendak’s ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ and Dr. Seuss books.
Who are some of the children’s book illustrators you admire?
Rajiv: Maurice Sendak, Quentin Blake, Dr. Seuss, Ajit Ninan and Jayanto.
What differences have you found when comparing the present situation with reference to the children’s literature in India, with what books were available when you were a child?
Rajiv: I think publications like Target Magazine, with its high quality of content as well as design are sorely missing in today’s context. I also believe that books are losing out to other media like television and internet in their bid to capture children’s imagination.
What you love most about being a children’s book illustrator? What is most challenging about it?
Rajiv: I wouldn’t really call myself a children’s book illustrator as this is the first book I’ve illustrated; I am an animation film designer by profession. In terms of production, the happiest part about books is that there are fewer drawings! Animation works at 25 drawings per second! Fewer drawings mean that the illustrator can spend more time on each drawing and squeeze out his/her best work. The challenge is to keep things fresh and exciting and sustain the child reader’s interest.
Which medium do you use for your pictures?
Rajiv: I am happiest working with pencils, crayons, sketch pens, inks, watercolors and glue. Computers make life easy when it comes to cleaning and refining images.
You use many different styles and techniques in your illustrations. Do you have a particular favorite?
Rajiv: No real favourite, whichever style is best suited to the story/context takes precedence. I tend to favour techniques that leave my hands dirty.
What are you working on now? Which kind of projects do you want to do in future?
Rajiv: Currently, another book with Katha and a couple of small animation projects.
I would like to illustrate as many books as possible and perhaps one day write as well. An independent short animation film is also in the ‘to-do’ list.
As you follow through each project, with its own demands, how do you find yourself evolving as an artist? Is there a particular direction you see yourself moving in, in the future?
Rajiv: My capacity for self evaluation is rather small, but I would like to believe that with each project I learn a little more and am better prepared for the next. I must confess that I have not found a specific direction to move in yet, but I am excited to do as much work as I can.
What advice would you offer to aspiring illustrators?
Draw Draw Draw!