KOCHI: The elephant on the page is like the one you would see in the natural world, yet different. So are the forests. While the mighty elephant looks all cute with an unrealistic grandeur, the forest beside exudes a red hue. Each page is power-packed with action and art resembling an animation movie. That’s how the children’s book ‘Aanayum Poochayum’ has been visualised. Roshan Kurichiyanil has used every page as a canvas. His illustrations have earned him the award instituted by the Kerala State Institute for Children’s Literature (KSICL) for ‘Best Children’s Book Illustrator’.
The story of an elephant and a cat, in Aanayum Poochayum, is part of Kurunnila, a volume of books published by the Kerala Sasthra Sahitya Parishad. Self-taught artist and animator Roshan, who works for international media houses, was roped in as the illustrator for the book ‘Aanayum Poochayum’.
Roshan says he created the art in an animated style, breaking away from the realistic mode. “The target age group is kids and their imagination has infinite possibilities. I tried to create something that would heighten their imagination. And so the elephant isn’t realistic, but designed from an animator’s point of view,” says Roshan, a native of Vadakara.
According to Roshan, it is challenging to work on children’s books. “It’s the biggest challenge. The art should connect with the children. They don’t think like us and so I had to unlearn a lot before starting work on the book,” says Roshan, who goes by the name ‘Rosh’ in the art world.
Along with the narrative of the elephant and cat, there is a parallel story running in the comic book. “It is the story of a few birds. In most comics, you would have such a parallel story that would be unrelated to the theme. Take for instance in Bobanum Moliyum. There is a dog with a different story wrapped within the main world. I used to love such parallel stories. So, I included elements that kids can catch on during the second reading. These extra elements always intrigued me when I was a kid reading comic books,” says Roshan.
For Roshan, his channel of communication is art. “My language is in art. I think graphically, not in words,” he says. Roshan is in the work of a comic book in the lines of Tintin and Asterix and hopes to release it next year. According to him, many artists from Kerala are part of the work. He is also gearing up to set up a comic studio. “There is an unexplored world of comics here. Its scope is immense and yet to be explored,” he says.