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Friday, April 23, 2021

Coming of Image

City-based Poonam Athalye,who finds her calling in converting words into pictures,has illustrated for a children’s book by Puffin.

Written by Prajakta Hebbar |
May 11, 2013 2:08:23 am

City-based Poonam Athalye,who finds her calling in converting words into pictures,has illustrated for a children’s book by Puffin.

For Pune-based Poonam Athalye,drawing and painting — creating something from her imagination — has always been fascinating. “It has been my ‘occupation’ since I was four,” says Athalye,who has illustrated 10 stories for a new children’s book published by Puffin. “Although my academic education tried its best to invest me in something more professionally sound,it lost to the awe that I felt for my self-created mythologised childhood,” says Athalye jokingly. She has been working on illustrated books since 2007.

To celebrate its 10th anniversary,Puffin brought out a collection of illustrated book of folktales — some familiar,some new. The tales have been penned by some of the best storytellers in the country such as Manjula Padmanabhan,Sudha Murthy,Musharraf Ali Farooqi,Devdutt Pattanaik,Ruskin Bond,A K Ramanujan and Meera Uberoi. “Ideating for the stories was a lot of fun but I was especially happy that Puffin wanted me to work with oil paints on wood,” she says.

The Puffin Book of Folktales (Puffin,Rs 499) comprises stories that go beyond the common Indian folklore. The story titled A Man,His Son,Their Donkey by Padmanabhan takes a contemporary spin on the story of the father and son who took their donkey to the market and listened to everything and everyone — by delving into the possibility of what would happen if they listened to no one. Anand’s Harshringar talks about a heartbroken Surya who curses a narcissistic maiden and turns her into a flower; and Farooqi’s Podna and His Revenge talks about a little angry bird’s revenge.

Athalye has two more books on their way to be published. The architect-cum-illustrator,who studied visual communications at IDC,IIT-Powai,says the process of converting words into pictures comes naturally to her.

“The moment I get engrossed in a story,I start visualising it in my head. To me,illustrating is like giving the visual imagery a physical existence. I try not to be too literal in my interpretation of the stories. I think it is great if illustrations enhance a story rather than have them explain the story,” she says.

She says that her personal preference is when illustrations in a book are intriguing so that the reader feels curious to read the story. “Images are usually seen before the words are read,” she adds.

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