Graphic Details

Writer-painter Amruta Patil discusses how her work continues to evolve after her graphic novels Kari and Adi Parva

Written by Debjani Paul | Published: June 14, 2013 3:05:55 am

If works that are years apart show no changes or sign of evolution,it is a sad thing — a lost chance,and a mark of great complacency,” says writer-painter Amruta Patil,currently working on Sauptik Parva,the second graphic novel in a trilogy that retells the Mahabharata.

Patil,who visited Pune recently to speak at an event held at The Loft,recieved great critical acclaim for the graphics and storytelling in her first two graphic novels,Kari and Adi Parva. What also generated great interest and curiosity was how Patil had explored two very different subjects in both books and how her storytelling changed with each. Kari is about a young asocial lesbian. The art in Kari was mostly in black-and-white,drawn in a sharp and angular style. In contrast,Adi Parva has the age-old Mahabharata for its canvas,and Patil does great justice to it with a colour palette of deep blues,reds,oranges and more. In this trilogy,her art is painted,not sketched,to give beautiful fluid lines to the drawings.

“I felt that the inherent vibrancy of the Mahabharata needed a style that could keep up. The grey-black of my Kari days was not the way to go. And so,I used full colours and a lush colour palette and collage,” she says. “Different sequences offered different visual possibilities,and rather than imposing a uniform house style in the book,I decided to play. Some things work,some don’t. At least I am somewhat wiser for knowing the difference. So while there will be a similarity of treatment between Adi Parva and its sequel (Sauptik Parva),I am hoping that there will be less pages to cringe about and more pages that look resolved and ‘right’,” she says.

The sequel is currently in the planning phase. “I am reading,reflecting,taking notes,drawing thumbnails and spending days looking out of the window,” she says. Once Sauptik Parva is complete,Patil still has the third graphic novel coming up,before the trilogy completes. In most of her past interviews,Patil has suggested that once the trilogy is complete,she may begin working on projects that are solely text-based. “It is more an entreaty not to be branded a ‘graphic novelist’ and ‘picture-making girl’ than a proclamation of any real five-year plan. I have always nurtured a fiercer loyalty towards the written word than the drawn line — something that surfaces even in my graphic pieces — and it would be a challenge to carry an entire body of work through without grasping for the security blanket of images,” she says.

Patil has also written several short graphic stories and columns published on her blog and in several magazines. “They are more versatile,can appear in different publications,and can touch upon a gamut of themes. I also find the short graphic story a wonderful way to test drive different visual styles,” she says.

Some of these pieces are a suggestion of what subjects she may be interested in for future projects as well,she says. “In my short graphic stories,I am addressing issues that I will delve into in the coming years. These include sustainable living,agriculture and the role of myth in bringing about social change,” she says.

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