Updated: July 28, 2021 7:14:39 pm
When indianexpress.com reached out to 32-year-old Anand Radhakrishnan, he sounded surprisingly calm on the phone. On July 24, Saturday, the Mumbai-based visual artist and illustrator found out that he had won the prestigious Will Eisner Comic Industry Award — touted as the Oscars of the comic world.
“It [feels] really nice. I got done with the book around this time last year. I tend to disengage from my projects as soon as they are done, and revisit them a few years later to self-critique. So, it feels weird that I am getting [recognised] for something I had finished last year. Having said that, it is nice to be validated by such a big organisation,” he told this outlet.
The Eisner Awards are given out annually, and Radhakrishnan won the Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art) award for his work in UK-based author Ram V’s graphic novel called ‘Blue In Green‘, published in October 2020. He shares it with UK-based colourist John Pearson.
“Ram and I have been long-term collaborators, having worked on other projects together. Our careers kickstarted around the same time. I had done the cover for his first self-published book called ‘Black Mumba‘. After that, we did another book called ‘Grafity’s Wall‘, which was based in Bombay. Both of our projects tend to focus around music,” he said.
The artist explained that in ‘Blue In Green‘ they explored “the pursuit of excellence”. “The protagonist thinks of himself as a failed musician. It is a devil-at-the-crossroad story — you have to give up something to be able to achieve greater things. And what you give up to achieve genius, might turn into something horrific. In this book, there are also supernatural elements attached.”
View this post on Instagram
Radhakrishnan said in the novel — which is a horror account — they touched upon themes like ‘existentialism’ and ‘sadness’. He worked on the style alone for two months. “Some bits are drawn using graphite, some bits are painted. I scanned them, and then John went ahead and worked on it with colours.”
Both Pearson and Radhakrishnan knew they were in the race, for they had been nominated a few weeks ago.
When asked if the pandemic affected his art in any way, Radhakrishnan replied in the negative. “When I started working in comics, I had a plan for myself — on what I wanted to achieve in 5-10 years — and I have been able to stick to it. I used to work from home even before [the pandemic]. My family, my wife, they know what I do, and they understand the process: how much space and time I need. They have been quite supportive, and not much has changed for me.”
View this post on Instagram
Interestingly, Radhakrishnan did not always aspire to be an artist, even though he had a knack for it. “I wanted to be a doctor. After my 12th standard, I gave all the tests, but I didn’t get through any of the top schools. Eventually, I decided to do this, thinking I could make a living in something I love doing. It has been a fairly linear journey for me,” he concluded.
Founded by American comics editor Dave Olbrichin 1988, the Eisner Awards are given for creative achievement in American comic book. The nominations are generated by a jury, and then voted for by professionals at the annual San Diego Comic Con held in July.