November 15, 2016

A Children’s Day celebration with India’s best illustrators in kids literature

Delhi: Over the past two days in the city, The Big Little Book Award – a first of its kind award, instituted to recognise the best children's authors and illustrators in India – helped ring in Children's Day celebrations with two days of exciting activities for children at the National Bal Bhawan premises.

Atanu Roy demonstrating a few techniques for sketching
Organised by the Parag initiative of Tata Trusts, the Big Little Book Award hosted a full house of young, excited minds that were treated to fun workshops on designing illustrations, sketches and drawings.

The first day's activities were led by renowned illustrators Atanu Roy and Proiti Roy, veterans in the field who were also joined by two other budding, young illustrators Prashant Soni and Nilesh Gehlot.

Atanu took the young audience through an informative process of creating their own short stories and illustrating them right after. Equipped with drawing sheets, crayons and other stationery, children created sketches of their favourite fictional characters or stories with the guidance of Atanu.

Simultaneously, another set of young minds was treated to an interactive session with celebrated illustrator Proiti Roy. She took the young audience through a visually magical journey of her several storybooks, around the characters and presented the storylines as well. Proiti then encouraged the children to create their own stories through pictures using a maximum of five frames.

Proiti Roy sharing about the art of storytelling through illustrations
"The first thing that children asked was whether there was a prize for the winner. It reflects the way art is perceived in schools, where you have to be good at drawing and painting and win prizes to be able to pursue it. I told children to just enjoy themselves," said Proiti.

Once children realised that this was a workshop to understand the process of illustration and telling stories through illustrations, they got into it and worked hard to come up with their own sketches and drawings.

Proiti and Atanu were delighted to see the children so immersed and interested in drawing their ideas down without losing focus, in spite of the several events happening simultaneously in the premises of Bal Bhawan.

"It was a unique experience for me. I have never enjoyed myself so much and never though so deeply about the story and the illustration as one," said Anjali Rawat, a class IX student of Guru Nanak Girls Senior Secondary School.

The Big Little Book Award will aim to distinguish authors and illustrators, who have written and illustrated stories that actively delight their young readers, make them smile more, open their curious minds to new concepts and cultures, and inspire them to dream big.

The award was instituted to recognize and honour the significant contribution of Indian authors and illustrators in children's literature. The winners will be announced on 20th November at the 2016 Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai Litfest. The Big Little Book Award will be awarded in two categories – one for the author and the other, for the illustrator / artist.

About the Illustrators
Atanu Roy studied applied arts from the College of Art, University of Delhi. He has worked as a political cartoonist for India Today, art director with Thomson Press / Living Media and also did a stint in Tokyo. While in college he did his first book on the history of transport in single color detailed drawing in ink. His first picture book was Tails published by the National Book Trust. He gained immensely while working for the District primary Education project (DPEP) of the central government and later the Sarva Shisha Abhiyan. He has worked on various styles, from the thick outlines of Who's Smarter to the crazy black and white drawings for Wingless. He received the Children's Choice Award for book illustration by Association of Writers and Illustrators for Children in 1989 and IBBY Certificate of honour for Illustration in 2006.

Proiti Roy, born in Shantiniketan in 1965, graduated in Fine Arts from Kala Bhavan, Shantiniketan. She worked as a graphic designer in advertising and manufacturing – both in India and Bangladesh. She also worked with handicrafts in recycled mediums and taught art and craft to children in Kolkata for 12 years. Now living in Chennai, she spends most of her time illustrating story books, picture books and text books for children as well as designing and illustrating for magazines and corporate clients. She has worked with several publishers from all over India including Tulika Books, Orient Blackswan Pvt. Ltd., Ratna Sagar, Room to Read Trust, Johns Hopkins University and Delhi Press. She loves animals, lives with seven rescued dogs and looks after the street dogs in her neighbourhood. She collects matchbox labels, postcards and vintage children's books. She has a daughter who is also studying to be an artist.

About Tata Trusts
Tata Trusts are amongst India's oldest, non-sectarian philanthropic organisations comprising of Sir Ratan Tata & Allied Trusts (1919) and Sir Dorabji Tata & Allied Trusts (1932). The Trusts work in several areas of community development. Tata Trusts seek to be catalysts in development through giving grants to institutions in the areas of Natural Resources Management, Rural Livelihoods, Urban Livelihoods & Poverty, Education.

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Nikita Crasta | Rediffusion /Edelman