Monday, June 1, 2009

Thoughts on Children's Publishing in India and Illustrations

Jai Arjun Sigh's shares his notes from Germany. He talks about his visit to the Kinderbuchhaus (Children’s Book House) in the Altona Museum in Hamburg. He also shares a few thoughts on illustrations after seeing the exhibitions of framed, original versions of children’s book illustrations

Via jabberwock
It’s a charming place that conducts activities geared towards getting children (and their parents) more involved with books. For instance, there are workshops where children are shown how to bind books – something that helps them appreciate the process that goes into the creation of the picture-books they would otherwise take for granted; to see a book as something that has to be carefully put together so that they can enjoy the end product.

Looking at high-quality illustrations for their artistic value, you realise there’s a lesson here for the many Indian parents who instinctively judge the worth of a children’s book by the amount of text it contains (all the better when it’s placed in the service of a pedantic moral lesson), failing to realise the role a series of beautiful drawings can play in developing a child’s imagination. (“Ismein padhne ka toh kuch hai hi nahin” is the typical response when a parent opens a book that’s full of beautiful drawings but very little text.

“The Indian arts scene is actually lively and brilliant,” Anita said, “but there’s a lack of understanding of how children’s picture-books work. Illustrators are so central to the children’s publishing industry everywhere except India, where they get sidelined. They are not used to having publishers involving them in the creative aspect of putting a book together. It’s usually done very mechanically: an author will send in a story, the editor will say okay, this needs illustrations, and she’ll choose an illustrator and a format and send the text across and say we need 10 drawings of this size. And then someone else will put the text and illustrations together – a typesetter, or a designer if you’re very lucky. Everyone works in isolation, not much thought is given to layout, which is a crucial part of the process.”
Read the entire post here. Also read about a programme being launched or professionals involved in children’s books in the month of July at Delhi.

Image Source: Ujwala Prabhu

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