Category Archives: Illustrations, Paintings

Okaasama Otousama – A Picture Book

Okaasama Otousama.

So this is exciting news! I illustrated a children’s book as part of my internship with Tulika Publishers, and it’s now for sale! My first published book.

The book, written by author Sandhya Rao, is “a joyful tribute to multilingualism that says Mother and Father in 18 different languages – from Japanese to Kikuyu, Spanish to Finnish, Tulu to Tagalog.”

Amma Appa (Tamil).
A spread from the book. Nana Baba (Kikuyu) and Baba Aai (Marathi).

A lot of research went into accurately depicting all kinds of details, from patterns and motifs on clothing to environments and facial features.

Thanthey Thaayi (Kannada).
The print.
A spread from the book.
Mami Papi (Spanish) and Matri Patri (Sicilian).

My goal was to sensitively portray the similarities and differences among families from all over the world, with a keen awareness of the fact that my images could possibly be a child’s introduction to this multitude of ethnicities and cultures. It was important to me that I depict this variety of cultures in a fun way that acknowledged their various differences without stereotyping or exaggerating anything, intentionally or unintentionally.

Aana Aata (Azeri Latin).
Matka Tata (Polish).

I’m happy to report that the print of the books being sold on stands is just beautiful. I’ve never seen my work in print reflect my original illustrations this well.


Some of the final pages.

You can buy a copy of the book at this link!

And if you’re interesting in looking at rough sketches, works-in-progress and rejected artwork, go to this page.

Illustrations: The Best Films of the ’60s

Digital illustrations I did for’s History of Film series as it covered the best films of the ’60s.

For work-in-progress stills, line drawings, details, variants et al, visit my Behance post.

Click on the images below to enlarge them.

PSYCHO (1960) | Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
PSYCHO (1960) | Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962) | ​Directed by David Lean
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962) | ​Directed by David Lean
PLAYTIME (1967) | Directed by Jacques Tati
PLAYTIME (1967) | Directed by Jacques Tati
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) | ​Directed by Stanley Kubrick
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) | ​Directed by Stanley Kubrick
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) | ​Directed by Stanley Kubrick - (Line Drawing)
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) | ​Directed by Stanley Kubrick – (Line Drawing)
ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968) | ​Directed by Sergio Leone
ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968) | ​Directed by Sergio Leone

Illustrations: Roger Ebert’s “The Thinking Molecules of Titan” (36 pieces)

Before he died, Roger began writing “The Molecules of Titan”, a story about space exploration set in part at his beloved University of Illinois. He never got a chance to finish it. In the spirit of Roger’s belief in crowd participation, is holding a contest to help complete the story.

I was offered the job of illustrating the stories, 33 in number.

One of my goals with these was to have as wide a range of styles as possible, since the stories were all so diverse. Also, I didn’t want it to get boring, both for viewers and for myself.

And so here are all of the finished illustrations, plus two that I had illustrated for Roger’s original story and an additional unused one. Links to the pages with the endings and my accompanying illustrations are in the descriptions of each of the images. Also in each description is a little note on the illustration.

For loads of extra images, including early sketches, unused illustrations, variants, etc., click here.


Illustration: Roger Ebert’s “The Molecules of Titan”

Before he died, Roger began writing “The Molecules of Titan”, a story about space exploration set in part at his beloved University of Illinois. He never got a chance to finish it. In the spirit of Roger’s belief in crowd participation, is holding a contest to help complete the story.

I was offered the job of illustrating the story, which I readily and happily accepted, but I had just a day to work on it. I ended up with the two illustrations below.

The first is a fictional “Amazing Stories” cover, inspired by a line in Roger’s story and the kind of covers pulp magazines had in the late 20’s and early 30’s. The second illustration is one that attempts to capture the sense of wonder, mystery and simplicity associated with the story. In addition to Roger’s story, I kept in mind movies like “Close Encounters” and “Contact.”

To see 36 illustrations that I later worked on for “The Molecules of Titan,” check out this gallery.

Thank you, Roger.

For Roger BlogIt’s hard to put into words my feelings about Roger Ebert’s death right now. What can I say?

Roger Ebert was an extraordinary film critic, beyond a doubt. That, everybody knows. I admired his criticism from when I was very young because of the way he wrote TO the reader. It felt like a conversation of sorts. Besides that, he had such a wonderful, contagious passion for film.

I was thirteen or so when I stumbled across his writing, and I’ve been reading it ever since. It’s a good thing he has written so much; I have a lot more ground to cover. It’s also a good thing that all his writing is so inspired. How can someone write so much and make it all engaging? He was the only film critic I followed almost religiously.

But after I met him, I, surprisingly, admired the man more than the critic. What an awesome human being. He was so kind and caring, always listening, always watching. He knew he had the power to touch people’s lives, and he did so as often as he could, and with such humbleness.


Over time, as we interacted, he became like a second father to me. Not many people understand this, but he was. With his infinite kindness and generosity, he changed my life in more ways than anyone will ever know. He was the only person who made me feel good about being myself.

I can’t organize my thoughts into elegant prose right now. The memories spill out of me in no particular order. I remember his soft hands, and how they felt when they held mine. I remember his eyes and how he smiled with them from behind his glasses, especially at Chaz, his brave, loving wife. I remember how he told my parents that I’d be alright outside of a conventional occupation. I remember how he wrote in my copy of one of his books, “The future is yours.” He was so encouraging. I remember how, in many long e-mail exchanges, he provided me with the most meaningful advice and encouragement I could’ve gotten. And how, in many short e-mail exchanges, he did the same. How he always replied, and never, it seemed, out of obligation. How he was never too busy to do so.

I remember how he played old songs for us from his laptop, tapping his hand to the beat. How he struggled to walk, but never let that stop him. How he typed slowly and yet wrote so frequently and zealously. How enthusiastic he was about his foreign correspondents, and how he, with us, created a kind of small family. I remember how his pants slipped down now and then, and how Chaz would pull them up for him. How warm he made me feel in person. How he stood up for the underdogs and championed the new and unknown. How he was so passionate. How he was so courageous. How he loved life and didn’t fear death. How hopeful he was.

I remember how he inspired without seeming to know it.
Within a few minutes of hearing about his death (my mother and sister woke me up with the news), I found myself crying in my room like I haven’t since my father’s unexpected death two years ago. As I write this, I feel some sort of hollowness; like my life is a little less special. The fact that my father’s death and Roger’s death have affected me in such similar ways only reaffirms how much Roger meant, and still means, to me. My father never got to tell me had faith in my abilities, but Roger reminded me he had that faith every day he could. I am so thankful for him. He has inspired me to live a better life.

He is, simply put, the greatest man I will ever know, and I’m not just saying that because he’s gone. I mean it with immense sincerity, and have known it for a long, long time.

I love you, Roger.

I made the image above for you. I planned on presenting something like it to you at Ebertfest as a thank-you for everything, but I hadn’t even started work on it when I heard you’d left. Now, finished, it’s my way of saying thank you in the best way I know how.

Book: “Follow That Crow!” (2012)

Prakash’s toy monkey, Moki, is taken from him by a crow. How far can Prakash go to rescue his only friend in the world?

A storybook I made for a project at college, the Storybook Lab. Our aim is to re-evaluate stereotypical notions of creating content for children who go to government and budget-private schools, and to design a collection of well-crafted storybooks that make the experience of reading enjoyable and meaningful.

The illustrations are pencil drawings which were scanned and then digitally colored.

For concept art, character designs, style experiments, et al, click here.

“It’s beautiful! Lovely story, and it looks great. Congratulations.”
          – Nina Paley, maker of “Sita Sings the Blues”

“This book is inspired. You are going places.”
          – Roger Ebert, Pulitzer Prize winning writer

The Appa Series (III)

The best photograph I have ever clicked must be the one I snapped just after scattering my father’s bones in a river in Kerala. I was struck by how white the bones were, even after being burned and what not. Even though I found the whole experience of the rite immensely sad, I also found it beautiful in ways I cannot fully explain. I had to capture that moment, and the only device I had on me was an old Nokia cell phone. Just as well.

Just yesterday, I chanced upon the photograph and, again, was taken with its poignancy.

Using just that photograph (superimposing its mirror image on itself, having multiple copies of it laid over each other at different angles, inverting and changing the colors, etc.), I created these images on Photoshop.