Pooja Pottenkulam, the illustrator of the soon to-be-published The Monster Hunters in conversation with Lubaina Bandukwala, writer/editor of odd things, including children’s books.
LB: The Monster Hunters was particularly fun because of your illustrations. Is this your first book with Duckbill? Did you enjoy illustrating the story? Why?
PP: Thank you. This is my second book with Duckbill and I enjoyed illustrating the story very much.
LB: The bug-eyed style seems to be your signature. Any particular reason/inspiration?
PP: Every time I begin an illustration project I always hoping that the quality of my drawing will naturally improve with the practice- but I think I’ve always just drawn like this.
LB: The style of the illustration adds tremendously to the story but I thought it was the choice of events that were illustrated that made the book more fun. Did you choose the events? What do you keep in mind when you chose the situations you do to illustrate?
PP: I tried to encapsulate the gist of each chapter- Anushka helped me with this too.
LB: What do you think connects children of this age to a book, the words or the pictures?
PP: I think both are equally significant.
LB: You work with various media. Do you have a favourite? Why?
PP: I like working with almost any visual medium, however I consider the story/text most important, followed by the drawings and only then the medium/treatment. I try to use what I feel maybe the best treatment for each story- this is very often also subject to budgetary and time constraints. Some styles are more expensive and time-consuming to produce than others. I personally like to make sure that the drawings are of a good standard before I begin treatment.
LB: What is the hardest part about illustrating a book for children?
PP: I’m really an animation filmmaker and one of the reasons I like illustration is because I can see the end result much faster than I would with an animation film. Drawing is an area in which I need much more practice and illustration projects allow me this.
LB: The one project that you absolutely want to and must do before you become a doddering old woman
PP: I hope that I will be making animation films and illustrating books when I am old(er) too.
1. Favourite children’s book: Just William
2. Favourite work spot: home