Sebin Simon: Interviewed by Tanu Shree Singh

Sebin Simon has illustrated Big Bully and M-me, the newest hOle Book, which will be published in May 2015.
He is interviewed by Tanu Shree Singh, college teacher, blogger and chief reading racoon.

TS: How did you start on your journey of being an illustrator? What was the turning point? And do you answer in doodles?

SS: Drawing was what I always wanted to do … it all started with scribbling on my house walls with crayons and pens (I still do that). Later, when the time came to choose my path in life, I took up art.

The turning point was my page Inkology on Facebook that I started to share the sketches and doodles I do. I started getting few projects from that page.

Yup, I answer in doodles. Do you want any particular question to be answered in doodles?

TS: We would love all the answers in doodles! How did Big Bully and M-me come about?

SS: After Vanamala and the Cephalopod, I was eagerly waiting for a project with Duckbill and bingo! Anushka contacted me one day and explained the story and I loved it.

With help of Arti and Anushka, I was able to create the characters the way they wanted. The style I used for this is different from Vanamala since this one demanded more human figures with actions. Fingers crossed, I am hoping children will the illustrations in the book.

TS: They are lovely! I especially liked the bully! Do you research the look? Asking since that is exactly how a bully in my younger son’s class looked!

SS: Not so much research as using my memories and imagination, and lots of feedback from Arti and Anushka.

TS: Who’s your critic? Do you show your work to someone for feedback before submitting? Or is it a one-man army?

SS: It’s just a one-man army because I don’t have anyone to show my work to.

TS: My dog once chewed up my work when I showed it to him, so perhaps a one-man army is best!

How do you start working on an illustration? Do you work on paper? A touch-screen with a stylus? Water colours?

SS: I also love pets, but sadly can’t keep a dog due to the space constraints at home—but I have fish, a turtle, and a small rabbit.

I start on paper, then take a reference of it and digital sketch using a Wacom tablet.

TS: Rabbit! I love rabbits. Is there a preference between drawing people, rabbits or a turtle? Oh and the fish. We do not want to neglect the fish.

SS: I love drawing animals, I try to include them somehow in my personal works you can see the example here on website :

And in fact, Vanamala and the Cephalod was a dream come true since all I have to draw was sea creatures. Big Bully and M-me was another dream come true since I got lot to experiment and learn with human figures. 🙂

TS: Please tell your turtle that his fan base increased by one human. Apart from yourself (don’t even try to be modest), who is your favourite illustrator?

SS: Sure I will tell him!

Favourite illustrator ? Hmm the list is long … But if I have to name a few, then Priya Kuriyan, Alicia Crescencia Souza, Sourab Chandorkar, Sajid Wajid, Mira Malhotra … The list is a long one!

TS: What about books? Do you have any favourites? Do you doodle in the margins?

SS: Yes, I love books; Paulo Coelho is my favourite (I have all his books).

In children’s books I love the hOle Book series (I have almost all of them).

If you asking about doodling on books, I like to draw on margins, and the best I like to see are doodles on single-lined pages.

TS: Now for the rapid-fire questions, strictly on the line of International Code of Interviews with hOle Books Illustrators. There is a code. Believe me.

1. Whom do you love the most—the turtle, the rabbit or the fish? (The answer to this question might be kept confidential from the concerned species.)

SS: Love can’t be more or less; it’s your need and situation that measures it.

So when I need to sit and be at peace, I love the fish.

When I feel like playing, running and petting, I love the rabbit.

When I feel like playing and having fun, I love the turtle more (since he is very naughty).

2. Have you ever stolen a book? Or a paintbrush? Or a pencil?

SS: Hmm, never. I always borrow things from others and if they forget to ask me to return them, then that’s not my fault.

SS: (Answer to the invisible question.)

4. The third question was erased due to security clearance issues. The mighty platypuses intercept hOle book interviews even before they are conducted. What’s the one artwork you’d trade your left arm, the turtle, or a bar of chocolate for?

SS: No. Sorry, I love my left arm and turtle more than any artwork.

5. If not an illustrator, what would you rather be? No, you can’t be a dragon slayer. That’s already taken.

SS: I would love to be a zookeeper, or rather, own a zoo.

TS: Zoo! Can I be employed there? I am good everything but roaches. Tell me about a book you would love to illustrate.

SS: Yes, you can work there. Don’t worry, I will not make you caretaker of roaches. You can choose the animal you want to be with. Also, I will not keep dangerous species like human beings in the zoo.

My dream is to illustrate my life story. Don’t ask me why. 🙂

TS: So your zoo assistant will be expecting a signed copy of your illustrated autobiography.


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