Award-winning author-illustrator Elizabeth Dulemba, interviewed illustrator Debasmita Dasgupta and talked to her about the process of creating the artwork for Mina vs. the Monsoon. Debasmita’s answers will put a smile on your face! Here’s one we love love love –
e: Is there a unique or funny story behind the creation of Mina Vs. The Monsoon?
Debasmita: So I have this habit of talking to my characters when I am illustrating them 🙂 I spend hours in my home studio, alone, illustrating stories. When my characters cry and smile, I do the same. During the making of Mina, a friend of mine was visiting me in Singapore and one morning she found me talking to Mina and thought I am completely crazy. Ha ha…it took me a while to explain her I am not.
e: What was your creative process/medium for Mina Vs. The Monsoon, can you walk us through it?
Debasmita: Like all my picture books and graphic novels, the creative process for Mina vs. the Monsoon, also started with an extensive visual research. After reading the manuscript and the brief from the publisher I knew that the story is set in northern hilly parts of India in the rainy season. The story is part outdoor and part indoor. So I went through scores of images from northern India to document how the landscape looks in monsoon. Thankfully, being an Indian and having the opportunity to travel many hill stations in India, I had a fairly basic idea of the region that was complemented with my research. However, the indoors were more challenging. For that I had to ﬁgure out Mina’s socio-economic status accordingly I could decide on the kind of furnitures, even the colours of furnitures and other household items such as bed linens, pillow covers, etc. in Mina’s house. The cultural context was also important because Mina is a Muslim girl. So both Mina and her Ammi (mother) dress in a certain way. The overall colour palette of the story is inﬂuenced by the colours of monsoon. That’s why you see a lot of earthy colours such as cyan, ochre and sienna throughout the visual narrative.
My visual research was followed by character sketching and storyboarding of the entire book. Once these were settled, I started creating pencil sketches for the full story. Later all my sketches were scanned and coloured digitally on Photoshop. I have also used a lot of hand-drawn textures and patterns in my visual storytelling.
A big thank-you to Elizabeth for talking to Debasmita. Read the full interview here.