It’s always a pleasure to come across Rajiv Eipe’s unique, lively illustrations in children’s books. If you haven’t yet had the fortune of seeing his work, get your hands on Let’s Go! published by Tulika Books and Dinosaur-Long-as-127-Kids published by Katha. Read a super-short interview with Eipe in which he talks to the HSLS team about finding inspiration to draw, his favourite children’s books and his secret desire to become one of Roger Hargreaves’ whimsical creations!
Your children’s book illustrations are gorgeous and you certainly have a distinct style. What inspires you to draw for children?
Thank you! It’s a good feeling to play a part in the storytelling process, however small, and if a picture I make can light up the characters in a story for the reader, then I can tell myself that I’ve put my skills to some use.
Tell us about a book that you loved as a child. Do you remember what you loved about it?
We had a picture book called The Fox and the Hound – That’s What Friends Are For, a heartwarming story with fun illustrations that I was particularly fond of. Also, a book of Russian folktales with marvellously detailed watercolour illustrations.
Name three contemporary illustrators whose work you admire and feel that children should be introduced to.
Shaun Tan, Prabha Mallya and Jon Klassen.
Which are five books that every school library must own?
Mukund and Riaz by Nina Sabnani
The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
The Odd Egg by Emily Gravett
Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
While exploring books with children, we often tend to focus more on the text while not tapping fully into the potential of pictures. What are ways in which we can explore the visual narrative with children more effectively?
Is that true? Maybe it will help if writers, artists and publishers of children’s books are more open to pushing the boundaries while producing books. Having said that, there’s some wonderful work being done in the children’s book space at present. A wider range of illustration styles, formats and book designs will help, I suppose.
What was your school library like?
The first school I went to had a huge library, but I don’t remember using it much as I wasn’t much of a reader. The second school I went to didn’t have one at all.
If you could become any book character for a day, who would you choose to be?
Rajiv Eipe lives in Bangalore and works on Animation and Illustration projects. He infrequently posts some of his work at behance.net/rajiveipe