During the lockdown, 21-year-old Kiran wrote a children’s book titled Hope which won the D’Source Corona Design Challenge, an international competition organised by Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay. Kiran’s work was selected from 1,254 entries from over 2,000 participants in 52 countries. “The book is aimed at creating awareness among kids on COVID-19. I did not expect to win the competition. I had tears of joy when I heard the news. In addition to a certificate and trophy, my book will also be published online by IIT Bombay,” says the postgraduate student from DJ Academy of Design.
Set in a rural backdrop, Hope tells the story of a community getting over the pandemic. “It centres around a young girl who teaches the villagers the importance of maintaining social distancing and personal hygiene to tide over the situation.” It took Kiran 10 days to come up with the story and do the illustrations. “I worked from 9.30 am till night. I took breaks only for food. It was challenging, but I thoroughly enjoyed the process.”
Her illustration is inspired by kalamkari art. “My professor Sandesh Gaundalker suggested that I use Indian art. So I researched on various art forms like Toda embroidery and kolam designs before I fixed on kalamkari. I think the style has a beautiful feel that goes well with the setting,” she says. Kiran pencil-sketched the illustrations and later used Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to make the final tweaks. “I am not formally trained in art. All I know is from what I learnt in school and college. I did three drafts before I came up with the final one,” she says. Once the illustrations and story were done, she forwarded them to a few parents of young children. “I wanted to know if it went down well with the kids. Knowing that the children loved the book increased my confidence. The parents also gave me a few suggestions that I incorporated into the book,” she says.
Hope is Kiran’s second book. Her first book called The Bear and a Crab was done as a part of her course. “I downloaded the story from the Internet and drew illustrations to go with each scene. The designs in it are inspired by Toda embroidery and I used the traditional colours of the art — red, black and white in it,” she says. Kiran follows the works of illustrator Jon Klassen known for his book, I Want My Hat Back. “I admire his style and artistic approach. His works inspire me to get over my creative blocks.” Kiran dreams of pursuing graphic designing as a career. “I plan to set up my design studio and this award has boosted my confidence.”