How I fell in love with cartooning- Part 1

When I launched my online store, I received a message from an old friend from middle school. That message prompted me to write this piece.

The message read "Hey I just went through your website! I was amazed at how much your drawings have changed. So creative! Way to go!"

My first (Embarrassing) cartoon strip (2006)

I have been cartooning since age 11 and that year, I had gone on win the state and district level for the best cartoonist at the CBSE Youth Festival. And as she had mentioned, I had definitely improved my style as the years went by; now that I am a professional cartoonist and comic artist.

You can visit my shop by clicking this link-

Reminiscing these small victories in my life got me thinking of why I started cartooning. Or to put it better, why I wanted to learn to draw cartoons and comics.

Hence, this article is dedicated to the 2 comic books that inspired me to draw cartoons and taught me the art of creating comic strips.

1.    Tinkle

Courtesy: Tinkle

Founded in 1980 by Anant Pai or Uncle Pai as he was famously known, Tinkle magazine is the name which unanimously comes to the mind of every Indian kid when he/she hears the word 'comic'. It is this magazine that first carved a niche in children's publication in India.

The early years of Tinkle gave us tales of the village and many contemporary Indian themes which were popularised by characters like Pyarelal, Tantri the Mantri, Kalia the crow etc.

While the magazine gifted us with many lovely comic characters, for me, the most memorable ones were the adorable Suppandi and the ever-so-lucky Shikari Shambu.

Suppandi. Courtesy: Tinkle

The countless follies of Suppandi at his employers’ house, Shambu's misadventures along with all the slapstick comedy, still remains fresh in my mind. These characters in particular are loved and adored by any generation which has become synonymous with our beloved Tinkle.

Even complex scientific and informational tales were translated into a simple and digestible manner of storytelling through strips like Anu Club.

Mapui. Courtesy: Tinkle

Fast forward to today, Tinkle is now striving for a modern and socially responsible status. With the introduction of its female superhero character- Mapui, a crime-fighting girl hailing from the north east, they have successfully managed to represent certain topics and issues which was previously alienated. The magazine has also launched its e-book version and a Youtube channel streaming animated videos of some of its famed characters. Another breakthrough they made is in the world of fashion and apparel with actor Anushka Sharma’s brand NUSH collaborating with them for their own line of a Suppandi collection!

While the straight-forward and fun approach to story-telling garners all the attention, Tinkle’s nation-wide love couldn’t be achieved if it weren’t for their vibrant illustrations. The magazine boasts of an iconic ensemble of illustrators. Ram Waeerkar and Archana Amberkar for Suppandi, V Halbe and Savio Mascarenha for Shikari Shambu and Abhijeet Kini for Butterfingers remain my favourites.

There is always a sense of sweet nostalgia that comes with this magazine. A perfect companion during summer vacations at your grandparent's house or your travel buddy at the bustling train stations, Tinkle will always find a special place in the hearts of every Indian.

In the part 2 of this article, I shall be talking about another great comic book that influenced my childhood to take up cartooning.

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