The power cartoons can yield is enormous. Whether it be a political satire or a story with a strong moral, cartoons can converse without words. Charlie Hebdo Shooting is a clear example of how a strip of strokes and faces can create deep public impact.
In the league of great Indian cartoonists of India soon a name will be added, he is none other than Mumbai based Abhijeet Kini. A successful illustrator, animator, copywriter and a cartoonist. The comic series Angry Moushi, made him quite popular. His is a story of a childhood passion taken seriously and successfully implemented. A young, talented tinkle digest reader with a dream to become a cartoonist getting to meet none other than Anant Pai, the founding editor of Tinke and then later getting to work with the same publication as an adult; is nature granting a genuine wish. Here is my conversation with Abhijeet Kini, something that will ignite passion and motivate youngsters for sure. Read On….
Why do you love cartoons and when did you realize you have got the talent to draw?
I was always a fan of cartoons and comic books right from childhood. Maybe the exaggerations and the kind of imagination on display got me hooked. It’s a very visual form of entertainment and I saw myself drawn to it from a very young age. I used to scribble a lot as a kid, and my parents noticed this early on and encouraged me to keep doing it. I still have my old sketch books. I guess I had made up my mind to be an illustrator and animator right in my childhood.
Angry Maushi and Fanboys Comic, How did they come to life?
All the comics I make are kind of inspired by everyday people or incidents I see or read about. Angry Maushi is an adult comic, a socio-political satire, spoofing a lot of current affairs and seeing things from the perspective of our favourite crime fighting Maushi. I feel that she is an everyday person, with a heightened strength. Fanboys, on the other hand, is a lighter comic, created keeping the geek and comic culture in mind. People I see at comic cons, the stories I hear, they all kind of shape these comics.
Tell us about your family, educational background and your love for cartoons
I am a self taught artist, never have received any formal training in it. I studied in National College, Bandra, graduated in Bachelor in Mass Media (Advertising), and then did a one year diploma in 2D animation. My family has been in diverse professions, so each of us are a one-piece example in our own way in the family. My father is a leading lawyer, my mother is a terrific homechef, my wife is an ace in marketing and merchandising and me, I’m the artist.
Who are your targeted audience?
I try to create something for all age groups. The comics I draw for Tinkle are for a younger target audience, whereas Angry Maushi, Fanboys, etc have target age groups of 16 years and over. So there’s something for everyone.
Do you first write a script or make the drawings spontaneously?
I usually have an overall idea of how the story would pan out, and then put down a rough script. Rest I improvise as I draw. So in a way, it’s a very spontaneous process. But usually, the script does come first.
Is comic a means of living for you or is it purely passion?
It started out as a me following my passion, and I turned it into my means of living now. So yes, the comics and illustrations I make, are my bread and butter.
How is animation as a career for youngsters in India. What are your suggestions to the aspiring youngsters?
I think there’s always a demand for animators in the film and animation industry, but youngsters should bear in mind, that this is a profession which commands “If you have it you have it, if not, it’s not for you!” Some take this profession up because they see a ‘scope’ in it, but struggle keeping up later owing to the fact that they aren’t cut out for it. So, it’s purely an aptitude and interest driven profession.
Do you draw from life, please draw a one panel cartoon for me.
Yes, I completely draw from life.
What are your dreams and aspirations?
To keep at what I’m doing and providing people with good content. Content I myself would love to read. I keep aspirations simple.
How is the audience response? I am sure its overwhelming.
The response has been great! When I started out making these comics, I didn’t know what to expect from the readers, but today I am asked about my next release constantly. Goes to show, people have warmed up to the comics. I am happy.
Message for my readers
Aspiring artists and writers, please keep working towards your goals. If you really want to be doing something, there’s nothing stopping you! Also, parents, please encourage your child if you do notice a creative spark. Studies and education should never crush these aspirations, they can always co-exist!
Thank you! Abhijeet Kini, for this wonderful interview.