Passionate & Professional
Chimer of the month|
Animation has brought in a very new dimension to the entertainment industry but it all began with hand drawn cartoons. There are a few people who have chosen to draw cartoons for a career and they can make their drawing convey the message completely and it also stays in our minds. One such cartoonist who has served ‘The Hindu’ newspaper for the last 25 years is Keshav Venkatraghavan and it was interesting to chat with him as he narrated his story for Chennai Chimes. Keshav was born in Bangalore and did his schooling in Hyderabad and then came to Chennai as his father
was transferred to this city. He says ‘I never wanted to be a cartoonist but I just went along with the flow of life and I ended up here’. Art has been his constant companion from childhood and he was always appreciated for his drawings and paintings. He sent his works to various magazines and a few got published. When he finished his education, he worked for a bank for a couple of years and pursued art separately. But soon there came a time when he had to make the difficult choice.
I wondered if his family agreed with him when he wanted to pursue a totally new line and also a path which was not common and he said that he was able to convince his parents and got into this field only with their blessings. He was trained by the vikatan magazine which had a glorious tradition for producing cartoonists. Initially he was asked to sketch the music season. ‘It was hard work, I had to draw for hours. Those being the pre-internet days I have spent several days in the city libraries to update my knowledge and get ideas’. When I asked him about the challenges he has faced at work, pat came the reply ‘Everyday is a challenge, till I get the right idea that can convey a message. As time runs out, tension builds up but it has been rewarding. There are some ideas that sustain for a long time and there are others which are relevant only for a day’.
Keshav is emphatic about the fact that drawing is a language and so it has to communicate instantly to the audience, he feels that cartoonists get 5 seconds to capture the attention of the viewer and they have to make the impression in that short span of time. Commenting on his own cartoons, he said they are very subtle in their approach for he comes from a conservative family background. Nowdays he feels that cartoonists are more open with their ideas. He also added that cartoons from countries like China and Iran are wonderful.
Keshav’s beautiful paintings adorn the walls of his home as he paints everyday for his own satisfaction. He is a role model for all those who decide to venture into unknown territories and we can draw inspiration from his life – sketching cartoons for his profession and painting for his passion.
Written by Mala
Posted on 11/05/2012