Life in a village in Ceylon in the 1950's must have been quite fun;especially if you happened to be a child. That's the conclusion I reached when I began illustrating a book of childhood recollections written by my mum.
As I jotted down aspects of the chapters which had to be illustrated I was struck by the variety of subject matter. They ranged from detailed illustrations of plants and fresh water fish to wireless radios and Petromax lamps, not to mention traditional devil dancers.
Obviously, some of the subject matter required research. The accuracy of details had to be verified before I could attempt even a rough sketch. Therefore, sourcing reference material of the exact vehicle models and other equipment referred to in the stories became my first task. Strangely enough, the best source turned out to be a modern one:the internet.
Nothing in the world could have prepared me for the many techniques and media I had to use for the illustrations. As a book meant for children aged 9 years and above, we decided to include colour illustrations wherever permissible.
However, my mother did not want illustrations to merely beautify the book. "Illustrations" as my mother so aptly put it, "should inform and assist readers to understand what they are reading." Hopefully I have managed to do just that!
I would like to add that this book will be of interest to not only children but also to their grandparents. We believe it will make children aware of an era when most things they take for granted in life were rarities.
Whilst the initial book will be published in Sinhala—our native language—I am now preparing an English version. Given the interest shown by my foreign friends, we believe our book will find an enthusiastic readership abroad as well.
In the meantime, you can view more of the illustrations by visiting my Illustrations Gallery. Enjoy!
From my sketchbooks...
To see how some of