Saturday, May 11, 2013

Table Tennis

Some days I think fondly of some creation and others I grimly accept that it's not very good. It's hard, you want so much to produce good and meaningful work but it can never possibly live up to your own expectations. Every work is ultimately a failure. How could it be anything but? The only work that ever succeeds is someone else's.

The lines above sum it all up for me. Making comics is an arduous task, many find the short format of it difficult, but for me it's the idea of making a fat book which frightens me. Ten months back, a good share of enthusiasm and belief made me compile 25 pages of my comic, but it took me only a few months to be dissatisfied with it. I had taken feedback from people, while most of it was encouraging, I, myself could see the lack of narrative discourse on the pages. The use of language in the comic was slightly off, it felt like sitting in an office wheel chair while working on a mahogany vintage desk. Language is a big cultural parameter, finding its substitute in another language is not an easy pie for novices like me. We need to leave the task of a professional to a professional. Another question which rang in my head was "How do we remember our past? Is it with characters, objects, songs or events?" To me it's events that connect the dots. Objects and characters are fragments of the event, they add decor and flavour to the anecdotes. The past is always dissected as thread of events in our memory, we just see it as a stitched fabric. Having done 25 pages already, I decided to move ahead with the comic and then rework the finished pages later. Some of the key decisions taken with the comic are - 

1. To make smaller comic strips for each event, this will come together to form the larger picture. It will provide freedom in making the closure for the story, and altering the drawing style. It will also take the pressure off from doing a brick shaped thick book. 
2. Use Hindi as the language for the comic. It will help in serving the story less unadulterated, although it can be translated to English later on by a good copy writer to make it available for a larger audience. 
3. Draw the way you like to draw. 

I am sharing the very first page I created with all these thoughts in my head. This is for the comic strip titled 'Table Tennis'. The type is hand drawn, working with Devanagiri script is surprisingly easy for me than the Roman one. I have used India ink for the inking, and then coloured it digitally. 

High res file here


  1. Sometimes it's not talent and skill. It's the ability to see your work for what it is that lets you grow.


  2. Andre Agassi in his autobiography Open, compares the loneliness of a tennis player to that of a boxer. Even the boxer has his corner men and manager and an opponent he can grunt at and grapple with. He says even a track runner can hear and smell his opponents. Of all the sports, tennis is the closest to solitary confinement.

    I think an artist toiling away in his closed room is even more far removed. A sportsperson has an audience that jeers or applauds at things that he or she does. But an artist has to wait till the piece is finished and then presents it to the world for critique. There's no promise of immediate gratification only an unsettling wait till the piece is over. But an artist can be selfish unlike the sportsperson – there are no rights and wrongs. If you make a bilingual comic; something that you feel for, the larger audience will have to accept and consume.

    1. Well, I have the squirrels, cats and a Myanh to give me company, they play their power games for Parle G biscuit while I work. I am planning to do it all in Hindi first. I am sure it will have some audience for it. In fact, I am not even bothered about the publishing right now. This project will take its due time, I just need to be at it.

  3. Looks beautiful Somesh. Simple use of color, form, light and shade.. ! Love it :D

    1. Thanks Deboo, hoping to continue it with the rest of the pages too.