When Sunita met James

So many people ask me... How did you meet James? How did you design your characters? So here it goes...

I had this wonderful idea to create books for pre-school children about Hindu Gods and Goddesses... but the biggest, and I guess the most important thing that was missing was an illustrator. 

I really wanted the characters to be unique and individual...something that was engaging and attractive to children, characters that they could relate to and become fond of as they learnt.

My drawing skills were pretty dismal! As a practising speech and language therapist I was use to drawing pictures for children to be used during therapy but I knew I needed help from an artist/professional illustrator.

Thanks to Facebook I had put a post asking if anyone knew any illustrators, I had been introduced to a few Indian illustrators but to be quite frank just could simply not afford their charges.

An old speech and language therapy colleague of mine Dan message me and told me about a teaching assistant “James” was a fantastic artist and illustrator. I was excited by the prospect but just knew the person I got had t be “JUST RIGHT”. Initially saw his website and his style and it was the total opposite of what I wanted... I thought “oh no here we go another dead end!”

I messaged James and we spoke on the phone and through text, he seemed really lovely. He designed a few initial images. Initially I was a bit disappointed when I saw the first drafts. It just did not meet any of my expectations and visions of what I wanted, something soft, bright colours and fun characters.

Finally we arrange to meet. At first I was a bit apprehensive meeting James, I thought how could an English man who really does not know much about Hinduism; really relate to the concept of what I was trying to achieve, but a part of me thought give him a chance and be honest with him and communicate what you want.

Our first meeting was fantastic it took us several sketches and several hours just to get the Ganesh character right... when we did that’s is when I knew...”THAT WAS IT!!! THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED!”, it was one of those eureka moments. I guess it’s a bit like walking into a new house and knowing that’s the home you want.

James and I sat and designed the pictures for my story board, the Ganesh book took the longest.. I am sure James could have given up on me several times with my diva demands...”make the eyes softer, brighten the colour, loose the background, make his arms longer etc etc!”, but we persevered and worked together, as each page came to life we both knew this is what we want to do, and as we moved along each board and to a new book there were less and less changes as we had our concept perfect!

I just can’t thank James enough my partner in this vision, who is so tolerant and patient and a really fab guy! We just cant wait to introduce you to the third book, its going to be very girlie very pink and very princessesey!... can you guess who is coming next?

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