The Guide is book that I teach in the undergraduate courses. Most of the books of RK Narayan has very stolid cover although the possibility is immense. I seized on a key metaphor of the journey ( which also double up as "The feet of the Guru") for this minimalist cover.
I attach a lot of emotional value to the cover for a lot of reasons. The picture of the girl is my sister and I think my shot captures her soft inner beauty very well. The picture also fits the theme of the cover. The other picture is from Satyajit Ray's "Pratidwandi" - a film on the angry young generation of 1970 s Bengal, one of my favourites. It was also one of the first cover I did for Penguin India.
I was warned that the writer is extremely meticulous about what he wants. There were visions and revisions and further revisions till I got what he wanted. I like the pair of eyes in the cover and had a tough time to blend them creatively with the backgroud texture and lighting arrangement.
My first Puffin book. Although the book is for grown-up kids I didn't approach the design that way. I just saw it as another cover for a very interesting adventure tale. It is a work that involved a lot of detailing. Done entirely in Adobe Illustrator, the design is perhaps one of the most time-consuming work done by me till now.
Hey I am proud of this one. We can call this "Our Magazine". This was designed when I was still a student at Jadavpur University. We didn't have money neither the foresight about the market. It sold too well - infact so well that by the end of the Book Fair we didn't have any copies left. Even not one for myself. Later I picked one up from the old magazine stall at Golpark, Kolkata where the life of every magazine seem to converge with almost ruthless regularity.
It is a fact that very few Bengali books could match the production standard of the more costly English books but it is also true that most of them have thought-provoking covers. My idol in Book designing is Purnendu Pattrea who excelled while designing solely vernacular books. Krishnendu Chaki, Debashis Deb, Pronobesh Maity, Hiran Mitra, Subroto Chowdhury - all of them primarily design Bengali books but their work is world class. Keeping those work in mind I still have a long way to go. These two book covers are oil painted although the font is done in computer.
Everybody loved this cover but I still think some of the options were better. Special thanks goes to Ujjal Dey, the photographer who meticulously carried out my idea with finesse of a professional. The flip back cover was an idea that came from Penguin so I cannot claim any credit for that. Overall I think it was the refreshing colourful look that hooked everyone.
This book is a classic in Indian literature and I am glad that Penguin India has published its translation. It has been a long wait and the book was almost forgotten. I did the cover painting which is tribal in style but modified to suit the content - that of a feminine utopia. It is a subtle change and I think the idea works. It preserves its unique Indian feel and combines the intricacy of its inherent storytelling fervour.
The covers that convinced me that I can take this hobby commercially. I was not at all used to these kind of fluffy Raj romances and when the brief of Olivia and Jai came from Penguin India I was literally scampering for cover. Ajanta made me believe that I could do these kind of "pulpy" classical cover. Even Bena loved these. Surprise! Surprise! Sometimes you wonder what you can do with a little bit of support!! The sequel was a tougher one but I think the red colour singed everybody. It is the colour of my blood.
I love calligraphy and seek to learn it some day from experts. Still I try to dabble with the subject and sometimes come up with fair results. These two covers are font-based along with some interplay of open spaces. However I tried to impart a definite calligraphic-pattern to the arrangements of the letters.
It is a pity that these covers were not published. I actually gave it a try after Penguin India wanted me to send some tentative options. Each and every word that I read in the book (one of my favourites!) came out on computer screen with a creative burst of energy that I fear I could not replicate. These two options are part of my portfolio permanently and I have since developed an emotional attachment with these two cover options.
Here is one cover I am extremely proud of. This is an assignment for Penguin Books, India. Done in Adobe Illustrator it was conceived and executed in half an hour after numerous botched attempts. I must also thank the perseverance of Ajanta(as always!) and Diya at Penguin for bearing with those horrible tentative options. The book is also a must read - a wonderful translation of Ghanada stories which are so popular in Bengal.
This cover needed an academic look yet I refused to get bogged down by the original brief. I am fascinated by graphiti on the walls and tried to imitate that look with some deft brushwork. The picture at the back is a streetposter of a tribal girl with sunglasses that goes well with the eclectic content of the book. The reason I am posting this cover first is because it is an acknowledgement of the persons behind my career as a graphic designer - Nilanjana Gupta, the author of the book and teacher par excellence and Sachin Rastogi, the dynamic publisher of Worldview Books who gave me a chance when I was so raw.