A SUITABLE BOY
BOOKS SILVER AWARD
2003 - IMAGES 27
Christopher likes to travel, draw and paint. It’s what excites and inspires him. The work he makes has come from the life he leads.
The ‘Suitable Boy’ image was directly informed by his travels around India. Both his colour and composition sense have been inspired by looking at Indian art.
The book is a long and detailed story about a boy and a girl living in India who fall in love but due to religious and caste differences, their future together is impossible. Christopher wanted to portray in a series of miniatures, scenes from the story, and the characters from the book and to create an atmosphere for the setting.
“It is always good to have your work valued with an award and with the recognition that people like what you have created.”
BRIEF: The brief was to create an image for the BBC Audiobooks adaptation of A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth and to depict an Indian setting, with characters and events from the story.
MATERIALS: I used gouaches on hand made paper.
RESEARCH: I read the book and listened to the audio book. I have been to India many times and used my knowledge and sketchbooks to create the artwork for the project.
PROCESS: I made a few drawings of different sections of the story and with a variety of characters from the book and submitted them to the art director. It made sense to portray the boy from the book in a prominent position on the cover.
RESISTANCES: Happily there were none. I like the book very much and Vikram Seth is a great writer. It was a joy to work on the project.
INSIGHT: India is a country I know quite well and I find it inspiring and exciting. It has a complicated and many-layered culture. There is a lot to learn and uncover when working with an Indian subject. It is full of complexities and contradictions.
DISTRACTIONS: The endless possibilities for any brief or project can be a distraction though more positively this also can be inspiring. It is always good to go exploring in a brief, lose yourself for a while and hopefully then make your way back home with new vision and insight.
NUMBERS: I showed around 15 little scenes from the story in my image.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Vikram Seth is working on the follow-up story to A Suitable Boy and I am eager to read what happened after. It would be great to illustrate the new book.