Nina Chakrabarti

WIA2017 Books Professional Category sponsored by NoBrow Winner

Biography

Nina Chakrabarti studied illustration at Central Saint Martin’s College and The Royal College of Art, London. She uses line drawing to explore her love of the decorative arts, inspired by her past in Calcutta, India, where she grew up, and the exuberance of London, where she now lives and works. She is the author of the bestselling 'My Wonderful World of Fashion', 'My Even More Wonderful World of Fashion' and 'Hello Nature'.

Website: ninachakrabarti.com

Instagram: @ninabarti

Project Title: Hello Nature

Commissioned by: Laurence King Publishing

About the Project: 

Hello Nature is an activity book for children published by Laurence King. It is meant to be used as a guidebook, scrapbook and sketchbook.

The book is about exploring the world around us - It is partly inspired by my experience of  growing up in a huge city in India and not knowing anything about nature. I would have liked a book like this. 

Brief: 

The brief, set by myself, was that the book should be a love letter to nature. I wanted to engage children in looking at the world around them.

Research: 

I read lots of books, including the excellent Silent Spring by ecologist Rachel Carson, watched as many David Attenborough documentaries as I could and went for long walks in the countryside.

Materials: 

Dip pens, brushes, black ink and Photoshop. 

Process: 

Imagine a movie where the detective comes across a serial killers lair. The wall is covered with pictures, illegible scrawls on pieces of paper, arrows pointing every which way and sketchbooks full of plots and plans.

This pretty much describes my South London studio when I started this project. Loose scraps of paper with scribbled ideas, post-it notes with single words or quotes from books I was researching slowly transformed into small thumbnails, again mapped out on my wall, where I could begin to think about the sequence and order of the pages in the book. In that sense most of the book was planned out before I started creating any artwork.

Insights: 

That mycelia rules the world!

Distractions: 

Only my own propensity for procrastination.

Numbers: 

There are lots of interesting numbers in my book. One of my favourites is knowing the world was once dominated by 30 foot fungal pillars.

Reflection: 

It took me a lot longer than expected. Nature is a huge topic and it took me a long time to research and a lot of stopping and starting again to find a way through the feeling I might never finish it.

Notes: 

A big thank you to Laurence King who made it possible for me to work on this dream project. 

Also, huge thanks to the art director, editors and designers that helped with the book.

 

Artist portrait by Maria Klimko

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