The beauty of illustration

Conceptualising book covers is an art form in itself — but it is rarely given the status it deserves.

To support this cause, Max Mueller Bhavan — in collaboration with Seagull Books — recently hosted an exhibition of digital collages and book covers designed by Sunandini Banerjee.

Many of the books featured in the exhibition are translated from German
and not easily available in India.

 Sheshagiri Kulkarni, one of the organisers, says, “Many interesting books in German are translated to English. And the copyright licences for such books are usually given to the UK and the USA. Selling such books in India, according to them, is not viable.

Realising the need for us to have books translated in our country, Max Muller Bhavan funded the translations. The exhibition includes covers of these books, designed by
Sunandini Banerjee.”

The exhibition displayed a wide range of collages. It indeed helped viewers
understand the kind of thinking process that goes into making a book cover.
Sheshagiri adds, “We usually appreciate the author and his or her writing in a book.

But we seldom notice — let alone appreciate — the kind of hard work that goes behind designing its cover. One of the ideas behind having this exhibition was to have the audience notice its intricacy.”

Collages of around 20 book covers were kept on display. Each book cover was elegantly designed and the science behind making the covers was brought to the audience’s notice.

Supriya, a visitor who had come to see the exhibition, says, “For the first time, I actually realised that designing a book cover is so difficult! I think until now, these designers have been deprived of the credit that they rightly deserve.

I am happy that an effort has been made to make this art form more mainstream. There is one particular book cover I liked — it is named ‘Victor Halfwit: A Winter’s tale’. Sunandini Banerjee has designed an illustration for every sentence of the book and although the initial text is just four of five pages long, the book now adds up to 200 pages. I thought it was amazing.”

Nadia Budde, an award-winning author and illustrator from Germany, inaugurated the exhibition.

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