A hilarious take

A hilarious take

Laughter bytes

A hilarious take

All of us constantly bicker and complain about how things have turned out around us. It could be the chaotic traffic, varied moral standards, changing newspapers or just about anything. Sailesh Gopalan pokes fun at such everyday instances and the silliness of it all through his web comic series ‘Brown Paperbag’.

The youngster, who is a third-year student of animation design at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, creates snippets that may not be necessarily derived from his life, but from stories or incidents that he has heard.

 “I was reading some web comics and that’s when I felt like creating something similar. It wasn’t a planned effort. I just started the project on a whim and had no clue that
the images would gather so much attention,” he says.

Most web comics are based on day-to-day themes, which is what inspired him to make simple snippets on offhand topics.

“I wanted to avoid politics entirely, as it is all over the place already. There are a lot of comics on politics and politicians out there. I wanted to pick up ironical bits of
life and work on such themes,” says Sailesh. These comics, which can be viewed as ‘brownpaperbagcomics’ on Facebook and Instagram, have thousands of supporters.

“I never knew that I would catch attention so fast and in such proportion. I have often started things and left them after I got over the fancy of it. But I feel I have to be careful with these cartoons now and work on them, thinking about the audience too. I feel that I
have more people to disappoint now and thus, I have to take it more seriously,” he
says with a smile.

With interesting captions like ‘Blooperstition’, ‘Stray Hungry, Stray Foolish’, ‘Scoopidity’ and ‘Maid 'Fore Each Other’, Sailesh takes a jibe at the current scenario of the country.

  “I think people like these cartoons because they find them relatable. From simple situations in life like moral ethics to superstitions and everyday things one sees in India, the topics are vague. I plan to keep it that way as I don’t want to limit the topics or people’s imagination.”

 People like comics because they are often an exaggerated version of real-life situations. “If they are lifelike, then they are pointless,” he adds.

“The stories intend to talk about people of different age groups reacting to the same things — how the youth in India are becoming more modern and the orthodox adults are being themselves,” says Sailesh.

He clarifies that he isn’t pointing fingers at anyone and doesn’t intend to offend anybody, but is just working on comics that deal with stereotypes. Many have asked him about how he goes about these snippets.

 “The process has four steps in it and can take anything from one-and-a-half to two hours of work. The images are done entirely on Adobe Photoshop with a Wacom Bamboo Fun Pen and Touch tablet,” he details.

Ask him about the name and he says, “The ‘brown paperbag’ typically symbolises shame. This can be seen in a lot of cartoons, where characters wear the paperbag over their head, so as to cover themselves. It could also be to hide one’s own identity or slip into another one.”

  He says that he likes to keep the characters and the cartoons ambiguous and open to interpretation. “I don’t want to force an idea down people’s throats. All I want to do is put out more content so that people can continue to read and enjoy them,” he sums up.

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