Bharati Mirchandani

'Sea off France' by Michael Robinson


Hello, I am Bharati, graphic designer and illustrator. The computer has rendered my drawing board obsolete, but the mouse works much like my pens and brushes did earlier, the final result is 'hands on'. I also take pride in adapting to the mood of the project, so each assignment has the potential of causing a mutation of style. Here are groups of illustrations representing some recent projects.

A few months ago I was asked to do a series of illustrations related to Gujarat. An article about women's increasingly violent participation made my blood boil with anguish, curdle with brittle frustration at the tidal wave of brutalization. The picture that came of this angst was used by MANUSHI as the magazine cover for the July issue.

To counter this ugliness came "a unique miracle": a book for children with just that title. It forms part of the series 'Quran Stories for Little Hearts' brought out by Goodwordkidz. This particular story is about the prophet Jesus. The title derives from an episode in this 24-page picture book with short, simple yet profound text. It is no small miracle that when the media was screaming hatred in the name of Hindutva and Islam, someone with such a Hindu name was entrusted with trying to explain the great stories of the Quran to children. More miraculous for me personally was that I had earlier begged, unsuccessfully, to be allowed to use symbolism in illustrating children's books and was hesitantly allowed that freedom only for teenage audiences. And along came an assignment with an essential requisite that no human form be depicted though the text spoke of persons... such a wonderful challenge. Some of these representative pictures, not yet published, are here.

Earlier I worked with Yassin Hameed of f8 Professional Photography in Male'. This was for an assignment sponsored by Unicef and the Government of Maldives to bring out books for children aged 0 to five years and their caregivers. I was given freedom to digitally play with Ya's superb photographs using Adobe Photoshop to suit the requirements of the communication required. In these cases the immense manipulation over extended hours and suffering eyes is almost invisible in the final product. Which is as should be; the babies are the stars here.

'Ten Terrific Things' has a doctored picture illustrating the cover. By its side is the original photo that was used as the starting point. Comparing these will give an idea of the invisible work put in to create a different drama for an effective cover.

I also did some fun drawings using Macromedia Freehand as part of this project. Some samples illustrating 'discipline' messages are included. More realistic illustrations for 'safety' messages were done along with a Maldivian artist, Ahmed Shamoon who managed soft water colour effects without touching a brush.

Some more illustrations aimed at adults:

The postal department brought out stamps on two literary personalities who were very liberated and revolutionary in their time; Suryanarayan Vyas and Gulab Rai. The pictures shown here are those that were not used in the two stamps set released by the Prime Minister in June, but are 'my' versions before the modifications that feedback from various sources dictated.

Some black and white drawings:
sexual exploitation of women at the workplace, and acid attacks to disfigure women in Bangladesh were inspired by articles that MANUSHI plans to publish.

Each assignment brings its own requirements and finds its own solutions; each is fresh in approach with the message given priority over the 'messenger'. None of these pictures were done to create Art, and I am curious how they appear to you who see them out of their context. I guess they are just random images etched onto a CD, a click of the mouse and they disappear.

Bharati Mirchandani
D-14 Defence Colony
New Delhi - 110 070 (INDIA)