The Sandman Cometh
The difference between being a painter and an illustrator is a rather sensitive one, in terms of status. Few painters would concede to being labelled as illustrators, for that would implicitly deny them their sense of choice and deliberation. Souza in a diatribe against the contemporary Indian artists working in India, said of them that they were mostly illustrators, not (true) artists. To be an illustrators the, is to be unthinking, un-original and unsatisfactory. The true artist, it is thought, would not and should not compromise. Sadly this point of view has influenced the degree to which artists are willing to collaborate with authors, or become illustrators of books or posters, or other kinds of communication media. This in turn affects the standards of visual communication. There are always exceptions, such as Tyeb Mehta’s magnificent poster for
UNICEF. Another kind of exception are the studio artists of
HHEC who worked essentially as designers. Among them is Anand Mohan Naik, who has recently taken up something he has always intended to do: the illustration of children’s books. Naik has always,it seems, been fascinated with the child’s vision.