The Ekushey Boi Mela brings to us, not only spirited novels, essays and biographies to read, but also promotes the art of design, illustrations and sketches. Cover art has evolved significantly over the years combining clever graphics with artistic acumen to increase its appeal to the readers.
A professional Cover Designer, Dhrubo Esh is probably one of the most famous names in the field of book cover art in Bangladesh today. He first designed a book cover back in 1987. "Back then, I would probably do one cover a year," says Dhrubo. Today he does more than 400-500 covers a year. This year, Dhrubo has designed more than 650 covers. Some of the books that he has designed and illustrated are 'Icarus' by Mohammed Jafar Iqbal (Shomoy), 'Himur Modhyadupur' by Humayan Ahmed (Annesha), 'Doshjon' a collection of Humayan Ahmed's novels (Annesha) 'Shey Akhando Britte' by Sirajul Islam Chowdhury (Bidyaprokash), 'Tomar Shonge Kichu Kotha Chilo' by Tarek Mahmud (Nalanda) and many more. Dhrubo's artwork is special because his work portrays a certain amount of sophistication blended with elements from our day-to-day life. For instance, Mohammaed Jafar Iqbal's 'Icarus' has a unique combination of the mythological figure Icarus and an aura of energy portrayed through Dhrubo's colours. Dhrubo has always been inspired by Purnendu Potri, Shubhroto Chowdhury, Qayyum Chowdhury and surprisingly enough, television actor Afzal Hossain. "Not many know this but Afzal Hossain is a tremendously gifted artist," says Dhrubo. "I really admire his work."
The editor of the satire monthly magazine UNMAD, Ahsan Habib is a very popular artist and a cartoonist as well. Not only does he base his artwork on the 'sly' aspects in life, many of Ahsan's artwork portrays the lighter side to living as well. For the last many years, he has been designing book covers and illustrations for many authors, both old and new. Through the use of his colourful expressions, he brings out the true nature of people, something that is abundant in the satire magazine as well. Ahsan Habib is a writer of short stories, non-fiction and poetry. After quite a number of years, he has also brought out a book of 'sher' in the Boi Mela this year. Truly an all rounder, Ahsan Habib has written and designed many of his own books as well. Some of his works are ‘Jokes Shomogro’, a collection of funny snippets written by Ahsan Habib himself (Protik), ‘Ek Chokhu Rakhosh’ by Maruf Rahman (Shubhro), ‘Nanan Rong’ by Ahsan Habib (Bibhash), ‘Bhut Jokhon Ghost’ by Ahsan Habib (Rodela) and ‘Science Friction’ by Ahsan Habib (Ekushey Bangla). An inspiration to many youngsters, Ahsan Habib's favourite cover artists are Dhrubo Esh and Anik Khan.
Niaz Chowdhury Tuli
Tuli, as he is known, has been drawing cartoons professionally for slightly more than a decade. He began his career designing and drawing for brochures and magazines in Chittagong and would also contribute to newspapers in Dhaka as well. Today he is a Senior Cartoonist for the Daily Prothom Alo and does editorial cartoons regularly. However, Tuli is also well known for his skills in making covers for books, which he has been doing for several years alongside being a cartoonist. This year, Tuli has done almost 300 covers and also illustrations for authors both, well known and new. Some of them are ‘Binipoyshar Neel Golpo’ by Syed Shamsul Haque (Ittyadi), ‘Dhongshosthupe Kobi O Nogor’ by Syed Shamsul Haque (Ittyadi), ‘Kobirer Okobita’ by Kabir Chowdhury (Annesha), ‘Upohar, Tomar Jonnyo’ by Tawhidur Rahman (Ittyadi), ‘Amader Posha Bhut’ by Moinul Ahsan Saber (Bijoy) and ‘Naribadi Golpo’ by Purobi Basu (Ittyadi). "I use different medias to make the covers," says Tuli. "Sometimes I use simple paint, or sometimes I create each object by taking pictures or looking for them online or other sources. These objects are then combined together to make a cover art for a book. My favourite cover artists are Dhrubo Esh and Shomor Majumdar."
Popular for his sharp humour in his cartoons, young Mehedi Haque has achieved quite a lot thanks to his observation power and drawing skills. An Executive Editor of the satire monthly magazine UNMAD and Editorial Cartoonist of the Daily New Age, Mehedi won the last TIB award for his cartoon, depicting corruption in various sectors in the country and the recent Right to Health award for his cartoon representing the non-existing government health plans. In a nutshell, his cartoons bring out the reality, yet with a dash of absurdity. Though he claims to be still growing in field of cover arts, Mehedi has worked on several covers for quite a number of authors in the last few years. This year, he has worked on five book covers -- 'Chader Pahar' by Bibhutibhushon Bondopadhyay (Progoti), 'Anik Khaner Chhorar Boi' by Anik Khan (Studentways), 'Tomay Nie Sher Bedhechi' by Anik Khan (Mizan), 'Ajob Obhijane Manager Chacha' by Sajjad Kabir (Annesha) and 'Kathpencil' an illustrated Children's book edited by Masrur Mithun (Kathpencil Publications). For both cover arts and book illustrations, Mehedi seems to prefer doing sketches and cartoons and doesn't forget to add his signature of humour. His work has been inspired by well-known artists, namely, Dhrubo Esh, Sobboshachi Hajra, Qayyum Chowdhury, Shomor Majumdar, Shahdat Chowdhury and Purnendu Potri.
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February 20, 2009