Born in 1941, Pulak Biswas grew up in Bangladesh. He gave up a career as a graphic designer in advertising to work as a children's book illustrator full-time and is now one of India's foremost illustrators.
His book A Day in the Life of Maya of Mohenjo-Daro, written by Mulk Raj Anand, earned its publisher Children's Book Trust, India, an Honorary Mention BIB in 1969, and two of his books, Tiger on a Tree written by Anushka Ravishankar and Hensparrow Turns Purple written by Gita Wolf, won BIB Plaques in 1999 at the Biennial of Illustration Bratislava.
Pulak lives in Delhi.
I studied Painting in art college.To support my educational expenses I started doing book illustrations as it was not possible to sell paintings in those days. I eventually became a full-time artist and illustrator in 1981.
Your books Tiger on a Tree and Catch That Crocodile! are very popular. Can you give us a bit of background about them?
I was in Chennai to attend a workshop where I met a lady working in a tiger project in Sundarban in Bengal. She told me about a certain incident. I thought it would make a very interesting story. So I did the story in verse and did the ilustrations in black and white to cut down cost. I gave it to Tara Book. They liked the story and decided to publish it as Tiger on a Tree in two colours and with the text in rhyme. It was written in rhyme by Anuskha [Ravishankar].
Sundarban is full of rivers, and they also gave me the story of a crocodile and wanted me to
Water plays a central role in several of the stories you have illustrated, not least you most recent book, The Flute. What does that mean to you?
I spent my my childhood in Bangladesh, which is full of rivers and ponds.
What are working on at the moment?
I was in Sundarban recently. I am working on "Bon Bibi " a folk tale that is very popular among the villagers in Sundarban, which Is in the delta of the Rriver Ganges in Bengal.
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