Bringing Comics to Life

Savio Mascarenhas at the virtual Muskaan session

Savio Mascarenhas at the virtual Muskaan session

A virtual Muskaan session with cartoonist Savio Mascarenhas introduced young enthusiasts to the art of making comics

Comics are always fun to read, and a few lucky kids from classes VI, VII and VII got a first-hand taste of how they are created when Prabha Khaitan Foundation organised a virtual Muskaan session with cartoonist Savio Mascarenhas. Hosted in collaboration with Education For All Trust, the session featured a fun interaction between Mascarenhas and the kids as they talked about cartoons and comics as well as how to create them. 

Mascarenhas has been in the world of comics for over 30 years. He began his journey as a freelance cartoonist for Tinkle comics back in 1992. He later joined Tinkle full-time and played a vital role in co-creating and shaping popular comic characters such as Mopes and Purr, Janoo and Wooly Woo, Suppandi and Little Shambu. For the past 25 years, he has been the artist behind Shikari Shambu. Currently serving as Group Art Director at Amar Chitra Katha Pvt Ltd, Mascarenhas divides his time between the light-hearted characters of Tinkle and the heroes of Amar Chitra Katha.

During the session, Mascarenhas showed the students how to shape comic figures and create character stories. He started with Suppandi, a funny character with a box-shaped head, a big smile and three strands of hair. Suppandi finds a new job in almost every story, only to lose it shortly after. The character has worked as a postman, watchman, computer mechanic and bicycle mechanic, and taken on many other roles. 

“Illustrated stories include twists and climaxes within a short period.”

With Mascarenhas guiding them, the participants also worked on another popular character — Shikari Shambu, the forest ranger who was the brainchild of illustrator Vasant Halbe. In the comics, Shambu’s eyes are always covered by a giant hat, and he has a signature moustache that goes up when he is happy and down when he feels sad.

Mascarenhas demonstrated how a few simple lines, strokes and circles can shape characters that dance and jump. Within seconds, he had illustrated captivating scenes. He also showed how to create character stories using separate panels, incorporating special effects like speech bubbles and splashes. As an example, the cartoonist presented a short story of Shambu wandering in the woods, searching for ripe mangoes and the events that followed. “Illustrated stories include twists and climaxes within a short period,” he explained.

The cartoonist also emphasised the power of the imagination by showing how a butterfly can be developed from an exclamation mark, a girl’s hair band or even a fan. He encouraged the students to express their creativity through their own comics, emphasising that everyone can build a story using just a line or circle as their starting point. An essential tip that he offered was to observe the world carefully. “Good observation and a vivid imagination are the keys to developing engaging cartoon stories,” he said. 

The virtual meeting with Mascarenhas took the students on a delightful and creative journey, allowing each of them to explore their inner artist and unleash their imagination through cartoons.

A joint initiative with Education For All, this session of Muskaan was presented by Shree Cement Limited