Rohan Chakravarty - Bringing forth conservation & wildlife issues through Green Humour
Hello everyone! GGGG is at the brink of change. With a transfer order in our pocket (we are a #military family), those mammoth trunks (big black fauji boxes) to pack, and a small town in the near horizon, I've been thinking of ways to continue this green work from a place where it will be all about juggling the many fauji social commitments, slower internet, and still offering value to my tribe and people around. But I believe, wherever there are humans, there's the imperative need to make the connection between our wellness & the Earth's wellbeing. So with that belief, I hope to steer GGGG into new adventures.
But before I pop back into packing mode, I wanted to introduce you to Rohan Chakravarty - a freelance cartoonist & founder of Green Humour. His cartoons pack a punch - they're funny (as cartoons are meant to be) but put across all the #eco issues & solutions succinctly and effectively. If you haven't yet stumbled across his cartoon strips, then you gotta dive right into his website. But before you do that, see what he has to say about his work and his passion for conservation.
C. Please tell us about yourself – what do you do, where are your based and are you a cartoonist by passion or also by training?
R. Thank you for choosing to feature me on Gorgeous Girls Go Green! I sure look forward to meeting some of them soon!
I am a cartoonist and illustrator who draws about wildlife and conservation. I am the creator of the series Green Humour. I am a self-trained cartoonist, and cartooning is my fulltime vocation.
C. Your cartoons are green, fun & inspiring – you put across the #eco message very succinctly. What is your process of researching & creating these cartoons?
R. My research process depends on the kind of artwork I am making. Creating comics follows a very random approach; seeking inspiration from the animals I meet on treks or read about in books or watch in wildlife documentaries. For projects such as illustrated maps of wildlife parks, I almost always undertake field visits to acquaint myself with the flora, fauna, terrain and topography as well as culture of the place I am portraying, as there is no substitute for firsthand information.
R. I don’t really see it as a niche. The issue of conservation is just like a meteorite. People thought that it could be ignored as long as it was at a harmless distance somewhere in the solar system. Now it has struck us head-on and everyone’s suddenly speaking about it. Being environmentally conscious is something that should come to us naturally, and not be looked at as a ‘niche’.
C. Do you work for a publication or freelance + what are the projects that you are working on?
R. I work freelance entirely. I run a weekly column for Green Humour comics with the newspaper Mid-day, a fortnightly column with The Hindu Blink, a weekly column with my syndicate Gocomics, and work on projects on conservation and awareness with various NGOs and state run boards. Some of my most prominent clients have been WWF in India, Bhutan and Hong Kong, WTI and BNHS. Right now, I am working on a personal project; an illustrated book on birds.
C. You also have a book coming out. Would you like to tell us about it?
R. My first comic book, ‘The Great Indian Nature Trail with Uncle Bikky’ has just been published by WWF India. The book is about the adventures of an ornithologist, his wildlife photographer niece, and their pet dog, introducing readers to the diversity of India’s fauna through these characters. Essays and activities follow each chapter, written by my friend, editor and comrade-in-arms Bijal Vachharajani, an author of award-winning children’s books.
C. How do you think green humor can make an impact & get people to be the change they want to see?
R. I approach my work with two motives in mind: making mischief every day, and bridging the gap between wildlife and people. Through my cartoons over the years, I have fought small battles and won tiny victories like convincing my readers to not buy exotic wildlife as pets, to give up Civet Coffee, and even to switch to eco-friendly sanitary products, and that is the kind of impact I would like to achieve in future.
C. What are the challenges in being a green cartoonist?
R. Firstly to be taken seriously by publishers in India. Secondly, to get taken seriously by publishers and readers specially when you are not drawing political cartoons for a living. And thirdly, to try to be funny in my work despite being a grump-puss myself!
C. Do you have a favorite cartoon (or a few) that you’d like to share here?
R. Yes, among my work, I love this one the most ( Arctic Tern cartoon).
You can see more of Rohan's work at Green Humour.
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