Keep your passions intact and your goals clear, that my friends is the path to success. Meet Charbak Dipta , a lecturer who took the leap of becoming what he really wanted, to live his life on his own terms. There are innumerable thoughts in our mind, all we have to do is believe in the right one. And that’s what he did, he thought out of the box and became what he really wanted to be the most, a cartoonist.
Highlights of this Episode
- Join him in his struggles and rejoice in his success, take him as an inspiration, for he did what he dreamt of making your dreams your reality.
- Convincing his parents and society, was difficult, but he shone through.
- His most popular and well known series involved ‘Aliens’.
Quotes and Takeaways
- “Before that I had never, even in my wildest dreams, thought of taking up art as a profession”
- “I always like to do original artworks with new ideas and unexplored themes.”
- “Each of my artwork derives from the frustration of what I couldn’t do in my previous artwork.”
- “Don’t kill the passion inside you if you want to be something else.”
WERE YOU A PART OF ANY OTHER INDUSTRY BEFORE COMIC KIDNAPPED YOU? HOW DID YOU FIRST FIND YOU CALLING IN COMICS?
I started my career as a TV producer at a Bengali music channel in Kolkata just after my post graduation. After 3 months I started getting frustrated with that job and I quit. After that I tried several other professions, like- theatre acting, singing, writing fiction and so on.
As per my academic training and my parents’ choice I was meant to be a lecturer but I hated that job. I was looking for a medium through which I could express my ideas which struggled to come out. Then one fine morning I went to the Times of India office in Kolkata for a job with some of my sample drawings. They wouldn’t let you enter without prior appointment and I didn’t have any contacts, but I managed to sneak in. The office people liked my drawings and offered me an internship as a cartoonist. Since then there was no looking back. Before that I had never, even in my wildest dreams, thought of taking up art as a profession, something which I had been doing since childhood. After working in Kolkata for a year, I moved to New Delhi to work full time. Even then it has only been 5 years since I’ve taken up cartooning as a serious profession. I have a long way to go.
HOW HAS BEEN YOUR career AS A COMIC ARTIST so far?
It has not been easy. First I had to convince my parents by earning some money with my art. Things are very tough in Kolkata if you are an illustrator/comic artist. Most Bengalees wont take you seriously which I experienced not only in Kolkata but outside as well.
After university it was a very confusing year for me, with regard to my capabilities of making a living out of it. However in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru I received great response for my work. I had a show recently in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, people responded very well there too.
WE ALL HAVE STORIES DEEP DOWN ABOUT OUR FAVORITE CHARACTERS. IS THERE A PROPERTY OR CHARACTER YOU’RE JUST DYING TO WORK ON?
I don’t have any fancy of working on an already established character as I always like to do original artworks with new ideas and unexplored themes. However sometimes I wish I were born 100 years ago so that I could have the chance of at least to stepping in Herge Studio. I am a BIG-BIG fan of Herge’s works. I have read all the albums of Tintin innumerable number of times, including the parodies. I am a part of ‘Tintinologists‘, a forum dedicated on the research of Tiintin. I am a big fan of Herge’s lesser known characters too, like Totor, Jo Jet Joko, Quick and Flupke.
YOUR ARTWORK IS VERY UNIQUE TO COMICS. HOW DO YOU ACHIEVE THAT DISTINCT LOOK? DO YOU HAVE ANY UNUSUAL TOOLS IN YOUR ARSENAL?
Thank you. There aren’t any unusual tools, I use an ordinary black gel pen and sometimes a pen-brush on A3 size papers. I color digitally. If there is anything at all which is unusual in it, is because of the way I use them, which I developed through practice.
Earlier I used to copy from the works of Chic Young, Jim Davis, Bill Watterson and so on and gradually I found my own style. This style is a part of my personality now.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE CHARACTER TO DRAW?
I initially liked drawing Aliens and I got the maximum response for my Alien series. So as an artist now I try to avoid that series and make newer artworks in the fear of getting stuck in one theme . I make each of my artwork from the frustration of not getting to do many things in the previous artwork and that keeps me going.
Apart from that I usually don’t draw any popular character as I like to stick to originality. Earlier, in my childhood I used to draw Tintin and Asterix. In India, I see people are so crazy for American comics while I prefer Franco-Belgian ligne Claire as well as the classic Manga.
WHEN SEEKING INSPIRATION, WHICH ARE COMIC ARTISTS INFLUENCED YOUR CAREER?
I have grown up seeing works of Satyajit Ray, Debashis Deb, Jamini Roy, Rabindranath Tagore, Haren Das, Uderzo ,Herge and so many others. Later I explored works of Mario Miranda, Etcher, Heath Robinson, Osamu Tezuka, Marjane Satrapi, Chraig Thomson among others.
There are so many amazing senior artists in Bengal like Narayan Debnath, Anup Roy, Nandalal Bose, Bimal Das whom Pan-Indian comic readers are unaware of. All of them inspired me.
WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE FOR FELLOW COMIC ARTISTS?
I don’t want to give any ‘gyan’ but would like to tell the upcoming artists that only you know what you are best at. Direct all your life’s strength to that one goal, work hard and if you know you can bring something new on the plate, you are bound to succeed. If everyone becomes a doctor or engineer or a govt. employee, the world will become a boring place to live in. Don’t kill the passion inside you if you want to be something else.