• Tulika Publishers

The thumb rules!

Children love making a mess, and I do too. Fingerprints are delightful symbols of grime and mess, and when Tulika asked me to do a series using them, I was grateful to be part of this project - one they could have asked a child of three to do for free! Thambi and Thangi are from real fingerprints, and I finger-painted the textures for the ground, trees and whatnot, thoroughly reliving my childhood in the process.

When I painted the faces on to the fingerprints, I realized that the fingerprint ‘device’ had a singular advantage. The large Humpty Dumpty form is perfect for big eyes and mouths, which is scope, as any cartoonist will tell you, for powerful portrayal of raw emotion. For us illustrators, expressions rule! I love Thambi and Thangi, and I hope everybody who meets them does.

- Ashok Rajagopalan, Illustrator