Manjula Padmanabhan is a multi-faceted personality; artist, illustrator, cartoonist, playwright and novelist, all creative attributes rolled in one. She was born in Delhi; grew up in Sweden, Pakistan and Thailand. This creative personality is bound by the social concerns, and as it’s often said, ‘new realities’ are her forte.
She has illustrated more than 20 children’s books, and has had a long-running cartoon strip, Suki, in the Sunday Observer and later in The Pioneer. Her ‘daily delineation of life and the times’ was made with Rotring pens-0.4 for the thin lines, 0.6 for the heavier ones, and a 1.2 mm nib for words in bold-on A4 photocopy paper delivered just before the deadline for printing.
Her amazing detail of creation, perfection and delivery, in a sense a different kind of real-life drama behind the black lines on white newsprint has been captured in a handsomely produced volume by Duckfoot Press, titled This is Suki! that draws primarily from Manjula Padmanabhan’s work between 1992-1993.
It ought to be mentioned that her play, Harvest, was selected from 1470 entries in 76 countries for the $250,000 Onassis trust award in 1997. It’s a futuristic play about the sale of body parts and exploitative relations between developed and developing countries. Her short stories are marked by a wry sense of humor. Another of noted titles, Getting There, is a semi-autobiographical novel about a young woman illustrator in Bombay.
Manjula Padmanabhan is now based in Delhi.
This artist bio has been sourced from Saffron Art’s artist page on Manjula Padmanabhan.