Cartoonist Sathish Acharya of Kundapur origin features in Forbes Magazine

Mangaluru: Cartoons are expression of opinion, strong emotions and more importantly effective tools of communication. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that cartoons can convey message quickly with a single drawing and few words, opines famous cartoonist Satish Acharya from Kundapur who is one among 24 thinkers named by Forbes India as best India-based intellectuals who are well regarded outside India.

Satish Acharya  was drawn into the world of comics when he read Amar Chitra Katha, Phantom, Mandrake during his school days, which he says helped him to travel to a different world altogether. But the real inspiration to become a cartoonist was the Illustrated Weekly of India, which had loads of cartoons from Mario Miranda, R.K. Laxman and the likes. So, he started copying the cartoons of Mario, Laxman and later Ajit Ninan. As he grew up he started drawing more and started freelancing for Taranga, Sudha and other Kannada magazines. His first cartoon was published in Taranga.

Later, he pursued his MBA and in the year 1994 Satish Acharya moved to Mumbai which he terms to be the turning point of his life where he was recognized as a cartoonist. Having said that Acharya says it wasn’t that easy as it took him more than ten years to reach the position where he is now.

“People started recognizing my work when I started working for Mid-Day,”Acharya said.
“I had never thought of taking up cartooning as a profession. However as years passed, I started realizing the strength of the cartoon and then I took it up as a profession. It all started with Rs 30-40 per cartoon, but today I quote the price for cartoons I make,” Acharya explained.

The way in which people look at cartoons as changed a lot. The advent of social media has changed the perspective of people. Now cartoons are taken seriously. Many of the cartoons are re-tweeted so many times that they go viral. In fact celebrities like Farhaan Akthar have re-tweeted by cartoons, Salman Khan wanted me to give the cartoon I had done on him, Raj Thackeray too had called me appreciating my work. I feel contended that at the end of the day I am able to convey strong messages through cartoons, Acharya said.

A cartoon which he drew recently as a tribute to Australian cricketer Phil Hughes, who had died on November 30, 2014, after he suffered an injury on the field during a match, was appreciated by people worldwide. Acharya also received calls saying that the cartoon made them cry.

Acharya said “Cartoons were considered as a time pass but now they are donning the role of messengers, especially the political cartoons. The cartoon on Phil Hughes, which made people cry brought me face to face with the truth that cartoon which were once made to make people laugh, was capable of touching the emotional chord too.”

A cartoon is not just a drawing, it is a vehicle to send message and convey opinion with a tinge of humour, Acharya said.

Idea is integral part of cartoon, when the idea is good and the drawing is bad it is still okay. But if the idea is bad and the drawing is good then the purpose is defeated, he added.  

Drawing cartoon is not so easy as it needs of lot of thinking, analysis of news, getting to know the current situations and then drawing accordingly, Acharya said.

Calling out youngsters to take up cartooning, Acharya said cartooning actually helps people to see things in a different perspective, to present opinions in a different way and finally to become a better citizen.

Acharya who is currently drawing cartoons for nine clients including ESPN STAR, making cartoons cricket cartoon book with almost 40 sports journalists and writers from across the world says he is hard pressed for time as drawing cartoon needs lot of time. However he makes it a point to spend his time with his wife and son during the weekend. He also conducts classes and workshops whenever possible. 

Building an institute is Acharya’s all time dream. “We may not be able to make people get ideas but we can teach them the process to help them come up with ideas. Youngsters have potential and all it takes is an opportunity to showcase the potential,” Acharya said.   

Acharya an cartoonist par excellence has told the world that cartoons are not mere comic reliefs but can make people wake up from their slumber to work for a change.

By Chethana Gadiyar

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