Hyderabad: A lot of us love indulging in comic strips appearing in newspapers – be it Blondie, Calvin and Hobbes, Archie or Garfield. But what people in the two Telugu-speaking states would enjoy and relate to even more is Telugu comics. This is where Sameera Maruvada comes into the picture.
Hailing from Vizag, the 26-year-old cartoonist and illustrator recently moved to Hyderabad to explore career opportunities. Her Telugu and Telugu-themed comics are a hit among many people and she has gained a dedicated audience in a span of just two years. Sameera is an Electronics and Communication engineer, who also studied Interior Design. So how did cartooning happen to her?
“I have been into art since my childhood and I would bag many awards. So I started a YouTube channel and made close to 150 videos on fine art tutorials. Comics weren’t really on my mind in the beginning, but I wanted to express what was happening in my life. As I am also into journaling, I decided to bring both my passions together in the form of comics. That’s how the series ‘Salt and Sambar’ was born in 2019,” she shares. “What people could really connect with are the instances in my life as a South Indian and a Telugu girl. Eventually, I began getting freelance opportunities,” she adds.
Sameera gets requests from customers to create personalised comics for birthdays, weddings etc. To connect to a global audience, the artist uses her Patreon page. Her ‘Salt and Sambar’ box containing posters, recipe cards, greeting cards, postcards, comic magnets and signed comics are sent exclusively to her mailing tier patrons on Patreon, an online platform for content creators.
The youngster also sells official merchandise such as a comic calendar. The theme of the 2021 calendar is on a nosy aunty who is desperate to find a groom for a girl in her neighbourhood. Down the line, Sameera plans on publishing a graphic novel.
“I conducted a workshop in the pandemic because everyone right now is going through their own journey of self-reflection and are burdened with emotions. It’s time for creative expression. And I believe that comics are more about storytelling, so people don’t have to worry about not being a great artist as long as they can tell great stories,” shares Sameera, who uses the software Procreate on iPad.
A proud moment for Sameera was when she collaborated with the artisans of Etikoppaka, a small village in Vizag. “It is known for its organic wooden toys, and I designed a pair of mother-daughter (nenu-amma) key chains. It was a proud moment for me since I got the opportunity to promote and support the artisans,” she concludes. Find Sameera Maruvada on https://www.instagram.com/saltandsambar/
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