Back to News

Interview With Astound’s Kamala Nair- Illustrator of Naomi Osaka’s New Book

Published on 09/12/2022

To celebrate the release of the Astounding new title “The Way Champs Play“, Astound US Inc chatted with their illustrator Kamala Nair about the experience. “The Way Champs Play” is the debut picture book of tennis pro, Naomi Osaka, published by HarperCollins.

Kamala Nair, Illustrator

What did you find most enjoyable and rewarding about illustrating “The Way Champs Play”?

“The prospect of working with Naomi Osaka and the HarperCollins team was exhilarating. Moreover, Erica De Chavez’s art direction has always sparked my admiration, and a collaboration with her was something I looked forward to. Hence, there was no scope for apprehension about being a part of this massive project. Character development was the most rewarding process for me. The journey that involved studying different sports and creating inclusive characters was essential.”

What was your favorite page to illustrate, and why?

“My favorite page is usually the first one I work on. It determines the tone for the rest of the journey. I can get lost working on this spread for hours, checking every stroke, color, texture, and lighting. It is a very meditative process.”

How was it working with the team at HarperCollins and all those involved in bringing this title to life?

“Working with Erica, Launa Horry, and the HarperCollins team has been a joyous endeavor. Whenever I felt that a particular option was the best possible output, they always turned the tide by brewing fresh ideas to make it even better. Moreover, they are organized and understanding, which ensured that our work and communication were compatible and amicable.”

What did you find most challenging about the project?

“The challenging part was maintaining the consistency of the six main characters throughout the book. I invest a considerable amount of time exploring the characters in the book. I explore various alternative possibilities by sketching the characters in different poses and scenarios. This is an exercise I indulge in to avoid discomfort while sketching them in any pose as the story demands.”

Any takeaways that you’d like to share with budding illustrators or those with dreams of illustrating a children’s picture book?

“A sketchbook or journal would be an excellent tool for budding illustrators. Often, when my hands are full, I have noticed that I tend to lose the sense of what I intend to do. During such times, visual journaling helps a great deal in redirecting my focus.”

Thank you Kamala for sharing these wonderful insights into “The Way Champs Play”. Grab your copy of this beautiful book here.

The ITSme Society is a collective of top creative agencies that represent award-winning talent worldwide. The ITSme Society agencies represent illustrators and writers across 7 agencies: Advocate Art, Astound US Inc, Illo Agency, Artistique, Yeon, CWLA, and Collaborate.

Other News

International Trends: The French Book Market

Illustrations by Advocate Art illustrators Signe Gabriel, Kaja Kajfež, Laura Borio, Lia Visirin, Laura Vitória Jäger, Vlad Stankovic, Yayo Kawamura. International Trends: The French Book Market Teacher: Alice Morentorn, Illustration Agent at Advocate Art  As with food and culture, the book industry in our world can be very different from one country to another. While…

ITSme Society and Our Environmental Impact

The ITSme Society was formed around our Positive E.F.E.C.T.S. charter – yes, we know we are missing an F! This charter was created to advance the environmental, financial, ethical, collaborative, training, and social standards of our agencies. Advancing the environmental standards of ITSme and our agencies means a lot to us. All of the ITSme…

Why Birthday Cards are Best for Greeting Card Portfolios

Greeting Card designs by Advocate Art illustrators Jenny Wren, Amy Hodkin, Kathryn Selbert, and Nichola Cowdery. Why Birthday Cards are Best in a GC Folio Teacher: Deborah Millinship, Illustration agent at Advocate Art Limited Creating a strong art licensing collection is essential for captivating clients and boosting sales. But, what are the key designs to…

Advocate Art Gets into Advertising

Everyone is seeing those flat, abstract, colorful characters with oversized, flowing limbs everywhere in advertising today. Two relatable styles are the basis: Corporate Memphis (a postmodern style popular throughout the 1980’s) was revived when Apple changed its visual interface in 2013 (remember when all the apps were super-polished?). And Alegria, (Spanish for ‘Joy’); first developed…

New Kirkus Review for Astound Illustrator Steph Lew!

We are absolutely delighted by the recently published Kirkus Review of Kailei Pew’s “The Monster Above The Bed”, illustrated by Astound US Inc. artist, Steph Lew! The review complimented Lew’s bright illustrations as joyous, creating a fantastical world that seems to defy our understanding of the world as a whole. Take a look at the…

Celebrations to Include in Your Portfolio Part 2

Illustrations by Illo Agency artist Laura Sayers, Advocate Art illustrator Alessandra Vitelli, and Astound US Inc. illustrator Khoa Le Celebrations to Include in Your Portfolio Part 2 Teacher: ITSme Society Who doesn’t love a celebration? As we talked about in part 1 of this series, books that celebrate a special occasion or seasonal event are…