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

Themes to Include in Your Illustration Portfolio Part 5

Illustration by Advocate Art illustrators Alida Massari and Kaja Kajfez, and Astound US Inc. illustrators Chiara Fedele and Kimberley Walker Themes to Include in Your Illustration Portfolio Part 5 Teacher: ITSme Society Books are one of the most accessible forms of escapism. And you have the power to help readers explore a range of worlds…

Why Coaching / Mentorships May Be Right for You!

Illustration by previous ITSme Mentorship artists, Noor El Sehnawi, Amanda Rizqi, Koustubha Jagadeesh, Sara Padovan, Fran Ceserano, and Francesca Cosanti.  Why Coaching / Mentorships May Be Right for You! Teacher: ITSme Creative and Course Director Bhavi Patel Whether you’re an illustrator who’s been working in the industry for a number of years, or someone who…

Meet Your Instructor: ITSme Director of Marketing and Learning Emily Coggins

Meet one of our instructors for both the Character Study Intensive and the Graphic Novel Bootcamp! Emily has been with the ITSme Society for over nine years, starting as the Global Manager for Astound before moving into her role as the ITSme Director of Marketing and Learning. In each course, she brings her unqiue skills…

Locations to Illustrate for your Picture Book Portfolio Part 4: Schools

Illustration by Astound US Inc illustrator Jesus Lopez, Advocate Art illustrator Christos Skaltsas, and Illo Agency illustrator Marina Kondrakhina Locations to Illustrate for your Picture Book Portfolio Part 4: Schools Teacher: ITSme Society Oh the places you’ll go, in your illustrations that is. The more travel in your work, the more exciting your portfolio will…

Meet Your Instructor: Collaborate Agency COO Kate Johnson

Meet one of our Graphic Novel Bootcamp instructors, Kate Johnson. Kate has had a long career with Advocate Art then Collaborate Agency. Over the course of her career she has worked on over 5,000 children’s books and graphic novel projects! Kate brings her years of experience in book layout and design to this course. Q-…

Kids vs Adult Oriented Birthday Card Tips

Card designs by Advocate Art illustrators Jennie Bradley, Jo Little, and Lynn Horrabin. Kids vs Adult Oriented Birthday Card Tips Teacher: ITSme Creative and Course Director Bhavi Patel Within the Greeting Card market, we tend to find that artistic styles naturally tend to appeal to specific age groups based on the overall look of the…