Creators’ Interview

Creators of ‘Art is a Verb’ get candid!

Following team Art1st’s win at the IPPY awards, Art is a Verb Author Likla and Designer, Rohina Thapar did a written interview for the Instagram page @the.artinsider, run by the passionate Shivani Mutatkar. You can read the final piece here, and watch the video created for the feature on @the.artinsider’s Instagram Profile.

@the.artinsider: Tell me about your association with the art world. How did writing a children’s book on art come about?

Likla: I grew up with two artist parents, but always considered myself a bit of a black-sheep, choosing to read rather than paint. It’s been a delight to discover how rich an engagement I can have with art as a writer. It comes naturally to write about your surroundings, and stories about colours or chiaroscuro have always bubbled within. When introduced to Ritu and Art1st’s vision on writing beautiful books about art for children, it turned out to be an unexpectedly perfect fit!

Rohina: I was a shy kid who found respite in art classes at school. I loved to paint, to create and to express. Perhaps this led me to explore visual design as a profession. Working across diverse projects at Art1st, especially children’s books, I get to channel my inner creativity and create interesting learning experiences for children.

@the.artinsider: Walk me through the process of creating this book. Did the process start with the access to these iconic paintings? How did you build from there?

Likla: This was one of the first manuscripts I wrote for Art1st. I spent weeks going through books filled with art. I’ve retained a fascination for movement from my previous life as a dancer. This is what I saw in the paintings. ‘Art is a Verb’ gave me a chance to combine my love for movement, language and art! From thereon it was a play between discovering the suitable artworks and exploring the joys of the corresponding verbs.

Rohina: When it came to the visual design of this book, it was about keeping verbs at the forefront of its experience. Similar to the way all our senses work together to create a full image or an idea in our head, we wanted each page to be a combination of visual, cognitive and tactile experiences. The design process involved experimentation with composition, layout, typography and material. We employed engaging and complex paper manipulations such as gateway sheets, folds, die-cuts, pastings, to make it a truly immersive book.

@the.artinsider: What were some of your inspirations in creating the book? Did you look at other books or art or children’s books to draw inspiration?

Likla: The Art1st Library is filled with 2000+ exquisite art and children’s books, including favourites like Dr Seuss, Shaun Tan, Neil Gaimen (his kid’s books are incredible) and Blexbolex. I found that the books that have inspired me the most were the ones that are whole. The ‘idea’, the heart of the book blossoms to life through its words, art and design. It cannot be any other way. This is the lesson we took into creating ‘Art is a Verb’.

: The book is highly interactive and can be read/experienced in several ways. How difficult was that process to translate when getting the book published?

Rohina: Not difficult, but creatively challenging. With the aim of high engagement, we knew we would have to push boundaries of bookmaking- be it creating simple paper prototypes to understand micro-interactions, or printing full-sized dummies to get a sense of the binding and feasibility. At each step, we collaborated with our printing partners, Prudent Arts & Fab who brought in their long-standing expertise to print this experimental book successfully.

@the.artinsider: What are you hoping readers take away from this book?

Likla: The joy of movement, the magic of art, the passion to create and more, the secret glee of a child’s mind that I could never conceive of!

Rohina: I hope kids are surprised by what they see, delighted by what they read and inspired by how
they feel. 🙂

To purchase Art is a Verb, please visit here.

Read more about Art1st other books at:


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