Mahatab Rashid began doodling in notebooks and on walls from a young age. He joined Akantis, a community of illustrators in Bangladesh who aim to develop their visual literacy, in 2014. He further took part in the Bangladesh Cartoon Fest that year. Since then, he knew that he wanted to establish himself as a proficient cartoonist and illustrator, inspired by the likes of Ahsan Habib, Mehedi Hoque and Syed Rashad Imam Tanmoy among others.
Mahatab has worked for numerous popular publications of the country, including Kishor Alo, Rosh + Alo and Unmad. His weekly comic series, Mahakabbo, is published in Chutir Dine, in addition to enjoying a huge fan base online.
“My art has a relatable and 'slice of life' aspect to it,” says Mahatab, who is set to take his HSC examinations this year. He also addresses several crucial socio-political issues through his work.
Mahatab also has a keen interest in the field of cover art. He began designing book covers for the Ekushey Boi Mela in 2016, mainly working with children's books. “Reading the story before designing the cover is really important to me,” explains Mahatab. “Besides that, my aim as a cover artist is to stand out from the crowd. To that end, my process involves plenty of sketching and brainstorming so that I can figure out what works and what does not.” This year, he has done the cover and inside illustrations of Goyenda Uncle by Ahsan Habib.
In previous years, he did the covers of numerous books including Shaat Shomundor by Jamil Bin Siddique Anudit and Nimider Shohore Kola Miya O Rajkumari Ratata by Mashudul Haque, both of which are currently on sale yet again, at the Ekushey Boi Mela.
He designed his first ever cover for Mashudul Haque. “I have been a fan of Mashudul Haque's books for a long time and I feel privileged to have worked with him,” expresses Mahatab.
A bookworm at heart, Mahatab is really impressed by the ambience of this year's Ekushey Boi Mela. “It is delightful to see families attending the fair together and parents encouraging their children to pick up more books,” he says. He has also designed the cover of a new edition of Ventriloquist, a thriller novel by Mashudul Haque, which was unveiled at the recently held Kolkata Book Fair.