Talented artist Morshed Mishu, developed a keen interest in drawing from a young age, inspired heavily by comic books. Currently an assistant editor at Unmad, the popular humour magazine, Mishu also designs book covers every now and then. This year for the Ekushey Boi Mela, he has designed the covers of Mojar Comics by Ahsan Habib, Patil Bhora Batil Chhora by Al Nahiyan, Bishuddho Hashi by Nazul Haque Emon, Naa by Prito Reza and Bandhobi by Raba Khan. We caught up with the artist to find out about his processes and preferences for designing book covers and more.
You have designed the cover of Mojar Comics, a book by Ahsan Habib, the editor of Unmad. How was the experience of collaborating with him?
Designing the cover of a book written by Ahsan Habib, who plays a key role in my life, was on my bucket list for a long time. This year, my dream finally came true with Mojar Comics. I feel privileged to have worked with him on the book.
How do you perceive the relationship between the writer, publisher and designer?
Speaking from my own experiences in this field, I think that publishers have an ignorant attitude towards cover artists, which is really unfortunate. I have become quite selective about the covers that I work on. Nowadays, I just design covers for authors who I personally know and who approach me directly. I give importance to working with people who I get along with and whose work I genuinely admire.
There is a perception that cover artists do not find enough work throughout the years, barring book launches during the Ekushey Boi Mela. What are your thoughts on that?
I do not view these circumstances in a negative light because most artists in Bangladesh today do not solely do covers. They have plenty of ways to create their own opportunities, network with others and establish themselves as professionals, doing different things such as illustrations, paintings and cartoons. Many artists are also good writers. Moreover, even though the Ekushey Boi Mela is held in February, cover artists start getting busy from months before.
Would you like to give any advice to emerging artists who are looking to take up cover art?
When I designed my first book cover, I mustered up the courage to take it to Dhruba Esh, who is immensely experienced in this field. He gave me a hand-written note, praising my work. He also advised me to read the manuscript always, before designing the book cover. My suggestion to emerging artists would be the same - don't start working on the cover without knowing what is inside the book.