Shibu Kumer Shill | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 11, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:06 PM, February 11, 2019

Portrait of a Cover Artist

Shibu Kumer Shill

Popular nation-wide for his music and writing, Shibu Kumer Shill is a also a prominent cover artist of our time. He has been designing book covers for over a decade now. The busy artist talks to the The Daily Star for a candid interview.

How do you perceive the art of cover design?

I do not believe that cover design is an independent art. The cover represents the text inside. However, while I design, I try to maintain a semi-abstract form, which, which has its own character, but also represents the book as a whole.


Throughout the years, what has been your biggest challenge in this particular art-form?

The entire concept of book-launch in the Ekushe Boi Mela is the biggest crisis. Throughout the rest of the year, there is not enough work. As a result, the artist, who designs about 500 covers in the month of February, remains unemployed otherwise. Such artists should get work on a regular basis.


What could be the possible solution to it?

Publications should run throughout the year. The book fair should be a place for the appreciation of literature. If writers and publishers can decentralise the system, the industry would benifit greatly. By the grace of social media, it should not be too hard to reach the audience.


What is your take on the writer- publisher- designer relationship as of now?

We fall short of maintaining a healthy working relation. For example, often the writer would put up the cover design online, and ask for public voting without the artist's permission. Imagine if the artist has put up the text and asked if it was good enough to design? It is not the case for all, but many writers dictate the design to the artist. We definitely need to respect each other more.


Who are your favorite artists in cover design?

I am always attracted to book by Penguin or Verso publications. I adore with works of Krishnendu Chaki. My favourite artists in the country include Biren Shome, Kazi Ahsan Habib, Qayum Chowdhury, Samar Majumder and Dhruba Esh. Among the contemporary artists, I appreciate the work of Sabyasachi Mistry and Razib Datta.


Do you have any suggestions for newcomers?

Give no chance to mediocrity. Choose your text carefully and invest in it because if the text stays alive, so will the design.

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