Dhruba Esh has designed a staggering number of the most iconic covers to grace bookshelves over the years. He is the creative mind behind the covers of most of Humayun Ahmed's acclaimed novels, including the Himu and Misir Ali series. He has been working in the publishing industry for three decades, starting his career as a cover artist in 1989 with a book of poems written by Mustak Ahmed. At the time, he was a second-year student at the Faculty of Fine Art, University of Dhaka. Teaming up with both renowned and promising authors, Dhruba Esh has designed around a thousand book covers for this year's Ekushey Boi Mela. In an exclusive chat with The Daily Star, he gets candid about his passion for art, books and more.
How do you usually come up with ideas for the design of a book cover?
More often than not, I start designing the cover as soon as I come to know what the book is about. When it comes to the cover, I prioritise the story more than the status of the author. I have designed close to 25, 000 book covers in my career so far, both for established and new authors.
What would you say is the most rewarding part of this profession?
In my opinion, there is an immense sense of joy and passion that comes with being a cover artist. This profession hasn't bored me yet. I love being a part of the creation of books everyday that I breathe.
You have worked on all the covers of Humayun Ahmed's entire Himu series. Do you miss the character of Himu?
Himu is one of my most favourite characters of all time. Needless to say, I miss reading about him and making covers for the series. But more than that, I miss the author behind Himu, particularly throughout the month of the Boi Mela. I feel privileged to have worked with Humayun Ahmed.
Out of all the works that you have seen of other artists, which cover is your favourite?
I remember being unable to turn my eyes away from the cover of Sunil Gangopadhyay's Eka Ebong Koekjon, brilliantly designed by Purnendu Putri. I also really like the designs of many of Satyajit Ray's books.
Besides being a book cover artist, you are also a writer.
How many of your books are releasing at this year's Boi Mela?
I have numerous books that will be unveiled at the Boi Mela this year. One of the books is a thriller titled, Ku Jhik Jhik. My books, Raasta Haate Ami Haati Na and Holud Robot Shobuj Robot will also be released among others.