Kolkata: Although his cartoons are well known, many of legendary R K Laxman’s doodles that revealed a more personal aspect of the creative genius are still lying unpublished in his family’s collection.
When the ‘Shakespeare of Indian cartooning’ came on holidays to Mysore and Bangalore during 1975-1991, he sketched hundreds of doodles, some of which were an extension of his conversations with his late brother R K Srinivasan.
This personal collection is now in the possession of Laxman’s nephew R S Krishnaswamy. “They were sketched at home during conversations with us. He drew whatever thought occurred to him at that time. The figures are not any recognisable persons,” he told PTI over the phone from Bengaluru. Unpublished so far, these doodles were sketched on paper using a blue ink ballpen.
Many of such doodles are now lost due to lack of proper upkeep of the pieces of paper. The Indian Institute of Cartoonists have digitally restored around 101 of them. V G Narendra, managing trustee of the institute, said these doodles were getting destroyed and so they decided to preserve them with plastic coatings and digitally scan them. “We now have the digital print outs of those doodles and we will exhibit it in our gallery in Bengaluru on this Saturday for his fans,” he said.
Laxman’s family members recall that due to his relentless habit of sketching doodles any time of the day, he was nicknamed ‘Doodu’ in the house. Laxman passed away yesterday in Pune at the age of 94.
Doodles are sketches drawn absentmindedly. As a child, Laxman used to doodle with chalk on the floors of his house. When he learnt to wield a pen and pencil comfortably, he began to generously supply beards, moustaches and shaggy eyebrows to photographs or sketches which appeared in books and magazines.