Toonstory.in- The Talented Mr. Amber likes humour with a pinch of salt.
A Passion for Cartooning
As a ‘mark of freedom’ from his monotonous life, Amber launched toonstory.in three and a half years back. Inking his pen in imitating Mickey Mouse and Disney cartoons, for which he got a lot of attention, Amber gradually weaned away from learning to making original cartoons in childhood itself. After making his way through college and stepping into IT as a professional endeavour, Amber decided to use his drawing pens a lot more in his free time. Toonstory.in is an archive of his passion for cartooning.
Amber typically starts his day at around 4am, drawing a cartoon or two before heading for his day job, and ends his day with a little bit of more cartooning. Being approached by newsletters and magazines for illustrations is a scalable prospect, but as of now he is comfortable with the arrangement wherein he gives his day to being a software architect, and finds decent renumeration in his trysts with cartooning jobs that come to him from time to time. He still remembers his first published cartoon for one of the oldest Gujarat dailies some years back, and his second published set of work for a book on project management by an author based in Bangalore. Amber really hasn’t looked back since in terms of creating his own cartoons, which he puts up on toonstory.in, and his various commissions and collaborations.
Laugh a Little
Amber’s aim is to make people laugh. He believes there is a lot of stress and anxiety in today’s world, and if his artwork can create a moment of release from the daily, his job is done. He keeps his message and drawing simple. He believes a lot of detailing is distracting, as is the formulation of his message if it is is not clean and crisp right from the beginning. He perceives if the message is not funny, his audience is not going to laugh, and that would not serve his purpose. His entire thought process is aligned towards keeping the message and the drawing funny, as well as make sure that what he draws is high in quality in terms of artwork.
Amber has done a few gags on political figures, but it was this one cartoon that he made on a political issue on India-Pakistan that still has him taken aback. It was not accepted by a newspaper and when Amber put it up on Facebook, he got trolled by many people who reacted strongly to his political humour. He received many threats as well, at one point Amber thought go pulling the cartoon out, but let it be on a whim, desirous of seeing what life the cartoon would take on social media. Fortunately, he remembers it dying out in a few days, and not much happening after his Facebook post. But he remembers drawing a lesson from that incident, where he decided to exercise his constitutional right to freedom of expression a lot more sensitively without hurting through humour. He now draws with a lot more care, and thought, while putting out cartoons in the public realm.
Humour and Politics
Amber believes it is a lot more possible to be ‘intolerant’ in the public realm these days due to the plethora of mediums available to us. We were always not comfortable with humour based on communities and particular social groups, and that he remembers from his father’s time in the 80s, when people in uniform were not happy with a section in Reader’s Digest called Humour in Uniform. He believes now we have the option to express our discomfort and unhappiness with humour targeted at a certain group, so the tolerance levels remain the same, it is just the mode of expression that has opened up unbounded.
Insisting on a more sensitive approach towards cartooning, Amber envisions a future for toonstory.in where more and more people start their day with a touch of humour with his cartoons. He hopes it to be a premium website for cartoons and gags that people enjoy, share and engage with everyday. Here’s to more TOON-ing!
For more such illustrations by Amber, visit https://www.toonstory.in/