Localized Tintin cover version gains recognition
Sachi Ediriweera is a Sri Lankan artist, filmmaker, and occasional writer currently working in the advertising industry as an experiential artist. He is also the creative mind behind the beautiful illustrations of the web-based Lankanised Tintin artwork which made the rounds.
You’ve most certainly come across what we’re talking about; the image has also recently gained some support from Colombo’s US Embassy, sharing with them on Twitter: “What a fascinating localised recreation of one of our favourite childhood comics, Tin Tin! Great work by @route345art! (sic)” (@route345art is Sachi’s Twitter username).
We spoke to Sachi about his work and his participation in drawings of a comic book theme. He said he writes and draws comic books in his spare time, apart from his professional work in the advertising industry, which in fact is the work for which he is mainly known in the local art scene.
We talked to Sachi about the now-famous Tintin art piece, how it came about, what it means to get so much love for something he made, a little bit about his upcoming projects, including his debut graphic novel “Lionborn,” and his daily updates of comic book art.
Your most famous illustration – the localised version of a Tintin cover – has received a great deal of attention, even getting a very positive shout out from the US Embassy in Colombo. What do you think about your work getting this kind of widespread attention and why do you think it got such attention?
I wasn’t honestly expecting that sort of reaction! I posted it in the morning hours and remember seeing it widely shared within the first hour. That’s when I knew that this was special.
I think the artwork was widely shared and talked about because Tintin is such a beloved character for Sri Lankans – the books have been translated and we even have a dubbed version of the animated series.
Even though one of the books mentions Tintin visiting Sri Lanka (Ceylon at the time), there’s no imagery to associate it with. So when fans saw the artwork I did, it was the perfect storm of everything coming together including a wave of nostalgia.
How did you get around to creating this particular piece? Was this particular work something you did in your leisure time or was it work that was commissioned?
It was something I did in my spare time. I had the idea in my mind for a few weeks and just decided to draw it one evening.
The artwork has definitely resonated with a mass audience, with many Sri Lankans having grown up with Tintin finally being able to see our island’s likeness represented in that image. When you were drawing it, what really inspired you to create it in this image?
Usually with this sort of thing, I sketch a few layouts to see what works before I settle on the final version. But with the Tintin piece, I was able to finalise the sketch rather quickly. I knew I wanted the imagery of a temple and wanted to give the characters a sense of urgency; to create a story that sells a book cover.
The most fun part however was replicating the cover elements including the title, which packages everything to make it look like a legitimate book cover. Funny enough, I had many people messaging me asking if this was indeed a real book and how they could order it. I’m sure I’ve disappointed many diehard Sri Lankan Tintin fans with this. But overall, I’m glad folks loved it.
What does the future look like for you and your art? Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to share with us? Also, where can people follow your work and get updates?
My debut graphic novel “Lionborn” is available for purchase locally. My latest book “Wayfinder”, a sci-fi adventure story set in Sri Lanka, was due to be released this year but got pushed because of the pandemic.
In the meantime, I regularly post new comic book art on my social channels including Instagram (@route345), where you can follow me and stay updated about my upcoming projects.
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