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Finally, our next book… Everyone make room for Rumi!


rumi

As a boy…

As a boy, whenever I heard of a quote by Rumi, though I never understood it, instinctively I knew that there is more to the saying than what meets the ear.  Rumi’s poems are not to be read with the eyes or even the mind.

They are matters of the heart.

And then one day…
As mine and Ali’s religious studies progressed and one day we were explained what it means to love God.  What it means to be Lovers of God.  Oh, Gosh, it’s as if another dimension of our soul had opened its eyes, blinked twice and gazed first time into the bright beautiful world.

The universe… it seemed so different.

Oh God, the universe, it’s alive.  Breathing.  Pulsating.  Trying to reach out.  To humanity, to mankind, to me.

It’s speaking, shouting, even screaming.  Am I listening?

From then on, when I read or heard the poems of Rumi, Hafiz, Iqbal, Saadi, I got a glimpse of the beauty that they saw.  A strand of the emotion that they experienced.

A moment of the ecstasy that they thrived in.

Since then on…
Ali and myself had always been fascinated with stories and poems by the Lovers of God.  Specially the poems of the greatest of all lovers… Rumi.

I had even taken up learning farsi for a while so that I could envelop myself in the authentic verses of Maulana.  Sadly, my learnings of the language were short lived, however, little did we realise that our love for the verses of maulana would manifest itself in another way.

Finally…
We knew what our next book should be on.  You see, since our last book, Wise Fool of Baghdad, we were always contemplating what should we work on next.  Six months ago, on our way to Jummu’ah (Friday prayers), Ali mentioned hearing a lecture of the great Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr and that he spoke of Rumi.  At that instant we both knew that our next book has to be a dedication to the great Maulana.

Returning from Jummu’ah  that afternoon, we scanned our libraries and deshelved all the books on Rumiand Sufism that we had.  We began shortlisting the poems that we would later have sketched to comics.

Over the past six months, God has been infinitely merciful to us.  Alhumdulillah we have made amazing progress on our book.

Our journey so far on book on the poems of Rumi

Selection and shortlisting the Poems:

We scoured all the resources at hand and shortlisted 40 poems for our two volume book on Sufi Comics – Rumi.  They poems and stories we have selected are a combination of classics and our favourites.

Page size and Art style:

Next we had marathon debates would be the page size and art style that we would follow.  This bit took a couple of weeks, but we nailed it eventually.

Storyboarding

Since March, Rahil, delved into his inner creative realms to come up with storyboards for the shortlisted poems.  This is perhaps the most taxing part.  Certain poems that are more descriptive and narrative are easier to come up with a storyboard.  But others which are allegorical take more time.

Check out a few of his thumbnails:

Sufi comics: Rumi Book sketches
Sufi comics: Rumi Book sketches

Penciling

After months of brainstorming and meetings, we finally had the thumbnails and storyboards in place.  Then, Rahil got to work on penciling the comics.  This is when the comic starts taking shape.  Just look at the pencils.  Don’t they just look exquisite?

 

true-consciousness-2
true-consciousness-1
true-consciousness

 

Rahil has finished penciling eight comics.  Twelve more to go for Volume 1 of Sufi Comics-Rumi

Inshallah once we’re done with pencilling, the next steps are:

  • Inking the comics
  • Sourcing the Original farsi text, relevant Quran and Ahadith that have the same theme of the poem
  • Inscribing in calligraphy the original Farsi text
  • Compiling all the pages together
  • Proofreading
  • And then PRINT!

So much to do, so little time.  We hope to launch Sufi Comics-Rumi at Comic Con Bangalore, when it happens in May.  It’s a *tight* deadline.  If God wills, Sufi Comics-Rumi, shall be available for sale then.

Other fun facts:

  • Initially we were planning to ring the book with 40 comics of Rumi in one big volume.  If we did, the book would be over 400 pages!
  • For this project, we’ve expanded our team to include Tanzil ur Rahman.  Tanzil, an IIM-B graduate and an amazing poet himself is our research guy.  He helps us with the more mystical interpretations of Rumi poems as well as sourcing the original farsi text for the short-listed poems.
  • Also joining our team is Tamanna Ali.  Tamanna is based in London and will be keeping our readers upto date on how the book is progressing together with other interesting updates on Sufi Studios.

*phew*  That’s for our launch post announcing Rumi.  Stay tuned and keep watching this space for more exciting preview and sneak-peaks of Sumi Comics – Rumi

Till then, Stay Awesome and  Keep smiling 🙂


Arif Vakil

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