Being amongst the first few Studios we curated at the very start, we are super kicked to add them to our Online Store and make the fabulous Mixtape graphic novel series available to the world. Get to know more about Kokaachi in their Kulture Shop Studio Interview.
KS: What kind of work does your practice specialize in?
Kokaachi: Pratheek and Tina founded Kokaachi. Currently based in Cochin/Kochi, we (Tina & Pratheek) are both writers and storytellers. We also handle the distribution, marketing, social media, commissioned projects, sketch-meets, PR, everything else, basically! Prabha Mallya, is our Art Director, and one of our dearest friends. She works remotely, from her home in New Zealand. We are a storytelling house, with a focus on original graphic stories told through comics, sequential art, picture books, and we plan to expand into animation and movies in the years to come. We aim to tell stories for children (and the child in you), for young adults and grown-ups. The one thing we are not interested in is rehashed mythological tales, though we will surely invent our own. We put a lot of thought into everything we create - the stories we’re telling, the pictures that give them life, the print, the paper and the way the finished book feels in a reader’s hands. We also take up commissioned projects in the visual storytelling realm, these help fund our in-house projects. We just finished a comic set in Cochin for Motherland Magazine. We’ve conceptualized and produced animation sequences for three feature films and have worked on the game design for an iOS app. We are also working on a picture book that is supported by National Geographic.
KS: What are some of the challenges you have found being an Independent studio in India?
Kokaachi: Striking a balance between the commissioned and in-house projects is our biggest challenge. For us, it’s a loop. The commissioned projects bring in the revenue to fund our in-house books, while the books find their way into the hands of discerning readers and creative professionals who commission us for their own projects.
The market for comics in India – both homegrown and international - is small and niche and the kind of comics we are creating at Kokaachi is even more select. There are no superheroes or mythologies in our comics, we’ve mostly told realistic fiction with a dash of quirkiness and humor. So, the space we occupy is very small and carefully curated, thus making the business sustainable is a constant work-in-progress.
The Kokaachi Team - Tina. Pratheek & Prabha | Dash enjoying the view
KS: Which is your favourite project in the last year and why?
Working with director Mani Ratnam
on the animation sequences of his Tamil film OK Kanmani
was a dream come true - only, we’d never even dreamt about such an opportunity. We’d looked up to him during our years of growing up and falling in (and out of) love. So, to be sitting across him and discussing story ideas and working alongside him on the design of the game world was amazing!
KS: Tell us more about the Mixtape Graphic Novels Series.
Kokaachi: We recently released Mixtape 3, the third volume of our Mixtape series. At 100+ pages, it’s our biggest book to date and collects 5 love stories by 12 creators from across India. Mixtape was envisioned as a platform for aspiring creators to showcase their stories. It has grown beyond our wildest dreams! It’s our love letter to print. :)
Kokaachi Mixtape Volumes
KS: Any future products we can look forward to get out?
Kokaachi: Many. We have 4-5 books ready to be released under First Cuts. We are also working on the second volume of Matchbox Comix and there are even more comics in the works!The Visitor by Upasana Mehndiratta is the debut title from First Cuts, our new creator-driven imprint, coming soon to Kulture Shop. We fell in love with it’s titular blue creature the moment we laid eyes on it a year ago. It’s illustrated in a minimal color palette, contains no words and yet speaks about something that we’re all so familiar with. This is a keepsake for readers of all ages.
Fun Stuff about Kokaachi:
Songs that represent the Studio's vibe: Titanium by David Guetta ft. Sia
Quirky items the Studio collects: Monsters. We have quite a few of them. We call them Kokaachis.
Favourite Hangout: Our studio overlooks a huge park and reminds us of the years we spent in Bangalore (before we moved to Cochin). We love this park and the big trees in it, and we try to spend some time there whenever we get the chance.
Inside the Kokaachi Studio
All images courtesy Kokaachi.