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Demons of Rajpur cover

The Demons of Rajpur

Translated and adapted by Betsy Bang
Illustrated by Molly Bang

First published in 1980

About the Story
My mother, Betsy Bang, loved folk tales, and they were the best way she found of learning a new language. So when I needed a project to illustrate, she translated a few of the most well known Indian folktales from Bengali so I could illustrate them. The stories are full of blood and gore and scary monsters and beautiful princesses and nasty stepmothers and adventures. Why did I illustrate them in this particular way? I looked at many, many illustrations from India, and at that time, among all of them I loved the religious paintings by the women of Mithila the best, so that is the style I tried to imitate. As the women paint, they meditate on the god or goddess they are representing, and they become completely absorbed so they forget everything else. I tried to do this, but I found that the style changed. I made myself focus as much as I could, like the Mithila women, but I used very smooth paper and a very fine brush, and the lines began to get slightly fatter or thinner as I painted them, so it became a bit like dancing. These are among my very favorite pictures.

copyright 2016 by Molly Bang