Passionate about drawing, self-taught comic book and cover artist Tauhidul Iqbal Sampad began his professional journey at the age of eight, creating comic strips for Kishor Potrika, a publication of Sheba Prokashoni, founded by Qazi Anwar Hussain. “Growing up, I loved reading comic books. I was also an avid fan of the Kuasha series by Qazi Anwar Hussain, who guided me in finding a foothold in this profession from the start.” says Sampad. That is how Sampad developed an interest in not only comic book and cover art, but also writing. “Qazi Anwar Hussain plays a key role in my life,” adds Sampad, who is also hugely inspired by American illustrator, author and art instructor William Andrew Loomis.
He further went on to work for Panjeree, a renowned name in the sphere of book publication in Bangladesh and Dhaka Comics, a publication house that aims to promote Bangladeshi comics all around the world. Sampad believes that covers are a crucial factor when it comes to selling books because they set the first impressions about books. Usually, he reads as much of the stories as he can or watches the film adaptations of the novels he designs the covers for.
He is the creative mind behind the covers of several of Panjeree's illustrated Bangla translations of western literary classics, aimed at young readers. These include Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Anna Sewell's Black Beauty and Rudyard Kipling's Captains Courageous among others. Moreover, he did the covers for three novels in the children's fantasy series, Beast Quest, translated and published by Panjeree in Bangla, and the covers for the children's sci-fi books, Dur Groher Nigi and Roboter Jugey by Mustak Ahmed.
He has written and illustrated the comic series Durjoy for Dhaka Comics and Maruf for Panjeree, both of which are currently on sale at the Ekushey Boi Mela.
For the first time in Bangladesh, Dhaka Comics, in collaboration with Liveaxis, unveiled collectible figures of the character, Durjoy, at the fair. Eminent cartoonist Ahsan Habib was present on the occasion, which was a great honour for Sampad.
“I was astonished to see the number of people who came to meet me at the fair,” expresses Sampad. “Parents approached me, saying that their sons have been waiting for hours to get their comic books signed by me. It was a great experience, but it was also a bit overwhelming.”
Sampad also opened up about people's growing interest in Bangladeshi comics today. “It is delightful to see such a splendid fan base for comic books rooted in our nation,” says Sampad. “The smiles we bring on people's faces through our art are what makes the challenges of this profession worthwhile.”