Light & Shadow in Grandfather Gandhi

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Post by Evan Turk

Grandfather Gandhi Illustrations © Evan Turk

Grandfather Gandhi Illustrations © Evan Turk

“Have I not told you how anger is like electricity?
Anger can strike, like lightning, and split a living tree in two.
Or it can be channeled, transformed.
A switch can be flipped an it can shed light like a lamp.”
Grandfather Gandhi

Where there is a shadow, there is always a light. Our shadow is often the worst things we believe about ourselves: the things that make us feel unworthy. For Arun, in Grandfather Gandhi, this was his anger.

Grandfather Gandhi Illustrations © Evan Turk

Grandfather Gandhi Illustrations © Evan Turk

“How could he, a Gandhi, be so quick to anger?”
“Grandfather didn’t have to say it. I’d never live up to being a Gandhi.
I’d never be at peace.”
Grandfather Gandhi

Grandfather Gandhi Illustrations © Evan Turk

Grandfather Gandhi Illustrations © Evan Turk

In the original thumbnail sketches for the book, I tried to think of ways to use shadows to communicate how Arun was feeling. The shadows could show his inner anger, the pressure to live up to his grandfather, and his untapped potential.

Grandfather Gandhi Illustrations © Evan Turk

Grandfather Gandhi Illustrations © Evan Turk

The contrast between light and dark, often with the sun or moon beaming overhead, goes throughout the illustrations in the book, illuminating Arun’s inner struggle.

Grandfather Gandhi Illustrations © Evan Turk

Grandfather Gandhi Illustrations © Evan Turk

Arun’s shadow follows him, showing how he sees himself. He sees his anger as an uncontrollable force within himself, and something that makes him different, monstrous, and unworthy.

Grandfather Gandhi Illustrations © Evan Turk

Grandfather Gandhi Illustrations © Evan Turk

Throughout the story, Arun learns that his anger does not make him unworthy, but presents him with a choice of how to use that anger.

Grandfather Gandhi Illustrations © Evan Turk

Grandfather Gandhi Illustrations © Evan Turk

Shadows can be dark and frightening, but they also have the power to unify, connect, and make the shape of things more apparent.

Your potential is all about how you want to see yourself, and whom you choose to be.