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Malika Favre's Kama Sutra Alphabet

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Prints shown at Pick Me Up at Somerset House, London

Malika Favre's Kama Sutra Alphabet


French-born, London-based artist Malika Favre talks us through her artistic approach to 'The Kama Sutra Alphabet'.
The Kama Sutra Alphabet is a personal project from french born and London based illustrator Malika Favre.
In 2011, Malika was commissioned by Paul Buckley at Penguin Books US to illustrate the new Deluxe Classic Cover of the Kama Sutra by Vatsyayana.
Using the original set of seven letters she created for the cover as a starting point, Malika Favre then decided to develop the full set of 26 letters as part of an exhibition project.
The Kama Sutra Exhibition
The Kama Sutra individual prints will be on show at Pick Me Up from the 18th to the 28th of April 2013 at Somerset house in London.
Each of the 26 letters is a very limited edition of 25 screenprints, signed and numbered by the artist printed on GF Smith Mohawk superfine.
What started with the Pick Me Up exhibition in mind soon became much more as I started thinking about how to archive the project online and possibly have the letters available to people outside the UK who couldn’t make it down to the exhibition.
My ex-Airside buddy, Guy Moorhouse of Futurefabric and the very talented guys from Present Perfect were up for the challenge so we decided to all collaborate in order to bring the project to life.
Guy lead the interaction design and development of the site while Ivan and Povi from PP helped out with the look and feel.
The challenge was to create a design that wouldn’t overpower the illustrations but still convey the mood of the project. It had to feel effortless and visually very clear as well as very approachable and of course it had to be responsive for different devices.
The process we applied to the creation of the website was in a lot of ways similar to my approach to illustration : We started building it and designing it simultaneously and ended up paring things down a lot as we went. It was a very organic way of working - fairly unsettling at times - but somehow it felt right.
Animating The Letters
I knew I wanted to bring the 26 letters to life for an extra bit of kink but I was very aware that animating those positions might take us very close to that invisible line so it had to be the right people.
My first thought was to involve different animators so that they would each bring their personalities to the letters and add to the narrative but at the same time we needed to retain some consistency in the animation as they would all sit together on the index.
I asked two of my favourite animators to take the lead : Maki Yoshikura ( who animated the Hide and Seek teaser and the Wallpaper pin up alphabet) and Patrick Smith, the genius behind Vectorpark that I met while in NY last year. Maki’s style of animation turned out more energetic and bold while Patrick’s approach to the letters was very true to his own aesthetic : very organic and smooth. The combination of both immediately felt right.
We also invited guest animators Robin Davey, Liam Owen, Timothy Mc Court and Robert Milne to take on a couple of letters each.
The result is a very sexy Index that showcases different combinations of animated letters every time you visit the page.


Malika is represented by Nexus Productions. For any enquiries, please contact

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