Say ‘T. Venkatrao’, and chances are not many will recognize the name. But say ‘Teevee’ and there is instant recognition.
This seniormost political cartoonist in Andhra Pradesh, who is a household name in that State, was born in Eluru in West Godavari district. While studying PUC, Teevee signed up for the correspondence course in cartooning offered by the Ray Burns School of Cartooning in New Delhi. He painstakingly learnt the nuances of drawing and painting. Soon, he also completed his BA and joined the Visalaandhra daily in 1961 as political cartoonist.
Teevee is not only a cartoonist par excellence, he is a great teacher too. His articles on how to draw cartoons were published in the English, Tamil and Telugu editions of the monthly magazine Wisdom for 40 months from 1981 to 1984. He has also written books for youngsters on how to draw and paint, especially cartoons.
His insightful articles on cartooning were published in Andhra Jyothi weekly in 1980 for 34 weeks. He pens articles on art, artists and cartoonists for the Sunday editions of several dailies.
Apart from Visalaandhra, his cartoons have appeared in Janashakti, Andhra Jyothi weekly, Chalana Chitra fornightly, Andhra Prabha daily, Teluguvelugu weekly and Vaartha daily.
On Aug 22 1991, his cartoons appeared in the pages of Krokadil, a Russian humour magazine published from Moscow. It brought him many letters of appreciation from readers from Moscow, Tashkent, Kiev, Saransk, Vilnius, etc.
Teevee won the Honourable Mention Award at the Ranan Lurie Political Cartoon Contest at the UN in New York.
The wheel has come a full circle: The man who learnt the nuances of cartooning through a correspondence course, is doing his bit to help other youngsters tread the path he has taken: since 1980, Teevee has been running a correspondence course centre called Chitra Suthra in Vijayawada, which offers youngsters postal courses on drawing, painting, cartooning, commercial art, geometry and perspective drawing.
This is his way of spreading a delightful art.