Size / / /

Juliana provided the illustration for the January 18th story “Secrets of the Kath,” by Fatima Taqvi, and shares here with us her creative process for the issue.

Sketch of “Secrets of the Kath” © 2021 by Juliana Pinho

The way I see it, this story is full of symbolic touchstones—visual elements with layers of meaning that are not always obvious, or even accessible, to the reader. For my illustration, instead of choosing a specific scene, I decided to depict some items that are placed on the narrator as if she were a doll herself—the scarf, the jewels, the purses—in an attempt to turn her into a symbol of her husband’s power and wealth. In contrast, I wanted to show the kathputli as a symbol of a narrative that is out of anyone’s control. In the background, the leaves of the neem tree dominate all narratives.

Lineart of “Secrets of the Kath” © 2021 by Juliana Pinho

As soon as I read the story, I started to research for visual references of kathputli and of Sindh in general. I thought the illustration would best serve the story if it helped get the reader in the right mindplace by providing them with some aesthetic reference. At first, I thought of illustrating the scene when the narrator’s son finds a braid on a tree—an event we only hear about, but so haunting that the scene that stayed in my mind the most after I finished reading. But then I realized I wanted more than anything to draw the kathputli and to make the illustration as heavy with symbols as the story felt to me.

I was also excited to explore the colors and movement of the dolls, and the general idea for the composition of the art came to me very quickly before I’d even started sketching, which is unusual. You’ll notice there’s little difference between the sketch and the final product. The only alteration is that I also wanted to draw the haunting braid caught on the tree branches along with the purses, but I later decided against it.

“Secrets of the Kath” © 2021 by Juliana Pinho

Currently adapting to the American midwestern climate, Juliana Pinho is a Brazilian artist who has been passionate about art in all its forms ever since she can remember. She has illustrated stories and articles for publications such as the Aiglos Almanac and the Dates anthology. See her portfolio at
Current Issue
3 Oct 2022

Lying in bed last night I felt fingers reach in, grabbing. I opened in spite of myself as you clawed me with your fingernails, flattened, panicked. Split throat, iron tongue, white masks ranged overhead, the rings on their fingers scraping me as they reached in to take you.
from my tower we climb, shroud as my veil. We leap on his fae steed
I tell smug Cyclops that I’m as gay as the next mutant, and that all mutants find themselves within battles
Get ready to feel hungry, because the theme for this quarterly roundup is food.
Friday: The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo 
Issue 26 Sep 2022
Issue 21 Sep 2022
Issue 12 Sep 2022
Issue 5 Sep 2022
Issue 29 Aug 2022
By: Cat T.
Issue 22 Aug 2022
Issue 15 Aug 2022
Issue 8 Aug 2022
Issue 1 Aug 2022
Issue 18 Jul 2022
Load More
%d bloggers like this: