Dirty, Sacred Rivers – book by Cheryl Colopy

I met Cheryl in Kathmandu at the end of 2010. I am very thankful to a friend who forwarded me Cheryl’s post in kathmandukathmandu google groups. She was looking for an artist to draw maps for her book. At that time, she was still writing her book. I took a chance and wrote back to her, emailed her a drawing or two, I think. haha, can’t remember so well now. But anyways, we met and well, I got to draw maps for her book and I am so very very thankful to Cheryl for the opportunity.

Cheryl’s book is being published by Oxford University Press and the title is: Dirty, Sacred Rivers: Confronting South Asia’s Water Crisis. I won’t tell you much about the book and its contents but you can read more about it at the following links: amazon link , oup link. And yes, I got some awesome art books as gifts from Oxford University Press too!

So here’s my excitement! The drawings themselves. I only have screenshots though.

Map 1 – South Asia – Major Rivers

This is the first of seven maps in the book. But in the process of drawing, I made this drawing the last. The whole process of working on these drawings was challenging and new for me. I hand drew them and then used photoshop to edit them. AND oh boy! I didn’t know how to use photoshop when I started out. It was a huge learning process for me. Right now, I know a bit more and I wish I knew what I know now, back then. hahaha

This drawing was done on two A4 size sheets and then put put together later. I used a bit of my graphic tablet too.

It was a lot of back and forth of emails between Cheryl and me because she was still traveling and writing her book. She went back to the States in 2011 and we worked mostly through emails. And finally the book is coming out officially on October 1. I’ve been waiting for a year now but Cheryl, she’s started research on this book some seven years back.

Map 2 – Source of the Ganga

I was super excited to receive the actual book in the mail two weeks back.

Nepal is of course, a major part of Cheryl’s book and when I read her drafts I learnt a lot about Kathmandu and it’s water system. I really like the book. I’m not just saying it because I did the drawings..hahahaha.



4 thoughts on “Dirty, Sacred Rivers – book by Cheryl Colopy

  1. Dear Kanchan,

    I am currently living and working in Kathmandu. I recently read Dirty, Sacred Rivers and thought it was a great book with really wonderful maps. If you are back in Kathmandu anytime soon I would enjoy meeting for coffee to discuss your work.



    Ari Nathan
    Regional Environment, Science, Technology and Health Office for South Asia

    • Hi Ari! Thank you for writing and I am glad you enjoyed the book & maps! Well, I wish I could have coffee with you but I am abroad right now for my studies. I don’t know when I will come home soon. But I can be reached at kanchan.burathoki(at)gmail.com. I wasn’t aware of your office. Is there a website?

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