Meet Kathir, TN artist who dropped out of school and is now designing textbook covers

These textbooks will be made available from the next academic year.
Meet Kathir, TN artist who dropped out of school and is now designing textbook covers
Meet Kathir, TN artist who dropped out of school and is now designing textbook covers
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'Do not judge a book by its cover.’

Ironically for the saying though, people do judge a book by its cover. But most often, textbook covers promise exactly what they contain. With muted colours and blaring fonts, school textbooks might have made you yawn even before opening them.

But artist Kathir Arumugam is hoping to change that with his designs. Commissioned to redesign Tamil Nadu State Board textbook covers, the artist shares that he has always loved typography and designing covers.

Kathir, who has been working on these covers for the past four months, has used refreshing elements to keep the covers interesting. An ancient wall mural adorns the cover of the textbook for Standard 11 History, an electric blue fish wades against a black background for the Standard 11 Zoology textbook.

As someone who dropped out of high school to pursue his artistic interests, Kathir shares that this project of designing textbook covers, was something he never dreamt of. “All of it, thanks to T Udhayachandran sir from Tamil Nadu Text Book Corporation for assigning me on this task,” he adds.

These textbooks will be made available from the next academic year. Kathir also shares that the new textbook covers will be implemented along with the new curriculum. A TN Curriculum Framework Committee headed by M Anandakrishnan, has been working on revising the state board syllabus.

School Education Secretary T Udhayachandran and E Balaguruswamy, former Vice-Chancellor of Anna University, also part of the committee have been working on examination-related reforms as well as implementing training methods for school teachers.

“I have been working as layout artist for magazines like Penne Nee, Devathai, Namthozhi and Kunkumam Thozhi. I’ve also designed for Uyirmmai,” says Kathir, who began showing an interest for designing sign boards when he was just 12. He has also designed covers for popular Tamil authors like Sujatha and S Ramakrishnan.

Hailing from Erode, Kathi shares that it was his love for typography that helped him steer himself in the right direction. “After having dropped out from school, I worked with a design company in Erode as a tea boy. With the money I save up, I did my graphics course and later joined Uyirmmai ten years ago,” he says. Kathir shares that his frequent visits as a young boy to Cuckoo School Shivaraj's house introduced him to the world of books and helped him develop a reading habit.

Kathir also says that he draws inspiration from artist Trotsky Maruthu. “He visited Erode about eleven years ago and meeting him was a major dream come true for me,” he says.

Kathir, who now works as a freelance artist, hopes to design movie posters in future.

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