• Deccan Chronicle

Illustrations take centre stage in school textbooks


HYDERABAD: Illustrations have become a key part of school textbooks, with teachers, students and officials hailing this year’s textbooks designed by the state board. But, it takes a lot of effort to conceptualise and execute them, especially for bilingual textbooks, say illustrators.

Officials of the SCERT and printing officials said that cover pages have also been given more attention this year, as these books are compared to the CBSE and ICSE ones. “The illustrations and the colours used in the textbooks play a major role in developing an interest in studies among children. We have, this year, specially focused on the illustrations with the bilingual format,” an official said.

The head illustrator of the state for government school textbooks, K. Srinivas, said that several workshops were conducted and that his team of 10 members created several versions of the same concept before they were approved by the education officials.


There were several rules the illustrators had to follow with size given the most importance. “For the primary sections, we had to make sure we made big illustrations with less space for matter and as the sections kept increasing, the size of the illustration kept getting smaller,” said Srinivas.

Illustrators said that the process was long-winded, as they first had to read the lessons and discuss among themselves the colours and figures to be used. However, even after a consensus, these were not approved in one go.

“We had to take care of things like layout and scanning of pictures. After making a figure, we had to scan it and check whether the outline, expression and colours were printed how we wanted it to come out. Many times, we had to re-do several images as they kept getting an improper figure/colour once printed,” Srinivas said.

Other team members emphasised the key role they played, as students looked to pictures for easy learning. “They must understand what is good and bad from the picture we make, which is a difficult job,” an illustrator said.

The most difficult part, according to Syed Hashmatullah, a team member who is also a government art teacher in Jangaon, said that there was insufficient time to execute the work.

“If more time is given, we can illustrate better. We have to make sure that illustrations are not repeated; we cannot take anything from the internet either. A lot of creativity is required in this job. But it was also fun to learn all the lessons back. We pick up the important part of the story and illustrate it,” Hastmathullah said.

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