Illustrations take center stage in textbooks

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

SCERT officials and printing officials said the cover pages have also received more attention this year, as these books are compared to those of the CBSE and ICSE. “The illustrations and colors used in textbooks play a major role in developing interest in studies in children. We have, this year, placed special emphasis on illustrations in a bilingual format,” said a manager.

Chief State Illustrator for Government Textbooks, K. Srinivas, said several workshops were held and his 10-member team created several versions of the same concept before they were approved by the education officials.

There were several rules that illustrators had to follow, size being the most important. “For the main sections, we had to make sure to make big illustrations with less space for the material and as the sections grew, the size of the illustration got smaller and smaller,” Srinivas said.

The illustrators said it was a long process, as they first had to read the lessons and discuss among themselves which colors and shapes to use. However, even after consensus, these were not approved all at once.

“We had to take care of things like layout and image scanning. After creating a figure, we had to scan it and check if the outline, expression and colors were printed as we wanted. Many times we had to redo multiple images because they kept getting a bad figure/color when printed,” Srinivas said.

Other team members highlighted the key role they played, as students looked at pictures to facilitate learning. “They have to figure out what’s good and bad from the image we’re making, which is hard work,” one illustrator said.

The most difficult part, according to Syed Hashmatullah, a member of the team who is also a government art teacher in Jangaon, said there was not enough time to execute the job.

“If more time is given, we can illustrate better. We have to make sure that the illustrations do not repeat themselves; we can’t 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 take the important part of the story and illustrate it,” Hastmathullah said.

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