Cover Story – The New Indian Express


Express press service

KOCHI: Don’t judge a book by its cover, wrote George Eliot in his 1860 book The Mill on the Floss. Absolutely true, says graphic designer Arun Gokul, who has designed over 1,000 book covers. But, he adds, the cover can – ideally should – give the reader a glimpse into the soul of a book. The 40-year-old artist from Pathanamthitta has partnered with major publishing houses such as DC Books and Manorma Publications, and veteran authors such as M Mukundan and Perumbadavam Sreedharan.

Currently working at the Kerala State Institute of Children’s Literature in Thiruvananthapuram, Arun believes there is a need to “create space for book cover artists in the cultural scene of Kerala”. It’s also essential to encourage the current generation to bond with books, he adds. Arun plays with letters in various designs and graphic styles. One, however, finds few of his works trending on social media, as he is reluctant to showcase them online, unlike most other new-age artists. Despite the low recognition and compensation he receives, Arun says he loves his work and adds that he represents all the book cover artists who are usually overlooked by the general public.

“Book covers are works of art too,” he says. “When these books hit the shelves for sales, it’s like an exhibition of our works. Covers are important when it comes to sales,” adds Arun who has also done posters for movies including Indian Rupee. “Although the same cover designs are used to release more editions of the book even after years, the cover designer often does not get their due. That said, sometimes we are not even invited to the book launch .

A self-taught artist, Arun made headlines in 2010 for the IFFK posters he made as a freelance designer. Subsequently, he specialized in designing book covers due to his love for literature. Arun’s strong foundation comes from his student days, he says. “I studied fine arts in Mavellikara, Malayalam literature in Pathanamthitta and journalism in Kochi,” he adds. Manthrika Ayitheehyamala by Jessi Narayan and Living The Bhagavad Gita by Braja Sorensen.

“Cover designs are often not created after reading the book; editor or publisher reveals about the topic or title,” he explains. “The rest is drawn from our imagination, our creativity.” Arun says the aspect he appreciates the most is “the independence of design and the space for our creativity”. The design of the Ardhanareeshwara by Perumal Murugan was one such work which received much appreciation, he adds.

“Similarly, for Malayaliyude Madhyama Jeevitham, I used the two Ma in Malayala Manorama and Mathrubhumi newspaper fonts to design the cover. It was well received,” he says. Arun says his mission is to create a space for cover designers and to ensure the recognition they deserve.” Appreciation of authors, especially veterans like Perumbadavam Sreedharan, boosts my energy.”

VERSE FROM THE BOOK
It was Arun’s love for literature and wide reading that helped him create a beautiful cover for the books.

KOCHI: Don’t judge a book by its cover, wrote George Eliot in his 1860 book The Mill on the Floss. Absolutely true, says graphic designer Arun Gokul, who has designed over 1,000 book covers. But, he adds, the cover can – ideally should – give the reader a glimpse into the soul of a book. The 40-year-old artist from Pathanamthitta has partnered with major publishing houses such as DC Books and Manorma Publications, and veteran authors such as M Mukundan and Perumbadavam Sreedharan. Currently working at the Kerala State Institute of Children’s Literature in Thiruvananthapuram, Arun believes there is a need to “create space for book cover artists in the cultural scene of Kerala”. It’s also essential to encourage the current generation to bond with books, he adds. Arun plays with letters in various designs and graphic styles. One, however, finds few of his works trending on social media, as he is reluctant to showcase them online, unlike most other new-age artists. Despite the low recognition and compensation he receives, Arun says he loves his work and adds that he represents all the book cover artists who are usually overlooked by the general public. “Book covers are works of art too,” he says. “When these books hit the shelves for sales, it’s like an exhibition of our works. Covers are important when it comes to sales,” adds Arun who has also done posters for movies including Indian Rupee. “Although the same cover designs are used to release more editions of the book even after years, the cover designer often does not get their due. That said, sometimes we are not even invited to the book launch A self-taught artist, Arun made headlines in 2010 for the IFFK posters he made as a freelance designer, later specializing in designing book covers due to his love for literature. Arun’s solid foundation comes from his student days, he says. “I studied fine arts at Mavellikara, Malayalam literature at Pathanamthitta and journalism at Kochi,” he adds Manthrika Ayitheehyamala by Jessi Narayan and Living The Bhagavad Gita by Braja Sorensen “Cover designs are often not created after reading the book; the editor or publisher reveals about the subject or title,” he explains. he. “The rest is drawn from our imagination, from our creat ivity.” Arun says the aspect he appreciates the most is “the independence of design and the space for our creativity”. The design of the Ardhanareeshwara by Perumal Murugan was one such work which received much appreciation, he adds. “Similarly, for Malayaliyude Madhyama Jeevitham, I used the two Ma in Malayala Manorama and Mathrubhumi newspaper fonts to design the cover. It was well received,” he says. Arun says his mission is to create a space for cover designers and to ensure the recognition that is due to them. “The appreciation of the authors, especially veterans like Perumbadavam Sreedharan, boosts my energy.” BOOK VERSE It is Arun’s love for literature and wide reading which helped him to create a beautiful cover for the books

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