Thursday, 17 June 2010

Rathna Ramanathan's Type

A delightful recent purchase was the Tara Books edition of Christian Morgenstern's In the Land of Punctuation. Morgenstern's poem is effectively a fable of political intolerance and genocide, with different punctuation marks as the different races or political factions involved. Tara have translated the poem into English, and produced it as a beautiful picture book, with artwork by Rathna Ramanathan.

Ramanthan is based in both London and Chennai. I'd dearly love to reproduce several of the book's double-page spreads here, but as it's quite short, that seems unfair. Instead, here are a couple of single pages which should give you some of the flavour: all of the illustrations consist entirely of typography in black and red (with overprinting).

She has worked on two other books for Tara, providing the type for The Fivetongued Firefanged Folkadotted Dragon Snake, and the typographical illustrations for the nonsense picture-book Anything but a Brabooberry, by Anushka Ravishankar, of which here are some sample pages.

More of Ramanthan's work is viewable at her website, including a wonderful talk on small presses here.

EDIT: I first learned of this book from here, Levi Stahl's interview with Tara's director. There are further samples of the book's art there, too.


Levi Stahl said...

It really is a striking book. I interviewed Gita Wolf, Tara's publisher and director, over at the Constant Conversation a while back. Among other questions, she answered my primary one: how on earth did this book end up being published by a small press in India?

JRSM said...

That's it! I knew I'd read about this book first a few months ago somewhere or other, but couldn't remember where, and a search of Google Reader didn't show it up. Now the mystery is solved. I'll add a link the the post.