Meet Kathir Arumugam: The School Dropout Who Followed His Heart and Dared to Dream

Meet Kathir Arumugam: The School Dropout Who Followed His Heart and Dared to Dream

  • 31/05/2019

If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life

How many of us want to live a life doing what we love? The answer probably is – all of us.

We all want to live a life filled with excitement, joy and satisfaction.

As much interesting or fulfilling our work is, it is our hobbies and passion that give us true happiness. 

But if only we could be paid for following our passion in life...

For Kathir Arumugam, this dream is now a reality.

This Tamil Nadu based artist is now taking his creative talent to thousands of school children by designing text book covers.

Commissioned by Tamil Nadu state government, Kathir is leading a new wave in creative, engaging and interesting textbook covers for school children.


From physics and history to political science and zoology, Kathir Arumugam’s passion for graphic design is transforming how young school children in Tamil Nadu are approaching their books and subjects.

Coming this far wasn’t easy for him, though.

His story is filled with inspiration and examples that need to be shared. 

Kathir dared to dream big, he decided to take the road less taken, and that made all the difference...


A Rough Start

When Kathir cleared his 9th standard from a small village near Erode, he realized he won’t be able to afford school.

So he decided to quit.

Sadly, his father passed away shortly and young Kathir had to take odd jobs to sustain and learn.

Even though he didn’t had the money to complete his formal education, his desire and passion more than made up for it. His childhood hobby of pottery and making clay figurines inclined him towards the creative side.

It was during this time, he decided to follow his passion for design seriously.

Despite the odds, Kathir took up a job of a ‘tea boy’ at a design company where he used to serve tea to the designers and observe their work keenly.

Speaking to The Better India, Kathir mentioned “Someone told me about the graphic designing course where I could polish my art, but the classes would cost Rs. 4000 which I could not afford. So I continued working odd jobs as a painter and labourer.

Imagine working so hard to chase your dream. Kathir did that.

It was his strong determination that made him do it all and save enough money for the graphic designing course.

Once he enrolled, he started practicing while travelling 20 kilometres everyday to his class.

I took conscious efforts to save money and time. A person does not become an artist overnight. It is a journey which takes immense practice and perseverance”, says Kathir.


The Journey Begins


Call it fate or pure hardwork, Kathir Arumugam’s work soon started getting noticed. He was introduced to many professional artists and creatives during this time.

When Kathir finished a book by Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh, he was so moved that he started crying and decided to give it all for his dream. 

Soon enough, he started working at a school where he gave painting tips to children.

Kathir’s talent and curiosity for art was noticed again and he finally got a job at a publication for designing covers.

This was the biggest turning point in his life, he says.


Onward and Upward

After working as a layout artist for magazines, Kathik continued to follow his passion for typography and graphic design.

He got the wonderful opportunity to design creative logos for popular Tamil authors.

For somebody who never completed school, this was a huge confidence boost.

Kathir Arumugam’s creative talent soon spread to far corners and places. He was called up by the Education Secretary to design textbooks for school children.






Fast forward to present day, thousands of school children in Tamil Nadu are looking at his creative talent whenever they look at a syllabus book. 

These are books that you can certainly judge by their covers! 

Despite his passion and hardwork, even today Kathir cannot believe how he could get a job that resonated with his interest in life.

He wants to design movie posters in future and open his own design studio.

Way to go Kathir, we wish you the best! 

His journey is an example of how following your passion can be the most important thing in life.

One thing we can all learn from him – whatever you do, if you do it with passion and perseverance, success will come to you!