Noted artist KC Sivasankar passed away in Chennai on 30 September at the age of 97, reports The News Minute. Known for his remarkable illustrations in the popular children's magazine Chandamama or 'Ambulimama', especially those of the Vikram and Vetala series, Sivasankar was among the last of the original team of designers in the publication.
Chandamama, originally a Telugu periodical, was founded by filmmakers B Nagi Reddi and Chakrapani in 1947. Owing to its immense popularity among children, it later started getting published in 13 Indian languages.
Born in 1924 at a small village in Tamil Nadu's Erode district, Sivasankar did a five-year-long course at the School of Arts and after passing out in 1946, he joined the Tamil magazine Kalaimagal. He joined Chandamama in 1952 and continued working at the magazine for 60 years until it discontinued its print publications in 2012. He later joined Ramakrishna Vijayam magazine.
While Sivasankar made several illustrations for the magazine including tales from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, it was for his work in the Vikram and Vetala books that got him huge acclaim. The image of Vikram holding a sword in one hand and carrying a corpse on his shoulder is something every avid reader of the Chandamama magazine from the '90s distinctly remembers.
Speaking to The New Indian Express he had said, "This form of art is tricky, as it expects the artist to know what he is working on. The characters may have a cultural connection or may be fictitious, but the artist is expected to have knowledge about it before he starts work on it."
In one of his interviews with The Hindu, Sivasankar reminisced how the founder of Chandamama, B Nagi Reddi used to say that Chithra (the chief artist at Chandamama when Sivasankar had joined it) and Sankar are "the two bullocks of Chandamama. Without either of them, the bullock cart can't reach the village."