Published: 02nd December 2020
This software developer's Insta page is all about turning everyday inanimate objects into quirky drawings
From her first graphic novel to an Instagram page recently filled with quirky drawings of everyday kitchen ingredients, Devi Menon is boldly exploring her love for simple art
When Devi Menon discovered the germ of an idea that eventually went on to become her first graphic novel Amla Mater, she remembers being heavily pregnant. The novel is about two friends reuniting over a bottle of pickle. The little village that the girls in the book, Mili and Maya, grow up in is based on Kunissery, a small village in Palakkad where Devi herself grew up.
Devi, a software developer who now lives in London, says, “In a way, it's a story of immigrants. It's about anyone who has travelled away from home and is still discovering what defines the idea of home. The book moves between two threads, the present, which is set in London, and the past, which is set in India.” Amla Mater was published by Yali Books in 2018. Devi admits that she chose the New York-based publisher because they have a reputation for focusing on South Asian stories and ensuring that they get heard.
After doing her schooling in Palakkad, the writer and developer went on to do her MCA in Coimbatore. Having always worked in the world of IT, she describes herself as an outsider in the art world. Although she has no formal training in the arts, she gathered the courage to sketch her own graphic novel, thanks to the regular online meet-ups she attended at LDComics, a women-led comics forum based in the UK.
When she had her second great idea — bringing inanimate objects to life through art — Devi remembers being in the exciting company of her four-year-old. Each Inktober, Devi uses household objects to tell stories. Her Instagram page is full of quirky illustrations based on things that anyone can find lying around their house. With little thought bubbles and playful expressions, she has managed to bring these inanimate characters to life just as she does with her words. She adds, “At the start of the lockdown, I tried to keep a journal of the priceless nuggets that only a four-year-old can come up with.”
Talking about her Inktober themes over the past couple of years, she says, “The year I returned to work post my maternity leave, I used office supplies as a theme. Last year, it was autumn-themed, so I used acorns, conkers and the various shades of coloured leaves you only see in autumn. This year around, with the lockdown, it's been a lot more cooking than usual. So, I decided to pay a tribute to the unsung heroes in our kitchens!”
Devi hopes to write a much-awaited prequel to Amla Mater in the near future and, in the meanwhile, she plans to work on her sketching skills.