Tattoos and talented tattoo artists are a dime in a dozen, but how often do you come across an amazing henna artist? If your answer is rarely, you’ve come to the right place, because for our Crunch of the Month this July, we’re introducing Karthine Maniam, a self-taught henna artist who has been contributing to the rising trend of henna art. Technically, the use of henna as body art has been around for centuries, but it’s not until recently that we start seeing them around more often. Fortunately for all the henna-lovers out there, ROJAK is all about recognizing the beauty of henna this month! What better way to kick-start than getting to know someone who creates them so beautifully?


Give us a brief history as to what inspired you to venture into the henna business.

During boring subjects in school, when everyone else used to concentrate in class, I doodled. Surprisingly, each doodle had new outcomes, and the compliments I received from friends who were as equally free as me encouraged me to create more and more new patterns each day. That was definitely the beginning to my journey in this field. Today, with everyone’s encouragement and blessings, I’m grateful that I have bloomed from “just-a-doodling-student,” to a professional henna artist.


Were you always interested in drawing hennas or is it a relatively new passion?

I have always loved doodling so I can say that the passion for henna art stemmed from there.


Are you doing this full-time or is it a part-time gig?

Part-time. I’m a full-time graphic designer and a freelance henna artist.


What did you study in college? Is it something related to art as well?

Yes. I studied Graphic Designing at the Malaysian Institute Of Arts (MIA).


Any hopes to perhaps open a physical store one day?

Yes! I would love to open a shop one day and start my own collections with the idea of incorporating my henna patterns into jewelleries, mugs and so on.


Do you have any other accompanying projects aside from this?

I’m working on launching my handmade clay accessories soon.


What kind of events do you usually get hired for?

I do henna for events like weddings, annual dinners, art bazaars and festivals.


Do you think you have a particular style of drawing or do you adopt versatility?

I would say both. To get better, you have to keep adapting to versatility. But at the same time, as you explore more, you will eventually develop a style, too.


How long does henna ink usually last?

It depends on which type of henna you use. The organic one would last about 7 to 14 days, whereas the instant henna (which contains dye) would last about 3 to 5 days.


Would you say the popularity of henna is catching on in Malaysia, especially among different races, or do we still have a long way to go?

I would say that henna art is definitely catching on and is starting to become a trend among the youngsters in today’s generation.


Do you have any favourite henna artists?

Yes! There are two, actually. I love Sara’s Henna and Henna by Divya. I am constantly inspired by their works and ideas.


Your Instagram feed is so bright and colourful! Is it safe to assume that you’re not a fan of monochrome?

Colours make me constantly happy, inspired and active, but at the same time, monochrome makes me feel grounded and personal, and if you see my personal profile on Facebook, it has a lot of monochrome colours. Having them both as a balance is important to me.


Have you ever gotten any weird requests from customers?

One of the most unique requests I received was to draw a giraffe. The client loves giraffe and she requested for one!



Because we’re ROJAK and we like a little fun amidst all the serious talks, here are 7 random facts about Karthine that you absolutely must know.


All-time favourite colour?

It changes according to my mood. Current favourite is turquoise!

Would you rather be in a zombie apocalypse or a meteor-hitting-Earth apocalypse?

I’ve always wanted to witness something that’s from outer space, so I’d go for meteor-hitting-Earth apocalypse.

If your entire life was a movie, what title would best fit?

Beyond Belief.

Weirdest dream you can remember?

There was this dream where I visited a place and country that I’ve never even been to before.

What is the opposite of opposite?

Imagining my self standing in front of a mirror and the opposite of me is my reflection?

What would you name your first kid?

Mayuri. It means peacock in Sanskrit.

Rice or noodles?

Rice, always.



To see more of Karthine’s amazing works, be sure to check out her social media profiles as follows:

Facebook: TMK HENNA by Karthine Maniam

Instagram: @tmk_henna


Some photos courtesy of VRP’s Shots.