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The Comedy of Errors

Under Cover Artist: Farah Kandanker

18 October 18 interview: LeftLion

We grabbed a few words from the creator of graphic novel Cat Ghost, Farah Kandanker, who treated LeftLion Magazine to a cover and poster this month...

Tell us a bit about yourself... 
I do conceptual and sequential illustrations; my style ranges from dark figures to cute cartoon characters, being heavily influenced by Tim Burton’s early works. I’m from Bangladesh, but I came to Nottingham for my Masters degree. As a child, I had difficulty expressing myself through words and had an early inclination towards using visuals as a communicative tool; I love telling stories and showing new perspectives through art.

What is Cat Ghost?
Cat Ghost is a story about a supernatural being who influenced cats into being the unpredictable assholes they are today. There’s more to the universe that Cat Ghost lives in, and the story revolves around it coming to terms with its situation. This was my first attempt to write and illustrate a longform story; it was intimidating at first, but I couldn’t be happier with what I learned about storytelling.

How do you create your illustrations? 
Although most of my works are digital, my first step is to create several rough sketches on paper as I find it difficult to brainstorm and experiment on the tablet. Then, I take my sketches and redraw them on the tablet and add colours. My process can be time consuming, and I’m still working on evolving it. However, transitioning the drawings from traditional to digital is my favorite part.  

What is your favourite type of illustration to do? 
Illustrating my graphic novel was something new to me, and I loved swimming around in my imagination. I think that’s the magic of creating stories; you get to be fully immersed in your own universe and illustrate it bit by bit. Seeing it come alive is the best part.

Tell us about your LeftLion cover and poster...
I was thrilled to illustrate for the Halloween issue as I love anything dark and scary with a cartoony twist. It was a lot of fun creating the characters for the cover. For the poster, I wanted to reimagine Nottingham. I love both the Arboretum and the city centre, so I merged those two with Newstead Abbey to create a town very popular among ghoulish creatures.

I knew I wanted to include Newstead Abbey for the centre spread as it’s a well-known haunted spot in Nottingham and it features in the issue. As with all my works, I began with several sketches and tried different themes. Choosing the colours for the cover was challenging as there were so many characters, so I decided to pick a palette and work around that.

What do you think of Nottingham's creative scene?
I couldn’t have been happier picking Nottingham for my studies. The art scene is vivid and there is always something going on. From zine fairs at Rough Trade to exhibitions at Nottingham Contemporary, I love the range of art that’s available.

What do you have planned for the future?
I plan on focusing on my career as a freelance illustrator, but would also like to create comic strips and stories on the side. I plan to get Cat Ghost published, and while I’m working on that I want to start illustrating other stories.

Farah Kandanker instagram

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