Illustrator Spotlight: Ahmed Sikander
Are you ready for another illustrator spotlight? We are! This month we have the talented Ahmed Sikander in our crosshairs. He’s been passionate about drawing, sketching, colouring – you name it- since he was a small child. Ahmed Sikander’s drive to turn his talent and passion into a career is what fueled his decision to become an illustrator and specifically a cartoonist.
We’re sure you’re dying to get to know about Ahmed Sikander, and we will get to his interview soon. However, before we dive into that, how about we watch the exclusive video of his ‘work-in-progress’ on his latest project – Lawtoons 2 created by Kanan Dhru, and published by Vani Book Company.
Now, that you’ve caught a glimpse into Ahmed Sikander’s life, let’s get to know this talented cartoonist, illustrator and graphic designer a little better!
Team GetLitt!: What sparked your interest in illustration?
Ahmed Sikander: I have been drawing and sketching ever since I was a child and I have always enjoyed doing so. Although I have always wanted to be an illustrator, in my 20s, I felt that a career as one might not be financially viable.
All that changed in 2011 when I attended an event held at Moca Mojo in Bandra where the good folks at Level 10 comics spoke about a project they were working on. The event was going pretty well until one of the artists stood in front of the audience to talk about his work for the project.
The second he opened his portfolio; it was a surreal and amazing moment – the arrow in my mind was pointed at the work he created. I said to myself, “THAT’S WHAT I WANT TO DO FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!” So, I really have to thank my sister’s friend who was working for Moca at the time for inviting me for the event, and the artist of Level 10 at the time, Deepak Sharma, for this epiphany that really changed my life and put me on the path. From then on, I strived to look out for comic creating opportunities, jobs and projects.
TGL: What projects have you worked on so far?
AS: I have worked on a large number of illustration projects ranging from children’s books, comics, novels, news article artworks (politics, society, pop culture, sports, etc.), merchandise, branding, websites, storyboarding, toy design (Packaging and Instructions), social media and the list goes on!
TGL: Tell us a fun fact about Lawtoons
AS: People may or may not know this but fun fact – 30+ people from across the world have made Lawtoons possible, as they generously contributed to our crowdfunding campaign.
TGL: Which children’s book most inspired you as a child or in recent years? Why?
AS: I have never been a big reader, but I vividly remember my parents reading “Noddy” to me when I was a child. I remember being mesmerised by the visuals and the characters. I have always loved looking at the visuals in story books, and that’s the great thing about children’s books – the visuals tend to carry the story as much as the written content.
TGL: What’s the one thing an illustrator must keep in mind when creating illustrations for a comic or children’s book?
AS: There’s a lot to keep in mind while illustrating for stories, whether it be for children’s books or comics. However, what I find to be most crucial is the “visual storytelling flow”, the illustrator must be able to communicate the story to the readers, visually.
TGL: What’s the best reaction you’ve ever gotten from a child/parent who has seen your work?
AS: At a book launch for a project I worked on, a lot of the kids had worn T-shirts with the characters that I created on them, and they even knew their names! That was super humbling for me.
TGL: If you could illustrate any classic children’s books, which would it be and why?
AS: Either the tale of ‘Hansel and Gretel’ or ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’. I would love to make them visually darker.
TGL: When illustrating for your projects, where do you draw inspiration?
AS: For me, experiences are an inspiration. The more you experience, the more you learn and can relate to. That’s where all my ideas and inspirations come from – it’s available everywhere and at all times!
TGL: Advice for little ones who are interested in illustrating?
AS: From my experience, I feel kids are prone to draw, colour and use their imagination very often. That comes naturally to them. What I would focus on is the parents, teachers and society in general. I would encourage those people to be more kind, bring forth encouragement, motivation and not take this field lightly because it has helped shape and evolve us as living beings. Children are the future storytellers that teach and inspire more and more people around the world.
That was an inspiring note to end this blog on. Do share this blog with your little one who loves to sketch or read graphic novels – we’re sure it’ll inspire them heaps! Also, keep checking our blog for fresh content, we’re continually uploading blogs that we hope you find value in.