I’m very slowly getting into comics, but I definitely appreciate the art and talent that goes into them. So when I got the invite to interview an artist who was going to be at SDCC next week, I couldn’t say yes fast enough!
Before we get to the interview with Nidhi Chanani, let’s check out her upcoming book!
Priyanka Das has so many unanswered questions: Why did her mother abandon her home in India years ago? What was it like there? And most importantly, who is her father, and why did her mom leave him behind? But Pri’s mom avoids these questions—the topic of India is permanently closed.
For Pri, her mother’s homeland can only exist in her imagination. That is, until she finds a mysterious pashmina tucked away in a forgotten suitcase. When she wraps herself in it, she is transported to a place more vivid and colorful than any guidebook or Bollywood film. But is this the real India? And what is that shadow lurking in the background? To learn the truth, Pri must travel farther than she’s ever dared and find the family she never knew.
Sounds good, right?
Tell us your first memory of reading a comic or graphic novel.
We had many shelves of books in our home but our Garfield collections were the most worn down from reading and re-reading. I didn’t know what lasagna was until middle school so I didn’t know why it was a big deal that he slept in a box. I loved his catitude and believe that my love of cats began with him.
What’s your favorite comic or graphic novel, and what do you love about it?
Nightlights by Lorena Alvarez is my current favorite. I’ve been a fan of her artwork for a long time. When I saw that she had a graphic novel coming out I put it on a wishlist and my mother-in-law special ordered it from England for my birthday. Her line work and colors are beautiful. Each expression and panel is a visual treat. The story is endearing and relatable because the lead character, Sandy, directly deals with insecurity, ego and the pressure of creative pursuits. Prior to Nightlights, I loved Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi and before that American Born Chinese by Gene Yang, and my first real love was Goodbye Chunky Rice by Craig Thompson. My favorites change but I still hold each book in high regard because of their distinct voices, artwork, and stories.
Ask a book lover to name one, and of course, I can’t!
Tell us a little about your upcoming graphic novel.
Pashmina is my debut graphic novel about an Indian-American teen, Priyanka Das, who finds a magical pashmina shawl that allows her to learn about herself and her history. Priyanka is shielded from her past and her culture. When she chooses to take control, she learns to approach her life without fear. At the core the story is about family and the power of choice.
What comic or graphic novel are you reading now?
I recently finished Mis(h)adra by Iasmin Omar Ata and highly recommend it – it’s an honest and moving portrayal of living with epilepsy. The art is beautiful and I resonated with Issac, the main character, struggling to be understood and accepting that progress may require being open to help. Also, I am about to start Monstress by Marjorie Liu after hearing lots of rave reviews.
Nidhi Chanani is a freelance illustrator and artist, and the owner of Everyday Love Art. Nidhi was born in Calcutta and raised in suburban Southern California. In April of 2012, she was honored at the White House as a Champion of Change. Nidhi dreams and draws every day with her husband, daughter, and their two cats in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Huge thanks to :01First Second for the invite and to Nidhi for taking the time! You should definitely go to Nidhi’s website to take a look at her amazing art. I’m in love and I can’t wait to find her table at SDCC.
Check out the rest of the blog tour for all sorts of comic-y goodness!
And now, do you read comics? Which titles are your favorites?