“It’s amazing when people see your work, understand it, and want to see more” Niki Bañados discusses Shiver in London and the Laydeez Do Comics Awards 2019

We recently announced the winner of the Laydeez Do Comics Award 2019 was Niki Bañados for her fascinating book Shivers in London. Keen to find out more about Niki’s work and the significance of this award win, we sat down for a chat.

Congratulations on winning the Laydeez Do Comics Award, what does winning an award like this mean to you? And what inspired you to enter in the first place?

Niki Banados: Winning something like this gives me a lot of confidence that what I’m making has some sort of appeal, and is relatable, and basically up to scratch. Creating a comic often involves a lot of time feeling a bit isolated in your own head so it’s amazing when people see it and understand it, and want to see more.

Can you tell us a bit about your work Shivers in London? What the concept is and what the inspirations were?

NB: This chapter is about moving from Sydney to London, about the physical act of travel and how it feels to be contained in mid air and to arrive within this old, organic, thriving megacity. The rest of the work details snapshots of experiences here and may delve into some messy relationships… Most of it could be described as autobiographical, but very much making use of my artistic license to change the story.

What is it about the medium of graphic novels that made you want to tell your story this way?

NB: Being able to use both images and words is really helpful because I can harness the things that they say and don’t say to emphasise how things felt. The words are quite personal, like journaled thoughts, but the images are fantastical, to help me explore the experiences more metaphorically.

What other graphic novel creators inspire you?

NB: Other graphic novel creators inspire me in different ways. For example, I love the fluid linework in books like Stitches by David Small and in Rembrandt by Typex. Books like this really push me to be better at the technical aspects of art: to put the time in to understanding the human figure and how to draw it expressively.

But then there’s the storytelling aspect – a lot of autobiographical and non-fiction creators are using the medium to tell difficult stories. That’s inspiring because it takes a lot out of anyone to create in such a time consuming medium, let alone for that creation to force you to process painful or potentially irresolvable experiences.

And finally, is Shivers in London complete, or are you still working on it? How and when do you think it will be available?

NB: I’m still working on it – I think I can do about a chapter or more a month, but that’s if I’m not working on anything else at the time! I don’t have a ‘how’ yet, but I always intended to publish it online as a webtoon (infinite scroll down rather than page by page) so even if publishers aren’t interested it will still be out somewhere for others to see.

You can find more about Niki’s work at nikibanados.com/art or read the first chapter of Shivers in London here follow her on Twitter @stickwriter and more about the Laydeez Do Comics Prize here.