Earlier we profiled Adeniran Adeniji, a #ShugaArtist judge. Learn more about Abraham Oshoko one of the other judges and see what he has to say about Nigerian artistic talent and the origins of his own passion for comic art.
Abraham Oshoko is a writer, illustrator and graphic designer. His cartoons have featured in NEXT newspaper, amongst others. Passionate about African art, he believes there is untapped creative inspiration in ancient and contemporary African history. He hopes to share as much of this as possible in his graphic novels.
June 12: The Struggle for Power in Nigeria his first full-length graphic novel, about political upheaval in Nigeria during the mid-1990s, was published in 2007 under Kachifo Limited’s Farafina imprint. In 2013 a second instalment, June 12 1993: Annulment followed also by Farafina.
Abraham currently runs the Prolifix School of Cartoon and Graphic Arts, where he hopes to prove that everyone can learn to draw. He lives in Lagos with his wife and children.
Farafina Books hooked up with Abraham to get his take on #ShugaArtist and Nigerian talent.
FB: What was your first encounter with comic books?
AO: My first encounter with comic books was when I was in Primary 5 and I came across the then ‘Battle Picture Library’ and ‘War Picture Library’’ then later ‘Commando Comics’. These were comic books based on the Second World War. I later came across Fantasy comics like Conan and other superheroes comics much later.
FB: What was your inspiration for becoming a comic artist?
AO: I think the ability to ‘create something’ is really fascinating and it’s a real encouragement. But it all really started from an illustration of cowboys and Indians on the wrapping on a pack of bubble gum when I was much younger.
FB: Do you have any images that inspired your passion?
AO: Yes… I’m fascinated with illustrations of armoured tanks, soldiers and classic architectural pieces. I particularly appreciate artwork that shows all the small details.
FB: When you started out, comic art wasn’t so popular in Nigeria, how would you describe the comic art industry in Nigeria today?
AO: That’s not completely correct. We had Papa Ajasco and Super Story and they were very popular comic stories in those days. Presently, I’ll say it’s quite young. Though I think with time it will gain ground. Think about it, with the release of Thor, Iron Man, Spider man, Avengers, Captain America and so on, the best selling movies in Hollywood are actually comic book stories.
FB: So, do we have the local talent to transform #ShugaNaija into a comic book?
AO: Obviously, we do. There are a lot of talented and aspiring artists out there. All they need is encouragement and perhaps a more conducive working environment.
FB: What level of quality do you expect to see from a potential #ShugaArtist? Do you have any images that depict the level of talent we can expect to see?
AO: Oh, I expect the same quality and attention paid to details as we see in American and Japanese comics.
FB: Why should Nigerian comic artists be entering the #ShugaArtist selection process?
AO: It would give them the exposure needed in order to compete with other artists internationally.