Introducing: Graeme Bandeira
Occupation: Award-winning Cartoonist & Illustrator
Website: https://graemebandeira.co.uk/ 
Social Media: @GraemeBandeira

This week we catch up with Graeme Bandeira, who has been entertaining Yorkshire Post readers with his amazing cartoons for over 23 years.

He talks about the inspiring cartoons he did during lockdown, and a new show that he will be appearing in very soon…

When was the company founded and how has it grown?

Having recently left the Yorkshire Post, I have set up my own website and have made the decision to go freelance. 

In many ways it feels liberating and is an exciting next step, still producing cartoons, but also bespoke caricatures, pet portraits and editorial illustration.

Why do you stand out from your competition?

I have always been very adaptable in the work I do, and know the importance of getting the tone right, especially in political and poignant cartoons.

I always research and study the subject thoroughly in order to convey a strong message. This is imperative.

Showing Boris Johnson a cartoon of himself as a wrecking ball was a risk, even more so asking him to sign it. It’s good to provoke and get a reaction, good or bad especially when holding those in power to account.

When producing political cartoons, it’s important to distinguish what is mischievous and what will keep you out of court!

How has Covid affected your business and how did you cope?

The pandemic actually gave me the opportunity to produce diverse subject matter and study from a humanitarian point of view, from the extreme plight the NHS was in, to empty shelves in the supermarket with an elderly lady looking forlorn. Sharing these cartoons on Twitter gained me national exposure almost immediately.

I featured on SKY News with Adam Boulton, Jeremy Vine regularly showed my cartoons on his show, Chris Mason, Beverley Knight and Deborah Meaden became fans and I produced a cartoon for Captain Sir Tom Moore for his 100th Birthday which he opened live on air.

The lack of commuting also gave me more time to be creative, without the added pressure of train disruption! Walking my dog would give me an hour or so to digest the daily plan of attack.

Who would you most like to have a drink with and why?

Definitely Sir David Attenborough – he is our biggest national treasure beyond the Queen.

Just the way his voice resonates, I would imagine it to be a calming environment, sharing a love of animals, and hearing how he has integrated with the natural world.

Even my dog ‘Coco’ loves watching him. 

What advice would you give the next generation starting their careers?

Don’t be shy, be bold and take risks. Believe in your ability and promote yourself in a way that is reflective of your personality. Never try to be anybody else.

Why do you like doing business in Yorkshire?

I love the place! It is a beautiful county, the people are quick-witted, self-deprecating, and proud of who they are and where they are from. They also don’t suffer fools!

Tell us more about your upcoming show at the City Varieties in Leeds…

I am really excited about this, as it is again breaking new boundaries for me, and it was an idea from a great friend, David Parkin. 

Given the characters I have drawn over the years, the personalities I have met and the celebrities I have done work for – we are combining all of this in an evening of sharing stories and interacting with the audience.

Set up with David interviewing me sat on a sofa, with cartoon backdrops, I can talk about some of the fantastic opportunities I have had and there will be surprise guests too! 

Carry on Cartooning – an Evening with Bandy’, is taking place at the City Varieties in Leeds on 29 June at 19.30, come along and join us for a fun night out. 

Name your favourite local business and explain what makes them special.

Wow there are just so many living in a brilliant town like Harrogate. First and foremost, my good friend Simon Cotton who runs the Yorkshire Hotel, Pickled Sprout and Fat Badger. 

If I don’t mention him, I’ll never get another free pint from him! He’s a great character creating events that continue to put the town on the map, and always remains positive. 

I also love Hoxton North for the best coffee in town, La Feria, and Cold Bath Brewery!

Sharon Canavar at Harrogate International Festivals is also a diamond, who pushes the boundaries to bring the best events to our wonderful town.

And finally, a special mention to the team at Enid Taylor who print and scan at short notice to enable my business to function!

Would you like to feature your business in the Your Harrogate Business Focus? Email Claire Strachan (claire@clairestrachan.co.uk) for your chance to get involved.

Read more local stories from Your Harrogate here.