Thursday, May 19, 2022

5 Black Illustrators You Should Know: Volume 1

Black illustrators don’t get the love they deserve. They are unsung heroes in many respects. We flip through Instagram admiring their work. Sometimes we tap a heart, but rarely do we leave a comment. And yet, their artwork is inspiring, thought provoking, and even igniting nostalgia in many of us. Because of my love of black art, I wanted to begin spotlighting Black illustrators. For me and the family at Black TV Film Crew, we truly can’t thank you enough. 

Aaron The Artist – Kingpin of the Ink Pen

Aaron aka @aarontheaartist on IG is a graduate of Westwood College in Atlanta. A former Cartoon Network intern, he has been an illustrator and animator for over 10 years. He’s the chief animator of The Ryan Cameron Chronicles. After I saw his illustration of Martin and then Chris Rock, I was hooked.

Vanessa Olivia – Spreading Black Girl Magic One Illustration At A Time

Vanessa Olivia aka @VanessaOliviaArt hails from Zomba, Malawi and her expert depiction of black women is peaceful, liberating, beautiful and enchanting. All her designs make me want the characters to be the sisters I never had. When I stumbled across her design, “Rest,” it took my breath away. So simple yet so beautiful. If I ever make to Malawi, I’m going to look for Vanessa.

Mia Saine – Keep It Simple, Stay Saine

Mia Saine aka @Mia.Saine is a freelance designer and illustrator who hails from Memphis, TN. She specializes in curating experiences with design and illustration. She’s already collaborated with Amazon, Memphis College of Art, the National Civil Rights Museum and many others. In 2017 she received the Gold Addy award from the American Advertising Federation. I connected with Mia’s work because of the detail and the depth of the bright eyes she often features on her characters. Her work draws you in with each character having a unique story to tell.  

Rahana Dariah – Drawing Pretty Pictures Inspired By Those Who Have Uplifted Me

Rahana Dariah aka @Rahanabanana is a London based painter and illustrator known for children’s book commissions. I found her on Instagram, instantly riveted by the ease of her illustrations. She draws so effortlessly in such complex scenarios. A woman in her underwear, sitting on the edge of the bed is complicated and yet something about the way she’s drawn makes you want to know her story. The woman in the cat slippers, drinking coffee—there is no detail Rahana misses. She’s on etsy.

Cameron T. Wilson – I Am An Artist In Love With Design

Cameron T. Wilson aka @CameronTWilson is an artist and published illustrator who hails from Atlanta. He is the chief officer of branding at SoulSimplicity. His work as an illustrator bringing positive, uplifting characters for young black readers is what caught my eye. He’s the illustrator of 12 Affirmations for the Amazing Kid as well as Jaxson’s Incredibly Magical Time Machine. But I laughed out loud when I saw the book, He Lied in Front of My Behind, by Omar Warfa and illustrated by Wilson. Bringing life to children characters is certainly his niche. His site is:  

If you know of a Black illustrator that we should spotlight, let us know

All artwork shown is property of the artist. Our featured photo courtesy of @RahanaBanana / Facebook. If you like their work, please support them financially.

Yasmin Shiraz
Yasmin Shiraz
Yasmin Shiraz is a Screenwriter and TV producer who has worked for Lifetime, A&E, Bravo and PBS. She's a best selling author of more than 11 titles and the founder of Black TV Film Crew. She is the CEO of Still Eye Rise Media.

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