Thanks to a 19-year-old artist who originated the hashtag, the #DrawingWhileBlack campaign on social media caught on and became a veritable treasure trove of art on Twitter. I watched in real time thrilled to discover the talents of hundreds of Black artists and illustrators from around the world who participated, from established professionals to those hoping to kickstart their careers as an artists whether in fine art, graphic design, children’s book illustration, or animators.
Especially Black children’s book illustrators.
because Back artists — and Black women artists in particular — still remain at a disadvantage in the field.
The Twitter campaign came thanks to the mind of Annabelle Hayford, whose work is shown above; they’re a Ghanaian-American animator and illustrator who’s just forging out on their own (they’re currently a Warner Brothers intern and has a serious career ahead!) while advocating for more representation of black artists in the art industry.
Related: A book subscription box created for children of color who want to see themselves in the books they read, too.
Thanks to Annabelle, I’m so glad to discover these 5 new-to-me children’s illustrators and animators.
As the mom to biracial girls, I know that any time my daughters can see children of color represented in media, it’s a good thing. Not just for them — but for all children.
And because I strongly believe that supporting the arts means more than just appreciating their work on social media, I’ve put together a few of my favorite digital prints from these artists that are available for purchase.
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I adore Harrison’s children’s book illustrations and cannot wait for her book Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History to be released in December so I can put it under our Christmas tree for my daughters.
That’s why this Little Ladies “though she be but little…” print available through her Society6 shop is one of my favorites. Bringing to life Shakespeare’s much beloved quote from A Midsummer’s Night Dream, it makes the perfect inspirational artwork to inspire girls.
(She also has an Etsy shop calleabed Ohmygawd though it’s currently on break.)
While there’s a lot to love in her shop — a lot — Vashti’s print titled “Borrow” that celebrates reading is another one I adore, for obvious reasons.
Tara Nicole Whitaker
Whitaker is an illustrator and animator who has designed for Dreamworks, Nickelodeon, PBS, CBS, Cartoon Network, and Disney. In other words, her talent has not gone unnoticed.
My personal favorite of her work is this limited edition Hidden Figures…Always Forward print inspired by the fantastic book and film that told the story of the brilliant Black women mathematicians and scientist who made NASA’s work possible.
Even better, Whitaker will donate all proceeds from the sale of the print to nonprofits supporting Flint, Planned Parenthood and Translifeline.
Related:The one scene in Hidden Figures that every parent should be talking about | Thinking: Parent
I wanted to include my 10-year-old daughter’s favorite print from Tara as well: This gorgeous drawing that brings to life another social media campaign I love: #BlackGirlMagic.
Jessica M. Gibson
Gibson draws the cutest animal illustrations, but I especially love her series of kids and pets, like this adorable girl on a scooter with her pet Beagle and the magical mermaid with her pet sea otter:
Her JessieDrawz shop on Storenvy is currently closed, but will reopen shortly so you can purchase digital prints like this one.
Harris is an children’s book illustrator and animator whose strong style really speaks to me. I’m especially drawn to this sweet print titled Another Round of Blues from her original artwork. She also draws some great graphic interpretations of the cult favorite foods of Philadelphia (that’s for you, Kristen!) plus the coolest ’90s TV and movie pop culture art featuring Black icons of the era.
While Alleanna has fun prints depicting the cast of Living Single, The Fresh Prince, and A Different World, how can this child of the 90’s resist her fantastic rendition of Kadeem Hardison’s Dwayne Wayne?
To find more favorite Black artists and illustrators of children’s books and beyond, check out all the artists on the Drawing While Black Twitter feed.art
Great article and thanks so much for sharing! Can we correct Abelle Hayford’s pronouns to “they/them”?
Yes, of course! And thank you!