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Posted under: Visual Arts Fine Art Discover

Celebrating 30 Illustrators, Painters, and Artists of the African Diaspora

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1. My name is Odera Igbokwe. I am a fantasy illustrator and you might know me from projects such as my redesigns from the cast of Sailor Moon/Melanin Mythologies.

Artists of the African Diaspora
Artists of the African Diaspora
Photo: Odera Igbokwe / Via patreon.com

I launched Melanin Mythologies to help create more visibility for people of color in fantasy and science fiction. You can check it out here.

What prompted this project was exploring the spectrum of amazing illustration and artwork coming from people of the African Diaspora. This curated collection features african americans, africans, afrolatinos, mixed people, and work as diverse and beautiful as the magical intersectional people highlighted.

This is a sample of the collection, but you can find more detailed and personal writeups of each artist here. Be sure to follow each of the artists who are absolutely spectacular. And you can follow me on Tumblr, FB, Instagram, or Twitter.

And now here are 29 more artists who are creating absolute magic!

2. Thomas Blackshear is an illustration legend. Check out his radiant oil painting called “Night In Day.”

Thomas Blackshear is an illustration legend. Check out his radiant oil painting called "Night In Day".
Thomas Blackshear is an illustration legend. Check out his radiant oil painting called "Night In Day".
Photo: Thomas Blackshear / Via ebonyvisions.com

Blackshear now creates a line of spectacular figurines called Ebony Visions.

3. Louis Mailou Jones is one of the founding mothers of the Harlem Renaissance who lead the way for many painters, illustrators and art educators today.

Louis Mailou Jones is one of the founding mothers of the Harlem Renaissance who lead the way for many painters, illustrators, and art educators today.
Louis Mailou Jones is one of the founding mothers of the Harlem Renaissance who lead the way for many painters, illustrators, and art educators today.
Photo: Lois Mailou Jones / Via loismailoujones.com

Lois Mailou Jones

http://www.loismailoujones.com

4. Aaron Douglas, is a master of telling stories with his iconic imagery. We can’t speak of black illustrators or the Harlem Rennaissance without mentioning his legacy.

Aaron Douglas, is a master of telling stories with his iconic imagery. We can't speak of black illustrators or the Harlem Rennaissance without mentioning his legacy.
Aaron Douglas, is a master of telling stories with his iconic imagery. We can't speak of black illustrators or the Harlem Rennaissance without mentioning his legacy.
Photo: Aaron Douglas

"Aspiration" by Aaron Douglas

5. Leo and Diane Dillon, the dynamic duo who create absolutely magic book illustrations.

Leo and Diane Dillon, the dynamic duo who create absolutely magic book illustrations.
Leo and Diane Dillon, the dynamic duo who create absolutely magic book illustrations.
Photo: Leo & Diane Dillon / Via leo-and-diane-dillon.blogspot.com

The Dillons are illustration royalty. Be sure to check out their legacy and breadth of artwork.

Rest in peace and rest in power, Leo Dillon.

http://leo-and-diane-dillon.blogspot.com/

6. K.L. Ricks is a contemporary freelance illustrator and cartoonist.

K.L. Ricks is a contemporary freelance illustrator and cartoonist.
K.L. Ricks is a contemporary freelance illustrator and cartoonist.
Photo: K.L. Ricks / Via klricks.com

Follow them on Twitter.

http://klricks.com/

7. Wangechi Mutu creates haunting works, transmutates bodies, and battles misogynoir with her painting and collage works.

Wangechi Mutu, creates haunting works, transmutates bodies, and battles misogynoir with her painting and collage works.
Wangechi Mutu, creates haunting works, transmutates bodies, and battles misogynoir with her painting and collage works.
Photo: Wangechi Mutu / Via wangechimutu.com

http://wangechimutu.com/

8. Asiey Barbie provides a stunning take on Steven Universe’s Gem War.

Asiey Barbie provides a stunning take on Steven Universe's Gem War.
Asiey Barbie provides a stunning take on Steven Universe's Gem War.
Photo: Asiey Barbie / Via asieybarbie.com

Follow them on Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

http://asieybarbie.com/

9. Chris Visions is a comic artist and illustrator extraordinaire.

Chris Visions, comic artist and illustrator extraordinaire
Chris Visions, comic artist and illustrator extraordinaire
Photo: Chris Visions / Via chrisvisions.com

Follow them on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram

http://www.chrisvisions.com/

10. Njideka Akunyili-Crosby describes an afro-diasporic, intergenerational, interracial slice of life with this painting.

Njideka Akunyili-Crosby describes afro-diasporic, intergenerational, interracial slice of life with this painting
Njideka Akunyili-Crosby describes afro-diasporic, intergenerational, interracial slice of life with this painting
Photo: Njideka Akunyili-Crosby / Via njidekaakunyili.com

http://njidekaakunyili.com/

11. Gyimah Gariba creates breathtaking illustrations, visual development work and animations based on black culture and intersectionality

Gyimah Gariba creates breathtaking illustrations, visual development work, and animations based on black culture and intersectionality
Gyimah Gariba creates breathtaking illustrations, visual development work, and animations based on black culture and intersectionality
Photo: Gyimah Gariba / Via Instagram: @gyimahg

Follow him on iInstagram, Tumblr, Facebook and tTwitter.

12. Jerry Pinkney has had a rich career spanning decade with award-winning picture books.

Jerry Pinkney has had a rich career spanning decades, with award winning picture books
Jerry Pinkney has had a rich career spanning decades, with award winning picture books
Photo: Jerry Pinkney / Via jerrypinkneystudio.com

http://www.jerrypinkneystudio.com/

13. Shadra Strickland shines as a contemporary picture book illustrator and educator.

Shadra Strickland shines as a contemporary picture book illustrator and educator
Shadra Strickland shines as a contemporary picture book illustrator and educator
Photo: Shadra Strickland / Via jumpin.shadrastrickland.com

http://www.jumpin.shadrastrickland.com/

14. Kat Blaque is well known for her fantastic YouTube channel, but is also an absolutely stunning illustrator.

Kat Blaque is well known for her fantastic Youtube channel, but is also an absolutely stunning illustrator.
Kat Blaque is well known for her fantastic Youtube channel, but is also an absolutely stunning illustrator.
Photo: Kat Blaque / Via society6.com

Be sure to subscribe to her YouTube channel here.

And visit her art blog here and her store here.

15. Paul Davey, also known as Mattahan, is a masterful illustrator.

Paul Davey also known as Mattahan is a masterful illustrator of the fantastic
Paul Davey also known as Mattahan is a masterful illustrator of the fantastic
Photo: Paul Davey (Mattahan) / Via mattahan.com

Follow him on Tumblr, Instagram, and Twitter.

http://www.mattahan.com/

16. Paulo D. Campos explores Brazilian folklore with his own unique visual language.

Paulo D. Campos explores Brazilian folklore with his own unique visual language
Paulo D. Campos explores Brazilian folklore with his own unique visual language
Photo: Paulo D Campos / Via pdcampos.com

Follow them on Instagram or Tumblr.

http://pdcampos.com/

17. Tiffany Ford, a cartoonist, comic maker and illustrator, creates gorgeous images while working on some of your favorite cartoons.

Tiffany Ford, cartoonist, comic maker, and illustrator creates gorgeous images while working on some of your favorite cartoons.
Tiffany Ford, cartoonist, comic maker, and illustrator creates gorgeous images while working on some of your favorite cartoons.
Photo: Tiffany Ford / Via toffany.tumblr.com

Follow her on Tumblr or Twitter.

18. Saina Six combines art nouveau with gorgeous African patterning for magical results.

Saina Six combines art nouveau with gorgeous african patterning for magical results
Saina Six combines art nouveau with gorgeous african patterning for magical results
Photo: SainaSix / Via sainasix.com

Follow her on Twitter , Instagram, and Facebook.

http://www.sainasix.com/

19. Chris Kindred creates work that hits you with reality while still being fantastical and imaginative.

Chris Kindred creates work that hits you with reality while still being fantastical and imaginative
Chris Kindred creates work that hits you with reality while still being fantastical and imaginative
Photo: Chris Kindred / Via chriskind.red

Follow Chris on Tumblr and Twitter.

http://chriskind.red/

20. Nneka Myers creates character designs and visual development that’s full of so much life and energy.

Nneka Myers creates character designs and visual development that's full of so much life and energy
Nneka Myers creates character designs and visual development that's full of so much life and energy
Photo: Nneka Myers / Via nnekamyers.com

Follow Nneka on aPatreon, Tumblr, Twitter or Facebook.

http://www.nnekamyers.com/

21. Charles Chaisson is a master of portraiture and storytelling, check out his stunning take on FKA twigs.

Charles Chaisson is a master of portraiture and storytelling, check out his stunning take on FKA twigs
Charles Chaisson is a master of portraiture and storytelling, check out his stunning take on FKA twigs
Photo: Charles Chaisson / Via richardsolomon.com

Follow Charles on Instagram.

http://www.richardsolomon.com/artists/charles-chaisson/

22. Jay Bendt creates stunning illustrations with a beautiful range of emotions while also co-creating a webcomic called Nightshade.

Jay Bendt creates stunning illustrations with a beautiful range of emotions, while also co-creating a webcomic called Nightshade
Jay Bendt creates stunning illustrations with a beautiful range of emotions, while also co-creating a webcomic called Nightshade
Photo: Jay Bendt / Via jaybendt.com

Follow Jay Bendt on Patreon, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter.

http://www.jaybendt.com/

23. Chioma Ebinama of Chioma Studio creates work crafted around myth, magic, femininity and cross-cultural diasporic feels.

Chioma Ebinama of Chioma Studio, creates work crafted around myth, magic, femininity, and cross cultural diasporic feels.
Chioma Ebinama of Chioma Studio, creates work crafted around myth, magic, femininity, and cross cultural diasporic feels.
Photo: Chioma Ebinama / Via chiomastudio.com

Follow Chioma on Tumblr.

http://www.chiomastudio.com/

24. Kadir Nelson is a master of telling stories with his paintings. You have probably seen his work on some of your favorite musical albums or book covers.

Kadir Nelson is a master of telling stories with his paintings. You have probably seen his work on some of your favorite musical albums or book covers.
Kadir Nelson is a master of telling stories with his paintings. You have probably seen his work on some of your favorite musical albums or book covers.
Photo: Kadir Nelson / Via kadirnelson.com

Keep in touch with Kadir on Facebook.

http://www.kadirnelson.com

25. Lady Garland is a freelance animator and comic artist. Check out her take on Alice In Wonderland and her webcomic The Wind Children.

Lady Garland is a freelance animator and comic artist. Check out her take on Alice In Wonderland and her webcomic The Wind Children
Lady Garland is a freelance animator and comic artist. Check out her take on Alice In Wonderland and her webcomic The Wind Children
Photo: Chrystin Garland aka Lady Garland / Via ladygarland.com

Follow Lady Garland on Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter.

http://www.ladygarland.com/

26. Ronald Wimberly is a designer, storyteller and artist with an incredibly rich body of work.

Ronald Wimberly, is a designer, storyteller, and artist with an incredibly rich body of work.
Ronald Wimberly, is a designer, storyteller, and artist with an incredibly rich body of work.
Photo: Ronald Wimberly / Via ronaldwimberly.com

Follow Ronald on Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

http://ronaldwimberly.com/

27. Richie Pope creates masterful illustrations full of life, texture and thought-provoking symbology.

Richie Pope creates masterful illustrations full of life, texture, and thought provoking symbology.
Richie Pope creates masterful illustrations full of life, texture, and thought provoking symbology.
Photo: Richie Pope / Via richiepope.com

Follow Richie on Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram.

http://www.richiepope.com

28. Shannon Wright balances thought-provoking editorial illustrations with her love for comics, character design and the fantastic.

Shannon Wright balances thought provoking editorial illustrations with her love for comics, character design, and the fantastic.
Shannon Wright balances thought provoking editorial illustrations with her love for comics, character design, and the fantastic.
Photo: Shannon Wright / Via shannondrewthis.tumblr.com

Follow Shannon on Tumblr and Twitter.

http://shannondrewthis.tumblr.com/

29. Kehinde Wiley is a master of portrait painting who reimagines, transforms and recontextualizes the identity of black people

Kehinde Wiley is a master of portrait painting who reimagines, transforms, and recontextualizes the identity of black people
Kehinde Wiley is a master of portrait painting who reimagines, transforms, and recontextualizes the identity of black people
Photo: Kehinde Wiley / Via kehindewiley.com

Follow Kehinde on Instagram and Twitter.

http://kehindewiley.com/

30. Leland Goodman is an illustrator, animator and designer of characters and environments. She does it all. Check out her promotional illustration for her rockin’ comic, Basement Dwellers, coming out in April.

Leland Goodman is an illustrator, animator, designer of characters and environments. She does it all. Check out her promotional illustration for her rockin' comic, Basement Dwellers coming out in April.
Leland Goodman is an illustrator, animator, designer of characters and environments. She does it all. Check out her promotional illustration for her rockin' comic, Basement Dwellers coming out in April.
Photo: Leland Goodman / Via lelandgoodman.com

Follow Leland on Tumblr or Twitter.

http://www.lelandgoodman.com

And that’s concludes my list of 30 artists!

There is so much beauty and such a spectrum of illustrators, painters and artists of the African Diaspora. I couldn’t possibly fit them all in one post. Be on the lookout for more updates on the Twitter thread, Facebook album, or Tumblr tag.


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Odera is a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, where they earned their BFA in Illustration. At Brown University, Odera studied movement-theater and west African dance with New Works/World Traditions. As anillustrator, Odera loves to explore storytelling through afro-diasporic mythologies, black resilience, and magical girl transformation sequences. You can also find Odera as a manager of Every Day Original, curating and collaborating on zines, or combo-breaking the internet. Clients include: Fantasy Flight Games, Lightspeed Magazine, Double Take Comics. Personal commissions for: Beyoncé, Solange Knowles, Oumou Sangaré, and Dawn Richard.
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