This Indie Comic Artist Is Teaching Fellow Artists How To Properly Draw Black People
"Basically, a lot of folks just don't know how to draw black people"
What started as a joke for artist Malikali Shabazz is well on its way to setting a new standard and revolutionizing the world of comic books similar to Black Panther, and it's self-explanatory.
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How to Draw Black People is a book designed specifically to teach people how to draw black characters correctly; it also delves into black culture. Malikali, also known as Malik, spoke with Newsarama on what sparked the idea and the journey leading up to his Kickstarter campaign which raised over $19,000, exceeding his $16,000 goal to self-publish the book.
Shabazz opens his campaign video highlighting the disconnect between current trends in diversity, representation, inclusion and realistic depictions of black people whether it's in Hollywood or the world of comic books.
Most kits use "white cisgender men and women" as character defaults, and there is little to no black representation when using the tools; "add in the fact that many of the people who write the stories are they themselves not black and the problem becomes exacerbated," Shabazz noted.
In his campaign video, Shabazz tells the viewer, "Only in this book will you find explanations and tutorials on things like colorism, black peoples hair and texture, cultural expression, gender presentation versus gender expression and body diversity just to name a few."
According to Shabazz, the book also digs deeper into the "why" of things. It touches on "why black people wear their hair a certain way, why colorism is a big deal within the black community, why people from a borough in New York may dress a certain versus someone who is from Watts, California."
What is dope about this book is how careful Shabazz is when ensuring his readers understanding of the diversity of black folks, both culturally and visually.
"We are diverse in every way you can imagine. We are connected by oppression, but that does not mean we are all the same. We also respect our differences for the most part. We know there’s a difference between Haitians and Jamaicans, between Afro-Latinx and Afro-Mexican, so on and so forth."
Want to model for How to Draw Black People? Well, you can shoot your shot until the application deadline: June 30, 2018.
Submission guidelines are on Shabazz's website.