Great Art Lessons for the Creative Soul
While we normally focus on the achievements of real-life Black creative heroes during the month of February, this year we decided to also focus on some of our favorite fictional superheroes. There are so many visual art lessons and careers within the world of super hero storytelling; everything ranging from illustration to fashion design to special effects makeup to animation and so much more.
Unfortunately Black representation featured in comic books/graphic novels, video games, television shows and films were grossly lacking in mainstream media in the 20th century. As a young artist, I was so excited to see any fictional superheroes or comic book characters who were also Black. While Black representation in this genre is improving, we have a long way to go before we experience true equity. Meanwhile, here are a few of our favorite Black fictional/real-life superheroes both in front of and behind the camera.
First of all, we want to honor the legendary entertainer Eartha Kitt. She's a true icon/superhero and one of the first Black actresses seen in the Batman television series in the 1960s. Her work helped pave the way for other Black actors in this genre.
The popular character Storm from the 80's X-Men animated series was one of my favorite characters to watch as a child. As an adult the Cyborg character from the animated show Teen Titans was one of my favorite characters to watch with our children. While the styles of animation/charcters for each show are different, the color schemes in these two illustrations are similar.
We recently learned about the amazing art/illustrations of Afua Richardson. She is critically acclaimed for her work in the World of Wakanda comic book series and featured on the amazing HBO show Lovecraft Country. Click this link to learn more about this phenomenal artist.
Award-winning costume designer, Ruth Carter designed the eye-catching African inspired costumes for one of our favorite superhero movies of all time, Black Panther. Furthermore, the talented hair stylist, Camille Friend created beautiful hairstyles that were sculptural and inspiring for the film.
Both the Black Panther comic book series and movie is one of the greatest examples of Black representation in this genre. Furthermore, the movie poster is a fantastic example of graphic design.
Spider-Man Into the Spiderverse is also one of our favorite superhero movies that features an Afro-Latino main character. This animated movie is a wonderful example of all of the elements and principles of design. Make sure to explore our website to find more art resources featuring amazing Black creative heroes. Who is one of your favorite superheroes? Comment below.
Alicia L. McDaniel
Alicia L. McDaniel is the author and creator of Great Art Lessons for the Creative Soul. She is also an educator, professional artist, and lover of the arts.
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