Black Illustrations Matter: Part three of our August editorial feature series

The Directory of Illustration is proud to continue its August editorial series by featuring a selection of Black Lives Matter and Civil Rights themed illustrations from our talented DOI affiliated artists. We celebrate these eleven artists and their ability to visually represent a widespread movement and unify it into a compelling and cohesive whole. Although their styles differ widely, these artists are united in their ability to turn tragic and divisive national events into international calls for solidarity and action. As a media format, the proliferation of police brutality videos in America often desensitizes and disheartens the general public into a state of normalization. Through their medium, these eleven artists offer an alternative channel to raise awareness, compassion, empowerment, and collective action for social change.

George Floyd cover art for The American Prospect Jul/Aug 2020

David Plunkert’s work has been exhibited internationally, collected by museums and private collectors, and recognized by American Illustration, Communication Arts, Graphis, Print, the Society of Illustrators, and The New York Art Directors’ Club. Featured in numerous books, he has also taught graphic design and illustration at Shepherd College and the Maryland Institute College of Art and lectured for AIGA Chapters throughout the US.

David Plunkert’s illustrations have appeared in advertising campaigns for Fortune 500 companies as well as major newspapers, magazines, and recording labels including:  Adidas, Capitol Records, GQ,  Nike, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, Sony, Sundance Film Festival, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal , Time Magazine, and many more.

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“Protest History”

Joaquín graduated from Ex’pression College for Digital Arts in 2008 with a Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Animation & Visual Effects. Over the past twelve years, he has been dedicated to creating original work as an Art Director, Animator, 3D modeler, Designer, Compositor, and Consultant. His film work with Wangechi Mutu, José Parlá, and Derrick Adams has been screened nationally and exhibited internationally at educational institutions, film festivals, galleries, and museums. Backed by a superb instinct for creative problem solving and visual communication, Joaquín brings his unique analog/digital fine arts background and diverse skill set to every project.

Image top: They say “it’s faster to spread a lie than the truth” well I’m trying to flip that. If I can create images that evoke or spark truth in under a second, I feel like I’ve succeeded Now how these images are used and where is another story, but I hope they may become a catalyst for change in some way, shape, or form.

Image right: “Why don’t you live for the people. Why don’t you struggle for the people. Why don’t you die for the people.” – Chairman Fredrick Allen Hampton (1948 – 1969)

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“Chairman Fredrick Hampton”
“Defund Police” editorial concept

Max is a freelance illustrator living and working from his hometown of Portland, ME where he teaches illustration at the Maine College of Art. Raised on horror films and 70’s punk, he began creating at a young age, experimenting with film, sculpture, painting, and finally focusing on illustration. Drawing on his love for the absurd, quality gimmicks, and wordplay, Max takes influence from everything from B-Action Movies, to early adventure comics and, of course, the real (weird) world.

His clients include: Popular Science, Sports Illustrated Kids, LiveNation, The Lonely Island, Nashbox, Roadblock Music Festival, Portland Phoenix,  Capsule Book and many others.

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Cover art for the book “Light It Up” by Kekla Magoon
Cover art for the book “How It Went Down” by Kekla Magoon

Charles created these two book cover projects for “How it Went Down” and “Light It Up” written by Kekla Magoon.

Q&A with the author of the novels, Kekla Magoon from
“All along, my goal has been to capture a particular truth about the aftermath and impact of a controversial/wrongful shooting. And, to invite teenagers into a public conversation that often excludes them, although they are among the most directly affected by police brutality and bias…”

Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Charles Chaisson is currently a Brooklyn based freelance illustrator with a BFA in illustration from the Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida  After college, he moved to New York and received his MFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts’ Visual Essay Graduate Program. Charles’s illustration incorporate themes of fantasy juxtaposed with reality. His use of bold and pastel colors and composition add towards his conceptual and narrative work. Among others, his clients include Disney Hyperion, Scholastic, Atlantic Records, Adult Swim, and Playboy.

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“After” conceptual editorial

“After” is a conceptual illustration by Luca Di Battista depicting the world since George Floyd’s death.

Luca Di Battista is a multimedia illustrator and author from Italy. His works is marked by black bold lines and bright colors. He prefers human figures, conceptual works, collages and unusual forms. His artistic research is focused primarily on storytelling through pictures, on the strength of symbolism, and humor. His varied technique includes digital, collages, ink, pencil, and acrylic painting. His work was selected at Bologna Children’s Book Fair, China Shangai Children’s Book Fair, Nami Concours, 3×3 Show, Creative Quarterly, AI Annual, Tapirulan, Behance Review. He won 3X3 “Best of Show”, Pictures Book section NO. 15, Purple Island Prize – Nami Concours, Behance Portfolio Review. His illustrations were included in several exhibitions, from Berlin to Chicago, Shenzhen, Pechino, Tokyo and many others.

His client list includes: Rizzoli, Rizzoli Education, Regione Emilia Romagna, Confcooperative, Camera di Commercio Chieti – Pescara, El Malpensante, Rekeep, After Futuri Digitali, and Oh-so.

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“Cop Conviction in Chicago” for the New York Times

Ryan Garcia is a freelance illustrator based in Toronto, Canada. With an emphasis on flat colours and line-work, his work is heavily influenced by the Golden Age illustrators such as J.C. Leyendecker, Coles Phillips and Mac Conner. Ryan is best known for his editorial work in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, as well as WIRED magazine. This illustration was originally featured in the New York Times for a 2018 editorial on police convictions in Chicago.

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“Questlove” portrait supporting activism and social change
Elara Mari is an illustrator based in Santa Cruz, California. After graduating with a BFA from Parsons School of Design, she received her Master of Arts in Illustration SCAD with a concentration in traditional printmaking and editorial illustration.
“My work explores the absurd and sublime of pop culture, combining my love of drawing and expressive mark-making with storytelling, caricature, humor, and vivid colors. I use traditional printmaking methods to bring context and spontaneity to each project.” 
Through this collage portrait of Questlove, Elara confronts racial tension and promotes activism, social change, and political reform.

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Scott Wilson is a freelance illustrator from the UK who uses traditional and modern techniques to create bright and bold images. Through this personal aesthetic, Scott illustrates across a wide variety of subject matter including: animals, editorials, nature, people, politics, technology, web, and lifestyle. Below is an editorial concept Scott created in support of the BLM movement in his signature minimalist style.

“BLM” conceptual editorial

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Billy Clark — Represented by Folio Art

“Bang” portrait illustration in support of BLM
Billy Clark is a London based illustrator and designer with a 1st BA Hons degree in graphic design from the Norwich School of Art.  Billy’s passion for image-making stems from an early love of Marvel comics, which evolved into a broader interest in modernist art and design.
With his combined career in Illustration and graphic design, Billy’s style is striking, bold and graphic, whilst retaining texture, depth and warmth.
His client list includes some of the worlds biggest brands, such as: Apple, MTV, Adidas, Size?, Lush, Propercorn, Wired Magazine, Liberty and many more.

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“No Justice, no Peace” anti-racist conceptual portrait

Lynne lives and works as an illustrator in New York City and is widely known for her distinct portraits.  She received her BFA from Pratt Institute and her MFA from School of Visual Arts in the “Illustration as Visual Essay” program”.  She is also a professor at Pratt Institute and City College in NYC.

“The focus of my illustration is on the “Conceptual Portrait” where idea and form converge. It is where I translate raw emotion into a visual image, thus able to enlighten, amuse, or sometimes even disturb”.

A number of Galleries have included her personal work in one woman and group exhibitions, most recently having mounted a solo show in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia entitled, “And Then Comes a Dream”. Her work was also included in “Artists Against the War”, a publication of poems and images depicting illustrator’s views on War and “Art Revolution”.

Clients include: The Red Betty Theatre, Cincinnati Magazine, Delaware Today Magazine, Congregations, and The Museum of Natural History.

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“The revolution will not be televised” conceptual portrait of George Floyd
Edmund Pettus Bridge illustration from “Dream March.”

Illustration from the children’s book “Dream March: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the March on Washington.” An inspiring biography introducing children to the civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the historic march on Washington. Set against Dr. King’s historic march on Washington in the summer of 1963, Sally’s powerful illustrations help illuminate not only one of America’s most celebrated leaders, but also one of America’s most celebrated moments.

Sally Wern Comport drew her first paycheck as a professional artist at the age of 15 when she began drawing furniture for newspaper ads for the local franchise of Ethan Allen. Since then, whether it is for editorial visual concepts for the Wall Street Journal, illustrating books, curating and creating large scale art, or developing aesthetic and branding concepts for direct clients, Comport has been working as a visual problem solver and creative dot-connector able to sift through research, information and narratives and visually capsulize it. Comport is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of the Columbus College of Art and Design and earned her graduate degree from Syracuse University and continues to guest lecture and teach at Maryland Institute College of Art.

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