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An instructional book on how to draw black people that covers phenotype, body diversity, costuming and cultural identity for artists.
An instructional book on how to draw black people that covers phenotype, body diversity, costuming and cultural identity for artists.
588 backers pledged $20,490 to help bring this project to life.

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Being an artist can sometimes feel like playing hopscotch in a minefield. 

Imagine posting artwork online that you're proud of only to be met with accusations of racial stereotyping, fat-phobia, colorism, transphobia and just all around insensitivity.
Artists can often feel sucker punched by audiences at large and suddenly find themselves trending on social media for all the wrong reasons. 

Granted, you can never control how the world reacts to your art, but what if there was a book that could elucidate the problems before you start and help you understand where people are coming from? 

That's what "How to draw black people" is all about. 

The first in a planned series of books that focus on the culture of people of color, rather than just the aesthetics. 

The unwritten idea, but tangible logic, that "if you can draw a white person you can draw anyone" just won't cut it anymore. 

Audiences are asking for diversity and authentic characters based on real cultures. The teachings we have now are woefully out of date and never touch on ways to depict more that what lies on the surface. 

Not Just another "How to" Book.

Tutorial on hair
Tutorial on hair

How to Draw Black People isn't a book where artists are provided with facial grids and examples of modelesque people, with some cool poses to try and emulate. 

While there will be step by step guides artists are accustomed to, this book will include entire sections devoted to: 

  • Anatomy
  • Facial anatomy  
  • Facial expressions
  • Hair
  • Skin tone
  • Costuming 
  • Culture and customs 

And within these sections we delve deeper into things like colorism, fatphobia, gender expression, and how all these things play into visualizing black characters. Everything cited and sourced, all the research done so artists can trust the info or hopefully use it as a starting point learn more.   

Crowdfunded and Crowd Sourced. 

While I will supply the bulk of tutorials and tips provided in the book multiple talented artists will also give their take on how to approach each topic; how to apply what's being highlighted in different styles, and give their own take on what they believe is important when it comes to creating diverse characters. 

Also in the book will be a wealth of photo reference for artists to take advantage. A compilation of everyday black folks across the African diaspora. Special attention will be paid to the differences between drawing someone from the west indies, Ethiopia, Brazil or South Africa. 

Learn how to depict culture instead of stereotypes 

 Artists often feel like they don't know what will draw the ire of a socially conscious community, and they are right; they don't know. Artists are taught by and large to copy but rarely to intuit. Art courses require us to recreate and translate without necessarily understanding the subject. 

That lack of understanding is the cause for a lot of anxiety and unintended strife between audiences and artists. 

The hope is that by focusing on culture, comparing and contrasting the differences between the acceptable and the offensive, artists can better themselves. This book will help artists of all levels create more meaningful, authentic diversity and representation. 

Back "How to Draw Black People" today and make this crucial resource for artists a reality.  

Risks and challenges

Challenges for this book are mild at best. The biggest being filling out the roster of artists who will give alternate opinions on subject matter. Another challenge will be finding models and getting the correct photo reference for the purpose of this book, a process I've already begun. The scope of this project will require that outsource the shipping responsibilities to a certain degree and thus any delays in shipping rewards will be incumbent on a third party.

However the majority of content will come from myself, the research will be done primarily by me thus making the risks minimal and majorly within my control.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $3 or more About $3

    The nod.

    Have your name printed in the special thanks section for your contribution and support.

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    Grits with salt vs Grits with sugar

    Choose one from a special collection of art prints put together for this book + a special thanks written out to you in "How to Draw Black People"

    Includes:
    • Special edition art print.
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    Birthday Dollars on your shirt

    A digital DRM free copy of "How to Draw Black People"

    Includes:
    • Digital copy of HTDBP
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    Beans, Greens, Potatoes, Tomatoes...

    A digital DRM free copy of "How to Draw Black People" + a special edition Art Print.

    Includes:
    • Special edition art print.
    • Digital copy of HTDBP
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    YOU NAAAAAME IT!

    A physical copy of "How to draw black people"

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    • physical copy of HTDBP
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    Finna be lit!

    Portrait sketch commission.

    This reward is for folks who don't need a copy of the book but would still like to support and get something in return.

    Commission is 6x8.25 inches and 350 dpi

    Can be 1-3 people, characters or animals.

    check your Kickstarter inbox for instructions on how to receive your commission.

    Includes:
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    YOU NAAAAAME IT!+

    A physical copy of "How to draw black people" + a special edition art print

    Includes:
    • physical copy of HTDBP
    • Special edition art print.
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    Lean on me

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    A book of spades.

    Get a physical copy of the book along with a digital DRM free version, a special edition art print, and a T-shirt of your choosing from my artist shop on threadless.

    Includes:
    • Special edition art print.
    • Digital copy of HTDBP
    • physical copy of HTDBP
    • T-Shirt from my threadless shop
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    One on one

    This reward gets you a Digital copy of HTDBP
    A special edition print, a T-shirt from my threadless shop and a 1 on 1, hour long video chat tutor session based around the content of "How to draw black people"

    Includes:
    • Tutor session
    • Digital copy of HTDBP
    • Special edition art print.
    • T-Shirt from my threadless shop
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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    One on One+

    This reward gets you a Digital copy of HTDBP
    A special edition print, a T-shirt from my threadless shop and a 1 on 1, hour long video chat tutor session based around the content of "How to draw black people"

    As an added bonuses backers of this tier will get a signed copy made out to them that has a special edition cover only available thru this Kickstarter.

    Includes:
    • Digital copy of HTDBP
    • Special edition art print.
    • T-Shirt from my threadless shop
    • Tutor session
    • SE HTDBP
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    Teachers pack (small class)

    This reward is great for workshop teachers and small class rooms. 10 copies of "HTDBP", A DRM free digital copy, and a special edition 11x17 art print.

    Includes:
    • Digital copy of HTDBP
    • 10× physical copy of HTDBP
    • Special edition art print.
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    Teacher pack+ (large class)

    This reward is the same as "Teacher pack" but with 25 copies instead of 10. Perfect for larger size classes.

    Includes:
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    • Special edition art print.
    • 25× physical copy of HTDBP
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Funding period

- (45 days)