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Black Media and Creatives to Get Into This Thanksgiving

With so many looking for entertainment centered on the Black experience, here are some content to watch by yourself or with the fam over the Thanksgiving weekend.

For those who love big-screen visuals and great storytelling that touch on the Black experience, here’s a list of films to watch:

Destin Daniel Cretton’s Just Mercy (starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx) – inspired by Bryan Stevenson’s memoir

Ava DuVernay’s Selma (starring David Oyelowo) – based on Dr. Martin Luther King’s trek from Selma to Montgomery

Raoul Peck-directed documentary I Am Not Your Negro – based on the words and thoughts of writer James Baldwin

Denzel Washington’s The Great Debaters – based on the Wiley College debate team’s victory over USC

Theodore Melfi’s Hidden Figures – based on the book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly

Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing – a hot Summer day in New York culminates in a tragic end fueled by racial tensions

Spike Lee’s Malcolm X (starring Denzel Washington) – based on The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight – based on a play by playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney

Stefan Bristol’s See You Yesterday – a young girl travels back in time to save her slain brother

GeorgeTillman Jr’s The Hate You (starring Amandla Stenberg) – based on the book of the same name by Angie Thomas

Jordan Peele’s Get Out (starring Daniel Kaluuya) – a psychological examination of racism in the U.S.

Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse  an animated action adventure following the exploits of beloved Afro-Latino high schooler Miles Morales

Matthew A. Cherry-directed Hair Love – an animated short showcasing a father-daughter relationship dealing with Black hair

Reginald Hudlin-produced BeBe’s Kids (starring the late Robert Harris) – an animated family comedy highlighting a date turned family outing

For those looking for great visual and realistic storytelling on a weekly basis, here’s a list of television series to watch:

Ava DuVernay-produced miniseries When They See Us – based on the 1989 Central Park jogger case

The landmark miniseries Roots (1977 and 2016 versions) – the original is a classic while the new version taps into today’s issues

Cheo Hodari Coker-based Netflix series Luke Cage – based on the Marvel Comics series of the same name

Salim Akil-developed CW series Black Lightning – based on the DC Comics series of the same name

Milestone Media-created Warner Bros. animated series Static Shock – based on the Milestone Media/DC Comics series Static

April Blair-created CW series All American – inspired by the life of former professional football player Spencer Paysinger

Issa Rae-created HBO series Insecure – a comedic yet realistic portrayal of the Black female experience in the U.S.

Donald Glover-created FX series Atlanta – inspired by the career and life of multi-tainer Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino)

ABC sitcom Black-ish – an exploration of the middle-class Black family experience in suburban America 

Cartoon Network animated series Craig of the Creek – an animated series centered on a young Black boy’s imaginative exploits and his family

Aaron MacGruder’s The Boondocks – an adult animated series focused on skewering the low brow-end of Black culture

HBO animated anthology Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales For Every Child – an animated series centered on retelling and reinventing classic fairytales with a Black or Latin spin

Disney animated family sitcom The Proud Family – an animated series about a young Black girl Penny Proud, friends, and family

Don Cornelius-centered biopic drama American Soul – a serialized telling of the rise of the Soul Train impresario through the decades

Justin Siemen-produced Netflix series Dear White People – a serialized version of the creator’s 2014 film centered on Black students at a PWI

Lena Waithe and Halle Berry-produced BET series Boomerang – a Millennial comedic retelling of the 1992 Eddie Murphy-led film

Michael B. Jordan-produced Netflix series Raising Dion – an action-adventure about a young Black boy discovering his powers

Misha Green-developed HBO series Lovecraft Country – a dramatic sci-fi retelling centered on Black travelers during Jim Crow-era America

Michaela Coel-created HBO series I May Destory You – a comedic take on a young Black writer dealing with the after effects of a night out

Robin Thede-headlined HBO series A Black Lady Sketch Show – a comedic sketch series centered on the Black female experience with an all-star cast

Netflix sketch series Astronomy Club: The Sketch Show – a sketch comedy series based on the exploits of the all-Black comedy troupe Astronomy Club

Hulu series Woke – a live-action-animated comedy centered on the different mishaps and everyday struggle of a rising Black cartoonists

Tracy Oliver-produced BET+ series The First Wives Club – a comedy reimagining of the 1996 film centered on Black female friends

Hopefully, this content by Black creators will not only entertain you but inform and provoke you to seek out other creators to champion and support.

Thriving and Improving for 2020 – Redux

2020 is only less than a month away from coming to an ending. Being a Black creative has taken many valleys and hills during this unpredictable year. But recent events have left me hesitantly optimistic.

Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

I’ve been expanding my business to turn my passions into a steady income. Marketing through PatreonEtsy , and Fiverr has allowed me to grow my business in different ways.  I might pursue one or two more avenues to market my services. Operating an LLC has been the best decision I’ve made in the past few years. Working for myself has its good and bad days, but tapping into my inner entrepreneur has allowed me to become more familiar with the business side of art. 

I’m still working towards getting the necessary equipment needed to fulfill my creative dreams. While some things have become reality, there are still things in the works.

Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

While I seek independence for my creativity, freelance opportunities have been slowly coming to me as more individuals and businesses looking to freelancers and independent contractors to fill much-needed roles. Some new opportunities haven’t panned out, but I’m still grinding to expand my client base.

Despite taking a break from my design work, I plan on finishing up Brothas and Losing Valarie before 2021 arrives. For the first time, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Before year’s end, I finish my work on interiors and exteriors for both series. Because in 2021, I’m all about character designs as I try finishing up some summer leftovers while creating new ones.

In 2021, I plan on spending my time focusing on my action adventure series. I want dedicate my art skills to creating a visual representation of that show.

On a side note, I have decided to do my annual Black History Month project. I’m still working out whether to continue my current project or start something new. I’ll keep you posted on that.

Thriving and Improving for 2020

2020 is only less than a month away from coming to an ending. Being a Black creative has taken many valleys and hills during this unpredictable year. But recent events have left me hesitantly optimistic.

Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

I’ve been expanding my business to turn my passions into a steady income. Marketing through PatreonEtsy , and Fiverr has allowed me to grow my business in different ways.  I might pursue one or two more avenues to market my services. Operating an LLC has been the best decision I’ve made in the past few years. Working for myself has its good and bad days, but tapping into my inner entrepreneur has allowed me to become more familiar with the business side of art. 

I’m still working towards getting the necessary equipment needed to fulfill my creative dreams. While some things have become reality, there are still things in the works.

Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

While I seek independence for my creativity, freelance opportunities have been slowly coming to me as more individuals and businesses looking to freelancers and independent contractors to fill much-needed roles. Some new opportunities haven’t panned out, but I’m still grinding to expand my client base.

Despite taking a break from my design work, I plan on finishing up Brothas and Losing Valarie before 2021 arrives. For the first time, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Before year’s end, I finish my work on interiors and exteriors for both series. Because in 2021, I’m all about character designs as I try finishing up some summer leftovers while creating new ones.

In 2021, I plan on spending my time focusing on my action adventure series. I want dedicate my art skills to creating a visual representation of that show.

On a side note, I have decided to do my annual Black History Month project. I’m still working out whether to continue my current project or start something new. I’ll keep you posted on that.

Art is All About the Setting

Whether it is a layout or background, the setting is an essential to storytelling just like characters and plot.

The above statement is a motto you live by as both an animator and writer. After taking a small break from creating visual design, I’ve spent the past two weeks putting the finishing touches on the bedroom from Brothas. I’m finally seeing parts of my vision coming to life. For the first time, I can see my characters actually living in the space. I wanted to make sure their room reflected two young Black boys growing up in a small town.

Their personalities are very much on display in the space – hobbies, obsessions, and everything in between. The space needed to feel like Gen Zers lived there while incorporating some mods to childhood of yesteryear. Items such as books and blocks are essential to a kid’s room just like tablets and wireless speakers. Hopefully, I’ll be able to reveal the final outcome in the near future.

Once this room is done, I plan to focus on more interiors such as the kitchen and living room (fingers crossed). Afterwards, I hope to start doing more exteriors again. By next year, I want character designs to be my main focus.

While my focus has been on Brothas for the past month or so, Losing Valarie will receive some attention soon. I’m in the process of putting the final touches on the lead character’s room. I plan on jumping back into dealing with character designs (a break from doing strict background work). Before years end, I hope to deal with some interior and exterior designs.

As I’ve stated before, the character designs of my untitled action adventure will hopefully begin later this year. Any other designs will be set aside for next year.

Just remember creativity is the key to success.

Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

Back to Work

After taking a week break, I’m back with more about my ongoing projects!

As I previously mentioned, I’ve spent week or so working on interior designs for Brothas. Working on my main characters’ safe haven has led to some interesting work. I’ve made the space personal by using inspiration from childhood items to flesh my characters’ world. Along with childhood items, I incorporated some childhood hobbies and activities such as astronomy and racing to add more personality into space. Basing the series in contemporary times has allowed me to include modern technology like video consoles and tablets into the space. Just like Losing Valarie, I tapped into their “Blackness” by having items here and there as cultural signals.

The next step is developing more interior and exterior designs for the series before the end of the year. I hope to creating more character designs for the series by next year. In the near future, I’ll start posting my progress on this site and Patreon in the coming months.

Soon, I’ll switch my focus from Brothas to Losing Valarie in the next week or so. I hope to venture more into exteriors for the series soon. By the end of their year, I want to get back into my character designs.

Once I’ve done enough work on my current work, I hope to begin cracking my still-untitled action-adventure project. I’ll start with the character designs before attempting background designs. I hope to start around later this year or early next year.

Social media presence is finally attracting some potential clients. Despite the effects of COVID-19 on the economy, freelance work is starting to pick back up with some potential prospects.

Just remember all the hard work will pay off in the end.

Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

Business…Man!

2020 has thrown everyone for a loop. Despite all the chaos and ominous events, I finally reached one of my long-term goals – I officially have an LLC! Taking this creative journey has tested both my will and patience as I faced some unexpected barriers. Getting the funds to finally register my buisness has been a long two-year process. Between big bills and unexpected expenses, I had to prioritize other needs over my dream. Then, there’s “it that shall not be named” threw off my first quarter plans. But eventually, some help from the Small Business Administration allowed me to get the process started. Of course, while I waited to hear about my registration, I began marketing Patreon and Etsy pages as another way to get funds flowing in for future projects.  Now as an official creative business, I can really start bringing in a client base and pursuing my passion. Being creative during this “thing” has been draining and trying to say the less. But finally getting my LLC started has been one of a few bright spots for me this year. Now, I can get the necessary equipment needed to fulfill my creative dreams. I’ll update you when that starts coming together.
man wearing black crew neck t shirt using black headphones reading book while sitting

Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on Pexels.com

While I seek independence for my creativity, more freelance opportunities have been coming my way. The pandemic had put a stop to my freelance work for a while, but with the economy slowly reopening, more people are willing to hire freelancers and independent contractors. Some new opportunities haven’t panned out, but I’m still grinding to expand my client base. I’m still working on my personal projects as I mentioned before. After a month or so of teasing, I’ll be putting up some of my work pretty soon.

Back to Work

After taking a week break, I’m back with more about my ongoing projects!

As I previously mentioned, I’ve spent week or so working on interior designs for Brothas. Working on my main characters’ safe haven has led to some interesting work. I’ve made the space personal by using inspiration from childhood items to flesh my characters’ world. Along with childhood items, I incorporated some childhood hobbies and activities such as astronomy and racing to add more personality into space. Basing the series in contemporary times has allowed me to include modern technology like video consoles and tablets into the space. Just like Losing Valarie, I tapped into their “Blackness” by having items here and there as cultural signals.

The next step is developing more interior and exterior designs for the series before the end of the year. I hope to creating more character designs for the series by next year. In the near future, I’ll start posting my progress on this site and Patreon in the coming months.

Soon, I’ll switch my focus from Brothas to Losing Valarie in the next week or so. I hope to venture more into exteriors for the series soon. By the end of their year, I want to get back into my character designs.

Once I’ve done enough work on my current work, I hope to begin cracking my still-untitled action-adventure project. I’ll start with the character designs before attempting background designs. I hope to start around later this year or early next year.

Social media presence is finally attracting some potential clients. Despite the effects of COVID-19 on the economy, freelance work is starting to pick back up with some potential prospects.

Just remember all the hard work will pay off in the end.

Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

The World According to Design

My approach to designing for Brothas has become more about having my characters’ world reflect them in every way.

I’ve spent the past week concentrating fleshing out my main characters’ bedroom as my first interior for the series. It is still taking shape as I play off the boys’ color palettes while introducing new colors. Being two young Black boys, I’ve decided to draw some inspiration from my childhood with particular themes and concepts. I plan on placing more personal items into the room to accompany the twin beds. I even plan on drawing from some childhood hobbies and activities to bring more personality into space. As Gen Zer’s, modern amenities will be incorporated into the room. In creating the room, I wanted to tell as much of a story as the character does. Like Losing Valarie, I’m tapping more into their “Blackness” as I explore more of their story.

The next step is to develop designs for some more interior and exteriors for the series before the end of the year. By next year, I plan to do some more character designs for the series. Hopefully, as the year progresses, I’ll be able to show more on this site or on my Patreon.

As I focus on the world of Brothas, I put Losing Valarie on the back burner for a bit. I still have more details to work on when it comes to the main protagonist’s bedroom. I hope to venture more into the exterior soon.

As I’ve stated before, I have yet to begin cracking my still-untitled action-adventure project. I’ll start with the character designs before attempting background designs. I hope to start around later this year or early next year.

Social media presence is finally attracting some potential clients. The well of freelance work is still a little dry, but I am definitely put into the work to expand my income.

Just remember all the hard work will pay off in the end.

Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

Giving Your World Personality

My approach to designing for Losing Valarie has become more about displaying my main protagonist’s personality within the world I’ve created for her.

I’ve spent the past week or so concentrating fleshing out my main protagonist’s bedroom. Besides a distinct color palette and black accents, I’ve tapped into her personality more by adding more personal touches. As an aspiring writer and blerd, I chose to fill her room with posters of Black female writers along with a bookcase filled with books. I showcased more by placing items related to anime and music. As a Millennial (or Gen Zer), modern amenities are very much seen throughout the room. In creating the room, it wanted to tell as much of a story as the character does. Tapping into her “Blackness” is something I plan to explore more of – from the designs to stories.

The next step is to develop designs for the series’ exteriors along with some more interior shots. Within the next month or so, I plan to do some more character designs for the series. Hopefully, as the year progresses, I’ll be able to show more on this site or on my Patreon.

Within the next week, I plan to start the interiors for the family home in my children’s series Brothas. If things go according to plan, I hope to venture into more exterior settings. Developing more character designs may come up in the future as I plan to expand into supporting characters.

As I’ve stated before, I have yet to begin cracking my still-untitled action-adventure project. I’ll start with the character designs before attempting background designs. I hope to start around later this year or early next year.

Social media presence is finally attracting some potential clients. My freelance work is still a bit slow, but I am definitely put into the work to expand my income.

Just remember all the hard work will pay off in the end.

Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

Seeing the Full Picture

As progress in my work, the backgrounds are starting to take shape as I build my animated worlds.

Fro the past week or so, I’ve been shaping the world for the teenagers of Losing Valarie. The high school setting is your typical high school atmosphere with a modern look to better reflect the advancement in design and technology. Like I mentioned before, I wanted a color palette filled with pastels and dark colors to reflect the light yet dramatic tone of the series. I kept the high school palette limited to blues and whites with pops of color here and there. As the idea has progressed over the years, my approach to design has evolved as I became more comfortable with digital art.

Along with creating the high school setting, I have concentrated my efforts on improving my main protagonist’s refuge – her bedroom. Much like the previous background, I limited the color palette to her favorite color – pale pink (or rose gold). Everything from her bedding to the walls is covered in it. But the break up the monochromatic, I decided to use black to again fit the series’ tone along with more vibrant colors for visual appeal. I’ve steadily built up the room to illustrate more of her personality as an aspiring writer and bleed. Along with personality, I wanted to highlight my protagonist’s “Blackness” through her choice of artwork and posters.

Hopefully, soon, I will illustrate the actual exteriors of these places to give a better look and understanding of this world. I know to see what the characters’ world looks like will create a connection with potential viewers.

Within the next week, I plan to focus more on my children’s series Brothas by concentrating on the interior of the family home. I might even deal with some more exterior settings in the main characters’ world. Much of the look and feel will still retain the child-like look of the series.

Focusing on the two previous projects, I have yet to begin cracking my still-untitled action-adventure project. The series draws shows such as the original Teen Titans, Justice League, and Batman the Animated Series so my palette will be using more subdued colors and neutral tones – browns, beiges, whites, grays, and black. I’ll start with the character designs and work my way from there.

While background design will be my focus, for the time being, I will eventually turn my attention to character design for my next set of characters. As I start building up more work, I put some of it on my website (be on the lookout!) while others might be Patreon exclusives.

 

Social media presence has continued to play a role in attracting clients. My freelance work is still a bit slow, but I am definitely put into the work to expand my income.

Just remember all the hard work will pay off in the end.

 

Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram! Until next time, be your best creative self!

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