Illustration By Jacqueline Ayer, Jamaican American Illustrator & Designer
7 Awesome Jamaican Illustrators & Animators You Should Know About
By Kadia Francis on April 13, 2019
In one of my next lives (I plan on having a few) I’m coming back as an illustrator, it is the one talent I really wish I was born with or pursued early enough in life to have acquired it as a skill.
I have a confession to make, I was completely unaware that there were serious Jamaican Illustrators and animators. I mean sure I knew of Clovis but somehow I just didn’t consider what he did as illustration. Don’t judge me, as with most things as a child growing up our (yes all of us 90’s babies) frame of reference would’ve been very much non-local as in Tom & Jerry. For the most part our books were non black and non Jamaican. In fact I really came to appreciate and fall in love with illustration when I came across the work of Georgiana Chitac a Romanian Illustrator.
I mean I shouldn’t be surprised, Jamaicans are surpremely talented, multifaceted 3 dimensional people with varying and vast interests, but talk di truth we aren’t really represented that way are we? Not even we to ourselves. So I’ve been embarrassed to learn of the rich legacy of Jamaicans in the genres and a little miffed too because there’s this whole conversation being had about Jamaican illustrators and animators none of it local (well not that I’ve come across anyway).
Well since I’ve dedicated myself to this Columbus journey of ‘discovering’ and promoting digital Jamaicans and mostly to assuage my guilt for not knowing I want to introduce or reintroduce as the case may be, my readership to the new crop of super talented Jamaican illustrators and animators that you really shoulda been know bout.
1. Joelle McFarlane
Joelle is a young super-talented Jamaican illustrator, digital artist and aspiring animator who ‘dabbles’ in the areas of Illustration, Character Design, Motion Graphics, User Interface Design, 3D Animation and 2D Cutout Animation.
She graduated from the University of the West Indies in 2018 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation Programme at the Caribbean School of Media and Communication (CARIMAC). Her graduate class is the first cohort to complete the programme.
Joelle is now a member of the Listen Mi Caribbean crew, an award winning Animation Studio & Design Lab with an eye for young talent.
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-Picks up $14,000 Givenchy dress as I make my way up the stairs and to the podium, desperately fighting back the tears that might ruin my makeup look. Grabs the mic with both hands- "I didn't expect to reach this far! Thank you for everyone who saw my potential and encouraged (threatened) me to enter this year's festival". -Descends stairs on applause, tripping on my 6" heels and plummeting down the stairs- "I'M OKAYYY!" For realsies; this year my baby Yeng-Yeng was shortlisted in the top 5 for Kingstoon animation festival 2019! I'm soooper-excited, and nervous…and an anxious mess…but excited! #instaart #artistsoninstagram #blackartistsoninstagram #artgram #iamj0j0 #kingstonjamaica #animatejamaica #characterdesign #yengyeng
2. Aeron Cargill
Aeron is a multi-disciplined artist whose work spans mediums. He is in equal measure and talent an illustrator, portraitist, caricaturist, designer and photographer. He is a published illustrator who has contributed to multiple titles including Jamaica Journal and several children’s educational books.
What’s more, he is a published illustrator in his own right with his new project “Jamaican Proverbs Illustrated”, an ebook featuring classic and lesser known Jamaican Proverbs written in Jamaican Creole.
My favourite work from Aeron is a fine art series called The Imaginarium of the Antilles, it’s beautifully illustrated pieces featuring common and indiginous Caribbean animals dressed in fineries and depicted in a stately manner.
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Previously unreleased video I created to promote my book (link in bio). I animated that sequence in Core Animator on my IPad Pro. Tested out my mics and learnt from a friend all the things I did wrong so it should be better next time I decide to record a promo. . . . . . . #coreanimator #animation #jamaicanproverbsillustrated #kindlebook #bookpromo #nikond750
3. Peta-Ann Smith
Peta-Ann is a professional illustrator and 2D Animator who runs her own studio called Langilala Studios. Her passion and main focus however is illustrating, something she has been doing for over 15 years even before completing formal studies at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.
She loves doing illustration for childrens books and is currently working on several personal and collaborative projects scheduled for release in 2020. You can check out her work on her website or visit her Instagram page below for more.
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This was supposed to have been my second #drawthisisyourstyle entry. I started this one back in October 2018, but I struggled with it and ended up disliking it. Rather than forcing myself to do another version right away, I sat on it for a few months and finished this one around March. Considering how much I liked @loisvb's character, I didn't want to post a mediocre #loishredraw attempt. Battling health and PC issues (due to a pile of electrical problems) since late January haven't helped matters. Art's been slower in coming than I'd like in 2019. 😅 – #art #illustration #dtiys #drawthisinyourstyle #drawthisinyourstylechallenge #pencildrawing #traditionalart #traditionalmedia #womenofillustration #artistsoninstagram #artistsfromjamaica #jamaicanartists #jamaicanillustrators #langilalastudios
4. Cory Mills
Cory is a self-taught digital illustrator, graphic designer, 2D Animator and speaker who rose to popularity after an illustration he did of dancehall sensation Shensea. Although he has been drawing all his life he is new to the genre having revisited and honed his talents almost three years ago.
I came across Cory’s work on one of my Instagram trawling binges, I was so impressed with his work that when Shelly-Ann Weeks a.k.a Dr. Sexy-Ann asked me to help her find an illustrator for her new book “It’s My Body Period” he was one of the illustrators that instantly came to mind.
Happily, he was the one she chose to help bring her awesome book to life.
5. Jenille Brown
Jenille is another young self-taught illustrator, animator and character designer. She started drawing when she was “very, very very very very young” but only started doing animations in her late teens.
She eventually wants to travel the world sharing her talents but for now she’s ‘quite happy’ in her current job as an animator and designer at Listen Mi Caribbean right here in Jamaica.
6. Gashwayne Hudson
Gashwayne is an uber talented, award-winning illustrator who was a big winner at the recently concluded Kingstoon Animation Conference & Afro Descendant Film Festival. He won the Kingstoon Emerging Animated Content Competition in the Storyboard Category, placed 2nd in the Character Design Category and tied for 2nd place in the Concept Category.
Look out for more about Gashwayne in our upcoming Kingstoon roundup and review.
7. Nathanael Hay
Nathanael is also a self-taught freelance Digital Illustrator, Character Designer and Animator who discovered his talents early on and was encouraged to pursue same. He draws his inspiration from video-games, cartoons and movies.
Having no formal training and with only brief mentor-ship stints from seniors in the respective fields, Natahanael is constantly updating and improving his skills using research and observation.
Regardless he has a lot going for him with several personal projects in the works geared towards animation with one short comic planned. You can check out his portfolio on his website.
I am a blogger, podcaster, digital content creator and brand developer keen on telling the story of Jamaica and Jamaicans in the tech and digital space.
© 2019 Kadia Francis