Dawud Anyabwile is the co-creator and illustrator of Brotherman: Dictator of Discipline, a pioneering African American comic book that has influenced a generation of artists and writers while selling more than 750,000 copies without the help of a major publisher.
An Interview With the Artist
COC: Can you give us a little personal history and tell us something about your experiences growing up?
DA: The arts were encouraged, cultivated and nurtured in my home. As a child I never felt that I could not be whatever I wanted to be.
COC: Have you always had an interest in the arts?
DA: Yes as far back as I can remember.
COC: Was there a particular artist or art style that influenced or inspired you?
DA: Ernie Barnes, Overton Lloyd and Mort Drucker.
COC: What lead you into seeking the arts as a career?
DA: I just loved art as a child and knew that I would be an artist of some sort.
COC: Do your personal beliefs or feeling affect your work?
DA: My art has always been an extension of my experiences and beliefs which were rooted in family entertainment. I was also heavily into various genres that find their way into my work in many different forms.
COC: Has your education had any influence on your work?
DA: I credit most of my art education to my high school art teacher who gave me a strong foundation as a youngster. My education continued by teaching myself what I wanted to learn. Listening to those that I admired and studying books and media that I enjoyed.
COC: Do you favor any particular medium (paints, pencils, computers, etc.)?
DA: Pencil and now painting in Photoshop.
COC: What kind of assignments have you worked on?
DA: I began my career airbrushing tee shirts and then self published and illustrated my own comic book called, Brotherman: Dictator of Discipline. I also have experience doing pre-production work for various animation studios in NYC, LA and Atlanta.
COC: Does any single art assignments, or works, standout in your mind?
DA: My book Brotherman is the work I am the most proud of.
COC: Do you work at anything other than the arts?
DA: Yes I like to produce music and be with my family.
COC: Why did you choose to participate in the Color of Comics exhibit?
DA: Because I know that it is important for people of all nationalities to see the works of artists of color who are not usually represented in the comics medium.
COC: Since exhibiting the depiction of people of color is a aim of the COC, what part does cultural and/or racial diversity play in your art, and your art assignments?
DA: I am adamant about representing characters that are a reflection of myself and my culture. I am African American and have
COC: As an artist, what are your goals for the future?
DA: My goals are to continue to harness and refine my skills. I also want to use my art to make a difference in the minds of young people around the world.
COC: Do you have any advice or suggestions for young artists just starting out?
DA: Be yourself and don’t be afraid to be different. You should constantly work on your techniques and never stop being a student even when you think may have mastered you skills. There is always something new to learn.
COC: Do you have any final comments for us?
DA: Comics of Color Exhibit is history in the making that will make a difference in how people view artists of color in the near future.
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