4 Top African Comic Artists to Follow
Vortex Corp. is a creative content company keen on exporting African culture through comics, animation, interactive media and Afro geek experiences. They are committed to providing both emerging and experienced African digital artists with a platform to showcase their work authentically to the global audience.
The following selected artists are a representation of the diverse talent featured across the continent. Their experience in the comic sector is exemplary, as they continue to produce phenomenal work for both local and international publishers.
Akinboye Olasunkanmi – Nigeria
Akinboye is a Nigerian illustrator and comic artist who has worked for several publishers such as NewDawn Creatives, Peda Studios, YouNeek Studio, and more. He is credited on E.x.o.: Legend of Wale Williams, Okiojo’s Chronicle, and the award-winning Malika. Since his first job with local publisher Pandora Comics in 2002, he has been working as a freelancer doing comic books, magazine illustrations, book covers, and graphic design. He is currently working with YouneeK Studios on their graphic novels, as well as developing stories for Linebug Studios.
Salim Busuru – Kenya
Salim is the creative director at Avandu Studios based in Nairobi, Kenya. He is dedicated to telling the African narrative through comics like Sanamu and Moraan; games like Kade, Operation: Mlinzi, and many more to come.
Without any prospects for university, Salim began his career right after high school. He possessed talent in art, and with the encouragement of others started his freelance journey.
I would say I am a self-taught artist. I learned through copying other artists. The first person I copied was my older brother. I started drawing because he was drawing the Saturday morning cartoons that we would watch as children. The rest I learned through the internet and peers in the same field.
He first designed logos, as well as illustrations and small comics for NGOs, until he found work at an advertising agency. Salim now has his own company, Avandu Studios, where he is working on the comic Sanamu, an African fantasy adventure, tapping into local mythologies and fantasies.
Nsatounkazi Deo – Congo
Nsatounkazi is a self-taught artist from Congo and co-creator of Orisha Pikin and Little Litte Orishas for Vortex Comics, a series based on African deities.
“I have more or less the same classic chapter 0 as most artists. I was inspired by my immediate surroundings at a young age. I started drawing when I saw one of my brothers doing it. The most distant memory I have is when I was 5 years old, drawing bodybuilders ninjas with American flag tattoos on their arms. I will let you imagine the time and what we had in the cinema or on TV. I went from imitation for fun, to pissing off my brother by grabbing his stuff, to real passion throughout my school years. Then a few years ago it really turned into a career with various projects with communication agencies and freelance.”
Currently, he is focused on the Orisha Pikin reboot, freelance illustration projects, and is also the lead animator on the Land of Gods trailer for Vortex Animation.
Juni Ba – Senegal
Juni grew up in Senegal where he lived on a diet of cartoons, anime, and comics of various origins. Following his art school graduation he knew that he wanted to focus on African fantasy, but also knew that he needed to be flexible enough to take on any job the industry offered him. He moved to France, which was a challenging experience, but thanks to a lot of patience and key collaborations, he managed to attract the attention of publishers willing to give him a chance. From there it became more a matter of making sure that he was living up to expectations.
Juni’s passion project is Djeliya – which he is responsible for from start to finish.
“It’s a very long but very satisfying process of creating based on what matters to me, and the subjects I care to talk about. Djeliya was the product of my childhood in Senegal mixed with the Cartoon Network and anime influences. It was incredibly personal to me. “
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