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Remembering Curtis Comic! I Was Inspired!

August 19, 2010

As I sat and drew my character Pooky, I began to think about her personality and character.  She was a little girl from Detroit so I started thinking about the average African-American Detroit personality the one I remember having.  I wanted to apply that personality to my Pooky.  She was a tomboy, a very chill little girl with attitude.  I had finished her drawing one night and I posted it up on my blog.  I had created her and posted her up long before my Pooky book came out.  The next day I got a response saying that she reminds them of the Curtis comic from the Saturday morning newspaper from a long time ago.  Here I am a 28-year-old woman who is trying to get her business started with illustrating for children books, and it seemed just like yesterday when I was about 8 or 9 years old reading the Curtis Comic.

Curtis Comic is one of my biggest inspirations for the type of work I am doing now.  Every saturday I would race to get the morning newspapers because I knew my uncles would be after it and I wouldn’t get my chance to read the funnies.  I lived in the slums of Detroit, and the head of the house hold was my grandmother of 6 children.  Basically everyone lived in her house; my mother and I, uncles and aunts along with my cousins.  So we had to learn to share everything, but it was hard for me to share the Saturday’s comics because I would always use it to copy drawings from.  It was also one of the only black comics in the newspaper in the 80’s when I was growing up, so I had to read it.  I didn’t know the type of impact it had on my African-American Character drawings, until I got the blog response. 

Here is the picture!

Curtis sure did have an impact!  I saw the resemblance in the drawing techniques, especially in the shape of the lips of the characters.  But Pooky has her own personality.  I think I was inspired by the artist of the Curtis Comic, because they created black characters different from other characters and gave them the big lips and braids in their hair or the afro.  It is the natural look of the average African-American.  But I see today African-Americans promote straight hair, even with children of African-American ethnicity.  I think that is why I loved Curtis so much, because it had promoted African-Americans with the natural hair.  It was something we used to be proud of, some are still proud of the natural hair.  But that is a different subject on its own. 

Thanks to the Curtis Comic for being one of my inspirations to move forward as an African-American Children Book Illustrator.

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