CalArts Animation Student: “If I Don’t Draw Black Characters, Who Will?”

CalArts character animation student Aphton Corbin has been publishing an impressive series of daily comics in honor of Black History Month.

Yesterday’s piece by Corbin speaks directly to the idea of what it means for a young person of color to be creating artwork in an industry that famously cranks out homogeneous product that rarely deviates from established formulas.

Corbins’ comic is reminiscent of comments by El Tigre co-creator and Book of Life director Jorge Gutierrez, who has often spoken out about the lack of representation in the animation industry. “When is the Mexican princess going to show up?” Gutierrez used to wonder when he was a kid, before realizing that “to make something that resonates, it should always come from an honest place.”

For artists just coming into the business, it’s easy to fall into the trap of making more of what the industry already produces, but as Corbin’s comic and Gutierrez’s experiences remind us, the power to transform the industry is within the grasp of each individual artist.

You can read Corbin’s comic below:

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And here are Corbin’s second and third-year films produced at CalArts: Ajani the Brave and The Deep End.

(Thanks, Tres Swygert )