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CM Campbell

CM Campbell received his BA in Fine Art with a studio emphasis at San Francisco State University, and his MFA in Comics at California College of the Arts. He grew up in Evanston, Illinois and lives in...

10 replies on “How to Draw a Black Guy”

  1. Dear CM,

    Nicely done. I really like this. Just a bit baffled by the ending statement. What does this mean?

    1. Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it. The line “You can’t break the rules if you make the rules” functioned in two ways.

      1. When black artists make black characters, it reflects their understanding of themselves and their families and the faces they grew up around and with. Living with a black body, with black hair, and black features, that body never feels foreign. I can’t tell a black artist there are rules of how to represent themselves, their family or community. Black artists define the black aesthetic. They can’t “break the rules.”

      2. It is a way to tackle the problematic act of creating rules around black identity as an individual, an unelected voice of a group of people. I am saying, despite the fact I just wrote a bunch or “dos and don’t” of how to draw a black guy, this is a list I am writing with my black readers for other and inviting them to help “make the rules.”

      I should note that it translates to people of color and other marginalized people and how we are represented.

  2. I was wondering, is there something problematic with the portrayal of Lunella Lafayette (from the comic “Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur”) or was that just a convenient picture to use as an example of a Model Minority? I’ve used Lunella as an example of a decently-written-young-minority character, so if people feel differently than I want to know.

    1. I think that the character is written beautifully. I think it’s smart fun and accessible for all ages. I don’t think any singular representation of any minority as strong, smart, sexy or fun is necessarily the problem. It’s when those tropes become directly associated with a particular group and begin to limit how people see themselves. I think Pam Grier as Foxy Brown is amazing, but when people begin to project that one to every black woman they meet, it’s limiting. It’s something I think in worth exploring. I recommend typing “pressure of being perfect black woman” into a google search.

      Thanks for checking my comic.
      CM

    1. With tact and criticality. The fact is, people are always complicated and their motivations are driven by some type of logic. If a person is driving reckless, you might say, “they are driving like an idiot” but could you honestly say they are completely idiotic? Within the context of a narrative “dumb for no reason” comes of as lazy writing. If a black character is “dumb for no reason’ in a sea of white faces, it’s easy for a reader to assume there was a reason and it was racially motivated. If you were looking to write a black character that does dumb things some times or make mistakes I think that is doable. In the play/film Fences, Troy Maxson isn’t highly educated, and was promiscuous, a drunk and constantly made bad choices. He fits into many negative black stereotypes. The character is sympathetic because of his history, his relationships, and his clear (yet often times misguided) motives. I certainly wouldn’t consider his character buffoonish.

      I suppose the short answer to your question is it’s easy to write a buffoon. You don’t need me to tell you how. The problem is, a buffoon character is a poorly written one.

  3. This is hilarious, informative and beautifully drawn. Where can I find more of CM Campbell’s work?

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