Have you ever wondered where creatives get their inspiration from? For 23-year-old Shannon Wright, the idea to start a Black hair illustration series came from an anthology group she was apart of. After being asked to design an illustration about what it meant to be a knight, Wright came to the stark realization that there weren’t many Black representations, especially Black women portrayed as knights.
In her creative fashion, she designed a Black woman depicted as a knight, with her hair in Bantu knots. Yes, Bantu knots, not mini-buns. After looking at her design, it inspired her to create more Black hair illustrations.
“I was thinking, well, why don’t I do just more hair-centered pieces like this? I really like how these Bantu knots came out, why don’t I move forward with different hairstyles and also with a simple color palettes” said Wright.
From then, she created more designs with a variety of Black hair textures and hairstyles. “I was also thinking about including, not just braids, but short hair. I have a piece that I’ve already completed that features a woman with a nice weave,” said Wright. “I thought well, let me not only just include braids and twist styles, but I also get in short hair, and natural curls.”
As a recent graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond with a degree in Communication Art, she was fortunate enough to be in a program centered around cartoon, comic and art illustration. At an early age, she knew her talent in design was more than just a hobby.
“I’ve always been intrigued and just passionate about art since I was a little girl,” said Wright. “That’s where I felt most comfortable, and that’s where I shine the most. That’s where I belonged. I could draw what I want, I could express what I wanted.”
Although Wright is fresh out of college, her repertoire is pretty hefty. She has already been featured in The Guardian, TIME, Mother Jones and BOOM Comics. She is currently a freelancer with tons of special projects in the works, so this definitely won’t be the last that you hear of her.
For aspiring illustrators and creatives, Wright offers an essential piece of advice, “Always have your voice. Make work that you’re passionate about because people can definitely tell when you’re not in it,” explained Wright. “Be kind to people. Don’t create work that’s going to make people feel like they don’t belong. Honesty goes a long way in your work. People notice when you stand by your values.”
To learn more about Shannon Wright and her designs, visit her website here. You can also follow her on Twitter/Instagram/Tumblr: @shannondrewthis.