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African American Illustrators for Children

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Kadir Nelson

Kadir Nelson represents a new generation of African American illustrators. He is known for his realistic, portraiture style. Nelson has a strong presence in popular culture, having designed album covers for Michael Jackson and Drake, as well as images for companies like Coca-Cola, Major League Baseball, and Dreamworks. Nelson found fame as a children’s book illustrator and author. Growing up in San Diego, he wanted to see more African American characters in the books he read, and that is why he often focuses on the African American experience in his art. When South African leader Nelson Mandela passed away, The New Yorker magazine asked Kadir Nelson to create their cover memorializing Mandela.