12 native Rad illustrators you should know

This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. In the context of the book world, “illustration” can refer to a lot of things: comics and graphic

This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

In the context of the book world, “illustration” can refer to a lot of things: comics and graphic novels, picture books and cover design, to begin with. This list highlights some of the many Indigenous illustrators and artists who share their stories through these mediums. I have included comic book makers, children’s book illustrators, and artists whose work is inspired and / or connected to books in other ways. These artists draw Indigenous superheroes and tell visual stories that draw on their cultures and life experiences. They illustrate children’s books that celebrate the rich history of the indigenous peoples of North America. They use art to imagine and create a future that includes Indigenous knowledge and traditions.

I mainly focused on artists with active Instagram accounts. Whether you’re a comic book fan, looking for a new enlightened kid, or just love gorgeous art, you’ll want to follow these rad creators. But I also encourage you to check out all of their websites. These artists and illustrators are involved in many interesting projects, from webcomics and zines to public art installations and multimedia art. I came across so many wonderful rabbit holes while working on this piece, and I hope you too, reading it.

Note: I have carried over the use of language artists use on their websites or Instagram pages to refer to their nation, tribe or culture.

Indigenous comic artists

Most of these artists work in several disciplines. But in addition to illustrations, digital art, video games, and multimedia projects, they all create compelling graphic stories featuring Indigenous characters.

Kayla shaggy

Kayla Shaggy is a Navajo / Ojibwe / Danish comic artist and creator. His work explores themes of myths, dreams and monsters. She is the author of The Sixth World, a comic strip about a Diné woman who lives on Mars with her grandmother that combines science fiction with Navajo mythology.

Weshoyot Alvitre

Weshoyot Alvitre is a Tongva and Scottish cartoonist and illustrator. She has worked in the comic book industry for over a decade and has contributed to many award-winning series including Umbrella Academy. She has collaborated with other Indigenous creators on several graphic novels, including Sixkiller, written by Lee Francis. His work also appears in Marvel’s Indigenous Voices # 1. His art extends beyond comics, however! She has also worked on video games and is the illustrator for the upcoming mid-level book Living ghosts and malicious monsters written by Dan SaSuWeh Jones.

Gregg Agreement

Gregg Deal is an Indigenous artist (numu). In his project “The Others”, he reclaims old comic book pages from the 1940s and 1950s that contain stereotypical and harmful images of Indigenous peoples. It replaces the dialogue with lyrics from punk songs that resonate with the stage and illuminate various aspects of Indigenous culture and addiction. In hot drawing, his goal is to “illustrate the complexity of Aboriginal existence”.

Arigon Starr

Arigon Starr is a musician, playwright, artist and comic book creator, and registered member of the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma. His weekly webcomic, Super indian, is about a Hubert Logan, an ordinary boy from the Reserve who becomes a superhero after eating rotten basic cheese. It is now available as a two-volume graphic novel.

Elizabeth The Thought

Elizabeth LaPensée, writer, artist, comic book creator and game designer, is Anishinaabe with a family of Bay Mills, Métis and Irish. She was the main designer of the game When rivers were paths, an educational adventure game about the impacts of colonization on Indigenous communities in the 1890s. She wrote and / or illustrated numerous comics, including several short plays in Cash back, a multimedia article published by the Yellowhead Institute on the history of stolen Indigenous lands in Canada.

Illustrators of Indigenous children’s books

This list includes just a few of the many talented Indigenous children’s book illustrators working today. If you’re looking for even more, these two lists of native children’s books are a good place to start.

We are water protectors

Michaela goade

Michaela Goade is an artist and children’s book illustrator and registered member of the Tlingit and Haida Indian tribes of Alaska. She has illustrated numerous children’s books, including award-winning Caldecott We are water protectors, written by Carole Lindstrom. Some of his other books include I sang to you from the stars written by Tasha Spillett-Sumner and Let’s go! A story of harvest by Hannah Lindoff. She sees her work as a way to connect with her culture and her homeland.

Multidisciplinary Indigenous artists and illustrators

The work of these Indigenous artists spans many fields, including the design of book covers, illustrations inspired by comics, paintings, and more.

Cover of When We Are Kind by Monique Gray Smith

Nicole neidhardt

Nicole Neidhardt is a Diné artist whose work includes illustrations, paintings, murals, books, and more. She illustrated the children’s book When we’re nice written by Monique Gray, and drew the cover illustration for the Fabulous Mid-Level News Anthology Approved ancestor edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith.

Shaun Beyale

Shaun Beyle is a Navajo artist and illustrator who uses a comic book style for his ink drawings and illustrations. He creates his own Indigenous superheroes, most notably Ayla The Monster Slayer (for many amazing illustrations of this character, check out his Instagram page below). His work combines his love for old-fashioned comics with his love for his Navajo culture.

One Eagle Soaring by Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd

Roy Henry Vickers

Roy Henry Vickers is a Canadian First Nations artist whose work includes prints and paintings, as well as several books. In collaboration with Robert Budd, he has created numerous illustrated books and hardback books for young children, including A is for Anemone and Hello hunchback!

Looking for more native illustrators? Check out these aboriginal comics. You might also be interested in reading about the history of Indigenous superheroes and the current state of Indigenous literature for children and teens.