Cartoon Cleopatra with Color

Cartoon Cleopatra with Colors

I wanted to see how my cartoon-style Cleopatra would appear in color. This time, I chose to give her a “redbone” complexion, like that of the actress Gabrielle Union. Given her Macedonian ancestry (at least on her father’s side), Cleopatra VII most probably wouldn’t have been a super-dark girl, but I still prefer a browner look for her. Or maybe she’s collected a slight tan from the bright Alexandrian sun.

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Queen Nefertari with Palms Out

Nefertari with Palms Out

This is based on wall paintings from the tomb of the Egyptian Queen Nefertari (labeled Tomb QV66), which show her raising her arms up with open palms in adoration of the gods. However, my main reason for doing this was to practice coloring an African person’s palms accurately. If you look at the palms and soles of African and other darker-skinned people, you’ll notice they always have this distinctively paler, pinkish color. I say it’s time I stopped neglecting this when coloring my non-European characters.

Natufian Shaman

Natufian Shaman

This woman is a shaman from the Natufian culture, which occupied the Levantine region of the Middle East between 14-11,000 years ago. They would have lived as hunter-gatherers, but they appear to have settled down and built permanent villages instead of roaming the land as nomads, and they most probably were among the forerunners to the region’s earliest farmers. The woman’s “headband” is actually made of dentalium shells strung together, and the beads of her necklace would have been fashioned from bones and animal teeth; both are based on Natufian jewelry recovered from the site of El Wad in what is now Israel.

Rock of Gibraltar

Gibraltar Rock

Somewhere around 5000 BC, a Neolithic woman on the African coast gazes at the Rock of Gibraltar across the strait. One time, while my family and I were vacationing in Spain, we visited Gibraltar on the country’s southernmost tip and could see the African continent from its summit. Of course, northernmost Africa has become thoroughly assimilated into the Arab/Islamic and Mediterranean spheres of influence, but this woman would represent one of various indigenous peoples in the region during earlier times.

Jane Bond

Jane Bond

Film producer Barbara Broccoli recently suggested that the next actor to play the character of James Bond could be a woman, or alternatively a black man. I thought, “Why couldn’t we have a Bond who was both black and female?” And so my design for “Jane Bond” here was born. Of course, the Afro was inspired by a character from the old Bond films played by Gloria Hendry.

Swinging Over the Treetops

Swinging Over the Treetops

I know I’ve drawn a ton of African jungle girls over the years, but I don’t think I will ever tire of the archetype. The thing is that most of the jungle girl characters you see in media like comic books, movies, or literature are castaway European women, usually blondes. They’re rarely women of color whose people might actually be native to the jungle. That’s a major reason why I’ve taken it upon myself to draw all these African jungle heroines. Besides, as I always like to say, sexy jungle girls are just plain fun to draw.