Juneteenth is almost here, and Apple is highlighting the event with a new press release showcasing the work of illustrator, comic creator, and scholar Ajuan Mance. In celebration of the upcoming holiday, Mance is revisiting drawings she’s previously created with iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, titled “The Ancestors’ Juneteenth.”
Juneteenth is the day when legally all of America saw Black people the way they’d always seen themselves: as human beings with the right to be free. My hope is that pairing Black people together from throughout our history and setting them in the present will be a symbol of unity that demonstrates that no matter how spread across the nation we are, even with divided historical experiences of Civil War and freedom, we are one community.
Reimagining historical Black figures with iPad Pro
In the series of Juneteenth creations on iPad Pro, Mance places historical Black figures in present-day settings. The aim of her work is to reflect on the journey of Black people from the 1800s until now. As a work of fiction, Mance reimagines what the historical figures would be like now; who their friends would be, or even what books they’d read.
My goal is to really humanize them. These are esteemed people who I respect, but I also think we need to understand them and experience them as people who walked the earth the same way that we do. That creates a sense of intimacy with our history that I find really empowering and inspiring.
Mance’s process of creating these stunning images utilizes Adobe Scan, Procreate, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Fresco. Prior to using an iPad Pro, she would use a light table and analog tools to create her Juneteenth portraits.
iPad and Apple Pencil make it easy for me to draw, manipulate, and add color and effects at the micro level, she says. So the closer people look, the more they will see.
Mance began using iPad Pro and Apple Pencil while teaching a college-level digital art class. The process has not only streamlined her workflow but also those of her students. She explained the iPad has made art accessible to aspiring artists of varying skill sets. No matter what program they’re working with, the…