My father always taught me to celebrate my African roots (and all the other ones too.) My great grandfather, Encarnación was a fisherman with very dark skin and the husband of my blue-eyed great grandmother. I never had the opportunity to meet him and great grandma didn’t talk much about him aside from telling me that she was his widow. I never even saw a picture of what this man looked like. From the stories my light-skinned and raven haired father told, I imagined the old man as being dark like coffee beans. The childish imagination opened my eyes to the beautiful rainbow of what people often call “black” skin.
Few things in comic art are as tough as painting the subtleties in the darkest skin without lightening it. Shades of black skin are so various and exquisite. To simply dismiss them as just being “brown” is an injustice and a gross lack of observation. Blue black, umber, sable, sienna, sepia, bronze, tan, chocolate, russet, dark chestnut, and more form a veritable rainbow of skin tones. Lighter skin tones as just as beautiful, but the sheer amount of layering necessary to create this dark rainbow makes it an especially exciting element to tackle.