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Meet Darnell Johnson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Darnell Johnson.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
God blessed me with life February 7, 1987 in Miami, Florida. It was there that my love for making art started in elementary school. So blessed to have a mom who invested in me and my two sisters. She was made aware of my talent in art and did all that she could to help nurture my gift. By enrolling me into magnet arts schools in which I was encouraged by my teachers to explore and grow with my art. As a kid, I was into Saturday morning cartoons, comics, space, and video games. I would spend time drawing my own characters and making comics about them. In high school, I gained the confidence to provide my services as an artist. Inspired by my mom’s creative and entrepreneurial drive. I started to design business cards, draw and paint portraits, and airbrush shirts for friends and family.

When my senior year came, I knew I wanted to pursue art as a career. I only applied to art colleges. Being accepted to several art schools, I chose to go to Atlanta College of Art in 2005. It was only a year later Savannah College of Art and Design took over ACA and I attend SCAD Atlanta that following year. Where I majored in sequential art with a minor in painting. I graduated from SCAD Atlanta in 2010 with a BFA. A few months after graduating, I landed my first job as an artist at a gaming company in Georgia. I had officially started my adult life. It was challenging at times and I lost my way a little. It wasn’t until God allowed me to hit a wall. I grew up in the church and my mom did a great job raising me and my sisters. But I had to make the decision to build my own relationship with Jesus and walk with Him. I found a church home and got plugged in. It was there I met my amazing wife.

In our first year of marriage, I felt led to leave my job at the gaming company to work as a professional illustrator. My wife greatly supported me and believes in what God is doing in me. The beginning was rough. I made a lot of mistakes and we fell on hard times. God later opened the door for an opportunity for me to share, encourage and teach art to the youth throughout Georgia. I am currently living in Georgia illustrating my first picture book and me and my wife are expecting our first child. It only gets better regardless of what life throws at me and my family.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It hasn’t been a smooth ride and because of that, I grow each day and become a better me. I faced a lot of struggles. A big one was finding out who I was and being content in my identity. Not trying to be someone else and just be me. My voice and presence is valuable. 

Please tell us more about your art.
I am a professional illustrator looking to communicate a message of hope and love in my art. As well as help others, whether that’s children, companies, agencies, individuals, musicians, authors and brands communicate their voice through visual storytelling.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I’m excited to pursue painting murals that bring color hope and spread love throughout the world. I look forward to illustrating more children’s books and continuing to collaborate with others helping to visually communicate their stories.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Illustrations by Darnell Johnson; Photos by Omari Cudjoe

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