In celebration of “Juneteeth”, Apple honored the unique “The Ancestors’ Juneteenth” series of digital drawings created by illustrator, comic creator, and scholar Ajuan Mance on her iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil.
Mance revisited historic Black figures for her series and placed them in present-day settings to represent the journey of Black people in achieving their basic human rights from the 19th to the 21st century.
In June 2021, U.S President Joe Biden declared June 19 a national holiday to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved African Americans and the end of slavery in the United States through an order passed by general Gordon Granger in 1865. The decision was the manifestation of all the physical, emotional, social, and political challenges and sacrifices of Black leaders in pursuit of winning the right to “move freely through their world”.
iPad and Apple Pencil enabled Mance to create a speculative fiction for Juneteenth to “humanize” historical Black figures
Mance explained that the iPad and Apple Pencil made her work for the “The Ancestors’ Juneteenth” series easier; she simply captured an image of her drawing on paper on her iPad Pro and then, used the Apple Pencil to add colors. Previously she had to complete the workflow by using a light table and analog tools.
Inspired by the courage and achievements of Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks, Mance reimagined their lives in contemporary times for her Juneteenth series. Her primary focus was to “humanize” them by drawing their features in a “light and mood uncommon to the way the world knows them” and placing them at a picnic on the banks of the Combahee River.
As an artist who often works on a larger scale, Mance appreciates the ability to zoom all the way in on a snippet of a giant canvas on iPad Pro. “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.”
She also appreciated the seamless experience an iPad delivers, especially to creators like herself who can carry out multiple tasks on a single device.
“iPad has put the production of art into the hands of everyone,” Mance continues. “Voices and aesthetic visions are getting out there that would not have been able to reach a broad audience just 10 or 15 years ago.”