Mervin Kaunda is a gifted illustrator, character designer and animator whose work evokes feel-good, inspirational and simply adorable energy. He’s the recipient of the Michigan Kalamazoo Animation and Film Festival award for best animation. Mervin’s work centres black females – children and adult alike – and is inspired primarily by fantasy, sci-fi while taking some cues from pop-culture.

Kaunda is inspired by people and this is reflected in his art.

Kaunda said that throughout his life he has been intrigued with the “whole idea of people everywhere.”

Michigan Live

His art primarily features portraits of black girls, some men and occasionally, family. One of the things Mervin Kaunda absolutely gets right in his art is his portrayal of black hair and its various textures. He beautifully showcases braids, afros and knots so skillfully, a testament to his Zambian roots.

His LinkedIn mentions he’s the cofounder of African Digital Canvas but I couldn’t find much information on it beyond this.

I had a blast browsing through his art and so will you.


Masai girl by Mervin Kaunda via Shannon Associates
Masai girl by Mervin Kaunda via Shannon Associates
Some Late Night Reading by Mervin Kaunda via ArtStation
Some Late Night Reading via ArtStation
Stewardess illustration by Mervin
Stewardess aboard Intergalactic Spacelines
Madison - Artwork done for Mervin Kaunda's youngest client at the time for her youtube channel
Madison – Artwork done for Mervin’s youngest client at the time for her youtube channel
Katie by Mervin Kaunda via ArtStation
Katie via ArtStation
Illustration of a black father with his daughter with a scowl on his face and a baby boy reaching for father's mug of cocoa beverage. Illustration by Mervin Kaunda
Dad’s Dynamite
Shrapnel by Mervin Kaunda
Yellow by Mervin Kaunda
Little Mermaid (Halle) by Mervin Kaunda

See more of Mervin Kaunda’s’ work on ArtStation, Facebook and Instagram.

Bahari Blue curated by Squid Mag's Kadi Yao Tay and Kofi Sydney Asare
Bahari Blue Series

Bahari Blue is Squid Mag’s Kadi Yao Tay and Kofi Sydney Asare’s scrapbook of favourite African (including the diaspora sometimes) artists they love, are inspired by and believe the whole world needs to know about.

So far we’ve featured Jayson Mars, Venus BambisaSalim BusuruJuni BaPoka ArtsNatasha NayoHanson AkatttiCollyde Prime, Hélio Januário, Mika Hirwa, Mogau Kekana, Welbie, Kobina Taylor, Stanley Obende, Princess Karibo, Segun Samson and Fanuel Leul. See all the Bahari Blue features here.