This feature on Kofi Ofosu originally appeared on Citi Newsroom in October 2020. Parts of it have been republished here with slight edits.

Since the age of 10, Emmanuel Kofi Ofosu Sackey has been fascinated with comic books and cartoons. This, together with watching animations, inspired his decision to become a working professional in the art industry.

2020 marks five years since Emmanuel embarked on a career as a freelance character designer and illustrator for games and animation.

So far, he has done projects for DreamWorks Animation, Malaysian-based Mirayi studio, Ghanaian-based BZL Studio (run by Setor Fiadzigbey), Kola Studios (with longtime collaborator, Alfred Achiampong) and a number of other studios.

I was always into reading comics and watching cartoons when I came back home from school. I was mesmerized by the awesome storytelling and artworks and I wanted to be able to create those kinds of things as an adult. I started drawing a lot at home and in school and my family members and peers would commend me for the work I was creating.

This encouragement made me feel that maybe I had the talent for art and since then I never looked back.

Kofi Ofosu

Kofi Ofosu hopes to help elevate the art industry in Ghana and bring worldwide recognition to incredible digital art of Ghanaian and African origin. Through his craft, he also seeks to tell stories he’s created, and seeks to impact people positively through the imagery he creates.

“I also want to inspire people to chase after their dreams and unleash their God-given talents.”

He is currently working on a personal IP on volleyball called Smash Kings.

smash kings volleyball ip by Kofi Ofosu

In the early part of September 2020, Emmanuel was invited to speak as a panellist at an online art convention called Lightbox Expo. As part of the Expo, he also collaborated on a Black Panther-inspired artwork with other creatives from across the globe.

The Black Panther movie had a huge impact on me because it showed Black people in a very positive light. It showed me that black people can also be superheroes and that we can do great things when we set our minds to it. The movie made me very proud to be African.

Kofi Ofosu on Black Panther

Social media has played an important role in helping Emmanuel showcase his work to a global audience. Emmanuel credits his social media usage as major contributor to him securing projects with some major studios like Netflix.

His social media handles are Kofi Ofosu and @braku_star.

My full name is Emmanuel Kofi Ofosu Sackey. I decided to go with Kofi Ofosu because I love the African feel of that part of my name. Also, braku_star is a nickname I borrowed from my favourite anime character (from Soul Eater) who goes by the name Black Star. He is very confident and hardworking and these are qualities I want to embody.

Emmanuel Kofi Ofosu Sackey

“My relationship with these creative studios began as a result of the work I post on my social media pages. Because I have been consistently posting my work online for the past couple of years I caught the attention of recruiters from a number of studios, including DreamWorks and Netflix, and they engaged me for freelance work”.

skater boi character design by Kofi Ofosu
Skaterboy Character design by Emmanuel Kofi Ofosu Sackey

When asked how Africa can make the most out of its creative industry, and nurture world-class talents, he had this to say.

The only way we can make the most out of our creative industry is to encourage and equip the young ones who have creative inclinations. When I started, I wished I had access to more resources and individuals that could help me along my journey, nevertheless, despite the deficiencies I’m grateful that things still worked out in my favour. There are so many creative kids out there who will be able to do great things provided they are encouraged and given the necessary resources and education.

Emmanuel is however optimistic about the future for African illustrators, creatives and designers.

“I think the future for African creatives is truly bright. The winds of change are blowing and we just need to position ourselves so we can make the best use of the incoming opportunities. My dream for Africa is for us to rise up and take our rightful place on the international stage. We should educate and develop ourselves as a people and advance Africa so that posterity has a great future they can inherit.”

Emmanuel looks forward to a promising future and is grateful for the journey so far. Not just that, he’s also sharing everything he’s learned in his creative career so far via his podcast, Fiko’s corner.

I want to be remembered as a change maker in the art industry of Africa.

With everything we’ve seen from Kofi so far, he’s on track to doing just that.

Read the full feature over at Citi Newsroom.

Read our Bahari Blue art feature on Kofi here.

Check out Kofi on Instagram, Twitter, Behance and ArtStation.