“It is my goal to paint beautiful images,” says illustrator Shane W. Evans. “Yet the subjects I depict are not always beautiful.” Such was the case for him when working on Doreen Rappaport’s No More! Stories and Songs of Slave Resistance, a powerful anthology that, he says, “allowed me a more personal look into one of the darkest moments in American history.”
A graduate of Syracuse University, Shane W. Evans has illustrated several children’s books, on which he has worked with the likes of basketball greats Shaquille O’Neal and Magic Johnson. He also illustrated Osceola: Memories of a Sharecropper’s Daughter, by Osceola Mays and Alan Govenar, which was honored as both a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book and an Orbis Pictus Honor Book for nonfiction. “Every time I put paint to brush, brush to canvas, it is a journey,” he notes. “Some journeys are pleasant; some not so pleasant. All are life lessons.” He says that his work on No More! “was a true labor of love. For me, No More! represents a history even deeper than the history taught to me as a young child. It gave me the opportunity to share in and appreciate the struggle of enslaved African Americans.”
Shane W. Evans has collaborated with Doreen Rappaport on two other books, one covering the African American experience from the time of the Emancipation to the dawn of the civil rights era, Free At Last! Stories and Songs of Emancipation, and the third in the trilogy, Nobody Gonna Turn Me ‘Round, about the civil rights era. Free At Last! also presented a trial to the artist. “As in No More!, I was faced with the challenge of making beautiful images out of images that are not always beautiful,” explains Shane W. Evans. “There are dark moments in American history—our story—that need to be told, need to be known, and very importantly, need to be seen. It has been a welcome challenge and honor to tell these stories in pictures.” Shane W. Evans’ artistic style, which was called “exquisitely soulful,” by Child magazine, was clearly up to the task.
When he is not illustrating children’s books, Shane W. Evans enjoys working in photography and other graphic arts and exploring furniture design. Shane W. Evans currently lives in Missouri.