Spotlight: iPad Artist Raheem “Ra” Nelson

MagMaker / August 11, 2014

My name is Raheem Nelson—Ra for short—and my medium is iPad art.

My love of drawing started when I was 5. My parents drew for me and at 7, I started doing it for myself and drawing, like, The Ninja Turtles. Eventually I got my confidence up and started drawing my own comic books. I love the discipline and process of making a comic book: writing, inking, coloring duties. I took it upon myself to do all those roles, and be a multifaceted artist from a young age.

I use Flipboard to keep me inspired and educated when it comes to the art world, to teach myself how the art market works through research, and by staying up-to-date on the intersection of the art and tech worlds. I love to read IGN, Artnet, and—it’s very educational and helpful for artists who don’t want to deal with day-to-day business dealings.

Flipboard is also great as a portfolio because I don’t have to be in the same room as someone—they can just flip, flip, flip through different pieces of mine.

Ra iPad Art by Ra

People that inspire me are David Kassan and Jorge Colombo—David dabbles in iPad art, and Jorge creates art on his iPhone, and does covers for the New Yorker on his iPad. I feel extremely lucky to have them as mentors.

A big influence is Austin Kleon. His book “Steal Like An Artist” was life-changing for me. I teach my students that, too. It’s OK to be influenced. We’re all remixes of our influences.