Janelle Cummins: A Barbadian Artist


Courtesy of Janelle Cummins

Janelle Cummins is an artist and illustrator and first-generation immigrant.

By Meena Pradeep, Clague Middle School

Janelle Cummins is an illustrator and designer who currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. Cummins is from Barbados and is a first-generation immigrant. Cummins has worked with big companies such as Facebook and Apple.

“I create because I enjoy doing it,” Cummins said. “There is something deeply satisfying about producing something from nothing.”

Cummins’ art is this really beautiful illustration style. She remembers that she has been interested in creating for as long as she can, whether it is her drawing scenes in primary school or her drawing fashion illustrations.

“My earliest memories include a very shy 5/6 year old me, in primary school quietly drawing lots of cloud-filled, beach scenes with flying fish,” Cummings said. “In my teen years, I remember being into drawing fashion illustrations. My parents actually humored me by allowing me to design the dress I wore to my secondary school graduation.”

Cummins thinks that her biggest support and encouragement came from her parents.

“When I think of inspiration, I think of my parents who encouraged and supported me throughout my journey, whether that was helping me with my crazy craft projects in secondary school, financially getting me through an expensive four years of college, or supporting my difficult decision to change majors,” Cummins said.

Cummins says that some of her biggest challenges as an illustrator are whether she is creating for herself or for others.

“When I’m designing for products that are used globally by millions, I have to make sure that concepts are understood by all,” Cummins said. “I’m actively making design decisions with inclusivity and accessibility in mind. The challenge then lies in ensuring that I am armed with all the necessary information to make these informed choices. Now, my challenge with personal work is getting it finished! Projects tend to drag on without the urgency of deadlines.”

She thinks that her illustrations don’t communicate one single message throughout all.

“Projects I work on vary in their purpose so each message I hope to communicate might be different,” Cummins replied.  “I’m just really proud of how far I’ve come, and the opportunities I’ve gotten to create and grow with some of the world’s most innovative and global companies,” Cummins said.

This story was originally published on The Cougar Star on March 16, 2022.