Day 26: Charly Palmer

Love, family, and history are common themes in Charly Palmer’s vibrant works. With bold colors and broad brush strokes, Palmer explores what it means to be Black. Prior to entering the field of children’s publishing, this Atlanta based artist, graphic designer, and illustrator ran a successful design studio. Fortune 500 companies his clientele. In addition, Palmer has taught design, illustration, and painting at Spelman College.

Palmer’s artwork is held in many public and private collections. He was commissioned for the 1996 Olympics and the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, in addition to creating artwork for Fisk and Howard Universities. He completed a project with the Green Bay Packers, which features art for the Lambeau Stadium.

Born in Fayette, Alabama and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and received a degree from the American Academy of Art.

Palmer made his debut in children’s books with There’s A Dragon In My Closet” (Denene Millner Books), and Mama Africa!: How Miriam Makeba Spread Hope with Her Song” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). The latter garnered starred reviews from Kirkus and The Horn Book, in addition to earning a Coretta Scott King John Steptoe New Talent Award for Illustration.

As a child, Palmer was captivated by the illustrations in Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day.” He became inspired by the random geometric shapes and layered textures of Keats’ work. That inspiration lead to Palmer’s development of his own unique art style—bold, expressive, textured.

On the horizon, be on the lookout for his illustrations in the upcoming book, My Rainy Day Rocket Ship” (Denene Millner Books, 2020), which pairs a young African American boy with a rainy afternoon and a vivid imagination. The cover’s dreamy!

See more of his artwork on his website or Pinterest page.



3 thoughts on “Day 26: Charly Palmer

  1. I love that there’s so much going on in each of these paintings – and I love that there’s a dog just kind of peeking out in both illustrations of little boys. ☺

  2. Good Morning. My name is David Valdes and I am the Alumni Associate for Milwaukee Public Schools, (MPS). I saw the story regarding the Time magazine and, on behalf of the MPS Proud Family, I wanted to extend a hearty congratulations to Alumnus Mr. Palmer. I would love to do a small story that would be posted on the MPS Alumni Hub web page about Charly and was wondering if I could have permission to use a couple of pictures of Mr. Palmer at work or in his studio.
    I can be reached at or by phone in Milwaukee. I know that Mr. Palmer now lives in Atlanta but I would appreciate if you could pass this on to him

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