Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Known and suspected colorblind artists - a list

Frank Dunne cartoon of a Digger
 Known and Suspected! That makes us sound sinister, doesn't it?

Here is a listing of some artists who are colorblind—gleaned from a few days research on the Internet. It is admittedly a limited list for several reasons. First, the short amount of time I did the research in. Second, the list is, for the most part, limited to artists willing to admit that they are colorblind. Third, I have restricted the list to artists with a web presence so you can see their art.

This listing is for all those colorblind people interested in art and wondering how (or if) they can fit into the world of art. I was once in that same situation.

I did not plan on becoming an artist. In fact, after realizing in high school that I was partially colorblind, I shied away from any activity that might involve using color. I stumbled into art during college, taking an introductory art class and enjoying it immensely. I realized that the process of art was in a way, much like the process of science—a system to view and explore the world.

I was hooked on art and could not give it up. However, I still wondered if I could make it as a colorblind artist. This was 40 years ago and I felt like I must be the only person struggling with this issue. I did not realize that colorblind people have been working in the arts for—well probably as long as there has been art.

This list mostly includes living artists. I have also listed some deceased artists known and suspected to have been colorblind. A word of caution though—much of the evidence for a deceased artist having been colorblind is circumstantial, usually based on their use of a restricted color palette. However, there are other reasons for using restricted color palettes besides colorblindness. I think the point to take away is that any artist can be successful using a restricted palette.

Anyway, for what it is worth, here is the list:

Saeed Akhtar (1938-) Contemporary Pakastani figurative painter, instructor at National Arts College in Lahore, Pakistan
Caesar D. Alzate Jr. – Contemporary California artist, works primarily as a caricature artist.

Wayne Ashworth – Contemporary English illustrator and painter

Arthur Burdett Frost (1851-1928) -- American illustrator and painter. Known to be colorblind.

John Lindley Byrne (1950-),  British-born Canadian American comic book author and artist. Has worked on some of most iconic superhero series such as X-men and Hellboy.

Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) – French Post-Impressionist painter. Diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 51 and probably developed diabetic retinopathy, which can cause red-/green colorblindness.
John Constable (1776-1837) – English landscape painter. Suspected of being colorblind.

David M. Cook -- contemporary NYC graphic artist

Royce Deans – Contemporary Michigan abstract and figurative painter
Ethan Findley Diehl (1927- ) – Contemporary Texas figurative painter

Frank Dunne  (1898-1936) – Australian cartoonist and illustrator. Known to have been colorblind.

Tony Garner – Contemporary English landscape painter

Jamie Hayes – Contemporary New Orleans illustrator and painter

Justin Heller  – Contemporary New Jersey abstract painter

Ferdinand Leger (1881-1955) – French Cubist and Modernist painter. Suspected of being colorblind.
Tennessee Loveless -- Contemporary California Pop/Op artist

Paul Manship (1886-1966)--American Art Deco sculptor, Known to be colorblind.

 Charles Meryon (1821-1868) -- French printmaker. Known to be red/green colorblind
Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) – Dutch abstract painter. Suspected of being colorblind.

Clifton Ernest Pugh (1924–1990) – Australian landscape and figurative artist. Known to have been colorblind.
Lloyd Rees (1895-1988) - Australian landscape painter, suspected of being colorblind
Greg Schwab – Contemporary Lousianna wildlife and landscape painter

Christopher Smart – Contemporary Florida marine painter

Nick G. Smith – Contemporary Texas watercolor and landscape painter

Aaron Sutton – Contemporary Florida landscape painter

Mark Teel – contemporary Kansas comic book artist and art teacher

Albert Uderzo (1927-) – Contemprary French illustrator of Asterix comics.

Martha Weston (1947-2003) – California  illustrator, illustrated over 60 children’s books

If you know of any other colorblind artists that should be on my list let me know.


  1. Jens Johansen, Paul Henry - color defiency, Paul Manship, read Lanthony

    1. Thank you for your input. I'll add the artists to my list. I have read bits and pieces of Lanthony's "Art and Ophthalmology" via Google Books, but the book itself is rather expensive and hard to find in libraries.

    2. i wanted to say thank you for including me in this list. it some how makes me feel like i may have done something with myself to even be included with all of these fine folks.

      david m cook

  2. thanks~ this is so encouraging
    since im also partially color blind
    and i aimed to take up art course

  3. Mike Allred, creator of MADMAN comics

  4. Thanks for creating this list! As a red/green colorblind artist (and one of the rare females with this impairment), it's heartening to know that I'm not entirely alone in my struggles with color.