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Martin Luther King’s life came to a tragic and early end when he was assassinated in 1968 at the age of only 39. The Nobel Prize winner for peace – the youngest person ever to have been awarded such accolade at the time- remains as one of the most important figures in American history; his work to ensure equal rights for the African-American community, resonates with us now as much as it did when he lived.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase

One of the most famous and empowering quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, guides us as we commemorate the 86th birthday of this unparalleled and truly committed civil rights leader. On this Martin Luther King’s day -a well-deserved tribute to one of our most iconic orators and activists-  we have collected some of the most outstanding artwork we could find to honor the man and the dream. We hope you find this beautiful collection of portrait designs as inspiring as we did:

#1 Martin Luther King Jr. design.By Lindsey Weigley.

Illustration originally created for Relevant Magazine. Found on dribbble.com along with other great editorial by this author.

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#2 One of the greatest. Project by Jeroen van Eerden.

A personal design project produced in Illustrator (CS5) & Photoshop (CS5).” that includes some of the most influential personalities of the last century, from Warhol to Ghandi. Worth the look, check out the full Behance.net gallery for more inspired designs and quotes.
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#3 Dr. King. By Josh Balleza.

A minimalist illustration that captures the essence of Dr. King’s most emblematic look. Check out this artist and other works at dribbble.com

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#4 Happy Martin Luther King Day. By Maztrone.

Accompanied by the wonderful caption “Being reminded of his role in the advancement of civil rights is the best way to realize that the fight for peace and human dignity is not over.” graphic designer and visual artist Maztrone, brings home the reason why MLK Day is important in American culture.

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#5 Martin Luther King Sketch. By OG Abel.

Fantastic lifelike sketch. The attention to detail and depth in the eyes is what originally drew us to this image. Take a look at the other outstanding illustrations and hand lettering examples in OG Abel’s dribbble.com portfolio.

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#6 Martin Luther King Mixed Media Art. By Dwayne Walker.

The artist describes it as “A mix media artwork of Luther King using graphite, water color and oil paint. There are civil rights quotes embedded into the American flag.  (watercolor) while the flag is morphing into his face (oil paint)“. Go take a look at Dwayne’s portfolio for close ups, all on Behance.net

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#7 Martin Luther King Special Section. By April Walczak.

2013 Cover for the Martin Luther King Jr. Annual Special Section of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a beautifully youthful and heartfelt approach to the image we have of Dr. King today. Perfect for the cover, which you can see at the creative’s Behance.net portfolio.

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#8 He Had a Dream. By Maxim Zudilkin.

Portraits series by Moscow based designer and illustrator. His work includes portraits of actors, politicians and even sports players. Take a look.

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#9 The Voice of Change. By Richie Stutler.

According to the artist “The piece was originally created as part of an assignment for a graphic illustration class” with the purpose of mixing “animals with history in a creative way.”  The artwork, later purchased by purchased by the ad agency ANIMAL in Pittsburgh, PA. uses butterflies to symbolize how Dr. King’s words had “the ability to create change”. Other pieces by this prolific designer explore illustration further. Visit his portfolio to see the full creative process behind this poster.

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#10 Luther King Portrait. By Pedro Molina.

Digital painting project from a Nicaragua based artist, whose caricatures of historic figures will mesmerize you. Visit his portfolio to look at the lovely Malala Yousafzai portrait that follows the same style as Dr. King’s here.

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#11 A Great Man Once Said… By Lavoi.

One of our favorites in this collection, talk about bringing words to life! This design takes light, shadow and typography design to another level. Posted on deviantart.com

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#12 MLK. Project by TheCharles.

¨We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. ¨ This digital artist started a challenge: one Martin Luther King Design a day, until MLK Day. In his words “Brave, innovative souls need to be honored.” – indeed!

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#13 I Have a Dream. By PhotoLife512.

Remarkable work with great use of color. Digital art well worth a visit, other portraits include Einstein and  even Phillip Seymor Hoffman.

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#14 The America That Should Be. By LifeisArt91.

The artist says that “this piece was made using the magnificent words of the ¨ I Have a Dream¨ speech.” With a call for unity and equality, the creative takes Dr. King’s message to heart.

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#15 ¨The Dream¨ Martin Luther King. By Jonas Fleuraime.

This project is also made out of the words on the “I have a Dream” speech, every single word is represented, the artist took great care in the use of color to highlight certain words and add depth to this 2D typography design. Visit the portfolio entry for a close up.

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Dr. King was one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century.  We wanted to honor the memory of one of America’s greatest civil rights leaders and visionaries by sharing a collection of fan art- a great way to celebrate Martin Luther King’s day! Did you find inspiration for your next design project? Feel free to share your thoughts about this collection and if you have your own, please contact us and we will feature your design!

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