Tag Archives: comics

Women Cartoonists Draw Their Bodies

Laurie and Debbie say:

We were absolutely delighted with this feature by Kristen Radtke at Buzzfeed, in which she asked 23 cartoonists to draw their own bodies, each followed by a short statement from the artist. Radtke obviously made brilliant choices. You have to look at the entire linked page to see the phenomenal variety, both in artistic style and social statement.


“In my early comics, all of my girl characters were super idealized and cute — they looked how I wished I could look.”Megan Kelso

Here’s most of Radtke’s text for her article:

…The comic’s industry was and remains exceedingly male-dominated. From R. Crumb, one of the most celebrated comics artists of all time, and his often violent depiction of women, rendered as grotesque, over-accentuated commodities, to the hypersexualized, bra-breaking breasts and quivering thighs of superhero comics, most female bodies in graphic form are enough to make Barbie look realistic.

So what happens when women draw their own bodies in a medium that has represented them so poorly? While graphic books published by men each year still outnumber those by women, the exclusionary landscape of American comics has been called into question. From blockbuster successes like Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, to rising indie artists and vibrant online communities, female cartoonists are producing some of the most exciting work in the genre.


“I’m just trying to draw people in a humane, mostly unsentimental way that reflects the tone of my stories. I find it hard to draw people ‘pretty’ for the most part. I like all the lumps and bumps.”Lauren Weinstein


“It’s challenging to be part of an industry where it’s still a novelty that women are cartoonists… Everyone deserves to see themselves reflected in the media they consume.”Nicole J Georges

We can’t remember when we’ve had a harder time picking a few representative images out of a gallery. Virtually all of the choices are awesome, and awesomely different from each other. They make you want to spend hours exploring the websites and work of the cartoonists whose work you know and the ones whose work you don’t know.

When women are encouraged to draw, comment on, and represent our own bodies, amazing things happen. And when the women whose work is shown are this talented, it’s even better.

Hey, Kristen Radtke! What do you think would happen if you did the same thing with male cartoonists drawing their own bodies?

Realistic Tits

Debbie says:

Buttoven has some advice for budding artists:

many quick line drawings of realistic women's breasts, with text

Comics are notorious for drawing women’s breasts in unrealistic and implausible ways. There are always the “perfect” boobs, the ones that are shaped like perfect half-circles and never move or sway; there are the ones where the artist apparently didn’t think that “melons” was a metaphor; there are the ones in the wrong place (I’ll never forget a comic I saw in the 1980s where the women’s breasts were all located just above and inside their armpits, somewhere on the flat area of the shoulderblade.)

Comic-Con 2011 ended less than a week ago, and I can’t help but imagine that Buttoven was there (with 125,000 other people!), and saw more unrealistic ta-tas than she (I’m guessing) could stand. Her drawing reads like a simultaneously humorous and useful list of “what I saw that was wrong”: I especially like “Nipples are never on top of the breast,” “An exposed tit is like a teardrop, NOT a water balloon,” and “Boobs will separate if a woman is laying on her back.”

The drawing says “This isn’t the law of boobs,” but you know what? It isn’t the law of boobs like “the law that murder is a crime” but it is the law of boobs like a scientific law: accurate, reliable, and reflects observed fact.

There are at least two good reasons to draw tits correctly: first, it makes your drawings better, and second, it helps us appreciate our bodies. Buttoven hasn’t replicated Tee Corinne’s phenomenal Cunt Coloring Book; she’s adding a little to that work, however, and I thank her.