Just before International Women's Day I was approached by a publisher of women's comics to work on creating art for an existing script. The publishers later turned around and rejected my designs because the female character (a cancer patient) wasn't "sexy" enough and they wanted it to feel more like Frank Miller's Sin City (a comic book series Alan Moore once described as "unreconstructed misogyny".)
(rejected character designs)
I don't feel that female characters shouldn't be sexy. But it tends to be the default mode for depictions of women across the media, and I had hopes that a publisher of women's comics might want to create more three-dimensional female characters.
I've noticed some illustrators and comics artists beginning to develop the way they depict female characters - on some of the blogs I follow I've started to see people experimenting with drawing women with different body shapes and sizes, different face shapes and proportions. It's good for artists to stretch themselves in this way, and it's healthy for readers to have to relate to female characters beyond just thinking "she looks sexy".
There was an article in the Huff Post a while ago about this, setting out a non identikit challenge for artists. And Julia Scheele's work also left an impression on me.
On International Women's Day, I asked people on Twitter to tell me about the women who have inspired and influenced them, creating quick portraits in brush pen over the course of the morning.
(Should I have made them look sexier?)
Frida Kahlo, artist
Zora Neal Hurston, Anthropologist
Rosa Parks, civil rights activist
Caitlin Moran, broadcaster and columnist
Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space
Mary Wollstonecraft, writer, philosopher and advocate of women's rights
Agatha Christie, crime novelist and playwright