Illustrated Tributes to Female Artists, by Female Artists

Here's how some of our favorite illustrators paid homage to the artists they look up to.

Since it's International Women's Day, we had our favorite female cartoonists do portraits and tell us about their favorite women artists.

Anna Haifisch - Amelie von Wulffen

"Amelie von Wulffen paints moments of artistic and social stress like nobody else does. I feel so close to her work because I deal with a similar theme in my comic series, The Artist. But I am a cartoonist. I need words and drawings. Von Wulffen is a painter. She is able to put it all so well in one picture. Please look at her series of drawings, This is how it happened. First you laugh, and then you cough." Follow Anna Haifisch on Instagram and Amelie von Wulffen on her gallery's website.


Valentine Gallardo - Phoebe Gloeckner

"Phoebe Gloeckner is an American artist mostly known for A Child's Life and The Diary of a Teenage Girl, which was recently turned into a movie. She is important to me because her work deals with what it's like to grow up as a girl. There aren't many coming-of-age stories that feature teenage girls, especially not ones that talk about sexuality. Did you know that in French, The Diary of a Teenage Girl was translated to Vite, trop vite ('Fast, Too Fast')? I think that's already a judgment on a girl dealing with her sexuality. I really like Diary because it cleverly combines writing, comics, and illustrations." Check out Valentine Gallardo's work on her website and on Instagram, and follow Phoebe Gloeckner on Twitter.

Alabaster Pizzo - Tove Jansson

"Although they're popular in Europe, I didn't discover Tove Jansson's The Moomins until my first year of college. I was drawn to the aesthetics of the comics initially, but enjoyed the content of the stories as well. The Moomins live carefree, simple lives close to nature, which is how Jansson lived, although she was prolifically productive. She and her lifelong partner Tuulikki Pietilä, herself a graphic artist, lived together in a little house on an island off the coast of Finland and shot a few self-made documentaries about their cute life together. The Moomins are nice to each other and to strangers and in the stories you can find many allegories for tolerance. No mistake made by a character is completely catastrophic. Her characters are still world-popular and have been made into an animated TV show and a theme park, and I pretty much wanna have the same life she did." Follow Alabaster Pizzo on Instagram and see Tove Jansson's work on her website.


Penelope Gazin - Hellen Jo

"Hellen Jo is one of my favorite artists because she is sweet, sassy, and cute, just like her artwork. Images of tough girl gangs have been very 'on trend' lately, but Jo was doing it before it was cool. Her style has been knocked off a lot but she made a Facebook post a few years ago that has always stayed with me. I might be butchering her words but it was something to the effect of, 'If you're making good art, people will copy and rip you off, it just comes with the territory. I use it as a constant reminder to continue to evolve as an artist so that others have to be constantly trying to keep up with me.' I've repeated her words to many other artists who were being tortured by the fact that mediocre artists were straight-up copying their style. I love this outlook and have adopted it wholeheartedly. She's certainly influenced my work to a degree, but hopefully not in an overly obvious way." Follow Penelope Gazin on Instagram and Hellen Jo on her website.

Inés Estrada - Tara Booth

"I first came across Tara Booth through Kuš! Comics, when they published her mini-comic, Unwell. Her work immediately struck me as beautiful and original. But then I read it and it wasn't just that, it was also really clever and funny. In 2017, we had a show together at Brainfreeze Comics in Nashville and from that we became good friends. It's really cool when you admire someone's work and then you meet them and they turn out to be lovely people too, that doesn't always happen!" Follow Inés Estrada and Tara Booth on Instagram.


Ida Neverdahl - Q Hayashida

"Q Hayashida is the creator of one of my favorite mangas of all time, Dorohedoro. It’s about a man named Kaiman who lives in a shitty world plagued with magicians from another world who come there to use regular humans as practice specimens for their sinister magic. For example, Kaiman gets his head turned into that of a lizard by a magic user, and loses all his memories. A lot of the plot centers around Kaiman trying to figure out who he is, and it’s all pretty mysterious. Likewise Q Hayashida is mysterious to me and there’s not a lot of info on her, as with many mangakas. All I know is that she churns out one of the most badass, intriguing, and cool mangas I know, and I dig her for it. All the girls in the manga are thicc and beat people up, which is neat. (Well, except for one who is a bit scrawny.) The manga is drawn in a seinen, action-y, and gritty style, but it shines through that a fellow girl made this comic because it’s sensible to both the male and female characters without sexualizing them too much or falling into boring female character tropes. All characters kick ass equally much." Follow Ida Neverdahl on Instagram and Q Hayashida on her website.

Anya Davidson - Ramona Fradon

"Ramona Fradon, born in 1926, graduated from the Parsons School of Design, and by 1950 she was working steadily as a cartoonist, at times for Marvel, but primarily for DC, doing distinctive runs on Aquaman, Super Friends, Plastic Man, and House of Mystery, among many other titles. In 1965, she co-created Metamorpho, the Element Man, with writer Bob Haney, but even when illustrating other artists' characters, her style was distinctive for its boldness and clarity, and although she left comics for seven years to raise her daughter, she continued working for her entire adult life. Fradon retired from illustration in 1995, and was inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame in 2006. Do yourself a favor and look up her black-and-white pages on Heritage Auction's website—I guarantee you have never seen better draftsmanship or composition. Fradon made perfect American comics, far better than most men, at a time when women worked in the comics industry as colorists but almost never as artists." Follow Anya Davidson on Twitter and see original art by Ramona Fradon on Catskill Comics.

[Ed. note: If you're in the New York area, you can meet Ramona Fradon at Big Apple Con on April 14 and 15.]

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