6 Female Artists Creating Comics for Change

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Art has always been used as a tool for people to address important issues and advocate for the things they care about. But now, thanks to the Internet, artists have almost unlimited reach to communicate their cause to audiences. We’ve seen the power of Instagram to help amplify marginalized communities, self-produced web series that showcase diverse voices, and graphic novelists who deliver informative content with a stylized edge. CircleAround is spotlighting a selection of female comic artists and illustrators who take their talents to the next level in order to spread messages for social good.

1. Huda Fahmy: Depicting the Experiences of Muslim Women in America

Huda Fahmy was born and raised in Michigan and created a graphic novel after her sister encouraged her to create something based on personal experiences. From that, her first volume called Yes, I'm Hot in This: The Hilarious Truth About Life in a Hijab was born. Fahmy uses simple illustrations to convey larger messages about what it’s like to be a Muslim woman in America — attitudes around hijab and other garments, common stereotypes and internalized racism, and more. Her work informs but also entertains. That Can Be Arranged: A Muslim Love Story was released in 2020 and chronicles her experience finding love within her culture.

2. Joanna Thangiah: Feminism with no Filter

Based in Sydney, Australia, Joanna Thangiah addresses a multitude of issues in her pastel-colored illustrations. As a queer woman of color, she produces content that focuses on mental health, beauty standards, and portrays feminist topics in a whimsical way, using women of different colors and sizes as her subjects. She doesn't hold back with her art, which is as raw and real as it gets. Many of her followers also find comfort in the depictions of her characters, who are exaggerated versions of real-life body types — and dealing with body-image issues and stereotypes. Most recently, she has used her platform to drive support for various social justice campaigns, directing followers to donate to organizations fighting racism, sexism, and education inequality.

3. Dr. Jaye Gardiner: Bridging Art and Science for BIPOC Communities

A biology textbook isn’t exactly the most entertaining form of learning, but Dr. Jaye Gardiner presents the joys of learning science differently. In 2015, she decided to collaborate with a few of her graduate student friends to combine their love of science, art, nerdiness, and empowerment. Together, they started JKX Comics, “to increase scientific literacy, access, and exposure to a variety of STEM disciplines.” Many of Dr. Gardiner’s illustrations depict female and BIPOC scientists, who are often overlooked in traditional education curriculums, to help raise awareness for their contributions as well as help students feel empowered to pursue STEM subjects themselves.

4. Maureen “Marzi” Wilson: Giving a Voice to “Quiet Types"

“Shy” is a blanket word many people use to describe someone who is introverted, but an introverted person is so much more than that. Marzi Wilson uses her own experiences to create comics about emotional well-being, and she addresses everything from introvert sensitivities to anxiety and depression to agency over one’s own body. Recently, she’s provided illustrated advocacy resources on her Instagram account, offering ways for introverts (and everyone, really) to navigate social justice issues like racism, feminism, and LGBTQ+ rights.

5. Deena Mohamed: Illustrating Arab Culture and Triumphs

Deena Mohamed is an Egyptian illustrator, designer, and graphic novel artist who spotlights Arab culture and representation around the world. Her first comic series, Qahera, was published online when she was 18, and tells the story of “a visibly muslim Egyptian superhero that addresses social issues such as islamophobia and misogyny.” Since then, she has exhibited her work at galleries and museums in and around the Mediterranean and has also published a hardcopy graphic novel entitled Shubeik Lubeik. Her work appears in both Arabic and English, and she’s even been commissioned to design Google Doodles commemorating important contributions to Arabic culture. 

6. Mira Jacob: Amplifying Diversity in America

Mira Jacob combines her talents for design and writing to create striking illustrations and stories based on her life. Her graphic memoir, Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations, is based on conversations she had with friends and family about “race, color, sexuality, and, of course, love” after the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The graphic memoir received critical acclaim around the world and led her to publish her first novel, The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing. Since then, Jacob depicts her thoughts via illustration on her Instagram account, addressing such topics as intersectional feminism, diversity and national identity, and interracial family life. 

Tags: Gender Equality, Career, Career

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Written By

Katka Lapelosová

Katka is a writer from New York City, currently living in Belgrade, Serbia. See Full Bio

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