The XX Factor

Feast Your Eyes on Women Who Draw, a New Site That Spotlights Female Illustrators

So much pretty! A screencap of the site upon launch.

Women Who Draw

Draw your attention this way: Women Who Draw is a new online directory that highlights the work of a diverse group of female illustrators, and it deserves your eyeballs. The site was built as a way to put women’s work in front of art directors, editors, and others in the position to hire illustrators. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret: You will probably enjoy browsing through these women’s drawings regardless of your professional needs.

As an admirer of the artful, feminine illustrations in publications like Lenny Letter, I think that for me modern female illustrators embody the envy of the Cut’s “I Like This Bitch’s Life” series—I love many of these illustration bitches’ photogenic, art-directed lives on Instagram and, truth be told, kind of wish I could be one of them. They make beautiful, analog, pen-and-paper art relevant in the year 2016! But the Women Who Draw site shows that despite appearances, female illustrators sometimes face an uphill battle in getting their work out there. The site’s about page says it was founded by an anonymous group of female illustrators “[i]n response to the disproportionately low number of women illustrators commissioned and hired by some prominent U.S. publications.” The about page also notes that the site aims to include trans and gender-nonconforming artists among its ranks. Artists who sign up are able to further specify how they identify in terms of race/ethnicity, religion, and more as a way to help art directors find people of other less-visible statuses. Women Who Draw joins similarly minded projects like the Cartoonists of Color Database, the Queer Cartoonists Database, and Writers of Color.

The site is already earning praise from design-world luminaries like Grace Bonney on Twitter—which may explain why it went offline briefly on Monday after its launch: too many people trying to enjoy women’s illustrations! Never has a server being overwhelmed made me feel so psyched!

Incidentally, when you Google-search “women who draw,” a bunch of tennis stuff comes up. This isn’t so much an issue of inequality as it is search-engine optimization, but let’s change this too while we’re at it. Ugh, sports, ya know? Women drawing, in the illustration sense as opposed to the tennis sense (whatever that is) is the last thing that should be invisible out there.