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Illustration Interlude

2012 February 2

Hello, I’m Miranda and I am into illustration.

Illustration – or, as Wikipedia rather charmingly defines it, art created to elucidate or dictate sensual information – is really important to me. It’s basically what I would do all the time if I had my way. And I’m not the only arty person on Team BadRep, either, as you may know. One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about being part of this site, in fact, is the opportunities it has raised for me to discover new illustrators from around the world, including feminist Gond tribal art and east Indian Mithili art. As I write this, I’m awaiting my copy of Sita’s Ramayana from Tara Books, so I’ll be talking about that on here soon.

This, though, is a quick post about illustrators I’m especially digging this minute. Each of them has done some work that I found interesting and beautiful with the added dimension that it also got my feminist braincogs turning, or straight up made me smile.

I’ll probably come back to this topic every so often, but to start with here’s some people you should check out.

Tiitu Takalo

Cover art for Keha, in red and grey. A blonde young woman sits in the corner of a boxing ring, reflecting.Based in Finland, and mainly working in Finnish, but her art is powerful enough that you don’t need to be fluent in Finnish to love it. I interviewed her last year about her work and her feminism – read it here. I am fangirlishly proud that this site is on her links page, I can tell you! My favourite thing she’s done is probably Keha (The Ring) which is about growing up, falling in love, and boxing, but her zines are also beautiful.

Howard Hardiman

What Lengths would you be prepared to go to?
So I met Howard at a small press art fair Markgraf and I had a stall at, and I picked up issues 1 and 2 of his comic The Lengths. It’s now on issue 5. In his own words (quoted here), “…it’s a comic based around a series of interviews I did with male escorts working in London a few years ago and tells the story of Eddie, one young escort… who’s struggling with trying to do the job while craving both the adventure it offers him and the prospect of a relationship with an old friend”.

It is also very good. It’s a thoughtful, introspective comic, meandering poignantly through ideas around sex work and attitudes to it, selfhood and masculinities. I really like his decision to portray all the characters as human/dog hybrids. It just works.

On another tack, Howard’s also writing The Peckham Invalids, talking of which, scroll down!

(Oh, and according to his site bio, he’s been described by Simply Knitting magazine as “suave”. This has really only made us dig him more.)

Julia Scheele

There’s a lot about Julia’s work I love – short mini-comics like this and this, for example. I’d recommend following her work generally, but I’d particularly recommend The Peckham Invalids. I have issue 1, and it’s off to a promising start. The entire premise is a Bechdel-busting pile of badass, and features women from a range of ages and backgrounds, y’know, having their stories told, and stuff.
In 1906, as Britain surges on a tide of industrialisation driven by the brave innovations of the boldest and the best, Ms York has opened the doors of her modest home in Peckham. A group of poor, young, ill-educated, disabled and abandoned girls found their way to her and under her auspices are learning about the power they have feared the most in the world of oppression and stark inequality: their own.
So, to recap: a comic about disabled teenage superheroines in 1906 Peckham. My interest is hugely piqued, my hopes are high, and the art is looking great.

Cat Mariner

“I’m pretty sure that tiny, irrationally furious, pompously indignant animals are the funniest things on the planet.”

And who are we to argue?

Cat’s just launched her Etsy store this week, which is great, because the image above is surely the greatest alt-Valentines card imaginable (although Snails In Love… Totally Gross is surely a contender). I am particularly jealous of her command of facial expressions, and particularly enamoured of this image of the rainbow creatures that live in puddles.

I am in the process of loudly petitioning her to produce a picture book or a comic. Pray add your voice to the clamour, and purchase a card on your way out.

I’m going to stop there because it’s late and I have to sleep but please do check these people out, gift them your money and tell your friends about them.

There are more people I want to tell you about, but I think I’ll style it out into a second post!

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