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Talented women: Comic book artists with wonderful styles

These marvelous cartoonists have definitely managed to stand out in the comics industry with their captivating drawings!

I remember the first time I read a comic. As I was waiting for my mom to pick me up from school, my 8-year-old self was looking around for a way to distract me. Suddenly, my eyes were caught by a detailed illustration with dazzling colors that was in the hands of one of my classmates.

Despite being an introvert, I dared to ask him what he was reading. To my surprise, he extended his arm to lend me what had charmed me. In front of me, a mighty woman in a colorful outfit was levitating a tank with her hands, thus managing to save a girl from being crushed. For an instant, it seemed as if I was looking at a photograph of a true event. The detail of each stroke in order to captivate the action was breathtaking.

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Let’s face it, comic books wouldn’t be the same without drawings. Whether it’s a cover, a short comic, or an entire story arc that turns into graphic novels, visual art is an essential part of the comic book industry.

Fortunately, over time, women have decided to change this situation, proving that comics are for everyone. In the case of drawings, there are talented female comic book artists who have managed to stand out by giving life to these illustrated stories with their wonderful techniques.

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Here are some of them:

Jenny Frison

Jenny Frison is an American comic book artist who has caught the attention of readers thanks to her remarkable cover designs. Jenny majored in illustration at Northern Illinois University and attended The Kubert School of Art.

A fun fact is that, during her student days, Frison decided to focus on cover art, so she quit before her third year to teach herself. This had to do with her interest in comics, which apparently began with a Wonder Woman storybook she that she had as little girl.

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Later on, Jenny met writer Tim Seeley, known for his Batman and G.I. Joe stories and being co-creator of Hack/Slash comic book series. It was with this last comic arc that Seeley asked Frison to draw a cover.

From there, Jenny has managed to work with various comic books, using her artistic process of pencil sketch followed by a tonal drawing on gray paper. Frison has received nominations, such as 2013′s “Best Cover Artist” and 2015′s Harvey Awards.

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Being a Wonder Woman fan, Jenny has had the opportunity to work with Gail Simone, a writer recognized for her captivating stories, including those of the champion of the Amazons.

Likewise, Jenny has drawn variant covers for almost all Wonder Woman’s Rebirth issues, from October 2016 to January 2019. A great example of a dream come true!

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Fiona Staples

Described as “one of the best artists working in the industry nowadays”, Fiona Staples has been nominated and awarded on multiple occasions like the Eisner, Harvey, and Joe Shuster Awards since 2010.

Fiona is a Canadian comic book artist who has constantly been upgrading her technique as well as her working materials. For example, at the beginning of her career, Staples would scan traditional drawings to later edit them digitally.

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Her process varies depending on the series she’s working on. For instance, she described her art with Saga, an epic space fantasy series, as “one intense, ongoing experiment.”

Fiona has always preferred to work digitally, using its advantage to produce a work of art that resembles those seen in video games and Japanese animation. Still, she has confessed that, when painting backgrounds, it “can be time-consuming, depending on the complexity of the environment”.

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Both comic book readers and reviewers have praised Staple’s drawing style, so much so that she was voted the #1 female comic book artist of all-time by readers of Comic Book Resources in 2015.

Why? Quoting Hayes’s review: “From the gorgeous painted cover all the way through the last page, she delivers in every way that’s artistically possible”.

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Sana Takeda

Sana Takeda is an award-winning Japanese illustrator and comic book artist. She has bestowed the Hugo and Eisner Award for her illustrations of Monstress, an epic fantasy comics series.

After having worked at the age of 20 as a designer at Sega Corp., creating pictures of soccer and NBA athletes, Sana became a freelance artist when she turned 25. Takeda decided to send her portfolio to C. B. Cebulski, an editor of Marvel, who hired her.

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From then on, Sana has been working on several projects for Marvel Comics, including X-Men, Venom, Civil War II, and Ms. Marvel. At the same time, Takeda has also created illustrations for games and children books.

Takeda has expressed that she has been inspired by renowned Japanese artists and their unique techniques, like Kuniyoshi Utagawa’s woodblock prints and Shigeru Mizuki’s mangas of yōkai (Japanese spirits).

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Since 2015, Sana has racked up 28 nominations and awards for his wonderful artwork— and counting!

Nicola Scott

You’d be surprised to know that this Australian comics artist had a brief acting career! In 2001, Nicola Scott decided that her true passion for the arts was in the world of comics.

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So, after thinking about it, she decided to give it a shot. Though she made her debut in by painting covers for a series titled The Watch in Australia, Nicola wanted to work with the big leagues.

Thus, in 2002, she traveled to the San Diego Comic-Con International to make contacts within the U.S. comics industry. A year later, Scott would obtain a job with Top Cow Comics, which would later lead her to being hired by DC Comics. And the rest, is history.

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In 2016, she and writer Greg Rucka were in charge of Wonder Woman’s relaunch for DC Comics Rebirth. Karen O’Brien declared that “Scott’s scrupulous attention to detail through this series [provided] a believable place for the Amazon’s values in the modern world that feels comfortable and never contrived”.

Nowadays, Nicola’s style has been praised by critics up to the point that she was compared to the one and only George Pérez, one of the OG comic book artists!

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Alitha E. Martinez

Alitha E. Martinez is an American comic book artist who’s been known as “a veteran of Marvel Comics”. In the mid 90s, Alitha attended the School of Visual Arts, and where, according to her, there were challenges that she had to faced for being the only female student in her cartooning classes.

“There were very few women drawing”, said Martinez in an interview. “Comics artist Amanda Connor was the only one that I knew of, and I am the first woman of color to draw flagship titles for both Marvel and DC Comics. But those obstacles that I faced are practically nonexistent today; there’s much more diversity now”.

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In 2018, Alitha won the Eisner Award for Best Limited Series, for her World of Wakanda’s art, and the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comic Book. In 2020, some of Martinez’s works were included in the exhibit Women in Comics: Looking Forward, Looking Back at the Society of Illustrators in New York City.

In the same interview mentioned above, when asked about her best advice for young women hoping to become comic book artists, Martinez stated the following:

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“Draw everyday — whether you are sick or well, even if it’s something small. It helps to build stamina and strengthens dedication and discipline. Draw no matter your mood or condition. And draw to the end because the well of creativity never runs dry”.

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