Comically misunderstood

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Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been drawing. From an early age I decided I want to be an artist. I am still pursuing this dream.

In high school, people knew me as the “artsy kid”. I was the only one interested in art in my grade, which didn’t bother me since it made me unique.

Throughout high school, people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said I wanted to be an artist and do comics (like Dead Pool, and Batman kind of comics). The general response would be, “But what about children’s books? I think you’d be really good at those.”

1. I (really) don’t like children

2. I like to write and draw more serious stuff.

Senior year came, and people were sharing what colleges they applied to along with their majors. When asked, I said I applied to one of the best art schools of the US and hoped to major in Illustration. “Oh, so you’re going to do children’s books?” Uhm. Still no…

In addition to having to being fit into a female artist stereotype, I was talking to a male friend of mine, telling him about how it bothers me that people think I should write and/or illustrate books for children and how that’s quite the opposite of what I want to do. He asked, “Well, if you did write comics, what would you write about? High school girls in love?” When I told him no, he then said, “Maybe you would be better off writing children’s books”.
It must be #MFIF because I could not be capable of making serious comics and should do things for children who I apparently adore.

Artsy Kid, US

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34 Responses to “Comically misunderstood”

  1. Jessica Says:

    I think she means ‘Deadpool.’

  2. Mara Says:

    As a female comic book fan, I really hope you do in fact end up illustrating and/or writing comics.

    There aren’t many women in comics, which is really sad. I hope I end up reading/viewing your work!!

  3. Comritza Says:

    Just hand them a stack of Becky Cloonan’s work and walk away. They’ll (hopefully) figure out that vaginas don’t preclude you from being a major badass in the comic industry.

  4. Barbara P Says:

    From a random internet stranger: Please stick with your true dream! The world will be better for it.

  5. Alibelle Says:

    Things used to be like that for me too, but in university art classes the students get cut down quickly until the serious students who care about their art are left and you get more equal footing.

  6. Grafton Says:

    Make comics because you want to.

    But don’t refuse to illustrate children’s books on the assumption that they are not serious, or that liking children is a requirement for that work. Dear Mili and Outside Over There are dead serious and beautiful and I’m pretty sure Sendak doesn’t spend a lot of time with kids.

    This doesn’t address the sexist assumption that women like children and don’t like comic books, but y’know, I wonder if young artists are devaluing the work of illustrating for children’s literature as “not serious” because it’s “women’s work.”

    • Brittany-Ann Says:

      Now, I’m a writer, and so this may not transfer over to art, but there are tiers, levels of success, a hierarchy of sorts of writing–and some writing will not be taken seriously, and if you do it, you will most likely have ruined your chances in other ares. If you self-publish, forget ever getting a publishing house to publish your work. If you publish a romance novel, you’re stuck in that genre. Same for fantasy. And children’s literature. It may be the same in illustration. I don’t know. But there’s a pretty good chance.

      • Alibelle Says:

        I can think of some examples in art where this isn’t true, but they’re all men so you’re pretty on the nose here. Also she’s going to have a lot of trouble breaking into comics, so if that’s what she wants to do she can’t really waste any time with children’s books. Especially considering the fact that having illustrated a kid’s book will act as an extra hurdle for her.

        But Grafton is right that she could illustrate kid’s books and do some really awesome shit with them, they are pretty devalued when there is a lot of cool directions to head with them.

      • PharaohKatt Says:

        This is so true. If she decides to illustrate children’s books after breaking into comics (let’s say she gets an offer of รผber-moneys too good to refuse) it will be so much easier than if she goes into children’s books and then tries to break into comics.
        I think I agree that it’s devalued because it’s “women’s work”, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s devalued.

    • jesurgislac Says:

      Way to miss the point, Grafton!

      • Alibelle Says:

        Grafton didn’t miss the point, he was making an equally valuable one and no one responding except you thought he was wrong or that he missed the point. We were just pointing out things he might not have considered.

      • Grafton Says:

        Thank you, Alibelle.

        And indeed. To repeat, make comics because you want to, and don’t make kids books because you don’t want to make kids books.

        Kids books can be serious art, and they don’t have to be made by people who like kids. Or read by them, as it happens. I buy some of them because they are beautiful.

        The risk of getting further typecast as a maker of kids books is one I’d not considered.

        It’s been a good ten years since I was really into comic books, but back then women were starting to enter the field and be taken seriously. Hopefully that’s continued and the wankers who’ve talked to Artsy this way don’t know the business.

  7. Gail Says:

    Go with your dreams.

  8. A Different Sam Says:

    Watchmen was obviously such a hit because Alan Moore was boiling over with testosterone when he wrote it. That’s the only reason.

    • Zee Says:

      I don’t think you actually understood the book if that’s what you think. o_O

      • PharaohKatt Says:

        I think that was the point. I think (correct me if I’m wrong) that A Different Sam was using sarcasm.

      • A Different Sam Says:

        Pro tip: If someone on this blog claims that some positive skill or accomplishment is caused purely by some masculine but completely unrelated trait, they’re probably being sarcastic.

  9. Zee Says:

    Ooo do something super dark like Sandman or Watchmen or V for Vendetta.

    • A Different Sam Says:

      If you thought that the primary positive attribute of Watchmen was that it was dark, perhaps it was YOU who did not actually understand it.

  10. Myrra Says:

    Much luck to you! It would be nice to see some more girls working on the stereotypically “male” comics that I spend most of my time reading. ๐Ÿ˜›

    I’m sorry you had such a bad experience. I was set on being an artist for many years, myself. Almost until the end of high school. I was never ridiculed in such a way. I guess I was extremely lucky. ):

  11. CM Says:

    Young female acquaintence: I wanna draw comics when I grow up!

    Me, before anyone else can interject: That sounds AWESOME! You do that and make lots of money and make yourself happy!

    YFA: *beams beatifically*

    I’ll say the same to you, but in a more grown up way ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. Nic Says:

    By all means follow your dreams and screw anybody who tries to tell you different. I got a similar vein of questioning as an undergrad history major. “Oh are you going to teach?” “No I am going to law school, plus I don’t like kids at all” It was sometimes fun to watch heads explode.

    You really don’t have to like kids to write or illustrate childrens books. Dr Suess was known not to really like children at all.

  13. XtinaS Says:

    @A Different Sam:

    If someone on this blog claims that some positive skill or accomplishment is caused purely by some masculine but completely unrelated trait, theyโ€™re probably being sarcastic.

    …ideally.  /cynical

    • A Different Sam Says:

      Kukukuku, true… though extra emphasizing words and phrases like “obviously” and “that’s the only reason” increase the probability of sarcasm.

  14. Luna_the_cat Says:

    http://lambiek.net/artists/r/renee_lily.htm

    http://lambiek.net/artists/f/funcken.htm

    http://lambiek.net/artists/m/montellier.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramona_Fradon

    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=125989

    …These are only a few, there are a lot more.

    Comics is still a male dominated field, but f*** those people who assume you can’t/won’t/shouldn’t do proper comics. You have plenty of precedent, and I look forward to seeing your talent in the field in the future. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. SkyHawk Says:

    This is stupid. Anyone can be a serious artist if they want to. That’s one of the things our country stands on, right? Do what you want to do no matter what anyone says or thinks? You go.

  16. Lori Says:

    I got that crap too before I broke into the business. I tell everyone to eat it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. throwthelunatic Says:

    I get the same asked of me as someone who is going to study English. ‘Oh, are you going into teaching?’ No. No I’m not. I’m going to go into PR, the career I decided on two years ago and not the one my private parts apparently dictate that I must go into because ‘I’d get the same holidays as my children.’

    Follow your dreams. You’re the one who will live with it!

    • Brittany-Ann Says:

      I got it too, oh lord, did I get it. Even though I’m alum, and OBVIOUSLY NOT TEACHING, I still get it.

    • H Says:

      Yepyepyep me too, another English (MA) student here. However, now I’ve decided that I would like to teach at a university level, and that confuses people. Some have seen it as a direct rejection of school teaching – ‘but don’t you like children?’ No I don’t like children, but that’s besides the point when school teaching was never on the table, and I want to be doing my own research.

      Also, big respect to the OP, good luck with your work. There’s an ever increasing number of female comic artists and the person you were talking to was just showing their ignorance when they assumed serious comics aren’t women’s business.

  18. Luna_the_cat Says:

    There have already been a number of tremendously talented women comics artists, from Lily Renee ( http://lambiek.net/artists/r/renee_lily.htm ) onwards. Look at http://bitchmagazine.org/browse/results/taxonomy%3A764 , for example. You are hardly without precedent — but I look forward to seeing your talent in the field. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Luna_the_cat Says:

    Oh, and for modern mainstream comics, I also refer you to look up Marie Severin, Devin Grayson and Ramona Fradon if you aren’t already aware of them.

  20. sara_rene Says:

    YAY for women in comics!! Big fat fracking YAY. I’m a HUGE comic book nerd (Deadpool and Batman included). I’m also a pretty blonde. You should see the looks I get in my comic booksstore every week. For the most part it’s fine, but every once in a while I get a weird comment. Anyway, the more the merrier.

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