“Women don’t do comics just for women”

Women have been creating comics since their inception. Now there’s a chance to see hundreds of works by women comic artists at the House of Illustration’s Comix Creatrix exhibition.

Laura Callaghan
By Laura Callaghan

With comic book hero Jessica Jones on our screens and women back in our A-level politics syllabus, the timing couldn’t be better for an exhibition of women comic artists from around the world.

Comix Creatrix will present original work from 100 women comic creators at London’s House of Illustration.

The theme is diversity and the exhibition will be arranged by subject matter, showcasing everything from historical comics to humorous satire to surreal zines. Even Tove Jansson’s Moomins will be making an appearance.

Faudet-Harrison is designing the exhibit and the consultancy intends to reflect the theme in the overall aesthetic.

House of Illustration curator Olivia Ahmad says that although some pieces, like Kripa Joshi’s Miss Moti comic, will feature women characters and gendered issues, some, like Nadine Redlich’s Ambient Comics, will not.

She says: “Women don’t do a certain type of comic and women don’t do comics just for women. I hope the show will prompt discussion about the medium and about women’s role in it.”

Although most of the work is from the last 15 years or so, the show will also give historical context. The earliest work dates back to 1775. It is by Mary Darly, who ran a print shop in the 18th century and is thought to have developed the first book on how to draw caricatures.

Ahmad says there is a growing interest in researching the forgotten women of the past and that it is important to include the “comic pioneers – women who were doing really great work in the medium from very early on”.

The show will contain two to three pieces from each artist, ranging from original ink drawings, to collage, to entirely digital works.

19-year-old Texas cartoonist Tillie Walden is one exhibitor who steers clear of working digitally, preferring to use pencil and ink. A few pages from her first book, End of Summer, will be on display.

End of Summer tells the story of twins Lars and Maja as they settle into their castle home for the winter. Walden says: “My work tends to be very dreamlike and have a lot of magical elements to it, but ultimately my stories are very grounded in the trauma of just being a person in the real world.”


Comix Creatrix opens on 5 February 2016 at the House of Illustration, 2 Granary Square, London N1.

By Nadine Redlich
By Nadine Redlich
By Tillie Walden
By Tillie Walden

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