Top up and coming female cartoonists has a list of female comic creators. The list is heavy on webcomic and graphic novels but includes Julia Wertz (Fart Party), Kate Beaton (Hark! A Vagrant), Amy Reeder Hadley (Tokyopop’s Fool’s Gold), Jöelle Jones (12 Reasons Why I Love Her), Julia Gfrörer (Flesh and Bone), G. Willow Wilson (Cairo).

Regarding the list, Joe Vince writes:

Now gender is no guarantee of high quality work, but it is a fairly good gauge of finding comics that represent a different aesthetic or world view. So how do you find that talent without going broke (and trudging through a morass of subpar work)? Sure, if you’re even a casual comic book fan, you’ve heard of big-name vets like Gail Simone, Alison Bechdel, Colleen Doran and Jill Thompson. And more educated fans probably know about established creators deserving more recognition, such as Becky Cloonan, Colleen Coover, Jessica Abel and Nicola Scott. But who are the up-and-comers? Where can someone find the next wave of top female creators?

21 thoughts on “Top up and coming female cartoonists

  1. “The list is heavy on webcomic and graphic novels”

    Of course it is. How many female newspaper cartoonists are there? Not many. How many female cartoonists working in traditional print comics with a large enough audience to get noticed? Not many.

    The web is where we get noticed, by and large, because on the web gender bias can’t push us out.

  2. I love ‘Fart Party’. I think of Julia Wertz as the modern day Harvey Peckar.

    I ‘met’ her at Mocca this year and was so nervous I blurted a bunch of nonsense out at her and sunk away embarrassed. 😀 😀 😀

  3. BTW: The list forgot Melissa DeJesus of ‘Sokora Refugees’ from TokyoPop, the up and coming ‘Santa vs Dracula’ from SLG publishing, and the soon-to-be-sorley-missed ‘My Cage’ from…well, King Features asked us not to mention in association with us, but you know who I mean. 😀

  4. Katie Rice who draws 50% of Skadi ( is awesomely gifted…

    Web or Print, though, women have always been and always will be a minority. It is a basic truth – women are MORE interested in pursuing interests that commonly do NOT include drawing cartoons and comic strips and graphic novels. Luckily for those of us who love quality and variety, minority status does not equal lack of amazing freakishly gifted woman cartoonists, far from it – these women are in it to win it!

  5. The web particularly is loaded with some just straight-up fantastic female cartoonists who draw comics about really universal things… really something to be proud of in its comics/creative diversity. And same goes for print, while there are fewer available to be seen there, the ones listed (and many others, like Molly Crabapple for instance, who also produces web-only work) are just freaking awesome.

    And Dave, agreed, Katie Rice is great! (but then, so are all these others mentioned in the article, and by some of you others, like Meredith Gran and Danielle Corsetto, etc…)

  6. @Zoe How many female cartoonists working in traditional print comics with a large enough audience to get noticed?

    How many cartoonists working in print PERIOD have a large enough audience to get noticed, let alone pay the rent? Maybe females are just smart enough not to play a losing game.

  7. And THAT is exactly why I have never placed my precious “eggs” in the entirely unreliable and low-paying basket of PRINT.
    Also, I’ve seen prices offered for cartoon illustration dropping for years and years now – it’s almost ridiculous, at this point.

    As far as I know, the amazingly talented Katie Rice makes her main income in the animation industry and does the webcomic “Skadi” on the side – I assume she must make some $$ on it, but I have no idea if she could make any kind of a ‘living’ on that where hosts it (along with a bunch of other great stuff).

    Less than 20% of my income is from cartooning for print or advertising, and even if I doubled that to 40%, the income would still just barely pay my mortgage… Luckily, I’ve busted my hump to study caricature over the years and THAT pays well though it varies month to month.

    I know I am extremely lucky to be making a living drawing funny pictures on my own without the backing of a syndicate or animation industry. I’d guess less than 10% of currently working cartoonists can say that, men and women alike… Anybody have any hard numbers?

  8. @Terry LaBan Dave Stephens “How many cartoonists working in print PERIOD have a large enough audience to get noticed, let alone pay the rent? Maybe females are just smart enough not to play a losing game.”
    What’s that about? If you’ve got a decent story and know how to build your readership, breaking into print shouldn’t have to be a losing game. I’m really proud of my readership and my sales to date. One of my biggest joys in life is encouraging artists to go out there and be all they can be.
    According to a report in Summer 2010, Independent comics selling more than 200 copies were the exception, not the rule. Between ebooks, paperbacks and comic sales I have achieved more than four times that.
    In this light, I am one of a handful of artists that make a substantial income from webcomics, from sales in the US and worldwide. More on this can be found with my recent interview at Prism Comics.

  9. So that pays your rent? 800 books? Cool! Good for you!

    So having a “good story” and “knowing how to build readership” is all it takes to break into print?

    Well, that seems a bit oversimplified, especially that “build readership” part – is there a recipe you’d like to share?

  10. It would be interesting to do a survey of the percentage of female cartoonists who send their work into syndicates versus the percentage who use Comics Sherpa versus that of stand alone web cartooning.

    The web does seem like a more nurturing, supportive and community-based environment for up and coming cartoonists and perhaps that kind of environment is more attractive to women.

    On the print side, enough female cartoonists have broken into newspaper comics that editors are not feeling obliged to replace Cathy with a female-authored strip. We are still under-represented, but we aren’t the novelty that we were when Cathy made her debut.

  11. Personally, I’d say a cartoonist’s success in web or print is determined more by genre than gender. Hey, that almost rhymes. Or something.

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