This delightful drawing is from Aedre’s Firefly creator, Jande Rowe, who was recently featured in my “Panel Divas” post. I love how she stylized ZB’s hair and the sewn together lips! Thanks so much, Jande!
Michelle Hernandez, one of the most talented young ladies in web comics, created this exceptional image of Gorr that I adore! Michelle is the creator and artist of the delightful Kat Day Care, which is published every Tuesday, and a warm and friendly person to boot! Michelle is also one of the key members of Pen Hits the Pad, a group of fine writers and artists, whose strips include 4th Hanzo, and Alpha Ballistic.
Follow Michelle on Twitter: @Starrelish
Beatrice Stroud gets an Andrea Hatch makeover, in this beautiful rendering. I love how Andrea captures her melancholy look so endearingly. Andrea writes and illustrates Neau Comic, and I recently featured her in my “Panel Divas” blog post. Thanks a lot, Hatch!
As an art form, comics can’t be beat. You’d be hard-pressed to find a higher form of self-expression than in a combination of words and pictures produced from the mind and hand of a sole comic creator. The internet has opened the world’s playing field, giving many artists a forum to express themselves. Among them are a few fine female artisans who are creating some of the best art and story on the web. These women prove that talent, humor, courage, principle, and determination transcend gender. I’m a big fan of their work, and I’ve also found each of them to be wonderfully engaging people as well. So step aside, gentlemen, the ladies have the floor!
Andrea Hatch is the creator of the eerie and enigmatic, Neau Comic, one of the most beautifully-illustrated comics online. Neau is a high fantasy comic about the struggle for good to triumph over evil. It tells the story of the world of Neaunaphar and its residents, which include a crab-clawed girl, horned demon dames, and plenty of dark magic for everyone! Each of Andrea’s panels is an exquisite little gem, crystallized by a combination of striking line and color. It updates twice a week at Neau Comic. Don’t miss an update, Andrea is an artist to watch out for!
Follow Andrea on Twitter: @neaucomic
Sareen Akharjalian is fearless. She tackles the object of her cartoon harder than any fullback and has absolutely no reservation about skewering whatever subject she has under her comedy microscope.
Living in Beirut, Lebanon provides her with limitless material to throw into her comic strips, which she does with great gusto! Word for word and line for line, Sareen is a world-class cartooning heavyweight champion! See her work at Ink on the Side and be prepared to laugh out loud.
Follow Sareen on Twitter: @sareen_ak
Dawn Griffin is an artist wunderkind and a real Renaissance lady. She writes and illustrates the misadventures of two aliens disguised as Earth pets, Zorphbert & Fred, one of the funniest and most creative strips available online. She also illustrates the children’s book series, Abby’s Adventures. She’s a co-founder of the Webcomic Alliance, where contributes articles about the practical art and business aspects of webcomics, as well as co-hosting the entertaining and informative Webcomic Alliance podcast. I can’t say enough good things about Dawn, she’s a real treasure!
Follow Dawn on Twitter: @dgriff13
Jande Rowe accomplishes something that is truly unique in the world of webcomics. She proves that a strip can pass beyond gag-a-day laughs, high-tech heroics, and snarky observations to a heartfelt place that is a genuine “experience.” Aedre’s Firefly opens the door into the daily life of Aedre, a young girl who seeks escape from the unwelcoming world she knows and runs away to another, perhaps better one. Jande takes us along on her emotional journey each Wednesday at Aedre’s Firefly.
Jande is also a fine artist, her oil and acrylic paintings can be found in homes in Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the States, and Germany. She also paints digitally, and her works can be seen on her site.
Follow Jande on Twitter: @eO_Jande
Jenn Li, the powerhouse behind ChinChat Comics, has a magnificent sense of humor, and she’s not afraid to take risks with her strip. She tells the kind of jokes that she wants to tell, and has the art chops to create whatever setting her imagination wants to go.
ChinChat Comics follows the adventures of the darling chinchillas Shakepeare, Rolo, Toby, LingLing and their friends, and updates every Wednesday.
Follow Jenn on Twitter: @chinchatcomics
Michelle Hernandez is the creator and artist of the whimsical Kat Day Care, a sweet strip about kittens Champion, Pageant, Buttercup, Rhythm, Douglas and J-Law along with Daycare owner, Kat. Michelle also enjoys painting, sewing and working with polymer clay, and is a lead artist at Pen Hits the Pad, a collective whose strips include Alpha Ballistic, and 4th Hanzo. You can see her work here.
Follow Michelle on Twitter: @Starrelish
Robin Dempsey is an amazingly gifted creator, first as a world builder and writer, then as visual director, her intricate work is crafted down to the finest detail and filled with rich color which perfectly sets the tone of each panel.
Robin’s epic fantasy adventure comic, Ley Lines, tells the story of three siblings Tama, Mizha and Zhiro, who search to solve the mystery behind their mother’s death. In their pursuit of the truth, they seek help from the ancient gods, help that is not given without a price. Ley Lines is built from the ground up, with its own language and mythology, it is a world unto itself. Robin began her comic in January 2011, and she updates on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Ley Lines.
Follow Robin on Twitter: @RobinofLeyLines
The life of produce was never more entertaining than in Betsy Brock’s delightful Fruit Comic. Betsy pencils, inks and colors each of her hilarious strips by hand, and they are a joy to behold!
Follow Betsy on Twitter: @InfiniteBetsy
Alejandra E. Gámez Pándura
Playful and terrifying, whimsical and shocking, the work of Mexico City artist Alejandra E. Gámez Pándura is not easily forgotten. Lovecraftian monsters play with airplanes, magic is a way of life, hearts have their own troubles, Alejandra opens the door to a world where fantasy and reality intermingle, all carefully crafted in her distinctive style. Alejandra is a lover of good stories, regardless of whether they come in the form of comics, books or film. You can see Alejandra’s work at The Mountain with Teeth and on her Facebook page here.
Follow Alejandra on Twitter: @themountainwith
Elia Madrid creates a world unlike any other in her webcomic, Elia in a Box. Elia is a Performance major at UTA, and her hand-drawn work is a mix of theatrical, hilarious, thoughtful, dazzling, and just plain fun! Elia stars herself and her friends, Hannah K., her alter-ego Helga, and Lindsey B., and the strip is posted once a week at Elia in a Box.
Follow Elia on Twitter: @ELIAinaBOX
I wasn’t going to mention this, but I need to get it out. After much hemming and hawwing, I finally broke down and entered the Penny Arcade Strip Search competition a couple of weeks back, not expecting anything to come of it. But when I was accepted into the second round (500 down to 100), I started to get my hopes up a bit. The more I thought about it, the more I was sure this could be my ticket out of the minor leagues into the big time. Strip Search was going to be my chance to fast forward to the top of the industry after all those years of obscurity. I saw myself sitting in a big office facing the Seattle skyline, with my feet up on the desk. Scott Kurtz in the next room offering me sage career advice, a whole staff of advertising and PR experts at my disposal. I envisioned that I could quit my day job and that now, finally, I had the ultimate validation. My dream to be a self-sustaining online cartoonist would now be within my reach after all my struggles.
Then came the fall. I was not accepted into the third round (100 down to 40). Initially, I was kind of stunned, I thought – was there a mistake? I looked at some of the other creators who were accepted into the next round. There were illustrators and bloggers, why weren’t they all web comic creators? Wasn’t this a web comic competition? Did they accidently send me the wrong email? I had convinced myself that I was going to get through so thoroughly that I wasn’t able to fully accept that I hadn’t made the cut. This hung with me for a few days. I started to feel low, it felt like an invalidation. How could they not accept me? Haven’t I worked hard for two whole years, making the best strip possible? Why hadn’t they picked me? I actually began to wonder if I hadn’t made a mistake trying to pursue this as a career. I started to doubt that what I was doing was worth it. There is another side of this business you have to really be careful with and that’s self-doubt. It can really work you over at times.
Finally, I began to rationalize. Penny Arcade only has room for 12 people out of 500, so they have to be ruthless in their decision-making, I understand. It’s not their job to cultivate people’s dreams, they are looking to put a show together, they are not responsible to protect individual egos. That duty is mine alone.
So wish me luck, dear readers. I’ve come this far and I can’t turn back now. Everything I’ve achieved up until this point has been with my own determination, God-given gifts, and hard work. I don’t need a big, successful company to validate me, that is putting the emphasis in the wrong place. It may take me years to get to where I want to be. Many people have tried, failed and given up. I told Robert Khoo that I’m the best because I’ve seen so many fade out, but I’m still standing. I’m a survivor. I will survive, and eventually thrive. That’s a promise.