(Oops let this slip a bit again didn't I. Okay let's get this up to date and back on the road again. )
Recently I attended the music festival Field Day here in London. I saw a singer who goes by the name Empress Of and she proclaims in her song Woman is a Word "I'm only an image of what you see. You don't know me." The past couple of years has seen a major upheaval of female illustrators coming into the public eye and completely dominating the illustration world with their own particular representation of -women-.
I remember a time when it used to seem silly, and improper, for illustrations to focus on just women doing their thing. It filled me with joy to attend ELCAF last week and see so many fantastic illustrations of women of every ilk. Powerful strong female heroes with guns, infinitely cool girls in leather jackets and acid wash jeans, shy girls listening to music in the corners of elaborate rooms, the list goes on. And none of it seemed trivial. Each piece told a story about that girl. You want in on their secrets, you want to be in their sorority, prove yourself so you can be in their girl gang, or indeed help them fight that cyborg!
They are so much more than a flat image. The focus is on the skill of the illustrator but the idea is more than just "hey, look at this cool girl's jeans", it's showing you that she has a brain, that she has a story and it's a bloody good one. Jenn Woodall, who I discovered at ELCAF is a part of this wonderful movement and has all the bases covered when it comes to showing the world that women are so much more than the flat image so many people use to view us with.
Jenn has created several zines on the theme of girls and women showing them in all their wonderful guises. As multi-faceted, emotional and thought provoking beings but with a focus on being completely badass.
She's created a sailor moon style comic called Magical Beatdown and my favourite from her, a collaborative zine known as FIGHT! http://fightzine.tumblr.com/ where she invites illustrators to create their own female fighting character (don't worry there's a friendship themed fight zine too). Jenn Woodall is Toronto based (another one I know..) but you can keep up with her on her website http://jennwoodall.format.com/ ,which is need of an update because she's just so busy so I'd totally recommend her tumblr http://jwoodall.tumblr.com/ and her instagram https://www.instagram.com/funeralbeat/