What we know as October, some illustrators consider Inktober ― a 31-day charge to celebrate the benefits of drawing on a regular basis. For the entire month, budding and established artists alike have been posting their work alongside the hashtag #Inktober, motivating themselves and others to relish the beauty of setting pen ― or brush or charcoal! ― to paper.
In honor of Inktober, we rounded up the illustrators we follow on Instagram, hoping to provide fans with a varying list of artists that could inspire even the least dextrous among us. We soon realized there was a theme to their work: many of the illustrators we chose (loosely defined) are women and gender non-binary individuals who explore the daily ups and downs of being a woman ― whatever that means to them ― today.
From simple pleasures to harsh realities, these artists explore self-care, friendship, motherhood, dating, queer identity, body image, mental illness and more. While some illustrators choose to adorn their images with text that speaks straight to their audience, others communicate the quietest of messages without a single word. A naked woman crying over a cup of hot liquid is abstract (courtesy of Maria-Ines Gul), while a visual diary entry featuring the words “They don’t treat or see me as human here” is more direct (courtesy of Ebin Lee, who uses the pronouns they/them).
Taken as a whole, these artists show just how vast and expansive a woman’s or genderqueer person’s experiences are. They also highlight how powerful a few splotches of color and carefully placed lines can be. Happy Inktober, everyone.