In an industry that still largely centers the voices of white male artists, it’s necessary to shine a spotlight on female illustrators. As a matter of fact, after Julia Rothman thumbed through 55 magazine covers from 2015, she found that women had only illustrated four of them. That’s why she and Wendy MacNaughton decided to launch Women Who Draw. “In early 2017, Julia and Wendy launched Women Who Draw to highlight illustration by women, women of color, LBTQ+, and other less visible groups and make it impossible for any publication, art director, or editor to ever again say, ‘I’d hire more ____ if i only knew where to find them,'” the site’s about me section reads.
But the work is far from over, and we have to keep highlighting female illustrators. That’s why we have put together a list of Latina illustrators who are making it in this industry on their own terms. Despite the fact that they are each drawn to different art styles and mediums, they all reflect on women’s place in society, whether that’s by displaying the beauty in imperfection or featuring the female figures making a mark in the resistance.
Below, meet five Latina illustrators who should be on your radar.
GIF by Itzel Alejandra Martinez for Remezcla
Stephanie Rodriguez’s super relatable comics take on slut shaming, anxiety, and heartbreak through a female perspective. Between an image of a woman making it rain on payday, or a step-by-step breakdown of how to mend a broken heart (get your nails done, reverse the sadness through a high-intensity workout, and block and unfriend your ex on social media), she could be peeking into your world and illustrating the highs and lows of your everyday life.
“My comics come from my life experiences,” she tells Remezcla. “The topics can span from dealing with breakups to growing up Latina in NYC. I want the reader to say, ‘Oh yeah, I totally went through the same thing.’ It’s very important for me to make that connection with the reader.”
Through vibrants pinks, reds, and purples, Brazilian-born illustrator Camila Rosa has created socially conscious work. “For me, my art is a way to try to change the world, like it’s a small way, a tiny way to try to change the world,” she tells Remezcla. After seeing her work, it’s hard not to walk away thinking about how you can make a difference in the world. Between prints that read “You Are Strong,” “Be Powerful,” and “Nobody’s Free Until Everyone’s Free,” Rosa is simultaneously cheering you on and gently encouraging you to do better.
Rosa, whose work has been featured on Bust and Refinery 29, is so far succeeding at her goal of inspiring others. “Many women send me messages [saying,] ‘Oh my god, I love your work’ and ‘This means a lot to me,'” she says.
Emerald Pellot’s kitschy art is all about uplifting women of color. After the 2016 election, Pellot felt compelled to make a change in her life, embarking on a career in art for the very first time. And right off the bat, she created powerful, colorful images to celebrate women of color, who are usually pushed to the margins.
“I don’t represent all women, but I do think [it’s necessary] for us to speak up loudly as much as we possibly can. I have an homage to Maxine Waters and Beyoncé, to women of color who I feel are important and powerful,” she says. “Most women of color don’t have enough people saying, ‘Look, she’s cool. You should know about her.’ I know that as someone who is Afro Latinx, I don’t see myself represented anywhere ever.”
The women Carmen Pizarro draws are hardly perfect, but that’s exactly why you’ll like them. Pizarro, who struggled to find her style during art school, now draws inspiration from the subject she knows best: women. Raised by her grandmother and mother, the Chilean-Mexican artist didn’t have any male figures in her life, so when she finally found her voice as an artist, she began drawing women who were relatable and defied stereotypes. They were a bit like her.
“I’m definitely not the normal type of girl,” she says. “I’m Chilean and Mexican. I’m like tatted up, which is very nontraditional for my culture. So it’s just like I kind of want to break out of that mold. That’s why I’m motivated to do that in my work to kind of show that it’s all right to be like that. All of these women are either tatted or wearing different clothing from like the normal standards.”
Krystal Quiles’ art will make you nostalgic for the 2000s. “I’m really into pop culture. Sometimes all I wanna do is make drawings of that kind of thing,” the Puerto Rican artist says. “So I’ll see a video or something that reminds me of when I was younger or I’ll just take – and I don’t try to repeat the video or take exactly what’s happening in the video – I try to invent around it.”
Through her pieces inspired by a “Baby One More Time”-era Britney Spears, TLC, and J. Lo and Kate Bush, it’s clear that the women who pushed boundaries in that era had a lasting impression on the young artist.