With the advent of digital, internet-fed media, artists have multiple platforms to showcase their work, become freelancers, begin their own commercial projects and reach wider audiences. Among these artists, there are some desi women illustrators who are putting their thoughts out there in their work and speaking to audiences through artistic flourishes and strokes.
They articulate their distinct experiences, speak for social causes and have refreshing takes on everyday life through their graphic designs, illustrations and even animations. Here are five women with distinct styles who are spearheading and inspiring a new demographic of independent, female artists.
1. Kruttika Susarla
Kruttika Susarla (@kruttika) is a Delhi-based comic artist, graphic designer and illustrator. Her rugged, heavily textured illustrations are dedicated to a plethora of topics. From works on feminist themes such as body positivity to her own caricatured take on landscape drawing, Susarla’s spectrum is wide.
Along with these, her work also includes seeing abstract topics through art as seen in the illustrations titled – Angst, Home/body/mind/heart or Motivation. Kruttika has also dabbled in commercial projects. You can spot her work on Bira campaigns, Vogue features and even book covers.
2. Priyanka Paul
Priyanka Paul (@artwhoring) is a 19-year-old, Mumbai-based poet, writer and artist. Her work is the rare, eclectic conglomerate of pop-culture and activism. She has a distinct style of illustration with saturated colours, thick strokes and high contrast drawings.
Paul’s themes revolve around spreading a little brown girl magic, sex and body positivity and some interspersed satirical humour. She uses these themes to channel feminist thought and what it means to be a woman of colour in today’s digitized, “millennial” world.
The desi illustrator from Lucknow, who now lives in Oman, goes by the Instagram handle @doobliidoo. Humour is evidently Yameena’s forte with her comical takes on beauty standards, feminist anecdotes and even schoolgirl struggles.
Her art has a “feel-good” and childlike angle, which make her work very endearing. One of Yameena’s signature series is her illustrative sets about her hometown Lucknow and experiences there, with Hindi and Urdu typography accompanying the posts.
4. Mounica Tata
Mounica Tata (@doodleodrama) is an illustrator with one of the loudest voices in the room. She usually floods her comics and typography projects with characters that one sees in their lives every day, illustrated in a storybook-like, colourful manner.
From conversations with best friends to parental relationships, her drawings encompass the quintessential Indian experience. She also often uses cute and relatable characters as a platform to showcase topics that need more conversations centred around them. From mental health awareness to period taboos, Mounica is using her artistic skill to start powerful social dialogues.
5. Tara Anand
19-year-old student Tara Anand (@taraanandart) is an illustrator whose works comprise portraiture and is mostly based on women and their realities. Her art primarily tackles feminist issues through colourful and caricatured illustrations. Some of her feminist themes include experiences of women of colour, the presence of women in typically masculine domains like STEM and homages to feminist history in India.
Tara is also the co-founder of the Instagram page @iamlikeothergirls, which defines itself as a platform for solidarity. The page aims to help break away from the age-old, problematic compliment of “you’re not like other girls“, which distances one from their own gender.
Featured Image Credit: Kruttika Sarla